Here is something you should consider when looking for a new document scanner for your business: It is our own version of unofficial scanner buyer’s guide?
What is the purpose of the new scanner? Light volume scanning of customer information at the front desk? Scanning large volume of invoice in the back office? Or anything in between? What software are you going to use. You don’t want to purchase a scanner first and look for software later. Find your software first. Not all scanners will work with the software of your choice.
What is your Budget? It is a waste of your time to compare production scanners to Workgroup scanners if your budget is under $2,000 – that just enough for a good workgroup scanner or maybe an entry level departmental scanner.
Don’t forget to take annual maintenance cost into consideration. Maintenance kit, annual maintenance cost of a high-end scanner alone usually cost more than an entire scanner of an entry level document scanner.
What is your month scanning volume? What is the average scanning volume per day? Is it just under 100 pages a day? 1500 pages a day? Or over 10,000 pages a day? Light duty scanners usually slow ( 25 Pages Per Minute), compare to 50 or more Pages-Per-Minute for departmental scanner, or 80 Pages Per Minute or more for production scanner.
Be specific. At least have a ballpark of your daily scanning volume. “A lot of scanning” is not a good answer. “A lot” may mean 5000 pages a day while it could mean 50 pages to someone else. Be specific upfront, and you will avoid disappointment later.
Trying to use an entry-level document scanner to scan 5,000 pages per day is like biking across the Trans Canada Highway, or trying to get a lot of work done through a slow Internet access. The scanning speed is one thing; the duty cycle is another thing. Your entry level scanner will break down in just a couple of months if you use it for high volume scanning. Keep in mind that normal wear and tear of consumable items such as pick rollers are not included in the manufacturer warranty.
Do you want high scanning speed? Would you accept all inclusive plan that come with a very slow internet speed? a High-volume scanner usually offers faster scanning speed. Entry level scanners usually offer about 25 Pages Per Minute scanning speed. The faster the speed, the more documents you can scan and capture. Don’t complain later if you use an entry level scanner to handle high volume scanning. Slow scanners will always take more time to get work done, and break down faster than high volume scanners.
Do you want large ADF Capacity? How many documents you want to scan in a batch without “babysitting” the scanning process? Most entry-level document scanners can take up to 50 sheets, 40 pages in most cases.
Large ADF capacity such as those found on a production scanner usually can take 200 sheets to 500 sheets, some can even take 700 sheets. The larger the ADF capacity, the more productive you are (without user intervention). Go for a short break when the scanner is scanning. SDF on most low cost workgroup scanner can handle 50 to 80 pages.
Do you need just ADF, or both ADF and Flatbed? Almost all ADF (sheet-fed) scanners with its small footprint require less desktop space. Before purchase a flatbed scanner, find out if you really need flatbed, or have enough desktop space to accommodate a flatbed scanner.
Some hard copy documents can be very fragile or delicate, and you don’t want to take any chance feeding fragile document through ADF. Consider optional A3 or A4 Tethered Flatbed or a flatbed scanner.
If you scan fragile documents, pages from a book or magazine only from time to time, a scanner with both flatbed and ADF is a good choice, or consider a smaller and cheaper flatbed scanner as a supplement to your main ADF scanner. In most cases, ADF scanner should meet your document management need.
Is simplex good enough? Do you need to scan both sides of the documents on one pass? Duplex scanners can scan both sides of your documents in one scan. This feature speeds up the scanning process. That is why IPM number is usually double of PPM. On the other hand, if you scan only one side of the document, why pay more for a duplex scanner. Simplex scanners usually cost less than duplex scanners.
Do you need wide format? Do you need to scan 11″x17 large format document? If all documents you need to scan are letter or legal sizes, why pay more for wide format scanner? If you need to scan large format document, don’t even think of entry level document scanner.
Scanners that allow you to feed the documents horizontally (landscape) always get more works done faster than those scanners that can only accept documents vertically (portrait).
Do you need to scan plastic ID Card? Do you need to scan health card? Driver’s license? Credit card? Membership card? Some document scanner allows you to scan plastic cards. Not all document scanners have the capability to accept plastic card, and heavy stock paper.
It is nice to have advanced features. Many business document scanners offers advanced feature such as Ultrasonic double-feed detection, auto-cropping, automatic color detection, auto-page orientation, auto-size adjustment, auto-deskew, halftone removal, automatic color dropout. The more advanced features the scanner offer, the faster you can get large volume document scan without human intervention, and better image quality too.
Computer Platform. Do you connect scanner to a PC? A Mac? Most commercial document scanners are designed to work with Windows based PC. Many business scanners supports Windows environment only. Before buying a commercial document scanner for the Mac environment, find out if it support Mac.
Unlike cheap consumer electronic products that you can buy from your local WalMart or BestBuy stores, most commercial IT products such as business document scanners are not returnable. Most businesses buy only when they need it, not because there is hot deal for an opened box product.
Interface. Is USB good enough? Do you need SCSI for faster and higher performance? Most high-end scanner comes with SCSI interface, some offer option for the SCSI interface.
TWAIN and ISIS. Most commercial software works with TWAIN or ISIS. You want to make sure that the scanner you have chosen supports TWAIN or ISIS. It is important to choose software first, scanner next.
Does it include any bundled OEM Software? Bundled OEM software can save you money. If you need Adobe Acrobat anyway, why not look for a scanner that included a full version Adobe Acrobat? That way you get both scanner and software you need in one package at a lower price.
Still not sure what scanner you need to meet your business requirement? Simply email or call us for all your documents capturing requirements.