Best Photo Scanners To Buy in 2021

In today’s era, it has become a necessity to back everything on your computer or the cloud. With everything becoming digital it only makes sense to preserve old pictures digitally too. The quality of printed pictures starts to degrade with time and thus, a memory is left of what the original picture was. A good photo scanner must be invested in so those old memories can be saved with utmost precision. However, many complex specifications to consider begs the question of how to make the ultimate choice.

We’ve gone ahead and broken down these hard-to-understand points and carefully handpicked the best of the best scanners. Keep digging in and you just might find the perfect fit for you.

1. Epson Perfection V600

With Adobe Photoshop Elements

Pros

  • Comes with Adobe Photoshop Elements
  • Digital ICE effectively removes defects very easily
  • OCR works flawlessly

Cons

  • Slide scanning is very slow
  • External power supply takes up even more space

6,594 Reviews

Scanner Type: Flatbed | Scanning DPI: 6400 x 9600 | Built-in OCR: Yes | Color Depth: 48-bit

Epson dominating the paper market has almost become a routine. The V600 is, as the name suggests, a perfection. It offers an insane amount of features, scanning types and is very versatile in the sense that there are loads of editing options.

The V600 has a rather large footprint, with black plastic as the primary color and silver linings on the edges. On the front, there are 4 buttons which, on factory settings, do things like scan to email, copy, scan, and convert to PDF. On the back panel, there is a power supply socket for the external supply that it uses and a USB 2.0 port for connectivity. Upon lifting the lid, you’ll find that the flatbed paddings, the glass plates on which the document is scanned, and film holders. These film holders come in 35mm slides (4 frames), 35mm film strips (12 frames), and 22cm medium format films (2 frames).

It has a very high resolution of 6400 x 9600 dpi and can enlarge pictures up to 17” x 22” too. Paper scanning can be done at very high speeds however, scanning the slides takes up quite a big amount of time. But, the transparent bed allows for more than one slide to be fitted in at a time so it kind of makes up for that.

Epson V600’s ability to scan vintage photographs is its key selling point. The Digital ICE and Easy Photo Fix do much more than simply satisfying the quota. With the Digital ICE, an insane amount of corrections can be made with pin precision. And with the Easy Photo Fix, color corrections can be made with just a click of the button. However, the result with the right fit turns out marvelous.

This flatbed scanner has limited scanning flexibility since the software doesn’t offer a lot of presets. However, those seeking to restore old photographs with the best qualities may be able to live with them.  The great editing options coupled with direct online saving render it usable for even homeowners. Overall, it is a very remarkable product with extraordinary scanning resolutions albeit, with a slightly expensive tag.

2. Canon CanoScan LiDE220

Single USB Connection

Pros

  • Single USB wire for power and connection
  • Automatically crops out undesired parts
  • Very power-efficient

Cons

  • Needs a lot of tweaking to scan above 600dpi
  • Scanning options in the software are unorganized so cause confusion at times

1,181 Reviews

Scanner Type: Flatbed | Scanning DPI: 4800 x 4800 | Built-in OCR: Yes | Color Depth: 48-bit

Next up in our list we have the CanoScan LiDE220, a scanner with a rather obscure name. It’s a slim, lightweight scanner that comes packed with a ton of features. This one is a flatbed scanner as well, although there is a stand that allows you to set the LiDE220 up vertically. The low weight and ability to be used anywhere by simply plugging in a USB wire make it viable for consumers of all sorts.

The black plastic and white underlinings feel very well built. 5 buttons function right out the bat without needing to install the drivers. Online storage accounts can be connected to save the scans on the cloud directly. This product feels mobile too as a single USB cable delivers power and connection together.

The LiDE220 has a resolution of  4800 x 4800 dpi. The Twain drivers let the users tweak settings before the scan to help conserve time. The scanned pictures are very bright and highlight the light shadow spots very effectively as well. The AutoScan feature selects the best settings and scan type depending on the type of input. Moreover, the software crops out the extra part- say the tiny portion of an unneeded page while scanning a book and saves accordingly.

The CanoScan LiDE220 has been a widely loved product due to the low price, and the features are comparable to some of the higher-end scanners. It offers great picture quality, immediate cloud saving, mobility, and fast output. Several users have reported that the software sometimes glitches out when scanning at more than 600dpi and there hasn’t been an official update to fix that. Whether you’re a designer looking to scan your artwork or a photographer hoping to save the pictures in the highest achievable quality, the LiDE220 is the one for you.

3. Epson Perfection V39

With Removable Lid

Pros

  • Removable lid to easily scan thick books
  • Can scan more than one pictures at once

Cons

  • Gets very loud when scanning at high resolutions
  • Software does not let you name the files before saving
  • OCR does not work for Mac OSX

3,015 Reviews

Scanner Type: Flatbed | Scanning DPI: 4800 x 4800 | Built-in OCR: Yes | Color Depth: 48-bit

If you’re looking to save the old box of picture collection virtually, the Epson Perfection V39 is an inexpensive, easy-to-install scanner ideal for the job. Along with photographic prints, it can scan medium-length documents as well, making it a smart budget pick.

The form factor and size of V39 are very similar to that of CanoScan LiDE220. However, the top lid of the scanner can be detached making scanning of thick books very easy. Artists who have their work in sketchbooks find this extremely useful. The 4 buttons work much like the previous scanners mentioned, allowing your work to be saved in different formats. The V39 has an estimated effective duty cycle of 10,000 scans and the USB cable fulfills the power and connectivity requirements.

