Updated: May 23, 2015
Computer Scanner Reviews:Computer scanners aren't as popular as they once were since now almost everyone has digital cameras and doesn't need to scan photos over to their computer. That doesn't mean scanners aren't necessary anymore though. Millions of people still have collections of photos taken by regular film cameras that need to be transferred over to computer via a scanner. Businesses also need scanners so they can convert hard copy documents into digital formats for email and website purposes. You may have slides or negatives that need to be scanned onto your computer for other uses. Consumer scanners have come a long way in the last decade and now for $100 or so you can get a quality computer scanner that will do most of what you want. There are scanners that are built into copiers, fax machines and printers which makes for a multipurpose machine. Which scanner is right and what features do you need to consider? Keep reading down below to find out which models are the best and which features you can't live without.
Most home scanners today offer 4800-dpi (dots per inch) resolution which is plenty for the average user. The optical resolution is important when scanning photos onto your computer. The higher the resolution the easier it will be for you to edit the image to your liking. Scanning pictures in at high resolutions like 4800-dpi will take time and hard drive space (more than 50MB per photo). The end result will be 8 X 10 (or larger) photo prints that look great. Even if the old film photos are not in the best of shape scanning software from companies like Epson can help fix some issues. The Epson Easy Photo Fix software is excellent at correcting fading colors in older pictures or those are dusty and scratched. Transparency adapters are another feature to look for if you have slides or film you want scanned. Some scanners have the transparency adapter (TA) built into the lid while others plug into the scanner as a separate piece. The TA uses a light source to capture the film or slides. Some TA's templates for scanning are available in various sizes with the smallest accommodating only 1 slide but the larger ones hold 3 slides or 6-inch long strips of film. If you will need to scan in documents that will be longer than the flatbed surface, consider a scanner with a built in automatic document feeder which will handle longer docs. The color depth on a scanner is another important feature to look into to. You want your scanner to have a minimum of 24-bit external color depth, but 48-bit color depth is ideal. The sensor technology in scanners is either charge-coupled device (older technology) or contact image sensor (new technology). In this case the older technology sensors give you higher-quality scanned images, but they will use more power and be larger machines. What type of scanner do you need - flatbed, sheet-fed scanner, film scanner, handheld scanner, or the all in one multifunction machines that do printing, faxing, scanning and copying. Most consumers go with the flatbed scanners since they are most practical and function pretty much like a copy machine. You place the document or photo you want scanned on the flat surface (glass) under a cover and let the scanner go to work. Software is what communicates between the computer and the scanner to transfer the scanned image or document over to your computer. Scanners will come bundled with their own software which includes image editing software as well. It may not be the best to actually crop and edit photos, so you may want to invest in a good digital image editing piece of software like ThumbsPlus or a higher more professional piece of software like Adobe Photoshop. Flatbed scanners are the cheapest at around $100 and the more speciality scanners used for slide, film, or large documents can reach up to $500 or more. Businesses that go with the "all in one" devices that scan, fax, print, and copy should save money by doing this but also take the risk that if one feature on the machine needs repairs, it could render the other functions useless as they tend to work together. The top scanner makers are Canon, Fujitsu, Visioneer, Epson, Hewlett Packard, Kodak, Mustek, and Panasonic. We found some great reviews online at PC World and PC Magazine and Consumer Reports did a recent article on flatbed scanners that was very informative. Amazon.com also has some customer opinions and feedback online with the top scanners rated and ranked by actualy owners. You can browse the top selling computer scanners online here.