Records Management Blog | Practical Records Management

3 Important Considerations when Buying a Scanner

Posted by Michael Thomas on Thu, Feb 18, 2010 @ 06:31 PM

It usually starts with a simple enough idea - Let's scan paper files to digital images. But when the search for the best scanner gets underway, the choices can quickly become overwhelming. When selecting a Scanner to start capturing images, be sure not to overbuy or get too caught up in scanner specs and features and focus more on what it is that you need to meet your specific requirements.

With today's technology, most document scanners are capable of producing fairly uniform images, and many of the features that are touted are of little or no value to the user. While it is true there are many advanced capabilities that are available for scanning and capturing data from imaged documents, Most people simply need to be able to scan a file, attach some very simple metadata, and retrieve that file when it's needed later on.

There are really three important charecteristics to consider:

Speeds - Scanner Speeds are measured by PPM, or Pages Per Minute at which a scanner will capture images. This is only applicable for scanners that have an Automatic Document Feeder, or ADF, as a Flatbed scanner will be largely dependent on the user that is working with the scanner. 

Feeds - Again, a scanner with an ADF (Automatic Document Feeder) will be more useful if you're capturing batches of files at once. For example, If you're looking to scan and save a 30-Page Contract, it's much easier to capture this on a scanner with an ADF than without one.

Price - Oftentimes, price is the key determining factor in selecting a scanner, and with good reason. For example, two scanners that have ADF's and run at 25PPM may vary greatly in price, and it may not be clear exactly why that's the case. You should take a close look at what Software is being included in the box, as that's often the source of the discrepancy. Keep in mind that good Software will help make the scanning process much easier.

Current technology has advanced to the point where most document scanners are interchangeable. They all feature similar optics and features, buy with so many different models to choose from, choosing the right scanner can seem overwhelming. At the end of the day, you need to consider how the scanned information will be used, and then compare speeds, feeds, and price to make an appropriate decision. 

Tags: Scanning, Scanners