Types Of Scanners With Pros & Cons – Detailed Comparison

Scanners have always played an important role, be it essaying its role regarding office documents or for school purpose. The need of scanning physical documents, and photos into digital formats has become a requirement these days, and in all this scanners holds a crucial place. Scanners offers various options to cater to different need and preferences of users.

To know it better, we’ll discuss about the types of scanners, which can help you in making the right decision while picking up the scanner for your requirements. 

Types of scanners

Below are the types of scanners along with their pros and cons:

1: Flatbed Scanners

Flatbed Scanners

This is among the most popular and commonly used scanners, and with that this scanner is widely accepted and also known by two other names, i.e., Personal computer scanners or Desktop scanners.
These scanners have a flat plain surface for screening with a cover that is lifted to place the material that has to be scanned.


  • Flatbed scanners are suitable for scanning books like magazines, educational content that is bulky.
  • Offers high resolution scanning capabilities. 
  • These are able to scan documents with high speed. 
  • Flatbed scanners are user friendly. For using this scanner, the user only needs to place the document above the glass panel and close the lid.


  • Apart from being versatile, these scanners are generally slower and bulkeir, as compared to other types. 
  • The average cost is quite expensive. 
  • These printers still take a lot of time to perform their operations.

2: Sheet-Fed Scanners

Sheet-Fed Scanners

These scanners are also called Feed-In scanners. These scanners come with a limitation that it only scans the amount of documents that the feeder tray takes in via the  paper kept in the tray. Therefore, these scanners are not suitable for scanning anything which is in the book form is not possible.


  • These are designed for high accuracy efficiency. 
  • Sheet-fed scanners can scan multiple pages at once, resulting in faster speed. 
  • Produces high quality of scanned documents. 
  • These scanners require less human interference.


  • These scanners are not an ideal choice for scanning big forms of documents like books or photographs. 
  • These can take up a lot of space because of their big size.
  • Some of the sheet-fed scanners may face compatibility issues, as some scanners may not be compatible with certain softwares or operating systems. 
  • These scanners can be expensive. 

3: Handheld Scanners

Hand Held scanner

These scanners are mainly used to scan barcodes, and along with that is useful for business transactions and general use. These are also called portable scanners. 

The device operates on a single approach,  i.e. a single laser beam directly scans the paper and provides the information. It works similarly to that of a flatbed scanner. These scanners often come with advanced features such as optical character recognition (OCR), to extract text and automatically document feeding of various pages.


  • Most handheld scanners come with advanced technology, which makes the scanning process even faster.
  • The storage space of this scanner is really good enough and is capable of scanning above 100 documents at once. 
  • These scanners are lightweight and small, and are highly portable.


  • These scanners are quite expensive. 
  • Scan quality is less as compared to other scanners.
  • Some of its scanners can be of low quality, 
  • These scanners completely depend on one hand carrying the scanner and the other hand holding the paper.

4: Drum Scanners 

Drum Scanners

These scanners are specialized in scanning images in high resolution that includes all the small details in the document or images. These scanners convert physical images into digital formats and are widely used in the printing and publishing industry for the necessity of high-quality image scanning.


  • These scanners have a wide color palate, making it accurate for representation of different colors.
  • These scanners can scan large format images.
  • Drum scanners offer less image distortion as compared to other scanners.
  • Produces high resolution quality images.


  • These scanners are generally heavy and big.
  • It takes a long time to process.
  • These are comparatively expensive than the others. 
  • These are complex devices that require expertise and knowledge to operate it. 

How To Choose The Type of Scanner

Here are some of the points that one might consider before buying a scanner:

1. One of the foremost thing to consider is the your budget for the scanner. Select a scanner which meets all your work requirements and also is your budget.

2. Next factor to consider is how many dots per inch require, i.e. dpi. If you want a scanner which provides high resolution then go for scanner which offers high dpi, and vice versa.

3. Which type of scanner you want, i.e., if you want a scanner which is more flexible and has a better quality then go for flatbed scanner, and if you want a scanner which requires less space, then sheet-fed scanners would be the preferred choice.

4. Pick a scanner that suits all your work needs, as some scanners might not offer additional functions like image hosting, data storage, etc.

Sum Up

The scanner space offers a diverse range of options that addresses different needs and preferences. Whether you require a portable on-the-go scanner or a high resolution scanner for scanning documents either for office use or personal use, there is a scanner type that is best suited for your needs.

By understanding the pros and cons of each type of scanner, you can very well make an informed decision when choosing the right type of scanner for your requirements. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

1: Which type of scanner is most commonly used?

Flatbed scanners are the ones which are most commonly used. They are called by this name because the document is placed on a flat surface for scanning.

2: Where is a scanner mainly used?

These are mostly used as the input devices. They are mainly used in document digitization, 3D scanning, personal use, healthcare, business operations, image editing, etc.

3: What type of data does a scanner handle?

A scanner allows to digitize physical documents, images, and convert them into digital format, which can be edited, viewed, and stored in a computer.

4: What type of sensors does a scanner use?

An image sensor converts objects like paper, images, into digital files. Most of the image sensors are based on two technologies, i.e. the Charged Coupled Device (CCD), and the Contact Image Sensor (CIS).

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