For remote business meetings or your home office, and from scanning your parent’s old photos to staying on top of those business-lunch receipts, the best portable scanner can be a lifesaver. There’s very little that the best portable scanners can’t do, even if you just need a handheld barcode scanner to keep warehouse inventory in check. And these days, some cell phone scanner apps work just as well as the real thing. In this article, we cover 10 of the very best portable scanners, including the best for Macs, the best for photos, and the best for receipts.
By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to upgrade from that plugged-in paperweight scanner you’ve been using. The best portable scanners for 2021 are coming up next.
Our Top Picks
Here’s a quick scan through each product in our ranking.
|Best Portable Wireless Scanner: Brother ADS-1700W|
The Brother ADS-1700W is the best portable wireless scanner in our ranking, with a compact design and the versatility required to handle all types of documents.
|Best Printer-Scanner: HP OfficeJet 250|
For an all-in-one and portable printer-scanner choose the Alexa-compatible HP OfficeJet 250.
|Best Photo Scanner: Plustek Photo Scanner |
Give your precious family photos the treatment they deserve with the best portable photo scanner from Plustek.
|Best Portable Scanner for Mac: Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100|
Look no further than the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 for the best portable scanner for Mac.
|Best Receipt Scanner: Doxie Go SE|
Cut down on bookkeeping in the office or on the road with the best receipt scanner, the Doxie Go SE.
|Best Cheap Portable Scanner: Brother DS-740D |
The Brother DS-740D proves the best portable scanners don’t have to cost a fortune.
|Best Wi-Fi Scanner: Brother DS-920W|
Choosing the Brother DS-920W means wherever there’s Wi-Fi, there will also be scanning.
|Best Portable Document Scanner: Epson Workforce ES-60W|
Off-site business meeting? Scan those critical documents with the Epson Workforce ES-60W
|Best Cell Phone Scanner App: TinyScanner|
When is the best portable scanner not a scanner at all? When it’s a cell phone app called TinyScanner.
|Best Wand Scanner: Magic Wand Portable Scanners|
Wands are magic, and so is the best wand scanner in our ranking.
|Best Handheld Scanner: ScanAvenger Wireless Portable Handheld Scanner|
Keep that inventory under control with the best handheld scanner, the ScanAvenger wireless.
A Closer Look: Best Portable Scanner
Here’s a fuller-resolution look at the scanners in our ranking.
1. Brother ADS-1700W
The best portable scanner overall
Brand: Brother | Type: Document | Connectivity: Wi-Fi | Page Capacity: 20 | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰
Leading off our list of the best portable scanners is the Brother ADS 1700W. Scanning both single and double-sided and connecting through Wi-Fi, the scanner is compact and portable, while still offering a 20-page capacity tray when the bigger jobs call for it. There’s a USB 3.0 connection for when you’re in the office, as well as a touchscreen display, auto-start scanning with image enhancement, and automatic color detection.
Those who’ve had good luck with ADS-1700W call it the best mobile scanner. According to one report, it’s fast, and scans with clarity, feeding reliably while rarely messing up the original. All it takes is a hot spot to scan directly to your cell phone, using the iPhone app. Although there is some learning curve, the scanner is easy to get the hang of, scanning photos and receipts among other documents in color and black ‘n’ white.
- Business card scanning slot
- Quick and easy driver setup
- Saves scans directly to a folder
- Feed paper face down, top first
- USB 3.0 to Micro A/Micro B cable not included
2. HP OfficeJet 250
The best portable print-scanner
Brand: HP | Type: All-In-One | Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Direct | Page Capacity: 50 | Price: 💰💰💰💰💰
If all-in-one printing and scanning is a priority for you, look no further than the best portable printer-scanner in our ranking: the HP OfficeJet 250. Alexa-compatible, the OfficeJet 250 offers both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi direct connectivity, with a large, 50-page capacity. With the free HP ePrint app, you can print from anywhere using a smartphone or tablet, and the battery is long-lasting. We also like the 65-inch color touchscreen. Simply plug the thing into a common AC outlet when it’s time to recharge.
Consumers call the OfficeJet 250 very portable and high quality. Installing took only about five minutes, according to one report, but inserting the ink cartridge is a bit tricky, we found out. In terms of mobility, it fits easily in a backpack. When printing and scanning photos, the results are nearly as good as the real thing. You do have to reinsert the paper for double-sided printing, however.
- Prints quietly
- Good standby battery life
- Improvement over older models
- Setup not easy for everyone
- Some cartridge clogging issues
- Wi-Fi direct only for Android, some say
3. Plustek Photo Scanner
The best portable photo scanner
Brand: Plustek | Type: Receipt, Photo, Document | Connectivity: USB | Capacity: N/A | Price: 💰💰💰
Quality is of the utmost importance when scanning photos, and the best portable photo scanner in our ranking is made by Plustek. Not limited to being the best portable scanner for photos, the scanner offers USB connectivity and compatibility with both Mac and PC. Making it an excellent choice for photos are features like image enhancement, among other editing functions. However, this product’s not just for photos, handling both letter and A4 size paper at an optical resolution of up to 600 dpi.
