This is the digital era where practically everything is done digitally like shopping, bank transactions and even verification of important documents. It’s thus better to have most of your documents on your computers and phones all the time. And this is where the best portable scanner proves most useful.

Business people need one because they no longer just work from their desks. They constantly travel and need office equipment like an image scanner handy to record transactions and images for improved work efficiency. Office users find them useful for de-cluttering their desks. It’s used to scan all documents in PDF or JPG format, and then organized and permanently store in separate digital folders.

Portable Scanner in 2020 – Comparison Table

IMAGEPORTABLE SCANNERFEATURES
  • Scan Speed: Up to 8PPM
  • Paper Size: 8.5 x 32 inches
  • Price: $$$
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  • Scan Speed: 600-dpi
  • Stores: Up to 4000 pages
  • Price: $$$
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  • Page Size: 8.5 inch x up to 125 inch
  • Price: $$$
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  • Scan Speed: 12 Double-sided pages per minute
  • Page Size: A4 Size
  • Price: $$$
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  • Scan Speed: 1 page in 5.5 seconds
  • Page Size: 8.5 x 72 inches
  • Price: $$
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  • Scan Speed: Up to 600 dpi
  • Page Size: Legal Size Scanning
  • Price: $$$
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  • Scan Speed: 300 dpi
  • Page Size: 4 x 6 inches
  • Price: $$$
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  • Scan Speed: 25PPM
  • Page Size: Legal Size Scanning
  • Price: $$$
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    • Scan Speed: A3 Size
  • Price: $$$
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Even homeowners find portable scanners useful for digitally storing both important documents and old photos. Professional photographers use them to save perfect digital copies of their pictures. Designers, tailors, architects and other similar professionals welcome the convenience document scanners offer for scanning and storing all their images and work.

 With so many portable document scanners uses and applications, it is the amazing option that gives the remarkable results. However there are so many types, and features to take into consideration to make a choice. This is where this buying guide and a portable scanner review or two can help you out.

Portable Scanner Reviews

1. Best Value: Brother Mobile Color Page Scanner

The Brother DS-620 is a lightweight mobile scanner weighing less than 1 pound and less than 12 inches long. But don’t get deceived by its size.  It quickly digitizes a lot of 8 color or black and white documents in a minute. It can also merge multiple pages into a single PDF.

 It captures documents, photos, business cards, receipts, and laminated IDs measuring up to 32” in Linux, Windows, and Mac systems. Documents are then stored in local files, folders, printers or email.

The device is USB powered, which means you just need your laptop and no power outlet. The carrier sheet simplifies scanning of small, delicate and oddly shaped items.

 It’s industry-standard TWAIN and SANE drivers provide for easy integration with Mac, Linux, and Windows Operating systems. It’s digitalizing software bundle helps manage and distribute information to minimize the need for hard copy documents.

Pros

Conveniently carried in a briefcase or business bag

Fast at digitizing documents

Compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems

Easy to use

Has a one-year limited warranty

Cons

Complaints of it not scanning more than one page

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 2. Best Overall: Doxie Go SE Wi-Fi

 The Doxie Go Se offers maximum scanning convenience by scanning photos, receipts, drawings, business cards and papers without a computer. This is because it’s powered by a rechargeable battery, and produces as many as 400 images on a single charge.

 It’s so easy to use, without the need for any special drivers. Just switch it on, insert the document and you get digital copies fast, in seconds. Doxie’s about as big as a rolled magazine, and is easily tucked or stored in your bag or drawer.

Doxie delivers clean and crisp colored copiess at up to 600 dpi resolution. It’s Auto Adjust feature provides for smart cropping while the automatic contrast gives amazing images .

Doxie lets you organize, create, share and save multi-page PDFs as JPEG/PDF/PNG in apps like Photoshop. Scanned documents are then stored in your favorite email or cloud apps like Dropbox and iCloud Drive.

It is Wi-Fi enabled so there’s no need for any tethering. This, with the recharging battery, adds to its portability. The device stores as many as 4,000 scans in its included SD card before the need for any syncing.

