Best Photo Scanner: An In-Depth Buyer’s Guide & Reviews

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There are many reasons why people would invest in the best photo scanner. This device scans photographs and converts them into digital files that can be uploaded into your computer, mobile phone, website, social media accounts etc.

Nowadays, you’ll find many different options when buying photo scanners. Choosing the right one will mainly depend on your purpose or the reason why you need to use the device. If you simply need it for home use to quickly scan photos and share them on social media, then perhaps a basic photo scanner will do.

But for those who need to use the device for professional purposes and have to scan hundreds of photos every single day, then you may need to invest in high-tech scanners that come with great features.

Of course, there are several other important factors that you need to consider when looking for a good photo scanner to buy. So to help you out, we have prepared a buying guide and a list of some of the best photo scanners in the market right now.

What is a Photo Scanner?

Understanding what a photo scanner is can help you in your search. So let’s find out what this device is and how it works.

As the name suggests, a photo scanner is a device that scans photos. You are probably familiar with those document scanners that are used mostly in an office setting. The photo scanner works in the same way as these scanners but is much smaller.

Also, it has a much higher resolution so the photos scanned by the device are of a high quality. Generally, a photo scanner machine is capable of scanning an image size of 3″ × 5″ or 4″ × 6″. Others are capable of scanning negatives too.

What About Multifunction Printers?

MFPs or multifunction printers are those types of printers that come with a scanner and are capable of scanning photos and other documents. These devices are equipped with a flatbed, which is where the photographs and other materials have to be placed for scanning.

The quality of the scanned images will greatly vary depending on the software and hardware used. But the image quality of photos scanned using the single-function photo scanners is still so much better.

Some of the MFPs also come with advanced features. Others are known as home photo labs since they are also capable of scanning negatives aside from photo prints. They offer various photo-centric features and basic functions that include copying, printing, and faxing.

While the MFPs are suitable for professional and commercial use, they are not the best option for scrapbooking or photo buffs who are in need of a photo-scanning device that can produce images with clear resolutions.



Epson Perfection V550

Great price

Fast performance

The scanned images can be uploaded directly via email, social media & cloud

Excellent image quality

Canon CanoScan LiDE 120

Basic model, ideal for non-tech savvy

Comes with built-in OCR software


Very user-friendly

Canon CanoScan LiDE 220

Comes with auto color restoration, which enhances faded photos

Equipped with an auto-scan feature

Offers high-resolution scanning

Epson Expression 12000XL

Epson Expression has an Integrated OCR

Can scan up to 30 slides at a time

Easy to set up and operate

High-resolution scanning

Epson Perfection V800

Epson perfection has an Automatic color restoration feature

Capable of scanning both photographic prints & film

Can eliminate scratches & dust from scanned photos

Things to Keep in Mind When Shopping for the Best Photo Scanner

Reading photo scanner reviews is one of the best ways to look for the best scanner to buy. To ensure you get the best value for your money, here are some important considerations:

Color Fidelity

Color fidelity is an important consideration when shopping for photo scanners. Depending on the user, this attribute might actually be more important than the resolution. Some users want the scanner to be able to clearly capture and reproduce the same colors as of the original photos that are being scanned. Typically, a general scanner may result in decent resolution but it may not be capable of rendering colors quite as well.


You definitely want the scanned images to be clear. Thus, image resolution is an important thing to keep in mind. Photo resolutions are measured in DPI or dots per inch. For clearer images, you should opt for a higher DPI.

But take note that if the photos that are being scanned are damaged or worn out, these imperfections might also be captured clearly so they might have to be fine-tuned. Also, scanners with higher DPI will produce images with a larger size so this is something to consider, especially if you’re saving them in an external storage device that has limited space.


Most people look for a scanner that’s easy to use, especially people that are not tech-savvy. Although a scanner’s customization options can help to produce clearer and excellent quality images, some users would prefer a device that could scan a large number of photographs without the need to adjust the image settings.

