Can scan a color document in less than 6 seconds. Wireless connectivity to all kinds of computing and mobile formats. Quick menu provides easy-to-use options. Lightweight with great battery life.
No memory for offline scanning. Some questions about longevity.
Runs both single- and double-sided pages. Scans to multiple destinations. Can scan each page into its own file or multiple pages into one file. Reasonable scan quality considering the low price.
No battery power, so must be connected to a computer when running.
Scans color documents at up to 600 dpi. Automatic document feeder (ADF) collapses to save space. Simple controls and good battery life. Works with Apple and Windows and various mobile device formats.
Problems with breakdowns. Some problems with using software.
Fast scanner completes up to 12 double-sided pages per min. Scanner determines page size automatically. Includes collapsible ADF for convenience. Scans both sides simultaneously.
Above-average price point. Doesn't seem to work as well with Mac.
Includes 1.5-inch LCD screen for easy scanning and micro SD memory card to save docs. Works with Windows and Mac computers and can share scans via WiFi. Easy-to-use unit requires little setup time.
Limited to scan sizes of 8.5 by 11 inches. Scanning quality is questionable.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
With so much of our lives lived online and on computers, phones, and tablets, it's never been more important to have an easy way to transfer paper documents to digital devices. A portable scanner can help you do this without taking up too much space or being fixed to one location.
If you know you want a portable scanner but are stuck trying to find a quality model, or you’re still unsure if a portable scanner is right for you, the team at BestReviews can help you find the answers you need. Read on for our full guide to portable scanners. If you’re ready to buy, check out our recommendations to see which portable scanners we think stand out from the rest.
What do you use a portable scanner for? And why would you want one instead of a desktop scanner? These are just some of the benefits of owning a portable scanner:
Versatile: Portable scanners are perfect for all kinds of scanning tasks, from documents to photos to receipts.
Bluetooth connectivity: If your portable scanner connects via Bluetooth rather than a USB cable, you can scan documents straight to your tablet or smartphone.
WiFi delivery: Portable scanners with built-in WiFi can deliver photos straight to the cloud service of your choice.
Compact: You can use a portable scanner anywhere, since they're small and light enough to carry around.
Handy: Portable scanners are great for freelancers or those who don't work in an office because you can use one at home, in a coffee shop, in a shared workspace, or anywhere else you might be getting some business done.
For a scanner to be truly portable, it must be compact and light so you can easily carry it around. Some options marketed as “portable” might be more compact than desktop models, but they're still too heavy and bulky to toss in a bag or briefcase and tote around all day. The most compact models weigh less than a pound and measure less than a foot across.
The level of connectivity you require will depend on how you intend to use your portable scanner. If you want to scan documents or photos straight to the cloud, your chosen model must have WiFi capabilities. If you want to scan to your phone or laptop, choose a portable scanner that can connect via Bluetooth.
Battery: Some portable scanners are battery powered, which is useful if you want one you can use absolutely anywhere without worrying if you're near an outlet. If you choose a battery-powered option, check the total battery life.
USB: It's also nice to have an alternative backup power source in case the battery runs out of juice. Other portable scanners are powered by a USB cable plugged into a laptop or desktop computer, which is fine if you only need to scan straight to a computer, but it isn't ideal for those who want more freedom.
Mains: The last of the common power options is standard mains power. Although you'll never need to worry about how long your battery will last, it's no use if you need to scan documents somewhere without access to an outlet.
Some portable scanners save images directly to an SD card or internal storage. You can then later transfer the documents to your computer. This is a great option if you want to be able to scan images anywhere – even when you don’t have your computer with you – but you ultimately want to put the scans on your laptop or PC rather than a smart device or cloud storage. If you choose a model with internal storage, check how much is included and whether it’s sufficient to meet your needs. If you choose a model that takes an SD card, check whether it's included or you need to purchase it separately.
The resolution, measured in dots per inch (dpi) is the quality of the documents scanned by the portable scanner. You don't need to worry too much about resolution if you'll only be scanning text documents, but if you want to scan photos, we'd recommend a minimum resolution of 450 dpi. Ideally, 600 dpi or more is better, particularly if you want to enlarge the scanned image.
Inexpensive: We found some extremely basic portable scanners for as little as $30 to $50. However, these don't tend to be especially reliable and may not give great results. If you can afford it, we'd recommend spending a little more.
Mid-range: You can find some excellent options around the $60 to $100 mark. These might not have all the features of a more expensive model, but they're perfectly functional.
Expensive: Expect to pay between $100 and $300 for a high-end portable scanner. As a rule, the more you pay, the more features you'll receive, such as an automatic feeder and WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.
Q. Can portable scanners scan smaller items, such as business cards and receipts?
A. That depends on the model you choose. Some don't manage smaller items particularly effectively, but others feature special slots or accessories to help scan small documents.
Q. Are portable scanners loud?
A. The vast majority of portable scanners are extremely quiet, much quieter than desktop scanners.
Q. What type of batteries do battery-powered portable scanners use?
A.Most use built-in batteries that require recharging by plugging the included charger into the unit. Others use AA or AAA batteries, either rechargeable or standard.