Pros

Powered by a rechargeable battery

SD card included

Wi-Fi enabled

Produces up to 600 dpi full-color images in less than 8 seconds

Compatible with all devices

Cons

No duplex scanning feature

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 3. Best two-in-one/Value: Vupoint Solutions Magic Wand Portable Scanner

 VuPoint Solutions Magic Wand gives you more value for your money by letting you digitize documents in two ways. The first is by dragging its magic wand across flat pages or photos or scanning photos or documents on a desk or any flat surface.

The second option is attaching the wand to the doc and feeding images and documents through the unit. Either way, images are imported fastm in just six seconds, and saved on 32 GB micro SD/micro SDHC memory cards.

The docking station is also the battery’s charging port. With this being a high-resolution model, scanned images are at an admirable 1,200 dpi. Its 1.5” color LCD preview screen lets you check the scanned images to ensure you’ve captured everything necessary before winding up.

It saves power by automatically powering off after 3 minutes of standby. It’s auto color/white balance feature ensures you don’t have to bother with laborious calibration procedures.

Pros

Has a power-saving feature

Two scanning methods

The docking station is charging point

Scan preview available on an LCD screen

Cons

No built-in Wi-Fi or duplex scanning

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 4. Best PDF: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i

 The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i stands apart from other products. It not only digitizes a maximum of 12 black and white or color pages a minute on both sides, but its ScanSnap feature scans everything in PDF format. This saves time as documents are scanned and stored in PDF format in a single step and button.

 The Fujitsu device is powered by a USB or AC adapter and works with most popular cloud services. Its auto feeder feature senses each document’s size and color including business cards, receipts, and extra-long pages.

The device’s intelligent scan correction feature performs quick quality checks on scans. Its automated image processing functions include automatic detection of colors, removal of blank pages and automatic rotation of documents.

 The ScanSnap receipt software scans, saves and extracts important receipt payment information. It categorizes and even tallies totals to export relevant information to excel.

The Fujitsu can digitize documents directly to the cloud for easy access from anywhere. It is fast, automatically digitizes 10 documents at a time and provides color images with an optical resolution of up to 600 dpi.

Pros

Compact design provides for easy storage

Handles different paper sizes

Duplex scanning

Saves documents in PDF format

Automatic document feeder

Cons

Paper tends to jam a bit

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 5. Best Lightweight and fastest Product: Epson Workforce ES-50 Portable Sheet-fed Document Scanner

 The Epson Workforce ES-50 is very fast, and one of the lightest in its class. It digitizes a single page in just 5.5 seconds with its ScanSmart software scanning, reviewing and saving important files.

Though small enough to fit purses, backpacks, and briefcases, the Epson Workforce can scan both extra-large pages and small receipts and ID cards. It’s automatic feeding mode automatically accepts new pages as inserted and combines multi-page scans into a single file.

 Its Nuance OCR lets you create searchable PDFs and editable Word and Excel files. Not only is the scanner Windows and Mac compatible, but it also has a TWAIN driver. It doesn’t need any external power or batteries because it is powered by a computer through a USB port.

Pros

Fastest and lightest mobile scanner

It is so fast, it gives images in just 5.5 seconds

Scans different sized documents directly to the cloud

Windows and Mac compatible

Recyclable and eco-friendly

Cons

The document has to be loaded slowly

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6. Most Compact: Doxie Q -Wireless Rechargeable Document Scanner

It’s hard to believe that a portable scanner weighing less than 2 pounds and less than a foot long can do so much. Doxie Q has everything offered by portable scanners, including a built-in Wi-Fi with an impressive 8GB memory.

It’s so slim and compact you can take it wherever you go in your backpack or briefcase. It can hold as many as 7200 images and is integrated with Mac, PC and iOS apps. With a rechargeable battery powering the scanner, there are no irritating wires to worry about. You don’t even need to carry a computer around to use it.

 It’s so easy to use, without any special drivers. Just flip it open, insert your paper and hit scan. Save all your scanned documents to your desktop, local apps or even your favorite cloud services.

The Doxie Q mobile comes with a USB cable, accessory kit, worldwide power adaptor, memory car, and built-in Wi-Fi. It even has a collapsible automatic paper feeder that digitizes up to 8 full-color pages at once up to 600 dpi. Its direct feed slot is used for scanning fragile items like cards, photos, and receipts.

