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The 5 best desktop scanners in 2024

Whether it is for your work, important government documents, or family photos, having a desktop scanner gives us the ability to convert the impermanent physical to a fileable, digital record. From there, we can edit the image, send the file all around the world, post copies online, or print out our own in a glossy format with with a brand new printer for photos.

To get a desktop scanner for for your home, though, means reserving a dedicated space for it on your desk and spending money on it. As a result, it is worth taking some time to research the space and see what is on offer. Here, we present a wide enough mixture of desktop scanners to where you should be able to find something worth your time, space, and money. The following desktop scanners are suitable for a variety of the most common situations.

The best desktop scanners of 2024

  • Buy the for a high output scanner that creates digitized versions of your key documents, charts, and Excel sheets.
  • Buy the to get high resolution digital copies of your favorite photos and images.
  • Buy the as the best budget photo scanner.
  • Buy the for a space saving Wi-Fi scanner.
  • Buy the for an all-in-one color laser printer with fast scanning capabilities.

Epson Workforce ES-400 II Duplex

Best document scanner

The Epson WorkForce ES-400 II scanner with documents running through it.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Scans up to 35 pages per minute No Wi-Fi
Dual-sided scanning
Included PDF creation, OCR, and Word/Excel creation

One of the worst parts of receiving a physical document is that they don’t have any of the digital conveniences we’re so used to. For example, if you see an Excel sheet online and you want to use something similar with your own data in the boxes, you can easily do so by a simple copy-and-paste maneuver. If you receive a printed version of that data, however, good luck trying it out for yourself or running an analysis without a quality scanner like this one from Epson.

The Epson WorkForce ES-400 II Duplex is capable of scanning up to 35 pages regular pages per minute (it can also do business cards and super long pages up to 240-inches). This means it can get up to 70 images done per minute due to its double-sided printing technique. Then, with its included TWAIN driver, it can automatically turn those into a PDF, skip blank pages, and convert tables and essays into Excel charts and Word documents that are editable on your end. With this scanner you can scan directly to a cloud storage account, such as a shared Dropbox account, as well. Other niceties include a slow speed mode for older papers, such as historic documents or things where the original document might be older or fragile. Ultimately, the only thing we would like to see from this scanner that is not included is a wireless connection or app support, but if it is a dedicated desktop scanner, this will not be too much of an issue.

Key Specifications
Capabilities Scanning
DPI 1200
Connectivity USB
Size 14.4 x 11.2 x 9.8 inches

Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner

Best photo scanner

The Epson Perfection V600 with its hood open and an image inside.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Highly detailed images One photo at a time
Create enlargements from film
Built-in transparency for slides, negatives, and panoramic film

For images new and old that you want to bring to the digital realm, consider Epson’s Perfect V600. The Perfect V600 is equipped to handle pretty much anything you can throw at it, including negatives and imperfect old photos. For a common example, if you toss an old, faded photo from the family album, it will not only scan it well, but also digitally remove defects like creases dust. Less commonly, you can try using 35 mm filmstrips with the included film-holder to digitize these shots. While you may want to play with the photos on your own machine before sending them out into the world, you can also share directly from the Perfect V600, putting your images directly into cloud accounts.

The main downside in all of this, however, is that you’ll have to scan each item one by one. Since you’re predominately using film and old photos with this scanner, that isn’t going to be too much of an issue — you really don’t want old, glossy artifacts rubbing against each other and being pushed through a machine at breakneck speeds in the first place. You might also noticed that, when on the highest detail modes, the machine is somewhat slow, which is to be at least somewhat expected at higher degrees of accuracy anyhow. So, all in all, we don’t consider this to be too much of a downside for getting a quality digitization.

