Types of Scanners – DesignrFix

Before the invention of scanners, it was a challenge to maintain hardcopy documents for different purposes. And because of this, you could find people queuing to photocopy their printed documents. You can imagine the papers around! Thanks to technology because different types of scanners serve to manage documents digitally. It has made things easier as digital documents or pictures can be edited, viewed, and shared. Still, you can print them at your will.

What is a Scanner?

A scanner is an electronic machine that converts physical data or pictures into a digital format. True, it is an overwhelming input device that can scan images, photos, text, and many more.

Additionally, it has benefited parents who want to keep their old photos for memories. Also, students can digitally store their vital documents for research reasons.

Let’s Get To Details of the Different Types of Scanners

In the past, scanners were for big offices and established institutions. But currently, you can find them around homes. We can’t forget the value this input device adds to managing digital documents.

We know purchasing one can be a daunting task if it’s your first time. The market is flooded with shops dealing with scanners. Worry not, as this article breaks down the best scanners available today. Get to know what suits your needs.

1. Drum Scanner

It is one of the popular scanners because of its high resolution. Photographers most value it for photo scanning purposes. Besides, it uses photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) for scanning purposes instead of CCD chips. You must know photomultiplier tubes are more sensitive to light, and you should not worry about the quality of the scans.

Due to advancing technology, you can get the desktop model that takes less space and performs better than the old ones. This is how it operates. The image is wrapped in a glass tube, where a light beam moves around the image.

The PMT picks the reflection, and then the processing takes place.

Advantages of Drum Scanners

  • Sharp scans– It doesn’t matter the film piece; these scanners are celebrated for sharp images. Again, they have high focus ability on the actual grain. Enjoy sharpness with this scanner.
  • Resolution– Drum scanners have the highest scanning resolution. This is because of its 8,000f, 11,000 dpi. Also, it is best when it comes to the enlargement of images during scanning. No other type of scanner has ever beaten this fantastic input device.
  • The tonality improvement-This scanner doesn’t have tonality issues. The reason is, it can use vacuum tubes, RGB lights, resistors, and capacitors to convert a printed document into a digital file format.
  • Performance-These types of scanners are customized for a heavy workload. You don’t have to wait to finish scanning as you can install the next drum. Drum scanners operate throughout, depending on your workload.
  • Shadow scan– Many scanners can’t handle shadow scanning. It is the most challenging part but, the drum scanner can take it ideally. The noise is minimal, and everything is done in minutes.
  • Wet mounting-Fluid mounting is an advantage for clear and sharp images. Before the scanning process, images are passed through fluid mounts to clear dust, scratches, creases, and any other dirt on the surface that may affect the quality of the output. This is an assurance of unmatched scans.


  • Costly– Drum scanners are way expensive. This is because of the quality scanning and the high-resolution rate.
  • Size– Unlike other types of canners like flatbed drum scanners take more storage space. The reason is, they are large. Again, they are heavy, and so you need a solid table to keep them. If you operate in a small office, you can consider the latest desktop model that is a bit smaller in size.

2. Flatbed Scanner

Flatbed scanners have been in the market for a decade now. They were the first scanners to be invented. You can note them because of the flat glass plate where you put your hardcopy document for scanning. It is then exposed to a CCD array that moves across the bed.

These scanners are ideal for scanning anything flat. Using this electronic machine, you can scan photos, thin books, and other kinds of documents. The modern flatbed scanners can perform more decent work with much transparency.

Also, they are equipped with standard drawers that come with film holders on the scanner’s base.

Advantages of Flatbed Scanners

  • Quality scans– When it comes to accurate scanning, flatbed scanners are the best. The high-quality images can be seen from far. Besides, not all scanners can perfectly convert a printed document into a digital file format.
  • Some can produce low-quality images or damage the paper in the process. So be careful if you are thinking of owning one.
  • Speedy scanning– Flatbed scanners got a high scanning speed. It takes one minute to scan 27 pages of black texts. For coloring pages, it takes one minute to scan eleven pages.
  • Easy to use– It doesn’t matter if you are a newbie or not; this is a user-friendly scanner. It is a matter of placing your printed document above the glass panel and closing the lid. Then, press the scan button to scan your desired paper. This is the reason behind its popularity within homes and even offices.
  • Additional standard features– Do you know how it feels to scan documents at your comfort place? It’s overwhelming. These types of scanners are equipped with a USB port to allow excellent connectivity with other computers.

