The Best Flatbed Scanners

Who remembers the last time they used a fax machine? I definitely don’t. If you’re constantly sending documents back and forth for work, you’ll need a good scanner to be able to do it quickly and efficiently – something that’s easy to use and that you can set up quickly. We also, of course, want something that will give you good picture quality in your scans. Flatbed scanners are also less likely to damage your original copies than a document feeder scanner is.

So if you’re going to be scanning important documents, you may want to be on the safe side and find a good flatbed scanner. That’s what we’re here for. We wrote this list to help you find a flatbed scanner that will treat your documents with care and keep up with your workload.

Carry on reading for our full list of the best flatbed scanners followed by a recap highlighting the main features of all of our scanners to help you make your final decision. Or jump straight to our number #1 pick here.

What Is a Flatbed Scanner?

A flatbed scanner is a scanner that has a closable lid to hold your paper flat against the scanning glass. This is as opposed to document feeder scanners, which require you to feed your paper into a chute to scan it. Document feeder scanners have the advantage of being able to scan multiple pages at once, but they’re more likely to damage your documents, and they’re more expensive.

You’ve probably seen the flatbed included on most printers. Most printers double as scanners. (These printer/scanners are usually known as all-in-one printers.) However, like a lot of people, you may find yourself needing a printer less and less, getting to the point where you exclusively use your printer as a scanner. If that’s the case, it’s definitely worth it to invest in a single-use scanner, as they’re cheaper and take up much less space. And if you don’t usually have to scan more than a few pages at once, it’s worth it to save some money and protect your important documents by going with a flatbed scanner.

What Should You Look For in a Flatbed Scanner?

Most people aren’t exactly experts on scanners, flatbed or otherwise. You’ve probably mostly either just used the multi-purpose printer in your home or whichever scanner your office has, which – let’s be honest – has probably been around since the Bush administration. But don’t worry – we did all the research for you. And we’ve broken it down into simple categories that you can quickly and easily understand so you can see how we picked the scanners on our list and so you can do your own research and find the best flatbed scanner for you.

Criteria #1: Picture Quality – Have you ever scanned a picture or document that you needed to email, only to find that it’s blurry to the point of being incomprehensible once it’s on-screen. Yeah, we don’t want that to happen. We want your scanned image to be just as clear as the original copy was, and that’s why the most important thing to us is finding you flatbed scanners with good picture quality. Picture quality will be measured in dots per inch, or DPI, and the higher the DPI, the better. Look for a scanner with a high DPI to give you a scan that looks like the real thing.

Criteria #2: Extra Features – Those extra features can go a long way. If you can find a scanner that has cloud or wi-fi compatibility or that has all of the input options you want, you’ll get a much more streamlined experience that will free up your day and make things a lot more convenient. If you’re really lucky, you can even find a voice-activated scanner that will give you a completely hands-free experience. Sometimes it’s nice to live a luxurious life and indulge yourself a little.

Criteria #3: Speed – This will only really be important if you’re scanning a lot because, if you’re just scanning one page, no modern scanner is slow enough that it really makes a difference. But if you’re scanning documents and photos all day, you really don’t want a flatbed scanner that will take a minute per page. We’re going to try our best to find a scanner that will scan your pages in just a few seconds.

Criteria #4: Price – We’re not here to make you spend a ton of money for no reason. Meeting this criterion is less about being cheap and more about justifying your price. We’d rather buy an expensive product that’s cheaper than it should be than waste money on a cheaper product that isn’t worth the money and that will just break on you or not perform well.

Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Flatbed Scanners

We measured the specs of the top products on the market against our listed criteria to see how they held up and if they’re worth buying. We then checked customer reviews, blog posts, and “best flatbed scanners” articles and blog posts to see if the products on our list performed as advertised. 

And without further ado, here is our list – tailored to your specific needs – of the best flatbed scanners. 

#1: Epson Perfection V600 Color Photo, Image, Film, Negative & Document Scanner (Best Value – All-Purpose)

Coming in at an amazing price and with every feature, you could ask for, the Epson Perfection V600 Color Photo Image Film Negative & Document Scanner combines old-school and new-school. This flatbed scanner lets you scan film and photo negatives directly, so you can use your film camera and still save yourself those hours in the darkroom. On top of that, the Epson Perfection scanner lives up to its name and will actually remove the appearance of dust and scratches from film and the appearance of tears and creases from photos. Finally, it can also restore faded color to photos with just the touch of the button. The Epson Perfection scanner really makes everything perfect.

