When you need to restore or even preserve those precious memories, you’ll look towards a photo scanner. It’s the fastest way to ‘digitize’ your collection of prints, so you can have a stash of your precious moments captured on a storage device or in the cloud.
Choosing the best photo scanner is pretty easy. But of course, you need to consider the features or qualities you’re looking out for, to make your choice easy.
For instance, if you have a large collection of photos you would like to scan, opting for a scanner with auto-feed will be best for you. Or if you’re looking to get the most quality out of film and prints, then flatbed scanners will be just right for you.
There are numerous photo scanners with distinct characteristics, so knowing what you’re looking to achieve will help you pick out a good choice.
To make the task easier for you, I've sifted through tons of products, following extensive research lasting 10s of working hours. The result is a list of 11 of the best photo scanners you can purchase this year.
This list of the best photo scanners includes everything for professionals and newbie alike from portable photo scanners to budget photo scanners and photo scanners which are specifically designed to help you scan negatives and even from prints.
Which Is the Best Photo Scanner?
Here, I’ll quickly go through a ‘quick’ preview of the best photo scanners you can purchase on the market. If you are not willing to read each individual review in the review section down the post, you’ll appreciate this segment.
In this segment, I’ll detail key features of the best photo scanners available for purchase, so you can still make a proper decision without reading the review section if you’re in haste. Don’t forget to go through the comparison table down below too to compare features.
Best Photo Scanners Comparison Chart
I've put together this comparison chart to assist you in making the right call between various photo scanners. Here you can check out their feed type, manual/flatbed or auto-feed, their resolution, and scan size.
If you’d like to read more in-depth features and capabilities of each photo scanner, please proceed to the review section just below.
|Product||Type of feed||Resolution||Scan Size|
|Epson V600 Perfection Photo Scanner - Best for Old Photos||Flatbed||6400 x 9600 DPI||Up to 17” x 22”|
|Kodak SCANZA Mini Scanner for Negatives and Slides - Best Portable Photo Scanner for Negatives||Mini Auto-feed||Up to 22MP||35mm, 110, 126, 8mm and Super 8 negatives|
|Epson FF-680W FastFoto High-Speed Wireless Photo Scanner - Best Photo Scanner for Fast Scanning||Flatbed||Up to 1200 DPI||Up to 8.5”|
|Epson V800 Perfection Photo Scanner - Best Overall||Flatbed||Dual lens 4800 x 9600 DPI and 6400 x 9600 DPI||Up to 8.5”|
|Canon Slim CanoScan Lide Photo Scanner - Best Value||Flatbed||4800 x 4800 DPI||Up to 8.5”|
|Flip-Pal Mobile Photo Scanner With USB Adapter and 4GB Memory Card - Best On-The-Go Photo Scanner||Mini flatbed||Up to 600 DPI||N/A|
|Doxie Go SE Wi-Fi Scanner - Best Photo Scanner With Wi-Fi||Auto-feed||Up to 600 DPI||Up to 8.5”|
|Plustek EPhoto Z300 Scanner||Sheet-feed||300 & 600 DPI||Up to 8 x10”|
|Epson V19 Perfection Document & Photo Scanner||Flatbed||Up to 600 DPI||8.5 X11”|
|Epson V39 Perfection||Flatbed||Up to 4800 DPI||4 x 6”|
|Doxie Flip Photo Cordless Scanner - Best Cordless Flatbed Photo Scanner||Flatbed||Up to 600 DPI||4 x 6”|
11 Best Photo Scanner in 2020:
- Best for Old Photos: Epson V600 Perfection Photo Scanner
“Scans up to 17” x 22”, has digital ICE, Easy Photo Fix, high resolution of up to 6400 x9600 DPI, flatbed scanner.”
- Best Portable: Kodak SCANZA Mini Photo Scanner
“3.5” LCD screen, 22MP resolution, varying scan sizes (35mm, 110, 126, 8mm and Super 8 negatives), one-step scan & save.”
- Best for Fast Scanning: Epson FF-680W Wireless Photo Scanner
“World's fastest personal photo scanner, Epson ScanSmart with OCR, 1200 DPI, 8.5" scan size, saves to the cloud."
