Ask LH: Which Compact Scanner Should I Use?

Ask LH: Which Compact Scanner Should I Use?

Dear Lifehacker, I’d like to get all of my papers, bills and receipts under control, but hate the idea of having a big scanner on my desk. I’ve been looking at duplex document scanners (the bar- shaped sort), but I can’t really find much information, or a scanner within a reasonable price range ($300 is too much in my opinion). Any suggestions? Thanks, Paperless Dream

Dear PD,

Our Hive Five roundup of the best document scanners features several compact options, including the Doxie Go and the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i. The latter is slightly above your preferred budget but can be sourced in Australia, while the Doxie Go is a more reasonable $US199 but has to be shipped to the USA. Being compact costs: desktop scanners are generally cheaper, but we can appreciate your desire for minimal clutter. Check out our guide to going paperless for more tactics.


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  • Holy crap I literally came here just to suggest the ScanSnap but you beat me to it. So rude of you Lifehacker ^_^

  • I was concerned about desk clutter when I recently purchased a scanner, but I decided that the desktop scanners were going to be easier to use, especially for sizeable jobs, as well as more cost effective and that once you took space required when in use into account, they didn’t occupy that much more space. (I’m assuming here that you’re not considering flatbed scanners.)

    I went for the ScanSnap iX500 and have been very, very pleased with it.

    I found that this model, when folded up and not in use, really doesn’t occupy that much more space than most of the compacts. The width is about the same, the depth is more (but you don’t really “see” that) and the only significant difference is in the height. It sits on a back corner of my desk (usually a “dead” spot on rectangular desks anyway) and I just have to keep the space in front of it clear for the output tray to flap out. Which is good, since doing this helps keep my desk clutter free!

    The other thing that’s good about this positioning is that I do have to stand up to use it, so it’s another thing to get me moving when I’m working at my desk. 🙂

    The way I see it, even a compact model has to be stored somewhere – if not on your desk then elsewhere in your workspace. And it still has a footprint when in use and that footprint isn’t much less than the desktop models.

    Finally, I’d be inclined to raise the budget for this if you can. In my research, I found that the cheaper scanners were either lacking in useful/important features, horribly slow/low in capacity (important if you want to get “all” your paperwork under control), or had poor reviews or reports of inadequate software.

  • What would anyone reccomend to scan direct to email so I can scan stuff direct to Evernote without going through a PC. And is that a viable option?

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