This flatbed scanner’s maximum scan area is 8.5 x 11.7 inches, and it’s great for scanning and enlarging any photo or document to a size of up to 7 Inches x 22 Inches. As a real kicker, this scanner lets you scan documents into editable text, so you can get rid of all those typos even after something’s been printed.

This scanner’s LED light source scanner is energy-efficient and will be ready to go right away. You’ll never have to wait for the machine to warm up, and you’ll never have to wait for your documents to scan. You can also scan your documents or photos or documents straight into an email to speed things up, or you can create new PDFs for storage. This all comes in at a great price, and in a nice, compact design that won’t take up your entire desk.

Reviewers also loved it. This scanner was featured on multiple “best scanners” articles, and it has close to 4,000 reviews on Amazon, almost all of them positive, with one user saying it exceeded expectations.

No matter what your needs and no matter what your budget, this is one of the best flatbed scanners out there, and it’s definitely the best deal. That’s why the Epson Perfection V600 Color Photo Image Film Negative & Document Scanner is our number one best flatbed scanner.

#2: HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 Flatbed OCR Scanner (Best Machine)

The Epson Perfection V600 Scanner may be the best deal on the market, but sometimes you don’t want the best deal. You want the best product outright. If you’re willing to splurge for the best flatbed scanner on the market no matter what the cost, you’ll be looking at the HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 Flatbed OCR Scanner. It costs a bit more than our number one scanner, but it has some amazing features that you might simply not be able to say “no” to. Here are those persuasive selling points for any customer looking for the best scanner around.

Reason #1 to Choose This Product: Document Feeder Option

It’s nice to have the best of both worlds. If you’re usually only scanning one or two pages at a time, to the point where it’s not worth it for you to buy a full-scale document feeder scanner, but you do have the occasional bulk scanning jobs, then this is the perfect flatbed scanner for you. The reason is that it’s both a flatbed scanner and a document feeder scanner, so you’ll never have to regret your purchase.

This multi-purpose scanner boasts a speed of 20 pages or 40 images per minute, and the document feeder can handle up to 50 pages at once so any bulk scanning job you have will be a breeze. And even though the HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 Flatbed OCR Scanner is more expensive than most flatbed scanners, it’s much cheaper than most dedicated document feeder scanners and much smaller too. This scanner gives you the option of document-feed scanning without breaking the bank or your desk.

Reason #2 to Choose This Product: Page Size Detection

If you tend to scan a lot of different-sized papers, you’re going to need the best flatbed scanner that can keep up with that diversity. Some scanners will make you manually change the settings every time you scan a different-sized piece of paper, and you definitely don’t want to be doing that a bunch of times throughout the day. Happily, the HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 Flatbed OCR Scanner automatically detects the size of your paper and acts accordingly.

This flatbed scanner can automatically crop and orient your scanned image based on the size of the photo or document that you scanned, so you’ll never have to worry about a poorly formatted image. You’ll always have a high-quality scan for your presentation or email. This is the best scanner to keep up with the various demands of your workday.

In addition to the document scanner and the automatic page size detection, this amazing HP scanner has amongst the most output destinations on the market. This scanner can send any document or photo straight to your email, SharePoint, Dropbox, FTP, network, local drive, or any other custom location, and you’re guaranteed high-quality optical resolution every single time. It can also support standard paper, photographs, postcards, and business cards. It comes with a 1-year warranty that makes up for the high price a little, and it has programmable hotkeys. If you’ll only settle for the best flatbed scanner you can find and you don’t mind paying a little extra, buy the HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 Flatbed OCR Scanner. You’ll even get a decent document-feeder scanner for your extra money.

#3: Plustek A3 Flatbed Scanner (Best for Large Documents)

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If you work in a law firm or some other office that may use paper that’s bigger than the standard size, you should buy a scanner that can handle your bigger documents. And if that’s the case, then the Plustek A3 Flatbed Scanner is just what you’re looking for. This Plustek flatbed scanner can handle A3 sized paper and make sure that no important information gets lost or cut off.