Photos do have to be fed into the compact scanner one by one, but the process is quick, at only about 2-seconds per photo. It’s also more efficient than a flatbed scanner, we found out. You can scan your photos to different sizes with the simple push of a button; consumer feedback calls image quality high quality. The scanner is very easy to use, and the photos pass through the scanner without any damage.
- Great for scanning large quantities
- Auto-rotate and deskew works well
- Scans fast without compromising quality
- No preview process
- No internal color correction
- Use max quality JPEG for best results
4. Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100
The best portable scanner for Mac
Brand: Fujitsu | Type: Receipt, Document | Connectivity: Wi-Fi, USB | Capacity: N/A | Price: 💰💰💰💰
If you’re a Mac user, you know how it is. Macs are the best, and you won’t accept anything else, even when it comes to your scanner. With that in mind, the best portable scanner for Mac is the ScanSnap iX100. Wi-Fi and USB compatible, and an excellent choice for both receipts and documents, the iX100 lets you scan wirelessly to your Mac. There’s a built-in GI microprocessor delivering image enhancement like auto color correction and deskew, among others. It runs on a USB rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
Those who’ve used ScanSnap on their Mac call the software responsive. According to one report, it connected quickly to a Mac with the Catalina OS. And once plugged into a Mac, it worked instantly, offering the ability to scan photos to a folder or to Evernote. We love the range of resolutions available from the scanner, ranging from 150 DPI to 600 DPI, and in both color and black ‘n’ white.
- Scans very fast
- Great for remote work
- Scan from Office Suite editors, retain formatting
- Battery life could be better
- Feed sheets in one at a time
- Simplex (single-sided) scanning only
5. Doxie Go SE
The best portable receipt scanner
Brand: Doxie | Type: Receipt, Document | Connectivity: Doxie App | Capacity: N/A | Price: 💰💰💰
As any business owner is aware, or even if you’re just in charge of the household budget, keeping those receipts scanned and organized is crucially important. The best portable receipt scanner in our ranking is the Doxie Go SE. First off, the thing is small and compact. It connects through the Doxie app, which is easy to use and works reliably.
Furthermore, the Doxie app syncs and scans to a variety of other apps, including Evernote and those for iPhone users. For receipts, it can scan small ones- like you might get at a gas station -as well as standard-sized receipts without any cropping. Best of all, there’s no computer required. From there, you can upload receipts easily to your tracking software of choice, according to reports, and it even handles “mangled” receipts, we found out.
- Also scans photos and artwork
- Accommodates extra long receipts
- Auto-saves docs as PDF, images as JPEG
- Minor boot-up issues reported
- Changing resolution non-intuitive
- Some problems with Windows connectivity
6. Brother DS-740D
The best budget portable scanner
Brand: Brother | Type: Receipt, Document | Connectivity: Micro USB 3.0 | Capacity: N/A | Price: 💰💰
Need a portable scanner that’s reliable but won’t cost you a ton of money? Look no further than the Brother DS-740D, the best cheap portable scanner in our list. In addition to affordability, the DS-740D offers fast scan speeds for receipts and documents in particular. Scans are both single and double-sided, and in both color and black & white. With the included software, the Brother DS-740D can also scan to multiple destinations, including email, file, and cloud. We found it supports Windows, Mac, and Linux environments.
Those who chose the scanner for the affordability report it’s not the best choice for actual photos. Otherwise, the image quality is good for documents and receipts. It plugged right into a laptop, according to one report, and the driver began to download immediately. Each scan is saved as an individual file, but through the Power PDF software, however — which is included as an option when downloading the drive — those files can be easily combined.
- Scans double-sided
- Easy to use software
- Same cable to connect and power device
- Jams if paper inserted too quickly
- Slider to select paper size won’t stay in place
- Software license keys on the bottom, hard to find
7. Brother DS-920W
The best portable wi-fi scanner
Brand: Brother | Type: Document | Connectivity: Wi-Fi | Capacity: N/A | Price: 💰💰💰
If a solid and reliable Wi-Fi connection is important for you, turn to the best Wi-Fi scanner in our ranking, the Brother DS-920W. Wirelessly transmitting documents to your computer or mobile device, the DS-920W scans in both color and black ‘n’ white at resolutions up to 600 × 600 dpi. Best for documents (receipt software is available to download), the DS-920W, photos, business cards, and even plastic ID cards. The unit is small, compact, and powered through a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
Fans of the scanner comment how easy it is to scan your documents straight to the memory card, accessing those documents through Wi-Fi or the cell phone app. Since the scanner is Wi-Fi enabled, meaning it emits a Wi-Fi signal, all that’s required to begin scanning is to connect your device to the network using the password at the bottom of the scanner. Overall, the Wi-Fi connection is simple, straightforward, and reliable, according to reports, and if you’re faced with an unusual Wi-Fi setup, all the settings in the scanner are adjustable.