You can also have the older one that uses a parallel port for connection purposes.


  • Expensive– Flatbed scanners are costly. This comes depending on the model and the available beneficial features. Although the prices have been dropping recently, you must be prepared to part with a good amount of money.
  • Size– These scanners are large, so they occupy ample space. You need to prepare enough space if you opt for a flatbed printer.

3. Film Scanner

A film scanner is just like a digital camera. Besides, it is the right choice for an avid photographer who loves film scanning. With this scanner, you can capture images from the film in different formats. Again, it is such a device that you can read additional digital images to create slideshows and sometimes black and white photos for professional and even personal use.

The digital images can be slides or negatives. How does it work? The light source crosses over the film for transparency scanning. This type of scanner got a high resolution, and you can enlarge or edit your film. Film scanners can work on a 4×5-inch size with ease.

Advantages of Film Scanners

  • Size– At a glance, you will note the small size of a film scanner for easy handling. This can be an ideal scanner if you are operating in a crowded workplace. Above all, film scanners are portable, and you carry one while on the move.
  • Scanning results– This is one of the unique scanners that ensure accuracy. Anybody can note its high-quality scans. Film scanners use the optical flow scanning technique to scan images even without light waves. Remember the negatives and slides for precise results.
  • Resolution– Using this scanner comes with numerous benefits as you will not only enjoy quality scans, but you can scan at various resolutions. This is a guarantee of standard digital copies.
  • The dynamic range– The tonality of a scanner will determine quality scans. This device gives an appealing dynamic range of 3.6 with 0 and sometimes more.


  • Speed– They are a bit slower than other scanners like flatbed, drum scanners, and others. They are not the best if you have multiple tasks.

4. Portable Scanners

They are also known as handheld scanners. They can perfectly fit in one’s pocket. Despite their pocket size, they covert documents into a digital format file. But, they are not the right pick for photo scans. They use a beam of light when scanning.

They are the most convenient scanners because of their small size, so you move with them to any place.

Advantages of Portable Scanners

  • Size– They are small and light and so highly portable. Possibly, you can get away with carrying bulky papers by considering one of these portable scanners. With it, you can digitally track all your information. It is equipped with a long-lasting battery.
  • Speed– Don’t despise its small size because the speed is unmatched. Most of these handheld scanners are equipped with the latest technology to enhance speed. It takes the least time to scan papers.
  • Usability– Sure, its gun shape design fits comfortably on one’s hand. This enables you to point the device to your preferred document for scanning.
  • Internal space for storage– If you have a portable scanner; you should not worry about the storage space. Indeed, it has enough space for plenty of documents. It can hold your documents for the longest time until you transfer them to your computer.


  • Cost– Though they are small in size, they are costly. They are not affordable to anybody.
  • Scan quality – Their resolution rate is a bit low. So, the quality of the scans may not be super-up.

5. Sheet-fed Scanner

For multipage scanning, pick a sheet-fed scanner. This is if you are operating a busy business. It has a vertical or horizontal slot where the document is fed. Moreover, it is equipped with a sheet-feeder, calibration sheet, and scanning module.

Further, this scanner, sensor, and a light beam are stationary as they don’t move across the glass pane. Instead, it is the analog document that moves across the scanner. Some models allow duplex scanning meaning you will save paper by scanning both sides. This saves you time.

Advantages of Barcode Scanners

  • User friendly– Barcode scanners are easy to use and implement. They come with a simple diver that enables easy installation. You will use a few minutes to train your employees on the usage—a way of saving by cutting such expenses.
  • Wireless Connectivity– Nowadays, you can get wireless barcode scanners. It is an advantage because you can scan from anywhere without worrying about the connectivity.
  • Saves time– Barcode scanners scan information directly. You can see the barcode’s data. Within no time, you can get details of your required product. It is an ideal device for a grocery store where customers purchase items in bulk that need to be scanned one by one. It saves time.
  • Accuracy– Because man is to error; you can take care of this by owning a barcode reader. It is a device that is always accurate compared to entering data by hand. Again, it doesn’t matter the material used; the accuracy is ever top-notch.
  • The increased productivity– Barcode reader is a type of scanner that is fast to truck data. Thus, you can make the right decision if you are running a business. The overall productivity will go high.