It also has an energy-efficient LED system that will be ready to go right away. It offers hassle-free operation with its programmable hot-key button that will go straight to your desired preset option. As an added bonus, the Plustek A3 Flatbed Scanner is compatible with both Windows and Apple OS, so you won’t need to worry about any issues when you start connecting it to your computer. Finally, this heavy-duty flatbed scanner has a 48-bit color scanning mode and a 16-bit grayscale scanning mode, so you can always pick the optimal setting whether you’re scanning a colorful photo or a serious document.

The Plustek A3 Flatbed Scanner doesn’t offer cloud support, but it does provide you with straight-to-email scanning to cut out a few steps when you send your co-worker that important document. We should also mention that reviewers pointed out that this scanner isn’t the best when it comes to photos. But while it’s the most expensive flatbed scanner on our list and more expensive than most flatbed scanners in general, it’s on the cheaper side compared to other A3 scanners. So if you really need to be ready to scan larger sheets of paper, this is a great budget option. Indeed, the biggest praise this scanner got from customers on Amazon was how much cheaper it is than the competition. The Plustek A3 Flatbed Scanner is the perfect large-document scanner for your home office.

#4: Epson Perfection V39 Color Photo & Document Scanner (Best Low Cost)

Sometimes you just want to keep things cheap. Especially if you’re just looking for a “when you need it” scanner that you’ll only use once every month or two, it really doesn’t make sense to spend a few hundred dollars on some of our other flatbed scanners, no matter how good they are. But it’s important to remember that, usually, if a price seems too good to be true, it’s because it is. You don’t always want to just buy the cheapest scanner you can find, because a lot of times it’s cheap for a good reason, and either won’t perform well or will just break on you. That being said, our second Epson scanner, the Epson Perfection V39 Color Photo & Document Scanner, is the exception to the rule.

This slim, portable, flatbed scanner offers 4800 DPI optical resolution, and, as the name suggests, is great for both photos and documents. Despite the cheap price, the Epson Perfection V39 Color Photo & Document Scanner offers straight-to-cloud scanning, so this scanner is an amazing way to immortalize all of your old photos and upload them straight to your Google Drive to be archived forever. Since it’s so small, you can even bring it over to your grandmother’s house and help her digitize her photo collection, and not have to deal with giving her instructions over the phone if she’s a little more on the technophobic side.

The scanner also features a convenient kickstand that lets it stand up vertically to save you even more room if your desk is a bit cluttered. And it comes with photo-editing software for free that will help you restore the quality of your photos and documents before you upload them to the cloud or email them to your friends and family. On top of all of that, it has OCR software that will turn your scanned documents into editable text for the most convenient scanning experience possible.

Over 2,000 customers on Amazon loved this budget-option flatbed scanner. They obviously loved the cheap price, but they also praised the photo software, the easy-to-use design, and the compact size. Almost everyone agreed that this is an amazing option if you are into genealogy or want to preserve your old family photos.

Even though it seems too good to be true, the Epson Perfection V39 Color Photo & Document Scanner is the real deal, and it’s about half the price of all the other flatbed scanners. So if you don’t want to break the bank and you’re looking for an easy way to transfer your childhood memories to a more modern format, the Epson Perfection V39 Color Photo & Document Scanner is the perfect choice for you.

#5: HP ENVY 6055 Wireless All-in-One Printer (Best All-In-One Printer)

I mentioned that the appeal of single-purpose flatbed scanners is that they’re much cheaper than most all-in-one printers, but what would you say if I told you you could have the best of both worlds? Printers aren’t completely outdated yet, and it’s always nice to have one when you need it. So if you need a printer and a scanner, it’s probably best to get an all-in-one printer, and the HP ENVY 6055 Wireless All-in-One Printer is one of the cheapest all-in-one printers on the market.

This HP all-in-one printer features a flatbed scanner, and of course, can handle all of your printing needs. It offers wi-fi connectivity so you won’t have any wires strewn about your living room or office, and you can easily print from your smartphone. It also has an accessible user interface that features LED buttons that light up when it’s the appropriate time to press them, so you don’t need to waste any time wondering which setting or option you need.