- Nice ‘n’ durable
- Great for receipts
- Impeccable black ‘n’ white scans
- No multi-page scanning
- Chromebook users beware!
- PDF generated scans not searchable
8. Epson Workforce ES-60W
The best portable document scanner
Brand: Epson | Type: Document | Connectivity: USB and Battery-Powered Wireless | Capacity: N/A | Price: 💰💰
From documents to receipts, you need a portable scanner with a capital “P.” In terms of pure portability, the best scanner in our ranking is the Epson Workforce ES-601. And connecting through both USB and battery-powered wireless, the ES-60W is said to be the smallest, lightest, and wireless scanner available, with single-page scanning reaching speeds up to four seconds. Maximum resolution is 300 dpi.
Included in the long list of things we liked about the scanner is the automatic connectivity detection, smoothly switching between USB and wireless connectivity without interruption. There’s also an LCD screen to check remaining battery life. Scanning to the cloud is made possible by software included with purchase. The scanner is relatively small and thin, according to reports, installing easily and working as promised right out of the box. It takes up very little space in a briefcase, we found out, but it won’t scan double-sided, however.
- Scans small cards to big sheets
- Offers several “send to” options
- Post-scan options include Dropbox
- Gotta insert the pages slowly
- Can’t review what you just scanned
- Scanned image to pixelated for some
The best cell phone portable scanner
Brand: TinyScanner | Type: All | Connectivity: Wi-Fi | Capacity: N/A | Price: 💰 – Yearly
For a scanner that isn’t a scanner at all, consider the best cell phone scanner app, TinyScanner — because these days, who needs a piece of hardware when everything can be done just as well from our cell phone? This PDF scanner app available from Google scans in color, grayscale, and black ‘n’ white, with five levels of contrast.
Page sizes include PDF, letter, legal, and A4, among others. The app scans to email, as well as directly to a device via Wi-Fi, or Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, OneDrive, or Box. Those who’ve tried the app call it “great,” and the perfect solution for homeschool or a work-from-home office. It only scans single sheets at a time; however, a subscription is required after the free trial period.
- Powerful search function
- Reliable on iOs and Android
- Output mode fully controllable
- PDF export only with paid subscription
- Output like Evernote and Dropbox only available to pro users
10. Magic Wand Portable Scanners
The best wand portable scanner
Brand: Magic Wand | Type: Receipt/Photo | Connectivity: Wi-Fi/USB | Capacity: N/A | Price: 💰💰
Scanner Type: Receipt/Photo Connectivity: Wi-Fi/USB Page Capacity: N/A Price: $136.82
Wand scanners are really cool. Looking nothing like what you might think of when you imagine a scanner, the Magic Wand portable scanner is just that: a wand that scans your documents, receipts, and photos as if by magic. Ok, it’s not magic, but it does connect through both Wi-Fi and USB, with three resolution settings ranging from 300 to 1050 dpi.
Compatible with Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows, the wand scans in both color and black & white, and in both JPEG and PDF. It’s also relatively effortless to use with a low learning curve, we found out. Many use the wand to scan old family photos quickly and conveniently. It’s durable enough to be thrown in a messenger bag while on the road.
- Storage bag included
- Good choice for teachers
- Easy to use with mobility issues
- Wi-Fi drains battery
- Takes a little practice, for some
- Unless aligned, docs can be crooked
11. ScanAvenger Wireless Portable Handheld Scanner
The best portable scanner
Brand: ScanAvenger | Type: Barcode | Connectivity: Wireless, Bluetooth, USB | Capacity: N/A | Price: 💰
Portable scanners for documents, photos, and receipts are all fine and good — but what about wireless barcode scanners for inventory management? If that’s what you’re after, we have you covered here as well. The best portable handheld scanner is the ScanAvenger wireless. Powered by a lithium-ion battery, ScanAvenger has three modes: manual, continuous, and auto-sense, and it’s compatible with a broad range of barcode types, with a transmission range of over 600 feet!
Chosen for a home-based business, the ScanAvenger performed well, we learned, with long-range and sufficient battery life. It’s easy to hold, according to reports, scans well, and is compatible with almost any kind of computer, including one with a USB-A port, as well as Windows, Linux, Mac, and Chromebook. The change settings back scanning a barcode setting user interface is a bit clumsy, however.
- Very ergonomic
- Heavy-duty USB charging cable
- Affordable, buy more than one!
- No stand included
- Bit loud for a sales floor
- Some trouble reading barcodes on certain surfaces
For this guide on portable scanners, our team spent 5 hours researching the most popular options from over 50 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about thirty four user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each portable scanner. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 11 on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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