If you prefer a straightforward way of scanning photos, then the best photo scanner to buy is one that has user-friendly features and is not too complicated to operate regardless of the number of photos that you plan to scan.

Customization Features

While some prefer to settle for a basic scanner, other users like scanners that come with customization options more. For instance, a user might prefer for the scanner to be able to fine-tune the scanned photos.

Others would prefer those that have proprietary software that can scan and capture images clearly and give them full control in terms of image rendering. Of course, the more customization options the scanner has, the more expensive it will be.


Price is an important factor for budget customers. Photo scanners are usually more expensive than general scanners because of their specialized features and the ability to capture images at a higher resolution. If you’re on a budget, you can settle for entry-level photo scanners that should cost around $60 to $80. Of course, professional grade scanners cost a lot more, starting at $1,000 to as much as $3,000!

Those that fall within the $60-$80 range are capable of scanning images with 4800 DPI and that’s higher than most general scanners but not as high as mid-range scanners.

These devices may have lower image fidelity but they can still produce images of decent quality. The mid-range scanners cost around $100 to $300 and have a much better color fidelity. They usually have more customization options and several added features too.

Photo scanners that cost $500 and more generally have the highest resolution and offer the best color fidelity. They also come with several customization options and high-tech features. As such, these scanners are very powerful and efficient and can work best for professional and commercial use.

How to Digitize Photos

The best home photo scanner should help you digitize photos on your own without the need to hire a professional.

However, there are certain guidelines that you need to follow:

Organize Your Photos

First, you should plan your tasks well. Organize the photos to be scanned, whether chronologically or in terms of importance. Also, you need to plan how you will organize the scanned images in your computer. You may create a file to group the images accordingly, which also allows you to identify them easily. Think of ways on how you can identify each photo you scan without having to open each image.

Choose the Best Ones

There’s really no need to save each and every single photo you have taken on your mobile phone. Select only the most important photos to be scanned. This will save you both time and space.

Clean the Pictures

Remember that good scanners are capable of copying even the tiniest details from the photos, therefore, you have to be very cautious when scanning. Wipe away any dust and debris that has gotten into the flatbed of the scanner to ensure that the scanned photos are copied clearly and that no dust specs will be included.

For those who are using scanners that don’t give the option for preview, check all your scans after every hour or so to make sure that they have been copied correctly.

Adjust Settings Accordingly

Remember that not all scans are the same. You may need to set the scanner at a minimum quality setting of 300 DPI. If you want to enlarge the photos, you can go as high as 600 DPI. Even when you’re scanning photos that are in black and white or sepia, consider scanning in color so you’ll have more opportunities to edit and modify the scanned images.

Take Your Time

Depending on the number of photos that you need to digitize, you may have to spend a few hours on this task. So set a reasonable amount of time to scan your photos. To avoid getting bored, play a movie or some music in the background while you wait for the photos to finish scanning.

Types of Photo Scanners

When shopping for the best photo scanner, you’ll most likely come across different types.

Here are some of them:

Flatbed Scanner

Flatbed scanners are highly recommended for home use and offer great value for your money. These devices are smaller than the other types of scanners but they should be good enough for a home office setup. Since they are small in size, they won’t take up too much space so you’ll have enough space in your desk for other things.

Jumbo Scanner

As the name suggests, the jumbo scanner is bigger in size and can work best for scanning a large number of photos. These are heavy-duty scanners designed to provide a wide variety of functionalities, which is ideal for the heavy workload. If you’re in need of a scanning machine that can also perform printing, copying, faxing, and more, then the jumbo scanner is what you should consider.

Multipurpose Scanners

Although the multipurpose scanners could cost a lot more compared to the other types of scanners, they are definitely worth investing in. These machines are capable of performing multiple jobs and not just merely scanning photos.

Here’s a list of what a multipurpose scanner can do for you:

Scanning – Perhaps the most important task that a multipurpose scanner can do is to scan photos and documents. Some models come with more specialized features than the others, such as the ability to scan negatives.

