Scanners Articles

Dedicated Flatbed Scanner Vs All In One Printer Comparison

flatbed vs sheetfed scanners

Buying a scanner is an important decision, and you need to consider all options to take a smart decision.

One of the most important questions is to choose between a Flatbed Scanner vs All-in-one printer.

Today we will discuss both these devices and see how these are different from each other along with the advantages and disadvantages of having each.

Let’s take a look at each of them first.

To compare Flatbed Scanner VS All-In-One Printer we first need to understand what they are.

Flatbed Scanner

The flatbed scanner is excellent for scanning all types of documents, business cards, receipts, photos, or even oddly shaped papers.

They have a glass panel over which document is placed. A light from beneath the glass panel illuminates the document.

The flatbed scanner contains a lens, a mirror filter, and CCD rays fixed on the scanning head.

This combines mechanism rolls over the document capturing each detail and store it as digital data.

All-in-one Printer Scanner

An all-in-one printer scanner is a comprehensive device that includes a printer, scanner, a copy, and sometimes option like web, fax, etc.

These are multi-functional scanners that work best in any workplace offering many useful services.

This kind of scanners has a sheet-fed scanner for scanning many pages at a time.

Related: Flatbed Vs Sheetfed Scanners: Full Breakdown

Flatbed Scanner Vs All-in-One Printer Comparison

Choosing one between Flatbed Scanner VS All-In-One Printer depends on your objective and needs. Both scanners have their advantages and disadvantages, and in the end, it boils down to individual needs.

If you need high-end scanning results then probably a dedicated flatbed scanner is a better option. It will provide you sharp, and detail scans with high-resolution pictures.

All in one scanner are although great for catering to different needs, but they are just good if you need some basic scanning or printing needs.

The focus would be more on catering different needs than on the outcome result.

All-in-one scanner suits individual or workgroups who need basic scanning needs and do not need detailed or quality scans.

While for those individuals or workgroup with better scanning results, dedicated scanners are more useful.

Related: Flatbed Vs Slide Scanners: Full Comparison

1. Size

Modern flatbed scanners have a compact design with a comparatively small footprint than the multifunctional printers. The additional printing services require trays or ink cartridges for example. So, from size, flatbed covers less space.

2. Document Copying

Multifunctional scanners offer to copy documents. Though the process is slower than the dedicated copy machines and quality may not be very good.

3. Price

The price of both flatbeds and multifunctional scanners vary from model to model.

Actually, price can be the deciding factor of quality. If the all-in-one scanner is offering a printer, fax, or copy options along with the scan then certainly it is compromising quality somewhere.

In the same way, if you need good quality and high-end results, then the price is going to be high.

However, when comparing in the same configuration i.e DPI, Dynamic Range, Size, then All-in-One are more expensive.

4. Photos

Epson Perfection V370

Flatbed Scanners like Epson Perfection V370 are affordable and great for slides among other documents

This would technically be the main deciding factor between Flatbed Scanner VS All-In-One Printer for professionals.

If your scanning need includes professional quality images and photos, then a flatbed scanner with good resolution is more suitable.

If you want to scan negatives, slides, or films, flatbed scanners are a better option as you can’t feed them into the document feeder of a multi-functional scanner.

Most photos cannot pass through the multi-functional scanner’s document feeder without damaged.

Related: Best Scanners For Polaroid Photos Compared

5. Artwork

Flatbed scanners are excellent for scanning artworks. Multifunctional scanners allow some bendable artwork through its document feeder, but the scanning results are not as professional as with the flatbed scanners.

The artwork on canvas, wood panel, or illustration boards requires a flatbed scanner. Also, flatbed scanners can even scan 3D objects or artworks too.

Some multifunctional scanners though offer flatbed for scanning artworks and 3D objects but these scanners do not provide lower resolution or bit depth, and the result is low image quality.

6. Automatic Document Feeder

You can find both Flatbed Scanners and All-in-one printers being offered with a automatic document feeder (ADF).

However, both high quality flatbed scanners with ADF, as well as the printers tend to get quite expensive.

Advantages of All-in-one Printer Scanners

Here we have listed some benefits of an all-in-one printer scanner.


The most promising factor of an all-in-one device is its multi-functional role in your workplace.

Instead of having multiple devices for different functions you got an all-in-one device for catering your all needs.

Covers less space

Too many devices like printer, scanner, or fax cover a lot of space in your office. Especially, if you a small to medium workgroup and have little space, having one device saves a lot of space.


Although all-in-one printer scanner is a bit costly than the other single flatbed or ADF scanners but if you add the price of a separate printer, scanner, or other devices then certainly having all in one saves money too.

Advantages of Flatbed Scanners

Some benefits of flatbed scanners are described here.

Quality of scans

Although all-in-one scanner works great for normal scanning needs if you need more sharp results and scans for specific needs, then flatbed scanners are certainly a better option.

For example, if your scanning needs include good quality pictures, then it offers models with high-resolution scanning results for digitizing your old photographs and films.

So for special needs flatbed scanner offer better results.


Flatbed scanners are cost-effective than multi-functional printers. That’s because the all-in-one scanner is providing the value of other devices too.

Final Verdict

Both flatbed scanners and all-in-one printers have their own advantages and are useful in many ways. It depends on individual needs and preferences.

Flatbed scanners provide more quality services, but again they lack the benefit of having other functions than scanning. In the same way, a multi-functional device may be a jack of all trades but masters none.

So choosing one becomes an individual choice and needs. Still, if the criteria are better results and a hassle-free scanning experience, then a dedicated flatbed is a better option.