Portable Scanner
Last updated: July 2, 2020

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Portable scanners are innovative products that allow you to scan documents easily, quickly and from any location. They are small and lightweight, so you can easily carry them anywhere. With a portable scanner, you can make copies in different formats of documents, books, and images. The cost of a portable scanner is very reasonable considering the exceptional functionality that they offer.

Portable scanners also offer high-level resolution and multiple connectivity options. Thanks to their functionality and usefulness, portable scanners have become a valuable device in many offices and businesses. If you thinking about buying one for your business, office or home, then you have come to the right place. By reading the following shopping guide you will learn about the many models that exist and how these devices can help your business succeed.

Key Facts

  • Portable scanners, otherwise known as handheld scanners, are small electronic devices that allow images or documents to be captured and digitized.
  • Today, there are two different types of portable scanners available: handheld and sheet-fed. The biggest advantage of handheld scanners is that you are able to scan books and virtually any type of document. Sheet feeders, on the other hand, allow you to load a number of pages and you don’t have to worry about maintaining a firm grip when scanning.
  • One of the reasons for scanning documents or images is that it helps you free up space in your home, office or business. Additionally, scanning documents allows you to organize your documents much better and have them more accessible and secure.

Our Selection: The Best Portable Scanner on the U.S. Market

Below we present a list of the top five portable scanners currently available on the U.S. market. We have prepared this list to only include products from well-known and reliable brands. In addition, we have tried to make this list as varied as possible, but always choosing products that offer the best value for money. Take a close look at this list as we are very confident that your next portable scanner is on this list.

The Most Lighweight Scanner

The Brother DS-620 is a fabulous portable scanner that is capable of scanning 8 ppm (pages per minute) in A4 format at a resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch), both in color and black & white. This portable scanner, which is the Amazon Choice product, is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It supports the following file types: JPEG, TIFF, and PDF so that you can always find the file type you need. It has a USB port connection to transfer files, which is also how it receives power. Note that this scanner does not use batteries and must always be connected to a power outlet.

The stylish Brother DS-620 is lightweight and compact, so you can easily take it with you anywhere. The scanning software makes it an exceptional fit for homes and small businesses or for anyone requiring an on-the-road scanner. For a fantastic product that is relatively inexpensive, take a close look at the Brother DS-620.

The Best Wi-Fi Scanner

The Doxie scanner is a portable scanner that scans paper, photos, and receipts anywhere so that you can make a digital copy in seconds. This portable scanner delivers crisp, clean copies of your documents in full color at a resolution of up 600 dpi. The software makes it easy to organize and share all your paper documents on your Mac or PC as every scan syncs to your computer thanks to the included software.

The rechargeable battery means that you scan anywhere, up to 400 scans per charge, without a computer. The dimensions of this portable scanner are 12.2 x 2.2 x 1.8 inches and it weighs a mere 2 pounds, so it is the type of product that you won’t even notice in your bag.​

The Best Duplex Document Scanner

If you have always wanted to organize the excessive paperwork that is lying around your office, then you should buy the ScanSnap S1300 from Fujitsu. With this fantastic portable scanner, you can scan your documents, receipts, and business cards to searchable PDF and save them to your desktop or private cloud with ease.

The smart design features a collapsible automatic document feeder with overall product dimensions of 11.2 x 3.9 x 3 inches, which makes it super easy to store away. The weight of this product is only 3.09 pounds, so not only is it super small, but it is also incredibly light, making it easy to take with you anywhere.

The Best Portable Sheet-Fed Document Scanner

The WorkForce ES-50 portable scanner is a top of the range product that sets a new standard when it comes to portable scanners. This innovative product is the fastest and lightest mobile single-sheet-fed document scanner on the market and it will allow you to meet all your business objectives. This scanner has the ability to scan a single page in as fast as 5.5 seconds!

Simply and easily scan, review and save important files with the WorkForce ES-50, while the Automatic Feeding Mode makes it easy to combine multi-page scans into one single file. The ES-50 can easily fit into a purse, backpack, or briefcase as it’s dimensions are only 1.8 x 10.7 x 1.3 inches and it only weighs 9.4 ounces.