  • The price– The overall cost of owning a barcode scanner is very expensive because you must buy a barcode reader.
  • Vulnerable to damages– The barcode scanner is valuable to wear and tear. You are sure; it won’t serve you for long. Again, you can incur other repair costs.
  • Not best for thick objects

6. Multi-function Printer Scanner

Most of the current scanner manufacturers invent robust modes that can offer multiple capabilities. Scanners can copy, print, fax, and scan like the multifunction printer. This is like having an imaging station at hand. Sounds cool!

Originally, multifunction printer scanners were for homes and small businesses. Today, it is not the case; you can get a powerful multifunction machine.

Advantages of Multi-function Printer Scanners

  • Cost– If you are in business, you need a digital machine for scanning, printing, copying, and faxing. It is much cheaper to buy a multi-function printer scanner than to buy several devices to serve several purposes. It is such a cost-effective strategy.
  • Storage space-Don’t clutter up your working space with four different machines. You can have a multi-function printer scanner that can scan, print, fax, and copy. A single machine occupies a little space. HP LaserJet Pro M102w is one of the small multi-function printer scanners you can buy to save space.
  • Saves energy-For energy saving, you can have a multi-function printer scanner. It’s an energy-saving machine as it can copy, scan, fax, and print. This is achievable because you will not have four devices running simultaneously.
  • Convenience-Instead of accessing four different types of machines, you can have this all-in-one to print, scan, copy and fax. It saves you time, energy, space, and money. You’ve seen how these multi-function printer scanners can do to you!


Crowding -You may want to print, scan, copy, or fax simultaneously. This is impossible, and so you must wait in line. The workload is real if you are in a busy environment.

7. Photo Scanner

Photo scanners are the best for photographers. They are specifically for scanning photos, images, and paintings. You must have your photo scanner if you love pictures because of its high-quality photo scans.

The excellent resolution makes the scanning results appealing. It also allows color depthless when scanning images. However, many people think flatbed scanners are the best for photos, not knowing photo scanners are for premium results. Using this device, you can edit your photos using the inbuilt editing software.

Advantages of Photo Scanners

  • Resolution– Photo scanners have proved to have a high-resolution rate. This has contributed to the quality of photo scans.
  • Additional features– They are equipped with image editing software. You can use it to edit your photos before scanning. The software improves the quality of the images.
  • Scanning results-The scanned images are ever outstanding. Again, it adds color depth ness according to your will. You can never compare photos from this device with other scanned images.


  • Cost-It is a bit expensive because of the photo editing software.

Scanner Buying Guide- Things to Consider

Buying a scanner is one way of ensuring a paperless environment. You must have an efficient scanner that can convert all your papers to a digital format to achieve this.

Choosing your preferred scanner can be overwhelming because the market is flooded with all sorts of scanners. Here is a summarized guideline to choosing your intent scanner.


You may be working on a tight budget, so checking on the cost is vital. The price can be determined by the speed and resolution rate of a printer. It is true, scanners with quality scanning and high-resolution rates tend to cost high. This is because of their productivity.


The number of pages a scanner scans should be a determinant. It can be expensive to purchase a faster scanner, but the benefits are evident if you work with large volumes. With this, you will need a fast scanner to complete your tasks on time.

Resolution Rate

Resolution is measured by the number of dots per inch (dpi). For normal document scanning, you can take a scanner with 600dpi. But if you are a photographer, you need one with a higher resolution for accuracy purposes.


Sometimes you may have one computer to connect with your scanner. But, if you have multiple computers that need to be connected to your scanner, you may be required to have wireless connectivity.

Software Compatibility

Scanners operate with software. However, many scanner buyers overlook this idea of software compatibility. Some scanners operate with software that can edit images, color calibration, and OCR features. And because the software works differently with scanners, you need a scanner that can suit your needs.


There are numerous types of scanners across the globe. We may not have listed all, but the above list can help you understand the best according to your requirements. The list will make the buying process to be less-hectic.

Don’t forget the buying guide for considerations if you need a reliable scanner. It is not a must you need a scanner now, but this article can be helpful in the future. When purchasing a scanner, you must confirm the speed, resolution, tonality, usability, and performance.

Also Read: