Scanner Information, Including Types, Makes, Prices and Basic Information

Scanners have been around for several years now, and have many uses. The most common uses are for scanning photographs, documents, papers, books, etc. The most popular type is the flatbed scanner. Like the standard photo copier, lay your image on the bed of the scanner, close the lid, and scan using settings within the scanner program on your computer. You can save the image to your hard drive or other media, as well as print and email the image. This article will give you information on the types of scanners available, well-known makes and models, pricing, and where you can buy one. You can buy a relatively inexpensive scanner these days, with good resolution and good results. While digital cameras have made the necessity of owning a scanner a little less important, most of us will still find many uses for one, including scanning old photographs and other documents which can be saved in many formats or shared through email and importing to web pages. Read on as we give you the basic information on scanners.

Scanner Types

Here are the most common types of scanner on the market today:

  • Flatbed Scanners
    Sometimes called desktop scanners, these are fairly compact and reside on your desk. These are the most common, versatile and popular scanner. Lay your object to be scanned on the glass, close the lid and scan. You'll find more models to choose from, and lower prices too. Types of flatbed scanners include photo scanners.
  • Sheet-fed or Pass-through Scanners
    Similar to flatbed scanners, but the sheet is fed into the scanner and the scanning apperatus is immobile, which is the opposite of how a flatbed scanner works. These work well for all paper sizes.
  • Hand Held Scanners
    As the name implies, the scanning apparatus is in a small unit which is moved by the user over the object to be scanned. The scan is not as good of quality as the flatbed scanner, but is useful for scanning text quickly.
  • Photo Scanners
    Used primarily for photos, negatives, film and slides. Some models will also scan documents and books.
  • Drum Scanner
    This type of scanner is used primarily in the publishing business. You probably won't be able to find it available to the public.

Makes and Models

There are a miriad of scanner makes and models, it was difficult to select just a few. We recommend that you take a look at our top picks, and if not satisfied, check other makes and models too.

Canon CanoScan CS4400F Flatbed Scanner
Priced at right around $100, this model gets 5 stars from the Consumer Search web site. This model can scan photos, papers and other documents, and with the attached film adaptor unit, will even scan your 35mm negatives and slides.

Hewlett Packard Scanjet 4370 Flatbed Scanner
Scans photos, documents, books, and more. Has a 5-star rating from the Consumer Search web site, and prices range from $100 to $135. Will also convert 35mm negatives and slides into digital files.

Visioneer Strobe XP-100 Pass-Through Scanner
If you need a more portable scanner, this pass-through model fits the bill nicely. Easily transported, this is a USB scanner and will make quick work of your scanning needs, be it photos or documents. You can find this scanner for $172-$200, and it gets a 4-star rating from Consumer Search.

Epson Perfection V200 Photo Scanner
Costing around $100, this model will quickly copy your photos, documents, negatives, film, and slides for archival purposes, to email, and for photo restoration.

IRISPen II Executive Handheld Scanner
Looking for a handheld scanner for small scanning jobs? This one is priced around $180 and is compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems. It's pen-sized, and allows you to enter text, numbers, barcodes and handwritten data directly into your applications. No need to copy and paste, as the scanned text is entered right where the cursor is in your application. Also gets a 5-star rating.

Shopping and Other Notes

While many people are turning to the multifunction printers which include scanning capabilities, you'll find that a dedicated scanner will still be a functional tool in your collection. Great for scanning photos and other documents, most now come with added capabilities to scan negatives and slides, too.

Scanners can be purchased online or at retail sources. Some online sources include Office Shop Direct,, or any of the we b pages for the scanner you are interested in buying. Additionally, such sources as Office Max, Office Depot, Circuit City or Staples should have a good assortment of scanners to choose from. These last retailers will also have an online buying site.

If your interest is in a multifunction printer/scanner, see our article on this subject.

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