The Best Budget-Friendly Scanner

The Brother DS-720D mobile scanner is an exceptional and affordable solution that is portable, compact, and lightweight. This scanner can easily scan up to 8 pages per minute (ppm) single-sided and 5 ppm in double-sided scanning mode. This mobile scanner includes multiple software solutions, such as desktop document management, business card management, and OCR management so that your documents are always well-organized.

The Brother DS-720D mobile scanner measures 2.6 x 11.4 x 1.6 inches and weighs less than one pound, making it ultra-portable. This is a digital portable scanner that is easy to operate and is powered by USB, and it can scan documents as large as 8.5″ wide × 32″ long. The Brother DS-720D scanner comes with a one-year limited warranty and free phone support for the lifetime of the product.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about a portable scanner

If you’re thinking about buying a portable scanner, you may already know that there a number of fundamental aspects to consider prior to making a purchase decision. As there is a wide variety of models of portable scanners, it is important to ask yourself a number of questions to narrow down the field of options to just a few products. That is why in the following section we aim to answer the most common questions among consumers and help you find the perfect product.


Portable scanners can be very useful for professionals such as lawyers, journalists, and researchers.
(Source: anyaberkut: 77539971/ 123rf.com)

What exactly are portable scanners?

Portable scanners or handheld scanners are small, electronic devices that allow images or documents to be captured and converted quickly to digital format. These devices are usually small and light, so they can be easily taken anywhere to capture images on the go. There are many different models available, each with different features and advantages.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a portable scanner?

A portable scanner is an innovative device that allows you to scan documents quickly and conveniently. This device is perfect so that you don’t accumulate excessive paper in your home or office. What’s perhaps even more important than simply saving space, is that by digitalizing your documents and photos, they will be far better organized and more secure on your computer or in the virtual cloud.

  • Allows you to quickly and easily scan any type of document or image
  • You can forget about having to store excessive amounts of paper
  • Thanks to a portable scanner, you can save time by spending less time sorting through papers
  • You can free up space in your home, office or business
  • You can take a portable scanner anywhere as they are lightweight and easily transportable
  • Portable scanners are free of annoying cables, as most models are cordless
  • High-end models can be expensive

Is it worth buying a portable scanner?

With a portable scanner, you have the possibility of digitizing documents quickly and conveniently. If this sounds like it could be valuable to you and your business, then a portable scanner is definitely worth buying. If you often need to scan documents in different locations, portable scanners are an essential item to own. As they’re so small, they don’t take up much space and their low price means you won’t be breaking the bank to buy one.

Who is a portable scanner recommended for?

If you own a business or are working in a professional field such as a lawyer, real estate agent, journalist or researcher, then a portable scanner is a device that can be very valuable to you. If you regularly need to scan a contract, an image, or any legal type of document, you can do it anywhere, anytime with a portable scanner. Imagine you are a real estate agent that is selling a house. Instead of going back to the office, signing a contract and emailing it over to a prospective buyer, you could both sign the document on the spot, scan and email it to the client’s phone immediately. The time saving and opportunity to improve your processes could be astronomical with this device.

Portable scanners are also very useful for professionals who work in photography or graphic design that want to digitize images or designs that are in paper format. Students who need to scan pages from textbooks or work from fellow students to prepare for exams find these products particularly useful. Of course, the medical industry should not be forgotten as they can find many uses for this product.

What types of portable scanners are there?

There are two main types of portable scanners available: handheld and sheetfed scanners. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages and is suitable for different situations. To help you understand more about each type, take a look at the table below. Hopefully, with this table, you will get an idea of which of the two systems best suits your needs.

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Portable handheld scanner They allow you to scan pages directly from books since the device is passed over the document to be digitized. You have to be patient and have a steady hand in order to obtain a good result.
Portable sheet feeder scanner You don’t need to worry about keeping your hand steady or continually holding a button, as the scanner feeds the sheet through the device. The device performs the scanning process automatically. You are unable to scan documents that are not loose such as pages from a book.

What are the file formats that portable scanners produce?

Portable scanners can scan documents in a variety of different formats, it just depends on the format you need and choosing a product that provides this format. The vast majority of portable scanners capture files in image form (JPG, JPEG and PNG, among others) and in PDF format. You may be interested to note that some computers allow you to convert the files to be electronic book compatible, so you can read them on your e-book or Kindle.