- Best Overall: Epson V800 Perfection Photo Scanner
“Dual lens – 4800 x 9600 and 6400 x 9600, scan size of 8.5”, Fast scanning with ReadyScan LED light, Digital ICE, works with MAC & PC.”
- Best Value: Canon Slim CanoScan Lide Photo Scanner
“Fast scanning (up to 8 seconds per scan), up to 4800 DPI, EZ buttons for easy usage, up to 8.5” scan size.”
- Best On-The-Go: Flip-Pal Mobile Photo Scanner
“Scans fragile documents, stores to SD card, operates with a battery, scan size of 4x6”, resolution of 300 DPI, EasyStitch software for auto reassembling of large scans.”
- Best with Wi-Fi: Doxie Go SE Wi-Fi Photo Scanner
“No need for a computer, rechargeable battery, Wi-Fi, includes apps for PC and MAC for easy syncing, scans about 400 pages per charge, OCR support, up to 600 DPI, 8.5 x 15” scan size.”
- Best Cordless Flatbed: Doxie Flip Photo Cordless Photo Scanner
"Standalone flatbed scanner scans direct to SD card, A6 (4 X6") scan size, imports easily to Mac or PC, resolution of up to 600 DPI."
Top 11 Best Photo Scanner Reviews 2020
Let’s quickly go over reviews of the best photo scanners on the market.
1. Epson V600 Perfection Photo Scanner
(Best for Old Photos)
The Epson V600 perfection is unarguably one of the finest photo scanners on the market. It's a flatbed photo scanner that delivers top-notch quality scans from documents, photos, negatives, and even slides. Capable of delivering scans of up to 6400 x 9600 dpi, it's a high-performance photo scanner that can produce precision scans of up to 17" x 22".
Combining the power of technology like Digital ICE (image correction and enhancement), and Easy Photo Fix, the V600 can completely restore old photos.
- OCR Scanner
- Digital ICE tech
- 6400 x 9600 DPI (resolution)
- 17” X 22” scan size
- It’s budget-friendly considering its power-packed features
- Has an OCR scanner to convert documents into editable texts.
- Easy Photo Fix helps restore those faded color in photos with just one touch
- Digital ICE to remove specks of dust, tears, scratches, and creases in films and photos
- Arc Soft Photo Studio also present to give you the ability to further improve and enhance your images
- It can scan slides, panoramic film (in medium format), and negatives with the built-in transparency unit
- Consumes less power and scans faster with energy-efficient LED
- A little on the heavier side
- Not very compatible with Macs
2. Kodak SCANZA Mini Photo Scanner
The Kodak SCANZA mini scanner is ideal for scanning old photos on the go. It's an all-in-one film and slide scanner with a 3.5" LCD screen that tilts up. The 14/22MP film scanner can convert different scan sizes of negatives including 35mm, 110, 126, 8mm and Super 8 negatives.
It offers hassle-free scanning of negatives with an intuitive user interface so you can easily place the negatives, edit image and save in the gallery.
One-touch buttons available for one-step scan and save. It's compatible with Mac and PC and has cables and other extras you'll need. It accepts a memory card of up to 128GB.
- Has a scan resolution of up to 22MP
- Scan sizes include 35mm, 110, 126, 8mm and Super 8 negatives
- Supports PC and Mac
- A 3.5” LCD screen for image viewing and easy operation
- Portable negative and slides photo scanner for scanning on the go
- Has one-touch buttons for ease of scanning and saving
- Speed load adapters to easily convert negatives and slides to digital files
- Decently priced
- The body is made of plastic
- Not measured in DPI so it’s difficult to calculate but 14mp/22mp gives about 3,000+ DPI
- It’s made by Kodak (just branded), which means no support or warranty is offered by Kodak
3. Epson FF-680W Wireless Photo Scanner
(Best for Fast Scanning)
The Epson FF-680W FastFoto holds the record of being the world’s fastest personal photo scanner which is capable of scanning 1 photo per second.
It comes with several scanning aid tech/software including document scanning software, Epson ScanSmart with OCR that aids it scan tax records, receipts, wills, etc at up to 45ppm.
The second generation Fast Foto software included allows for scanning, restoring, organizing and of course sharing those precious moments.