Cloud Printing – Most people these days rely on mobile phones to take pictures. In this case, the cloud printing feature is very useful. It allows you to print images by simply tapping on the screen of your mobile phone.

Duplex Printing – This feature is a great way to save on paper and space when it comes to printing several documents since it is capable of printing on both sides of the paper.

OCR Technology – If you would rather send forms over the Internet instead of printing a physical form, this feature allows you to fill out the forms online and send via email. It gives you the ability to edit texts on the forms, which is very useful if you need to fill out those forms that you have scanned.

Photo Copying – For those who need to regularly photocopy some documents, you might as well invest in a scanner with photocopying features. This way, you won’t need to purchase a separate photocopier, which will save you money.

Printing – Most of the multipurpose scanners are capable of printing certain documents as well. The quality of printing will vary greatly so take the time to compare the printing specs from one scanner to another before you make a purchase.

How to Properly Maintain Your Photo Scanner

It’s extremely important that you know the proper ways to maintain your scanner, regardless of the type of scanner that you own. Care and maintenance will depend on the type of scanner that you have, so before you decide to buy, you may want to find out how a particular scanner can be cleaned or maintained. Usually, manufacturers will provide this information on their website or on the user manual of the device.

Here are some tips to ensure that your photo scanner will work at its best at all times:

Keep It Dust-Free – Your device should be free from dust, dirt, and debris. Therefore, perform a quick cleaning at least once a week. Scanners that come with flatbed should be wiped with a damp microfiber cloth. That should help to ensure that the scanner glass is free from any specs of dirt that could affect the quality of the scanned images.

Avoid Chemical-Based Cleaners – Never use cleaners that contain harsh chemicals, ammonia, and acetone because this can degrade the glass and damage the scanner entirely.

Change the Ink Regularly – For multipurpose scanners that have the ability to print documents, it’s important that you inspect and change the ink regularly. If your device has an automatic document feeder, check it regularly to ensure that it’s feeding properly.

Just like with any device that you own, one way to ensure the longevity of your scanner is to care and maintain it properly. Depending on the type of scanner that you own, the device could last for several years if you just properly take care of it.

If you notice that your device is not working well or that it is making strange noises, get in touch with a professional immediately for any necessary repair.

Best Photo Scanners

By now, you should have an idea of what a photo scanner is and the things to consider when buying one. There are so many photo scanners that you can find in the market today. So to narrow down your search, here’s a list of the best photo scanners that are truly worth the money.

1 – Epson Perfection V550 – (Better Optical Resolution for Easier Enlargements)

You definitely want a photo scanner that can give you the best value for your money. When it comes to that, the Epson Perfection V550 is highly recommended. This device has everything that you need in a photo scanner – durability, versatility, and high-quality image results. Yet, this model is cheaper than the other photo scanners with the same features!

With this scanning device, you will be able to scan negatives and films. You can then upload the image directly to social media, send through email, or save in a cloud system!

Having a resolution of 6,400 PPI, this scanner is at par with the higher end models when it comes to scanning photos. It may not have an auto feed, but it’s fast enough for light duty requirements. In fact, this machine is the best fast photo scanner in this list.

Another great thing about this photo scanner from Epson is the fact that it’s very user-friendly. Simply plug the device and you can start scanning! For those who are using Windows 10, it’s highly recommended to install the latest drivers. Furthermore, Epson has its own Photo Scan application that you can simply download online and use for this device.


Great price
Fast performance
The scanned images can be uploaded directly via email, social media and cloud
Excellent image quality


Not suitable for scanning a huge number of photos


2 – Canon CanoScan LiDE 120

Canon’s CanoScan LiDE 120 is another photo scanner that’s worth checking out. This may just be a basic scanner but it does a great job at scanning. In fact, it’s even better than some of the more expensive models!