Walt ThinfenPresident and CEO of Visioneer

“The Xerox Duplex Travel Scanner leads the highly successful Travel Scanner series with ease of use, upgraded features and a sleeker, sturdier design”.

What care does a portable scanner require?

Most importantly you must ensure that you prevent your portable scanner from being hit or falling from a height. When using the portable scanner, handle the controls with care so that you do not damage them. It is also a good idea to avoid heat sources and leaving it in hot spaces or direct sunlight, such as a hot car. When you take a portable scanner with you, use a protective cover to protect it from any possible impacts.

Shopping Criteria

When it comes time to buy yourself a portable scanner, it is important that you consider a number of purchase criteria. To help you with the selection process, we have chosen the shopping criteria that we consider to be the most important. We highly recommend that you closely look at the following criterion in order to make a successful purchase.

Intended use

As with any product that you are going to buy, the first question you should ask yourself is what is the intended use of the product. If you plan on scanning pages from a book, then a handheld portable scanner is the product for you. However, if you will be scanning loose sheets, then you can choose a sheet feeder.

You should also think about whether you’ll be scanning images or text. When it comes to images, a device that will scan in high-resolution is highly recommended. To only make copies of text, documents or contracts, the resolution is not as critical.



As this product is designed to be portable, you want it to be lightweight and easily transportable. Many of today’s portable scanners weigh less than 2.2 lbs, but you should double-check the specifications of the product you are going to buy. A portable scanner should also be compact enough and resistant to withstand shocks and falls, as these devices are often dropped accidentally.


The type of portable scanner will depend on the intended use, as explained above in the first shopping criteria. A sheet feeder portable scanner usually has a lane that sheets of paper take in to make a copy. Some handheld portable scanners use a system of wheels that allows the scanner to move smoothly over the documents to be scanned. Depending on how you plan on using the scanner will determine the system that best suits you.

Battery Life

An important question that you should ask yourself is if you prefer a portable scanner with or without a rechargeable battery. Not all portable scanners have a rechargeable battery, so it is important to decide if this feature is important, as you will likely pay a little more for this luxury. Rechargeable or not, the battery life and charging time are two aspects that you should consider carefully as these will determine how long and where you can use the device.

Resolution and Speed

The resolution of the scanner will have a significant influence on the quality of the digitalized image. The resolution of a portable scanner is measured dpi (dots per inch). Normally, for basic documents or graphics, a resolution level between 300 and 600 dpi will be sufficient.

For higher-quality copies, for scanning photographs or documents, for example, a resolution level that is higher than 900 dpi is required. In addition, it is important to consider the scanning speed of the device. This metric is usually expressed in pages per minute (ppm).


When it comes to portable scanners, the most common connectivity options are via the USB, Bluetooth, and WiFi. It is also common to see models that utilize a microSD card slot for recording the information that is scanned. Think about the final point of your scanned documents and what connectivity options your devices have.


The most prestigious scanner manufacturers are Canon, Epson, and Brother. Brother is a Japanese company that stands out as a brand that offers high-quality products such as printers, sewing machines, scanners as well as various computer accessories. Epson is another Japanese manufacturing company that sells scanners, printers and much more.

Canon is primarily known for making the best quality cameras and video cameras on the market. Its scanners are compact and versatile that can be used for a variety of situations. Canon scanners are particularly useful for scanning photos and graphics.


We live in a digital world in which information travels quickly and takes up less space. With this in mind, a portable scanner is becoming an important device in offices, businesses and even in some homes. In addition, these devices are becoming increasingly cheaper and offering better performances.

There is a huge variety of models and designs when it comes to portable scanner. Choosing the right portable scanner involves assessing criteria such as the operating process, your intended use, resolution, battery life and the connectivity options. Finally, the brand selection is an important factor that should not be overlooked.

If you found this guide helpful in your selection process, please leave us a comment below or share this guide on your social networks.

(Source of featured image: JITTAWIT TACHAKANJANAPONG: 124531024/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Brett Holmes Technology Geek
Brett is a keen observer of the latest technology trends and knows his way around the industry because he runs an electronics store. He writes about it in his spare time and wants to help others learn more about the technology industry.