The 680W FastFoto can scan at resolutions of 1200 dpi when enlarging. It's also capable of handling scans of multiple sizes in a single batch of the scan. Easy auto upload and backup send your memories to the cloud (Dropbox or Google Drive) as you scan.
- DPI of up to 1200
- Superfast scanning (fastest photo scanner in the world)
- Up to 8.5” scan size
- It’s compatible with Mac or PC with Epson scan smart software
- Scans photos in minutes
- Can wirelessly scan to cloud
- Good resolution (between 300 dpi to 1200 dpi) for sharing, archiving or enlarging
- Scans photos of up to 8.5” wide easily
- Handles recent (‘70s, ‘80s) prints of 4” x 6” best. Older years will likely result in stretched images
4. Epson V800 Perfection Photo Scanner
The Epson V800 photo scanner is for people looking for premium photo scanning. It's a powerful machine that delivers topnotch scans with a massive 6400 dpi (has a dual-lens of 4800 x 9600 and 6400 x 9600).
It comes with Digital ICE for removing scratches and specks of dust and is always ready to scan fast with the ReadyScan LED. Epson V800 works well with Pc and Mac OS too.
- Dual lens 4800 x 9600 and 6400 x 9600
- ReadyScan LED light for fast scanning
- Scan size of up to 8.5”
- Scans varying sizes of films and photos, including negatives
- Has Digital ICE to remove scratches and specks of dust
- It starts up pretty quickly to begin scanning thanks to the ReadyScan tech
- Can scan a lot of photos (of different sizes) really fast
- A bit pricey
Watch this video talking about the Epson V800 in comparison with V850:
5. Canon Slim CanoScan Lide Photo Scanner
This sheet-fed photo scanner from Canon promises high-speed scanning (about 8 seconds per photo).
The CanoScan Lide offers great value for its budget price as it packs several impressive features including auto scan mode, color restoration and dust removal enhancements to make your image come out great.
It also has a decent 4800 x 4800 dpi that delivers detailed photos, and built-in PDF buttons which lets you scan and save editable PDFs easily.
- Five (5) EZ buttons for easy scanning
- 4800 x 4800 dpi
- 8-second scans that you can send to any cloud storage
- 5” scan size
- Lightweight scanning machine
- Easy to download and use software
- Scans very fast and easily
- Compatible with Mac and PC, and scans can also be sent to cloud storage
- When scanning documents, you can keep adding more documents to the scanner and it will save all as a multiple PDF that’s fully editable
- Scan resolution may not be up to the advertised 4800 dpi
Feel free to watch this video review of the Canon Lide:
6. Flip-Pal Mobile Photo Scanner
(Best On-The-Go Photo Scanner)
If you're looking for a way to scan old, scattered family photos, you'll appreciate the Flip-Pal mobile photo scanner. It's an easy way to document precious family moments.
The Story Scans software on it can even help you transform regular images into beautiful, endearing stories by combining the voice of a storyteller with picture scans into a high definition file.
Flip-Pal gets scanning in no time and can hastily scan 4”x6” pictures at resolutions of 300 dpi in only 7 seconds. It also uses a battery as well as an SD card for file storage.
- EasyStitch software to combine several smaller bits of a larger scan
- Up to 600 dpi
- 7” LCD that displays scans
- Quick scanning. It can scan in about 7 seconds.
- Uses a battery so you don’t have to worry about electricity
- A 1.7” LCD which shows scans
- Can work with mobile devices like tablets and Smartphones
- It’s cordless and very portable (fits in a handbag)
- Can scan directly to an SD card
- Doesn’t work with negatives
- There’s a slight loss of detail in the scans
7. Doxie Go SE Wi-Fi Scanner
(Best With Wi-Fi)
This is a smart scanner from Doxie that does not require a computer! All you need to do is insert the document into the scanner and it automatically scans it up, saves it and archives it for you.
This Doxie scanner is very portable and scans virtually everything from photos to receipts to paper documents etc. All you need to do is charge it and turn it on. To top it up, this scanner is very tiny and is about the size of a magazine that is rolled up, yup!
You can tuck it into a bag or in your drawer. The scan copies it makes are also very crisp and clean.
- 400 pages per charge
- OCR support
- Up to 600 DPI
- 5 x 15” scan size
- It has a resolution of up to 600dpi and scans pages in full color in just 8 seconds!