For budget shoppers, this device is also a great choice. It doesn’t cost a lot of money and has all the basic features that you need in order to scan photos. With a resolution of 2,400 PPI and a weight of about 3 pounds, this model is suitable for personal use and for small companies who don’t need lots of frills for their scanners.

Although it’s just a basic scanner, it comes equipped with OCR software, which converts a document into a searchable PDF file. The only downside is that it won’t allow you to upload scanned images directly to the cloud.


Basic model, ideal for non-tech savvy and small companies
Comes with built-in OCR software
Very user-friendly


Cannot upload scanned images directly to the cloud


3 – Canon CanoScan LiDE 220

If you don’t appreciate the basic features of the Canon LiDE120, you can opt for the CanoScan LiDE 220, which is like the upgraded version of the CanoScan LiDE 120.

This might be on par with some of the best models in the market, yet it doesn’t cost a lot. It has all the high-tech features except for the ability to scan film. Nevertheless, it’s a great choice for professionals who don’t want to spend a lot of money for a commercial grade scanner.

It has a resolution of 4,800 PPI and comes with extra features like automatic color restoration, which is very useful for those who need to scan faded photos. The only downside is that it doesn’t have an auto-document feed feature, which may not be efficient for major scanning jobs.


Comes with auto color restoration, which enhances faded photos
Equipped with an auto-scan feature
Offers high-resolution scanning


Not ideal for major scanning jobs since it doesn’t have an auto-feed feature


4 – Epson Expression 12000XL-PH Flatbed Scanner – (Pricey, but Allows for One-touch Color Restoration)

This is another great photo scanner made by Epson, which is capable of providing high-resolution slide scanning results and can scan negatives, reflective photos, slides, artwork etc.

If you’re a professional photographer who needs a scanner that can handle tabloid-size photos, then this may be the ideal choice for you. However, the Epson Expression 12000XL-PH is on the heavy side, weighing more than 30 pounds! As for the resolution, it boasts a DPI of 4,800.

Non-tech savvy users will love this scanner since it’s very easy to set up. Furthermore, it can handle scanning multiple photos at the same time, which is great for small companies who need to scan several photos at once!

In fact, it can scan up to 30 slides all at once! It’s also equipped with OCR technology that can be used for digitizing important business documents.


Integrated OCR
Can scan up to 30 slides at a time
Easy to set up and operate
High-resolution scanning


Bulky and heavy
A bit expensive


5 – Epson Perfection V800 Photo scanner

This scanner is basically an upgraded version of the Epson V700 photo scanner. It has all the features of the V700 but does a much better job. If you’re looking for the best flatbed scanner for photos, this should be on top of your list. It can handle both photo prints and films.

With a resolution of 6,400 PPI and easy setup, it’s not hard to see why this scanner is considered the best photo scanner for 2019. Furthermore, this device comes with an LED light, which eliminates the need to warm up before a scan.

This Epson scanner offers a professional mode and automatic color restoration feature that helps to enhance faded photos while eliminating dust and scratches. Given its great features, it’s pretty understandable why this product comes with a hefty price tag. Thus, it may not be a good choice for budget customers.


Automatic color restoration feature
Capable of scanning both photographic prints and film
Can eliminate scratches and dust from scanned photos
Ideal for high-resolution scanning
Quick warm-up and setup


Expensive price


6 – OpticFilm 8200i Ai Scanner

The Plustek OpticFilm 8200 has a resolution of 7,200 PPI and is known for its fast software and scratch removal feature. Perhaps, the best thing about this scanner is that it has a color calibration feature that allows the user to replicate the original photos that are being scanned in identical details.

The Plustek OpticFilm 8200 is a great choice for those who are in need of the best flatbed scanner for photos. What’s more, it can handle up to 12 slides at once and finishes the job very fast!


Color calibration feature
Could scan 12 slides at a time
Fast performance
Flexible and versatile
Suitable for scanning films and business documents


May not be efficient at everything that it does


7 – Canon imageFORMULA DR-G2140 Production Scanner

Another high-performance photo scanner is the Canon imageFORMULA DR-G2140. Just like the other scanners under Canon’s G2000 series, this device performs extremely fast. Furthermore, the device is equipped with a DR processor and a CMOS sensor, which is why the quality of the scanned images is extremely high.