Key Specifications
Capabilities Scanning
DPI 6400 x 9600
Connectivity USB
Size 19 x 11 x 4.6 inches

Canon CanoScan Lide 400 Slim Scanner

Best budget photo desktop scanner

A side view of the Canon CanoScan Lide 400 photo scanner.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Automatically adjustable settings Scanning at max DPI is tricky
Upright scanning mode
USB powered, no power cord needed

For a desktop photo scanner on the cheap side, try Canon’s CanoScan Lide 400 Slim, which connects to your computer or laptop via USB-C. This makes it particularly effective for those with limited office outlets, as it is entirely powered via its USB connection. You can bring it out to your desk and plug it in, then remove it when finished without dealing with several wires and bending down to plug it into an outlet each time you want to use it. The printer is also able to save space by converting to an upright scanning mode, which allows you to “drop” images to be scanned in sideways. Scanned images can be sent directly to services like Microsoft OneDrive and Dropbox via the Send to Cloud5 feature of the scanner.

Another convenient feature is that the Canon CanoScan Lide 400’s settings can be set to automatically adjust to what is input into it. That can be documents or pictures, which can be scanned to a quite high DPI of 4800. The catch, so to speak, is that it can take some fiddling to get the max 4800 DPI images due to space issues and a tricky menu. Everything from 2400 down is quite intuitive, and can be outright fast, with some images taking no more than eight seconds to fully scan.

Key Specifications
Capabilities Scanning
DPI 4800
Connectivity USB
Size 14.5 x 7.7 x 0.4 inches

Brother Wireless Document Scanner ADS-1700W

Best for limited space

A man uses the Brother ADS-1700W to scan a colorful document on his desk.
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Pros Cons
Small profile Sometimes jams on receipt paper
Wi-Fi enabled wireless scanning
Auto Start scan mode
Scan to mobile

One of the worst parts about getting a desktop scanner (other than paying for it) is dealing with where to put it. This Brother scanner take a lot of your worries away by being small and easy to handle. It’ll only take up an area about 4 inches deep and just under a foot long, only going to about 3 inches tall before the 20-page paper feeder is extended. This means that you can tuck it under or behind your second monitor or even pop it one of your desk’s drawers when not in use.

When in use, you’ll have a number of different places to send your documents. You can connect a device via USB or connect via Wi-Fi to the machine and make your selection via the 2.8-inch color touchscreen given. Furthermore, there is a handy switch to toggle between using the standard document scanner the special card scanner the Brother Wireless Document Scanner has along the bottom. This scanner can process up to 25 pages per minute.

To save time, one of the cool features of this scanner is the ability to just “drop” an item in and have it start scanning immediately. So long as you have a pre-defined place for the scanned image to go — a cloud service, folder on the network, a USB drive, email address, etc. — then you can set things up to start that way quickly. This can come especially in handy if you’re using the scanner for a more or less dedicated purpose, such as end of the month record filing. Do be warned, though, that the scanner can jam if fed too quickly, especially on flimsier papers like receipt paper. This means that you’ll need to babysit to some degree, but if you’re getting a smaller scanner that’s easy to move and transport and takes up low desk space even when in use, we also predict you’ll be using it in short, productive bursts. In other words, if you’re using this scanner to its strengths, you’ll likely be pleased.

Key Specifications
Capabilities Scanning
DPI 600
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Micro-USB
Size 4.1 x 11.8 x 3.3 inches

Canon Color imageClass MF656Cdw

Best all-in-one

Canon imageCLASS MF656Cdw, angled, on white.
HP / .
Pros Cons
Reasonable pricing Color printing expensive
Excellent controls
High-quality color prints, too

When we made our selections for the best color laser printers, this Canon made the list for its ability to make quick prints, reliably throughout the month. At a monthly duty cycle of 2,500 pages, we noted that it was quite capable of handling all of the printing needs for a small to medium sized office. We also, however, think it serves as a great fit for your scanning needs if you also need the works along with it. And, while it is bigger and heavier than other scanners on the list, this ability to handle everything more than makes up for it in size-saving ability. For printing, the Canon Color imageClass MF656Cdw is capable of pumping out up to 22 pages per minute, while for scanning it has a 50-sheet 2-sided one pass scan document feeder.

Everything is controlled via its 5-inch color touchscreen, which includes an address book and more to make sure each scan, print, fax, and copy gets done to your specifications. Additionally, you can connect via mobile with the Canon PRINT Business, Apple AirPrint, and Mopria Print Service apps.