- This Doxie scanner has both Wi-Fi network and rechargeable battery but retains its compact build
- It’s able to scan about 400 pages per charge and stores up thousands of pages before it needs to sync with either PC or Apple devices
- You can sync your scans with your desktop over Wi-Fi too!
- It’s very well built, sturdy and high-quality
- Wi-Fi setup is a bit complex
8. Plustek EPhoto Z300 Photo Scanner
Say "Bye" to the days of slow photo scanning! Plustek EPhoto 2300 scans all your memories in about 2 seconds. It might not be the fastest in the world, but it does wonders for both documents and photos.
You can scan up to 3,000 photos in one afternoon and this would ordinarily not be achievable with a normal scanner which takes up to 2 minutes to scan one photo. It also has a top-quality CCD sensor which does the work of producing very colorful images.
- 8 x 10” max scan size
- 300 & 600 DPI resolution
- Supports Mac & PC
- It supports many photo sizes including 3×5″, 4×6″, 5×7″ and 8×10″ photo sizes
- Has a scan resolution of 300 to 600 dpi per photo
- Lightning-fast and easy, taking about 2 seconds to scan!
- You can digitize all your family photos up to thousands in one afternoon
- Plustek EPhoto 2300 works with Mac and PC and supports Windows 7/8/10. It’s simply one of the best photo scanners to put simply
- You must use the software to save photos you scan
- A scan may tilt to an angle
9. Epson V19 Perfection Document & Photo Scanner
This is no doubt one of the top choices of flatbed photo scanners out there. It has a high optical resolution and is affordable. It helps you to scan letter-sized documents in a matter of seconds.
You can scan and share with your computer on cloud services like Ever note, via PDF, via email with very simple buttons. This flatbed scanner from Epson does not require a warm-up time as it starts up immediately.
It comes with software for restoring color to photos whose colors have faded and can connect to power and computer using one USB connection. Let’s not forget that it’s a compact device.
- Up to 4800 DPI
- 5 x 11”
- Easy to use buttons
- High resolution of up to 4800dpi
- You can share on cloud services like Ever note and more!
- Fast scans documents and photos in just 10 seconds
- It also has buttons by the side of the device that is easy to use and which allow you to scan to email and for PDF creation
- Powering off can be difficult, you most likely will need to disconnect it
- There are reports of contrast and color losses in images
10. Epson V39 Perfection Photo Scanner
This is another Epson photo scanner that’s a top choice among scanners. The Epson V39 is a sleek scanning device that makes photo scanning, restoring and sharing easy to do!
You can share to email or make the photo into PDF with easy to use buttons by the device's side. You can also send scans to Ever note, Google drive, and other cloud services.
Image restoration is easy as it has Easy Photo Fix tech that lets it fix fades and colors in images. The Epson V39 Perfection photo scanner is very convenient to use and is one of the three series of Epson Perfection photo scanners.
- Up to 4800 DPI
- 4 x 6” scan size
- Easy Photo Fix Technology
- Scans to cloud
- It has a 4800dpi high-quality scanning resolution
- There’s an improved dust correction tech that works digitally which automatically corrects and removes dust from photos that are being scanned
- USB ports are available
- Can convert scanned documents into editable texts
- High-rise lid which is removable can allow you to scan books and lots of photo albums
- It’s lightweight and portable
- Very budget-friendly
- Slow scanner
- Makes quite a lot of noise
11. Doxie Flip Photo Cordless Photo Scanner
(Best Cordless Flatbed)
This cordless Flatbed Photo Scanner has a removable lid that lets you pile all your ‘scan-ables’ on it.
This Doxie Flip Scanner is a reinvented flatbed scanner that is specially designed to scan all your memorable photo albums from time immemorial, fabrics and even, notebooks!
It’s also very portable and has a high scanning resolution. Works effortlessly with large prints, can scan sketches in notebooks too!
Doxie Flip has the AutoStitch feature which takes multiple scans and merges them into one. There’s also the Intelligent Auto Adjust feature which does smart cropping of scans.
- Scan size of 4 x 6”
- Scan resolution of 600 DPI
- AutoStitch and Auto Adjust features
- Scans directly to SD
- Rechargeable portable scanner
- This Doxie Flip Scanner is designed to scan your photos, sketches, notebooks, and all your memories and ideas… So, just keep scanning!
