Have Scanner, Will Travel

In years past, scanning a stack of documents required using hefty equipment that gobbled up a fair amount of desktop space. Nowadays the latest document scanners are smaller and more mobile than ever before, yet are just as capable of working their way through piles of pages. If you're looking for a portable scanner for your business or your home office, one of the models we reviewed recently may be just what you need.

Visioneer Strobe 500 portable document scanner
All of the products we evaluated are portable sheetfed scanners that weigh less than 4 pounds, have a native resolution of 600 dpi, sport an automatic document feeder, and can scan both single- and double-sided pages from color and black-and-white documents. All of these scanners support both wall-powered and USB-powered operation, so you don't have to lug a power brick and cable around for field use.

We evaluated each scanner's features, design and usability, and performance (at default settings) in scanning a wide variety of test documents, ranging from single-sided forms and magazine pages to multipage double-sided financial reports. We also rated each scanner's image quality in producing assorted PDF, TIFF, or JPEG images, and tested their optical character recognition capabilities for turning reports, spreadsheets, business cards, and other documents into editable files.

Winning Combinations

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 portable document scanner
The Visioneer Strobe 500's superior performance and image quality, combined with its excellent design and usability features, earned it the top spot on our chart. The Strobe 500 is one of three hybrid-style models in this review, along with the iVina BulletScan S300 and IRIScan Pro Office 3, all of which feature a detachable 2-pound scanner module that you can separate from the ADFs for easier toting on the road. Although all three of these scanners earned high marks, the iVina BulletScan S300 gets our Best Buy award since it costs $50 less than the similar Visioneer and IRIS models, and it distinguishes itself from the pack as the only model that offers a built-in option to scan to Google Docs. The lower-ranked Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 and Plustek MobileOffice AD450 both scan documents at a slower pace, and their ADFs aren't removable--but at just 3 pounds each, they are still reasonably portable and competent choices for your scanning needs.

Read Our Portable Document Scanner Reviews

  1. Visioneer Strobe 500
  2. iVina BulletScan S300
  3. IRIS IRIScan Pro 3 Office
  4. Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300
  5. Plustek MobileOffice AD450
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At a Glance
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