In printers, soft copies are converted to hard copies. A process where you send a softcopy document to the computer, and print it out on paper as hardcopy using a printing machine. A scanner or scanning machine does the opposite of a printer. It converts hardcopies to softcopies sharable on any computer device. Image scanners are just like scanners, used to convert different types of hardcopies, including in the form of images, to softcopies, An image scanner could be hardware or even software in the form of mobile applications. It scans image files, hardcopy documents, or fit-in objects, and turns them into a computer-acceptable file. Let’s have a look at these devices, and what they do. 

What are Image Scanners?

Image scanners sometimes referred to as just scanners, are gadgets that scan printed text, pictures, or objects and turn them into digital images. Among the many kinds are flatbed scanners for documents, portable scanners, and high-quality drum scanners for images. Also, accurate picture capture is accomplished by these scanners using various image sensors, such as CCD or CIS. Even 3D models of objects can be produced by certain scanners.

Unlike traditional scanners, digital cameras may capture images. While they are fast and portable, they may not deliver as much detail and precision as dedicated scanners. However, they are useful for scanning dense documents without causing harm. 

Scanned images are usually sent to a computer linked to the scanner. Some scanners can also store scans straight to flash media, such as memory cards or USB sticks. 

High-resolution DNA microarray detection is used for scanners in biomedical research. These scanners employ CCD or photomultiplier tubes for detection and function much like microscopes.

Related: 12 Must-have Computer and PC Accessories for Every Home in 2024

How Does an Image Scanner Work?

Scanners work by emitting light onto an image or document and then turning the reflected light into electronic data. This information is processed to generate a digital copy of the original.

Most scanners today use CCD technology, which includes photosites, or light-sensitive diodes. The scanning mechanism begins with these diodes, which convert light into electrons. Scanners commonly use lenses and mirrors to enhance the scanning process.

Users of scanners can save data to their computers by allowing them to analyze and process photos. Text can now be converted to editable digital format using optical character recognition (OCR). Scanners operate on the same basic principles as other technologies.

Though scanning has been around since the 19th century, the first real scanner appeared in the late 1950s. Photomultiplier tubes (PMT) were used in early scanners; but, because CCD is more widely available and less expensive, it is used in most current scanners.

Common Types of Scanners and their Usage 

Scanners come in a variety of varieties and applications.

  1. Flatbed scanner: Most people choose flatbed scanners, often known as desktop scanners, because of their versatility. They include a flat glass surface for scanning documents or objects. Flatbed scanners are ideal for scanning books, photographs, papers, and 3D models.
  2. Sheet-fed Scanner: Flatbed and sheet-fed scanners function similarly, with a minor distinction. Instead of flattening the page, sheet-fed scanners draw it through with the scanning head stationary. Offices use these scanners, which resemble compact printers, to quickly scan several documents.
  3. Handheld Scanner: Handheld scanners are small, portable devices that need manual movement. They are suitable for mobile scanning of documents and receipts. Handheld scanners typically provide lower-quality images than flatbed or sheet-fed scanners.
  4. Drum Scanner: To obtain exact pictures, publishers employ drum scanners. In contrast to flatbed or sheet-fed scanners, drum scanners make use of photomultiplier tubes. 

A drum scanner secures the paper to a glass cylinder with a sensor in the center. This sensor divides document-reflected light into three beams, which pass through a color filter before entering a photomultiplier tube. 

The sensor converts the light into an electrical signal, resulting in high-resolution scans for professional printing.

Why do you Need an Image Scanner?

1. Cost efficiency: While digitization needs an initial investment, scanning documents lowers expenses in a variety of ways. Printing, photocopying, and paper purchases all provide significant cost savings.

Additionally, expenses for physical space and maintenance are removed. Digitization also saves time by simplifying the process of organizing and retrieving files, allowing for greater emphasis on critical business tasks.

2. Faster searchability: Hardcopy documents are difficult to organize and search through. On the other hand, search functions enable quick categorization and searching of digital files, saving time in finding information. 

See Also: How to Make a Smart Home: A Step-by-Step Guide 2024

Properly structured digital files can be accessible in seconds, increasing overall efficiency.

3. Improved accessibility: Digital documents are accessible from a variety of devices on a company’s network, including desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. 

This eliminates the need to carry physical documents and provides access to information from any location in the world, increasing convenience and productivity.

4. Business development and success: Businesses that use document scanning and improve work environments can achieve long-term success. Streamlined processes and enhanced productivity allow staff to focus on key activities, which drives corporate growth. 

Adapting to digital developments helps businesses stay competitive in an ever-changing business market.

Related: Choosing the Right IT Support Plan for Your Business: Step-by-Step Guide

5. Enhanced security: Physical records are susceptible to a variety of hazards, including calamities, human mistakes, and natural aging. Scanning documents enables users to keep numerous backups digitally, ensuring the preservation and security of data.

Backing up documents on PCs, smartphones, or in the cloud protects long-term data integrity.