This new model of Canon photo scanner comes with white induction roller, which is perfect for scanning photos with white background. What’s great is that the roller replacement has a lifecycle of up to 600,000 paper feeds, which is why it’s considered the best photo scanner with feeder.


Equipped with DR processor and CMOS sensor
Long service life
Highly accurate details and colors


Expensive price


8 – Doxie Flip – The Best Cordless Flatbed Photo Scanner

When looking for the best portable photo scanner, the Doxie Flip – Cordless Flatbed is a great choice. This scanner is very compact and perfect for users who need a scanner that they can bring from one place to another.

It’s cordless so there’s no need to look for power sources to use the machine. Furthermore, it has a weight of only 1.26 pounds! Indeed, it has everything that a user would want from a portable scanner.

For those who are looking for a budget scanner with impressive image quality and speed, this device would be the ideal choice. It has a resolution of up to 600 DPI, which should be more than enough for online use. The scanner works really fast and can scan a 300 DPI image in only seven seconds!


Capable of scanning almost any kind of surface
Comes with a Doxie app that has several useful features for scanning
Completely cordless
Produces brilliant image quality
Very user-friendly and no setup required


Sometimes, the colors of scanned images are not that accurate


9 – Vupoint ST470 Magic Wand Portable Scanner

Offering a resolution of 1050, 600, and 300 DPI, the Vupoint Magic Wand is a flexible photo scanner that operates with the help of a powerful rechargeable battery capable of up to 400 scans! As for the speed, this device can scan documents in a mere 20 seconds!

What’s great about this device is that it has a 1.5-inch colored screen that gives you the option to preview your scans.

The Vupoint Magic Wand also supports the auto foods dock, which means that when this scanner is docked, there’s an integrated sensor that will scan the documents and feed them into the scanner automatically. This way, you will be able to recharge the battery while it scans!


Can save files into a microSD or microSDHC memory card
Equipped with a 1.5-inch color LCD panel
Makes use of a powerful rechargeable battery
Organizes, archives, and scans files easily


Doesn’t come with the required microSD memory card


10 – Doxie Go SE – (The Best Portable Smarter Wi-Fi Scanner)

When it comes to the best photo scanner for everyday use, the Doxie Go SE would be a good choice. It’s very portable, yet it’s extremely powerful and efficient when it comes to scanning photos and documents.

Weighing only 1.98 pounds, the Doxie Go SE is what you need if you want a scanner that you can easily carry from one place to another. What’s more, this scanner is extremely easy to use. In fact, you just have to feed it with paper, and it will immediately perform impressive scans!

Furthermore, the machine can scan up to 400 pages of documents in only one charge and it has enough memory space to allow you to store 4,000 pages of documents before synchronizing them in your computer.

Delivering crisp and clear copies of scanned images in full color, the Doxie Go SE is definitely the photo scanner that everyone needs. Users will also love the fact that they can automatically crop their photos and adjust the contrast to ensure excellent results.

What’s more, this scanner can sync well with Mac devices, which is ideal for customers who are looking for the best photo scanner for Mac.


8-page ADF
Doesn’t require any PC to scan photos and docs
Equipped with the most accurate OCR
Powered with a rechargeable long-life battery


Doesn’t come with an official iOS client although it’s compatible with Mac



All the scanners listed above are truly some of the best in the market. But if you only have to choose one, the Epson Perfection V550 is what you should go for.

As mentioned above, it has everything that one would need for a photo scanner. The machine produces high-quality images from the photos you scan. It’s very versatile since it can scan negatives and films as well.

Plus, the scanner is known for being durable and could last for a very long time. But despite all its great features and attributes, the V550 costs less than $200, which makes it the best photo scanner for budget customers!

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