Even in 2012, people still insist on giving us paper: bills, receipts, even business cards (!) all come printed on dead treeware, and all remain completely useless, unsearchable and easy to lose. What you need, until these people wake up and just e-mail you the relevant info — is a document scanner. Smaller and faster than all-in-one or flatbed models, these scanners can take a stack of paper and turn it into searchable PDFs faster than you can shred the source material.
Read on for our list of the best document scanners to use with your Mac, iPad or iPhone.
Best iOS Scanner
The Doxie go is probably the cutest scanner in this lineup — it is also the perfect scanner if you don;t want to use a computer. The Go will scan to PDF (and OCR those files when you don get back to your computer), send files to Dropbox and Evernote, suck in a page in just eight seconds and store up to 600 images before you need to offload it to bigger storage.
It even runs off a built-in li-ion battery and syncs to your iPhone or iPad. What’s not to like?
Best All-Round Scanner
Canon P-150 — $300
$300 isn’t exactly cheap, but the sheet-feeding P150 offers a lot of features usually only found in higher-end machines. It’ll handle up to 20 sheets at a time in its hopper, and scans both sides in a single pass (“duplex”) at up to 15 pages per minute. It runs off a single USB port and can even scan color pictures up to 600dpi.
Best Home And Office Scanner
Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i — $295
The Scansnaps are the Big Daddies of the paperless office, and if your daily document throughput is measured more in trees than in sheets, then this is the one you want. Duplex scanning at up to 12 pages per minute (with the AC adapter), a ten-page hopper and Mac software which will send the results to pretty much any place or cloud service you like mean that you can keep your home or office paper-free.
Best Mobile Scanner
The ScanSnap 1100 folds up into a briefcase-friendly box and yet still manages to scan a sheet of paper in just 7.5 seconds. It runs off a single USB port, can scan your credit cards for backup purposes and — like all the ScanSnaps — works with a huge range of apps from the ScanSnap Marketplace.
iPad 3 — From $500
This might sound like a bit of a cheat, but if you don’t regularly dump stacks of paper into a sheet feeder then you might not even need a scanner at all. The new iPad, with its 5MP camera and retina screen, can work as a great scanner when paired with the right app — we recommend the excellent Scanner Pro from Readdle. Scanner Pro can sync new scans automatically with Evernote and DropBox, so you don’t even have to worry about OCR or filing — its all done for you.
Best Scanner Adapter
Scanbox is a successful Kickstarter project (funded in June) which will sell you a folding iPhone support designed for scanning paper, photos and books. It is as simple as it is cheap, consisting of an open-sided support which will hold down paper sheets and hold the iPhone to correct distance away. Could you make your own from cardboard? Sure, but then again, this thing only cost $15.
Best Scanner For People Who Hate Themselves
The IRIScan Book 2 could be useful to some. It’s a stick which you pass over any printed matter and it will scan the sheet onto an SD card. Think of it as a flatbed scanner, only with you doing all the work.
It’s probably not worth bothering with this over the camera already in your iDevice, but it’s worth a mention as a cheap and very portable option. And if you want a Bluetooth version, there’s an Executive model available too.