Best Image Scanners for Computers 

The best 5 image scanners for 2024 include the CanoScan 9000F Mark II, Fujitsu iX1300 ScanSnap, Epson V850 Pro Perfectionist, Brother DSmobile DS-940DW, and Epson FF-680W FastFoto. 

Canon flatbed scanner CanoScan 9000F Mark II

The Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II is a superb flatbed scanner with outstanding features. With an optical scan resolution of up to an amazing 9600 x 9600 dpi, scanned images will have extraordinary clarity and detail. It digitizes documents and images quickly, with up to 8 pages per minute (ppm) of scanning speed. 

Image Scanner - Computer Peripheral Class 

For smooth connectivity, the scanner makes use of a USB interface. Despite its compactness, it is a great option for people looking for excellent scanning results because of its high resolution and versatility in scanning a variety of media. When compared to other solutions, customers might find the bundled software to be a little lacking.

Fujitsu iX1300 ScanSnap

The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1300 is a feature-rich, well-made scanner with sophisticated capabilities. It has the cutting-edge U-Turn Scan and Return Scan paper pathways from Fujitsu, which conserve important desk space. 

Image Scanner - Computer Peripheral Class 

With a 600 by 600 pixel maximum optical resolution, it can produce precise scans quickly and effectively. The scanner ensures flexible communication choices by supporting USB 3.2 and wireless connections.

Its tiny form and strong ScanSnap software bundle make it an excellent choice for a variety of locations, including hotel rooms, remote workplaces, and home offices, even though it does not have an integrated battery for untethered operation.

Epson V850 Pro Perfectionist

For both pros and amateurs, the Epson Perfection V850 Pro is the best photo scanner available. With an optical scan resolution of 6400 dpi, it performs exceptionally well at retaining small details and accurately reproducing colors. 

Image Scanner - Computer Peripheral Class 

With its Digital ICE technology, it can automatically fix old photos, guaranteeing that the quality of the images is perfect. The great dynamic range of the scanner improves tone reproduction, producing scanned photos that are amazingly realistic. 

Its outstanding performance and cutting-edge features make it the preferred option for professionals looking for unmatched scanning capabilities, despite its weight and cost.

Brother DSmobile DS-940DW

Convenient and multipurpose, the Brother DSmobile DS-940DW is a feature-rich, small portable scanner. It is perfect for scanning while on the road because it has built-in battery power and wireless networking, allowing for cable-free operation. 

Its accurate OCR capabilities and quick scanning speed make effective document digitalization possible, even in the absence of an automatic document feeder. The scanner is ideal for low-volume scanning jobs in a variety of settings, such as trade exhibitions, and job fairs. Also remote offices, thanks to its lightweight and thin design and robust software package.

Epson FF-680W FastFoto

The Epson FastFoto FF-680W is praised as the best picture scanner available since it digitizes photos with unmatched speed and ease. It is an excellent batch scanner that saves a significant amount of time and work, holding 36 photographs and 100 sheets of paper in its feeder. 

The scanner’s ability to automatically upload scans to USB or cloud storage further increases workflow efficiency. It may be expensive and feature-light, but for home customers looking for dependable and quick scanning solutions, its outstanding scan quality and emphasis on photo scanning make it the best option.

Best Image Scanner Apps in 2024 

Adobe ScanIdeal for those seeking a free option; Automatically identifies phone numbers and URLsOffers a free plan; Premium features available for $9.99/month or $69.99/year
Apple NotesDesigned for iPhone users; Integrated into your deviceFree
CamScannerKnown for its detailed scansSubscription options: $9.99/month, $69.99/year, $299 for a lifetime
Microsoft LensGeared towards quick mobile scanning and Microsoft usersFree
iScannerOffers additional features like math-solving and countingSubscription: $9.99/month or $19.99/year
Tiny ScannerRecognized for its accuracy, especially in OCR scanningFree plan offered; Premium options at $4.99/month or $49.99/year
Pen to PrintSpecializes in handwriting OCR; Accurately recognizes messy handwritten textOCR features are priced at $2.99/month, $9.99/year, or $29.99 one-time
Google LensOffers Google’s signature features including built-in web search and translationFree


Image scanners convert hard copies into digital images using image sensors like CCD or CIS. They capture images and can create 3D models. It offer cost efficiency, faster searchability, accessibility, and security, and contribute to business success. Top image scanners include Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II, Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1300, Epson Perfection V850 Pro, Brother DSmobile DS-940DW, and Epson FastFoto FF-680W. You can also use mobile apps or OCR software like Adobe Scan, Apple Notes, CamScanner, Microsoft Lens, iScanner, Tiny Scanner, and Google Lens.

Frequently Asked Questions on Image Scanners

What are the best 5 photo scanners to buy?

The top five photo scanners to consider are the Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II, Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1300, Epson Perfection V850 Pro, Brother DSmobile DS-940DW, and Epson FastFoto FF-680W.

What is the best app for image scanning in 2024? 

As for the best image-scanning app in 2024, Adobe Scan stands out with its user-friendly interface and automatic detection of phone numbers and URLs.