Key Specifications
Capabilities Scanning, printing, copying, faxing
DPI 600
Connectivity Wi-Fi, USB, Mobile
Size 17.8 x 18.2 x 16.3 inches

How we chose these desktop scanners

Desktop scanners come in several form factors, price ranges, and specialties. Here are a few things to consider when thinking about them in general terms, that are pretty universal amongst all members of the product category.

Size

One consideration that you should definitely take into account first is the size of your home office desk and how much space you’re willing to lend to a desktop scanner, should it live there full time. When we look at the best home office desks, we see that they are typically about 45 to 55 inches wide and not too much more than 25 or 30 inches in depth. While it can feel roomy while empty, once you get a couple of monitors, a keyboard, and the mousepad on top of it, space will quickly become limited. If you plan on using a desktop scanner at home, on the regular, it should really behoove you to pick something that will fit on your desk, as you’ll want the scanner nearby. Should your scanning plans be more a weekly, monthly, or event-based endeavor, however, this shouldn’t be as big of a deal.

Alternatively, if you have a desktop scanner with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity, it can live elsewhere with limited penalty. If you get a medium-sized scanner that ends up being too big for your main desk, consider grabbing a small end table to put next to your office desk for it to live on as opposed to the floor. Not only will doing so reduce dust and floor debris from working their way into your machine — and not to mention reducing the impact of the inevitable workroom coffee spill — it will also save your back and joints the penalties of frequent bending.

DPI

Resolution isn’t just for the best monitors, you’ll also want your scans to upload in a high resolution as well. For scanners, you’ll get a quality rating in DPI. It stands for “dots per inch” and means exactly what it says. Depending on what you’re scanning, however, you’ll need different DPI types.

For a regular office document, a listed DPI of 600 or (also written “600 x 600”) is probably going to be great and anything more than that would just slow you down. You only need a memo to look so good, after all. You’ll find that photo scanners typically have greater DPI counts, though. You’ll also typically be able to adjust the DPI of high DPI scanners, as the final output affects scan speed and storage space.

File storage and transfer

If you think about it, a copy machine is very much like a scanner. The scanned image is conveniently store on another piece of paper. As the world has turned more digital, we have tons of places for the image to wind up, though, and your modern scanner will likely taken care of the details for you if you work with it.

Those that use Google Drive or Dropbox for storage will be pleased that many modern scanners will send files directly to your cloud storage. There’s also often a quick email option.

Should you be used a wired or wireless connection to another device, or have a USB drive inserted, you can also opt for direct storage of your files on your local hardware. Consider an external hard drive for large projects and old photo albums.

Scanning extras

Scanners don’t merely scan and report what they see anymore. Well some do, but the best desktop scanners often have extras as well. For example, most document scanners will have a built-in OCR for turning paper documents directly into word documents, with the text able to be copied and pasted. Likewise, charts can often be converted directly to Excel format. Additionally, you should have options for direct conversion to PDF format as well. Photo scanners are also liable to have features to pictures, especially older photographs, that help make the scanned image look better in a digital format.

Other office capabilities

While many of the very best desktop scanners specialize in purely being scanners, that isn’t the case for all of them.

Scanners can also be used to send a copy, print, fax, and sometimes even shred papers. The functionalities naturally go together and are a great way to save space in a limited home office environment. Generally speaking, we can demand more from most scanners.

At the same time, getting everything and the kitchen sink isn’t always appropriate, either, as you’ll end up paying extra for features you don’t want to and never will use. In many cases, the best solution is to get everything you want in one device.

This all being said, if you’ve come looking explicitly for a scanner, it may very well be too late for you in this regard. You may also find special qualities in dedicated scanners. Slim, bar-shaped scanners are likely to not have additional features, cost considerably less than other devices, and are perfect compliments if you have one of the best printers but no scanning capability.

This article is managed and created separately from the Digital Trends Editorial team.

Editors' Recommendations

John Alexander

John Alexander is a former ESL teacher, current writer and internet addict, and lacks the wisdom to know what the future holds. His writing has appeared in PopSci, HeadPhonesty, WIRED, and Digital Trends. When not working, he can be found playing board games, drinking too much tea, taking long walks, and attempting to read foreign language books.

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