Document scanners are used in homes and businesses every day. If you’re considering purchasing a scanner, but don’t know where to begin, we have some questions that you can ask yourself to understand what you really need in a scanner so you can make a smart purchase.
If you don’t want to deal with choosing the right scanner, or have thousands of documents you have to scan, you might want to consider a scanning service.
How much room do you have for a scanner?
While this might seem like a silly question, it isn’t. Some scanners take up more space than a computer, and others hardly any space at all. If you have plenty of space, you’ll probably be more interested in a flatbed scanner, but if you’re short on space, a sheet-fed scanner might be more appealing.
How many dots per inch (dpi) do you need?
The higher dpi, the better the scanner, but you might not need a super high resolution. Unless you’re a designer or a graphic artist, you probably don’t need to get the highest dpi on the market. Most businesses will find a dpi of 600 to 1200 more than sufficient.
How much bit depth do you need?
Just as with dpi, the higher bit depth is better. Again, though, you need to decide what you actually need. Bit depth in the 24 to 36 bit range will work for basic color scanning. Most computer owners do great with a 42 bit depth and will never require anything higher. If you’re a designer, you’ll want to go even higher.
How much do you want to spend?
Obviously, the higher the dpi and bit depth, the more expensive the scanner. It’s important to consider your budget along with your scanning needs. Basically, don’t over buy if you don’t have to, but be certain the one you buy will do the job you need it to.
Do you want a flatbed or a sheet-fed?
A flatbed scanner is more versatile and will produce a better scan. In addition, a flatbed scanner will allow you to scan pages from books or magazines. Basically, think of a flatbed scanner as a copier – anything you can copy, you can scan with a flatbed scanner.
A sheet-fed scanner takes up less space and is normally less expensive than flatbed scanners. Another plus for sheet-fed scanners is they are more portable, which means if you’re on the road a lot with your laptop computer – you’d be able to use it.
These questions should help you narrow down your choices so you know where to begin your search for a scanner. With prices ranging from moderately inexpensive on up, knowing where to begin will help you get the most value for your dollar.
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