Scanner Guide

Portable Scanners: What You Need to Know to Scan on the Go

Don’t let life on the road interrupt your scanning needs. These portable devices will keep you productive wherever you work.

The way we work has changed. Many modern professionals need to be able to stay productive anywhere, whether that means working from home, visiting the office or traveling to see clients. Not being able to digitize important documents will degrade your efficiency while on the go. Whenever you pack your bag, make sure you have a portable scanner that is easy to use and captures the information you need.

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the different types of specialized portable scanners on the market, and walk you through the features and benefits to look for in each one so you can find the right device for your specific needs.

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Small portable scanners: A scanning minimalists’ guide

Choose a small portable scanner if...

  • You need to scan while on the go
  • Device size and weight are top priorities
  • You don’t want to sacrifice scan quality

Small portable scanners are designed to suit the realities of modern work. Many professionals are constantly on the go, and need to be able to scan documents reliably wherever they set up shop. Small portable scanners offer a balance of mobility and functionality for today’s world of work.

Features to look for in small portable scanners

True mobility

We’re accustomed to powerful portable devices thanks to modern tech like smartphones and tablets. The best portable scanners meet those expectations by including powerful functionality in a compact package that’s small enough to pack and light enough to carry anywhere work takes you.

Flexible capacity

Everyone’s scanning needs are a little different. Make sure your small portable scanner can handle the variety of documents you’ll need to scan wherever you go, from small items like photos and business cards to larger documents that can be stitched together by bundled scanning software.

Easy connectivity

All the points of connection we rely on in a wired office go out the window with a portable scanner. Make sure your scanner supports smart Wi-Fi connections and offers USB ports, or prioritize direct-to-cloud scanning that works without any device connection at all.

Top quality

Even though size and weight are the priority with a portable scanner, you don’t need to sacrifice scan quality. You should be able to read the tiniest small print and capture every detail of photos and images. Processing power goes a long way here, as does image correction software.

Did You Know? If you’re looking for a wireless scanning solution, your choices have never been better. Click here to learn more.

Portable document scanners: Packable power

Choose a portable document scanner if…

  • You’ll mostly be scanning letter-sized documents
  • You have limited room for another device
  • You need to scan documents quickly and easily

The specific device you’ll need is closely linked to the kind of scanning you’ll be doing. Portable document scanners are big enough to process regular letter-sized paper but still light enough to take with you. Other important features include easy operability and quick scanning speeds.

Features to look for in portable document scanners

Easy to pack

If you need a wall socket, batteries, or cords and wires, your document scanner isn’t very portable at all. Look for a lightweight wireless device that works without extra accessories.

Easy to access

Turn the power on, scan, put it away. That’s how easy your portable document scanner should be to access while you’re on the go. High-speed scanning is also important, so you can get back to your workday without slowing down for each scan.

Easy to use

Scanning software unlocks a whole world of functionality without bulking up the size and weight of your scanner. Look for auto-image adjustments, direct-to-cloud scanning, scan-management platforms, and other useful tools.

Portable photo scanners: Memories on demand

Choose a portable photo scanner if…

  • You’ll mostly be scanning photographs
  • Image quality is a top priority
  • You plan to scan while on the go

Another common scanning focus is physical photographs. Portable photo scanners need to prioritize scan quality and image resolution while still keeping device size small and light. As with other portable scanners we’ve looked at wireless connectivity as a key factor.

Features to look for in portable photo scanners

Auto-image correction

Look for a portable photo scanner that will automatically adjust and enhance each photo. It should be able to straighten out images and correct colors in addition to creating high-resolution scans.

Scan size flexibility

Even if you’re only using your scanner for photographs, not all photos are the same size! Make sure your scanner can handle a range of dimensions so you can digitize all the images you need, no matter their size or shape.

Reliable battery power

Once you’ve climbed up into the attic or set up your workspace wherever you are, the last thing you need is for the scanner to not work. Look for a scanner with a reliable and rechargeable battery pack so you’re always ready to go.

Handheld portable image scanners: Picture perfect portability

Choose a handheld portable image scanner if…

  • Phone scanning has led to disappointing quality
  • You’re dealing with highly delicate photos or archival images

Although many apps now enable photo scanning from your phone, issues like shadows, skewing, and blurriness make them unreliable. That’s where handheld portable image scanners come into play, allowing the extra convenience of waving the scanner over your image instead of passing the image through the device.

Features to look for in handheld portable image scanners

Smart scanning

For handheld purposes, the best portable scanner wand should be able to identify the edges of each image automatically, in addition to auto-adjusting the orientation and quality of each image.

Simple scanning

Using a portable scanner wand should be simple – as simple as a wave of the hand over the document or image you want to scan.

Wireless scanning

There’s no point in a handheld scanner that needs to plug into the wall. Look for wireless features like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, rechargeable batteries, and direct-to-cloud scanning.

Did You Know? The ScanSnap iX100 is equipped with a high performance battery and a built-in GI processor that automatically enhances each image. Click here to learn more.

Handheld portable document scanners: Imaging power in a small package

Choose a handheld portable document scanner if…

  • You’ll mostly be scanning full-size documents
  • You want to avoid a backlog of paperwork
  • You need a quality device that’s also affordable

Handheld portable document scanners can help you keep paperwork from weighing you down and ensure you’re as productive as possible, wherever your work happens.

Benefits of handheld portable document scanners

Boost your productivity

When your job takes you on the road, it’s common to find a mountain of work waiting for you when you get back. Handheld portable document scanners make it easy to stay productive wherever you are.

Effective user interface

Using a powerful, high quality handheld portable scanner while on the go will save you from needing to stuff every single document in your briefcase when it’s time to move on.

Balance quality and price

You’ll be able to capture better quality scans than you would with your smartphone, without having to break the bank for a huge tech investment.

Read more about handheld portable document scanners in "Handheld Portable Document Scanners: 5 Benefits of Going Wireless."

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