Pros

Easy to use to go paperless

Includes Mac and PC apps and Wi-Fi

Efficient customer service

Has a 1-year warranty

Cons

Can only scan 2-3 sheets at a time

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 7. Flip-Pal mobile scanner

 The Flip-Pal is a great product powered by four AA batteries with users having no wires to connect or software to install. It doesn’t even need a computer because it digitizes and saves all documents to either a USB key or an SD card. Of course, nothing stops you from using your computer if you want to!

Thanks to its patented flip-and-scan technology you don’t even have to insert delicate photos or important documents through a feeder. Just flip it over to the frame and scan the original through its flatbed screen.

Users don’t even have to spend time removing photos from albums. Just place it on the lot of photos and let it do its work. A little LCD immediately displays the resulting image before storing it.

Its StoryScans software combines the storyteller’s recorded voice and images into a small and high definition single video. Its EasyStitch software automatically reassembles multiple scans.

 It’s usually difficult to get clear images of small objects like jewelry, coins, and other collectibles. However, the Flip-Pal has the technology to give users really clear images to show off, trade or sell collectibles.

Pros

Battery operated and stores files on SD card or USB key

Works on patented flip-and-scan technology

Quickly scans documents of all sizes

Help keep fragile and family originals safe

Cons

Not enough resolution control

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8. Best for mobile businesses: Brother Wireless Portable Compact Desktop Scanner

The Brother Wireless compact document scanner is great for users to use to scan important documents, receipts, and bills. Its auto document feed easily scans 20 pages to a 600 dpi resolution, including up to 34 inches long receipts.

You can start scanning immediately because there is no software to install. The device scans both single and double-sided documents in a single pass and has a dedicated slot for scanning plastic cards.

Its scan-to-USB feature lets you scan, store and retrieve files just by opening the drive on your connected PC. It supports multiple scan destinations like file, OCR, email, mobile devices, and USB flash memory drive for optimal work efficiency.

Its various features like automatic color detection, image rotation, bleed through prevention, text enhancement, and color drop helps optimize images and text.

Pros

Ideal for small office professionals

Compact design and portability

20-page capacity auto document feeder

Dedicated card slot

Cons

Doesn’t scan properly and tends to chew paper

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9. iCODIS Document Camera X3, High Definition Portable Scanner

 The iCODIS OCR is powered by OCR technology and recognizes multiple languages. All it takes is a single click to convert the scanned pages to searchable PDF/JPG/Word files.

The document scanner scans regular documents, in addition to magazines, catalogs, blueprints, and even A3 format exam papers. It takes just 1.5 seconds to scan one page and automatically scans papers at a set frequency for improved efficiency.

 The HD LED light at its top acts as an auxiliary light source for optimal scanning even in dark environments. It’s 8-megapixel cameras, along with its video recording and real-time projecting prove helpful for making eBooks, music scores, teaching and at meetings.

 Its latest technologies perform various functions like automatic corrections, filling the broken edges of scanned pages and automatic image segmentation. It also erases excess parts, automatically merges sides of scanned ID photos and does much more.

Pros

Collapsible and easy-to-carry with a heavy and stable base

Very easy to install and use related software

Includes an 8megapixel camera and LED light

Automatically scans papers at a set frequency

Cons

Only supports windows and isn’t compatible with MAC OS

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 PORTABLE SCANNER BUYING GUIDE

 While a review can help you select the best portable scanner, you also need to know its important features. Here is a buying guide that can help you recognize these important features before buying a portable scanner.

SIZE – How big are your originals?

 Always select scanners based on the documents you will most likely scan because most flatbed scanners have a letter-sized plate. This can be cumbersome for scanning drawings or legal-sized papers.  While most ADF flatbeds do scan legal-sized papers via the ADF, it’s better to confirm because not all do. However, do remember that a large flatbed scanner takes up considerable desk space.

RESOLUTION – What kind of media will you scan?

Another feature to consider is the scanner’s maximum resolution. It should minimally produce images with a 600 dpi resolution to prevent your ending up with messy and unclear scanned images.