- It is also very lightweight and portable and does not require a computer to operate
- You can save the digital copies of your scans to your desktop, to the cloud, Dropbox, Facebook, etc.
- It has a scan resolution of 600dpi
- It can scan documents and pictures of up to size 4×6″
- Scans deplete battery fast, so consider rechargeable ones
If you are considering investing in a photo scanner, but need a nudge in the right direction, this buying guide is for you. I’ll work you through some crucial factors you should keep in mind before you invest in a photo scanner.
There are two important variables you should zero in on to determine if that photo scanner is what you need.
- Resolution of Scan you need.
- Automatic feeder or Manual feeder?
You would have to make a decision on the type of photo scanner you need based on what type of scanning you’re planning to undertake.
Let’s discuss these important variables in detail:
1. Resolution of Scan You Need
You’ve probably heard of DPI when discussing a mobile phone’s screen resolution, it’s also an important feature to consider when selecting a photo scanner.
DPI (dots per inch) means the number of dots (pixels) which would fit an inch of an image file or document. DPI is most commonly referred to as resolution.
This is why new models mobile phones have higher DPI, as higher dots per inch (DPI) will mean you're getting higher quality, more detailed image. The same is applicable to photo scanners.
As you would expect, a scanner with the ability to scan at 4800 DPI will produce images with considerably higher resolution than those scanners that can scan at 400 DPI.
But then again, what you're using the scans to do is an important consideration too. For instance, a 400 DPI scan will suffice if you're trying to scan a picture for use on social media or you're trying to share the same with friends and family.
On the other hand, if what you need is more delicate and high-detailed sources like scanning small photos for enlargements, film negatives or even slides, you should definitely look towards scanners with DPI of between 4800 to 6500.
2. Should You Go for Automatic Feeder or a Manual Feeder?
Earlier in the post, I talked about choosing either a flatbed (manual feeder) or an automatic feeder. There I said flatbeds are great for getting the most quality while automatic feeders are ideal when you want to scan lots of photos at a time.
To further explain, flatbed scanners are usually flat with a glass surface which is where you put down documents you want to scan. With a flatbed scanner, you individually place every photograph to be scanned in the glass surface.
It's a long and manual process, but the resultant effect is a higher quality scan. This is why flatbed scanners are best for scanning fragile or old photos.
The automatic feeders (auto-feed) scanners, on the other hand, is like a printer's paper feed with documents placed in bulk ready to scan. The automatic scanner will then sort them and scan them automatically without manual assistance.
This style of photo scanning is not recommended for fragile photos as it's usually prone to paper jams that may result in photos damaging, especially those old photos.
A Little Software to Help to Digitize Memories
Some photo scanners asides coming with photo-friendly features like scanning slides, negatives, having high resolution and more, come with software for a little more help.
A few of these software allows you to remove scratches and even retouch scans on your old pictures.
General Purpose Scanning
Most of the photo scanners today offer general-purpose scanning, even though they are originally built for photo scanning.
Some of these scanners even have OCR (optical character recognition) software which can be used to scan and convert any type of text inside images into machine-readable letters.
As with most items, the cost of a photo scanner will likely influence its features. Some scanners will typically have scratch and dust removal functionalities.
The scratch removal function will be exclusive to high-end photo scanner drivers; these scanners will feature the Digital ICE technology.
Don’t forget that most of the complex duties a photo scanner will be performing like scratch removal and photo reconstruction will be handled by the advanced modes of the driver/scan utility. The basic mode will handle basic scan options.
A photo scanner requires some deep understanding. Hence people ask many questions on the same. Please check some of the frequent questions asked.
My Top Pick
My top pick is the Epson V800 Perfection scanner. It offers precise details and colors with its incredible 6400 DPI resolution. There's a 4.0 Dmax tonal range that gets the finest shadow detail and smooth gradations.
V800 offers premium photo scanning and works well with both MAC and PC computers. The ReadyScan feature sees you get faster scans without waiting for the scanner to warm up. There are film holders available including 35mm, 4x6”, 8.5” x11.7”.
It’s a premium photo scanner that’s worth checking out. If you’d like my guide, please share it with your friends.