The resolution on the V39 is 4800 x 4800 dpi with 48-bit color depth and 16-bit grayscale depth. The driver pack comes with a tonne of utilities that let you combine multiple scans, change the settings before each scan, and much more. The utilities, although many, are quite outdated and old. The possibilities are not even close to what you get with the CanoScan LiDE220.

The scan quality is excellent, with just a tad bit more blue and green shade in the output. But, the shades are not enough to really bat an eye. With the automatic separation, the V39 identifies multiple photos placed in the scanner bed. The scanner saves the files separately on its own using this technology.

The V39 employs Contact Image Sensors (CIS) technology. Only the part directly in contact with the glass bed comes out with the best quality. Scans feel detailed and focused however, due to CIS, getting it right proves to be a tough job at times. The detachable lid slightly makes up for it however, even after removing the lid some portions of a scan are significantly at a lower quality than the rest.

There aren’t many correction options available after scanning so testing must be done before each scan. These hurdles are somewhat tedious but not impossible to find a solution to. And once done, the V39 comes out as an incredibly cost-friendly and budget photo scanner with very fast timings. All of these make it ideal for not only home-based artistry uses but for text scanning in offices as well.

4. Plustek Photo Scanner Z300

Simplistic Design

Pros

  • The automatic roller does not taint the original picture itself
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Only suitable for single paper scans
  • The inside needs frequent cleaning
  • Only two selectable resolution modes

4,633 Reviews

Scanner Type: Roller | Scanning DPI: 600 x 600 | Built-in OCR: No | Color Depth: 24-bit

In the 4th spot of our list, we have the microwave-looking Plustek Z300 photo scanner. Unlike the traditional flatbed scanners, this one has an automatic roller that lets you feed pictures to be scanned for quick results.

The Z300 is made out of blue, lightweight plastic with a white bridge like the cover at the front which is responsible for scanning. Unlike the previous flatbeds mentioned, this one is entirely automatic. All that needs to be done is for the document to be slid under and the scanner automatically does its job.  On the back are two ports- one for USB and the other for power.

Supporting a resolution of 600 x 600 dpi, it comes out quite far behind what most scanners are offering these days. This doesn’t leave much room for optimization of the scans. But, that’s not what the key focus of the Z300 is. The main highlight of this scanner is its automatic feeder. The feeder is delicate and gentle so the picture itself doesn’t suffer from any damages when going through it. Moreover, scanning of 8×16 sized photos completes in only 2 seconds. This is amazing and really useful when a lot of pictures need to be scanned and transformed into their digital copy.

With just two resolution modes and limited editing options, the software feels somewhat restricted. Since the primary focus of this scanner is its ability to quickly scan a bucketload of pictures, there aren’t many things the Z300 offers. The only extra thing offered with the software is the color correction mode.

Since there is no dust protection, the insides have to be regularly cleaned. If the LEDs have dust sitting on them, the scanned picture will have that same effect on it too. Evidently, the only bonus point of Z300 is its remarkable speed as you can scan 1000 album pictures in only a matter of hours. The quality of the scans isn’t special but, given that the primary focus is digitizing old photos, the 600 dpi might prove enough. For folks drowning in paper, the Plustek Photo Scanner Z300 is nothing short of a knight in shining armor.

5. Epson Expression 12000XL

Extreme Performance

Pros

  • The large lid applies pressure for maximum contact with the bed
  • Reflected photos can be scanned as well

Cons

  • OCR is only supported when software is installed
  • Incredibly costly
  • No Ethernet connectivity option

12 Reviews

Scanner Type: Flatbed | Scanning DPI: 2400 x 4800 | Built-in OCR: Yes | Color Depth: 48-bit

The time to address the elephant- or in this case, the monstrously sized scanner- in the room is here. Epson’s 12000XL does not come easy nor does it come cheap. But the question that arises makes us wonder whether this giant really delivers what it promises.

The 12000XL weighs in at about 20.5kg with the transparency unit attached to it. As you’d expect with a price tag like this, the build quality is extraordinary. It comes with a transparency unit that can scan film holders, 35mm mounted slides, and 35mm film strips. Up to 48 frames of negatives and 30 slides and 8 frames of 4” x 5” film holders can be fitted inside the transparency unit. Unfortunately, this heftily priced scanner does not come with an automatic scanner.

With an astounding resolution of 2400 x 4800 dpi, the final result is quite amazing. Additionally, you can scan different-sized photos too as the software automatically detects the various sizes and makes separate files for each scan. The scans themselves are vibrant and colorful and can be further tweaked using the Epson Scan 2 and SilverMedia utilities. The speed is still slower than its cheaper counterparts.

The software offers editing options however, nothing too shabby. The V600 and CanoScan LiDE220 both offer almost the same amount of editing features that the 12000XL has with a far friendlier price tag. Moreover, apart from it being able to distinguish and save multiple pictures at once, nothing really stands out that would make us really appreciate the software side of things. The core things that designers would essentially need are there, but without any extra flair that we might have expected.

The 12000XL tries to justify the very hefty price tag with its resolution and size of the scanning bed. However, the 12000XL will prove to be an overkill for almost anyone except the consumers looking solely for what it offers. Only a portion of the consumers makes use of high resolutions such as the 2400 x 4800. The output quality is phenomenal, but all things considered, cheaper options are available which do the job fairly easily.

Bill Wilson
Bill is a certified Microsoft Professional providing assistance to over 500 remotely connected employees and managing Windows 2008 to 2016 servers.