As for the scanner, it can handle all of your standard-sized papers, photos, and documents, and it even comes with an app that lets you do everything remotely. With the HP ENVY 6055 Wireless All-in-One Printer, you’ll be able to scan documents from your phone and send them straight to the cloud or access them later from the main unit for editing purposes. And the real cherry on top is that this all-in-one printer and the flatbed scanner is compatible with Alexa. You’ll barely ever have to lift a finger, and everything can be done by voice control. Unfortunately, Alexa can’t physically place paper in the scanner for you just yet, but other than that, your robot assistant can take care of pretty much anything.

Reviewers loved this cheap, slim, all-in-one printer. One user pointed out that it was really great for scanning their pencil-written math homework, so if you deal with handwritten materials a lot this may be a great choice for you. Of course, if you need to print and scan, it’s one of the cheapest options available. So if you want a cheap flatbed scanner that will let you print and scan straight from your phone and give you voice-control through Alexa, the HP ENVY 6055 Wireless All-in-One Printer is the perfect printer and flatbed scanner for you.

Verdict: Your Best Flatbed Scanners 

Well, there you have it. You’re now familiar with some of the best flatbed scanners on the market. Still haven’t decided which of our scanners is best for you? Not a problem. We know sometimes a second look at things can help. That’s why we’ve prepared this quick recap that will highlight all of the standout features of our best flatbed scanners. That way, you can focus on the important traits and know exactly what you’re getting.

If you want the best value for money, pick Epson Perfection V600 Color Photo Image Film Negative & Document Scanner.

This amazing scanner lets you scan negatives and film straight onto your computer, so say “goodbye” to the darkroom. The developing film has never been this easy. Plus, it offers a solid scanning area for all your standard-sized documents and allows you to enlarge them once you’ve scanned them. You can also turn your scanned documents into editable texts and make some quick changes so you can get rid of that embarrassing typo before emailing any important document to your boss.

On top of all of that, you can scan your photos and documents straight into PDFs to store things quickly, or straight onto emails for quick sending. Everything is streamlined with this scanner. And the fact that it’s affordable just makes things clear cut. The Epson Perfection V39 Color Photo & Document Scanner is our number one best flatbed scanner and the best deal dollar-for-dollar.

If you need bulk scanning, pick the HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 Flatbed OCR Scanner.

Standard flatbed scanners won’t be able to handle a lot of documents at once. You’ll have to scan every page individually. If you’re frequently scanning a lot of pages at once, this can obviously get very annoying. But the HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 Flatbed OCR Scanner gives you the option to feed multiple documents at once into your scanner and scan them all simultaneously.

It works at a speed of 50 pages per minute, so even your longest documents will be done in almost no time at all. You could scan an entire book in just a few minutes if you wanted to. You also still have the option of using the flatbed scanner design if you’re only scanning one or two pages and want to be absolutely sure that the original copies stay straight, clean, and protected. The Epson Perfection V600 Color Photo Image Film Negative & Document Scanner is the best deal, but the HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 Flatbed OCR Scanner might be the best flatbed scanner if price isn’t an object for you.

If you want to keep the spending cheap, pick the Epson Perfection V39 Color Photo & Document Scanner.

We managed to keep all of the flatbed scanners on our list pretty cheap, but the Epson Perfection V39 Color Photo & Document Scanner is the cheapest of the cheap. But with cloud scanning, 4800 DPI optical resolution, and an amazingly compact frame that could fit in your backpack, this flatbed scanner is no ripoff. It can go toe-to-toe with the more expensive flatbed scanners. It has every feature you can need, has a great scan quality, and it’s perfect for uploading your old photos to the cloud. This Epson flatbed scanner is one of the best flatbed scanners out there regardless of price.

If none of the three scanners highlighted above are what you’re looking for, you may be more interested in the HP ENVY 6055 Wireless All-in-One Printer, or the Plustek A3 Flatbed Scanner that will handle all of your larger documents. Remember when looking at flatbed scanners to think about your priorities and what features you absolutely need. We laid out the best flatbed scanners for you, but every scanner has something different to offer, and it will be up to you to weigh the pros and cons.

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