It helps if you know the media you plan to scan, and how often you will be using the device. While photos and documents are most popularly scanned, business cards, magazines, film and other easily damaged originals needing higher resolution digitization are also common.

 You will need a higher resolution for scanning a lot of slides or negatives because you will be printing them at a size larger than the original. For example, you will need a resolution of at least 4800 dpi to scan and see a stamp’s fine details.

FEATURES –

TWO-SIDED CAPABILITY?

 Scanning both page sides at once is called two-sided capability or duplex scanning. Battery-powered scanners don’t come with a duplex scanning feature. While USB-powered models may be less portable, most have double-sided scanning capabilities.

A duplexing scanner or a duplexing ADF or a scanner with a manual-duplex feature is great for those regularly scanning documents printed on both sides. These scanners have two scan elements that simultaneously scan both sides. While they are faster than other scanners, they also cost more. Duplexing ADFs only first scans one side, flips the page over and then digitizes the other side.

Scanners supporting manual duplexing let you scan one side of a stack and then prompt to flip and re-feed the stack to scan the other side.  Its driver automatically interfiles pages, and is an economical alternative for those on a budget or who won’t be scanning two-sided documents very often.

SOFTWARE

 Most scanners have an inbuilt scan-related program, so you needn’t pay extra for it. Some software features include photo editing, text indexing, optical character recognition business card management program or an ability to create searchable PDF documents. You have to choose the features you want based on your necessities.

Do you need a flatbed?

 Flatbeds are a large glass plateau for placing documents, books or items. Whether you need it or not depends on what you plan to scan. For example, you need one for scanning photos, bound material like albums, damaged originals like old stamps and 3D objects. You otherwise risk damaging originals like photos and stamps while passing it through a sheet feeder.

TYPE –

AUTO VS MANUAL FEEDERS – HANDHELD SCANNERS

 There are three main types of portable scanners, divided based on the way they process documents. They are:

Automatic document feeders

These scanners let you scan numerous documents. There’s no need to manually place each document into the scanner. Just place the pages into the unit, and they are automatically fed through it. Though these portable scanners are large, the do not take up as much space as flatbed ones.

They may have a tray for holding papers and to easily and automatically feed papers through the scanner. The disadvantage of this scanner is that the paper sheets should be separated, and there may also be periodical paper jams.

Manual-feed portable scanners

Most portable scanners without an automatic document feeder are more compact and lightweight in design, and can scan both documents and images. While its scanning speed depends on how quickly each page is fed into the machine, high-quality models can process about 7 pages per minute in PDF or JPEG format.

These scanners are battery-operated and can work without a computer. They can scan up to 100 A4 sheets on a single charge with a maximum resolution of 1200 dpi.

Handheld scanners

Unlike other scanners, the handheld versions are moved or rolled over the image or document to be scanned. This can at times be disadvantageous because the scan clarity depends on your hand’s steadiness.  You may end up with blurry scans if your hands aren’t steady. Some even have limited resolution and are popularly used only for scanning documents and not photos.

On the contrary, handheld scanners also offer various advantages like and affordability and portability because its battery powered without any USB connection. They are also easy to use. Just place the document on a flat surface and place the scanner on top of it. Now slowly move the unit over it and all scanned documents and images are saved to a memory card.

These scanners are further divided into two subtypes- wand scanners and pocket-sized scanners which differ in size and image quality. The scanners are further divided into single sheet devices that scan only one page at a time, and multiple-page scanners with an Automatic Document Feeder that scans numerous pages on a single run.

Conclusion

You now know quite a bit about portable scanners. However, reading so many review makes you wonder which the best portable scanner to invest in is.  All are great in their own way, with their features and benefits. However, if you ask me, the Doxie Go SE Wi-Fi is the best option. The review mentions it easily fits into a bag or drawer and produces minimal noise while scanning.

It is powered by a rechargeable battery. It may not be have a duplex scanning feature and only low memory cards, but it’s otherwise as capable as full-size scanners. It is sturdy enough to withstand travel and be carried around in a backpack to scan documents on the go for years.