8 Reasons to Buy a Portable Scanner Today (And Which Are Best)

A portable handheld black scanner for documents and papers located on the document.

8 Reasons to Buy a Portable Scanner Today (And Which Are Best)

As part of any digital workflow, having a scanner can be an integral part of your daily life. Whether it’s scanning something as simple as some notes from a meeting or scanning financial documents for a client. Regardless of the why, scanning documents is a great way to get more done digitally. 

Where things can get really interesting with a scanner is when you go portable. Having a portable scanner is a fantastic way to be on the go and still get what you need done. While it’s true that a smartphone can often do a lot of scanning these days, it’s an imperfect system. The reality is that portable scanners will scan documents far more seamlessly than a mobile device

With this in mind, let’s take a look at a few more reasons to invest in a portable scanner today. 

What Is a Portable Scanner? 

When it comes to a portable scanner, it’s arguably defined as a scanner that is mobile. On the one hand, you have some really great scanners built into your all-in-one printers. Unfortunately, these printers are hardly portable and often require an entire table for themselves. 

A portable scanner strikes a great balance between the features you need without taking up a ton of space. Better yet, these portable scanners are more affordable than all-in-one printers. 

As the world continues to go more digital, the need for full-sized printers continues to diminish. However, a portable scanner only helps with the idea of a more digital world. This is why portable scanners continue to grow in popularity. 

Now that you have a quick understanding of portable scanners, it’s time to find out why you need one. 

Reasons to Buy a Portable Scanner Today

#1: Total Portability 

It will come as no surprise but the number one reason to buy a portable scanner is portability. The awesome flexibility of a work anywhere, do anything product like a portable scanner is hard to ignore. This is a lightweight product and they are easy to carry with you on the go. 

In fact, it’s not uncommon to carry a portable scanner for a quick work trip in a small bag. Even larger portable scanners can be considered highly portable, which makes them a must-take travel item.

In some cases, the charger for your laptop weighs more than a portable scanner and takes up as much room. For the most part, all you need is a Wi-Fi connection and a portable scanner can work just about anywhere. 

#2: All Kinds of Documents

When most people think about a portable scanner, they are likely focused on just scanning 8.5 x 11-inch papers. However, portable scanners can handle a variety of different file types. Depending on the scanner, you will likely be able to handle photos across the board. There are also some portable scanners that can handle scanning pages right out of a book. Other scanners can handle the thickness of a brochure, which makes them invaluable for getting information into a digital format. 

If you need to quickly scan a bunch of receipts or business cards you acquired at a recent conference, the portable scanner will come to the rescue. There are limitations of course to the amount of documents that can be scanned at once, but for the most part, just about any traditional scanner task you want to accomplish can be handled by a portable scanner. 

#3: Create a Digital Filing System 

This reason can definitely cross the personal and work lines as creating a digital filing system has multiple definitions. Perhaps you want to scan old documents from a relative and start organizing them in a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive. On the other hand, you can start scanning a bunch of old contracts so you can review them on the go and similarly place them in a cloud storage service. 

Not only will this reduce the amount of paper clutter you have around, but locating these documents in the future will be a lot easier. It’s time to say goodbye to the old library style of organizing documents in manila or color-coded folders. The future is digital and a portable scanner can help by bringing non-digital items onto your computer or cloud service. 

Bussiness man Hand press button on panel of printer, printer scanner laser office copy machine supplies start concept.
Big expensive printers take up a lot of room and can often give you far more features than you need.


#4: Student Needs

It’s very true the student world is moving more and more toward tablets and laptops. However, there is still a place for handwritten notes. Unfortunately, handwritten notes can get lost or accidentally spilled on and lost forever. This is why a portable scanner for a student can be such a great tool to have available.

All a student has to do is take notes with pen and paper and then scan them into a digital system. Not only does this provide a guaranteed backup of your notes, but it also can make them easier to search. Depending on where you scan your notes, OCR can play a big role in finding keywords that can help you study for a future test. 

#5: Track Your Expenses

As noted above, one of the best reasons to have a portable scanner around is receipt scanning. The next time you are on a business trip, you have your portable scanner ready to quickly scan receipts for reimbursement. This all but eliminates the idea that you might lose a receipt while traveling and lose your reimbursement potential. 

The last thing you want is to get stuck with expenses that a business should cover because you lost a receipt. Investing in a portable scanner can make all the difference between making sure all of your receipts are waiting for you in the cloud versus leaving them in a hotel room. 

#6: Ease of Use

One strong reason in favor of portable scanners is that they are easy to use. This is not a product category that requires hours of training and they have fewer options than a printer. The likelihood is that you will need to complete a startup process when you first turn on a portable scanner. The next step is that you will likely need to connect your scanner to a cloud destination where scanned documents/receipts can be placed. 

After these two steps, you’re all set up and ready to go for all future scans. This is usually about the extent of your setup process and after that, it’s all about using the scanner and not worrying about how it operates. The good news is this ease of use applies not just to traditional paper scanning but also to receipts, business cards, and photos. It’s the same setup and use case for anything that can be scanned. 

#7: Small Price Tag

If you want a really good all-in-one printer that prints, scans, and faxes, you may be looking at hundreds of dollars in cost. What’s worse is that you pay all of this money and then your printer has to live in one location in a room. With a portable document scanner, it can cost one-third the price of a printer and be many times smaller. 

Sure, you can find portable scanners that can come close to the $200 mark, but these are really only for very professional needs, duplex scanning, and or multiple pages being fed through at once. If you just need a basic portable scanner, there is no reason you can’t find one for under $100, which is difficult to do with a standalone printer. 

Document scanner. Office scanner. office equipment
Some portable scanners will feed multiple documents from the top with great results.

©Midnight Studio TH/Shutterstock.com

#8: Preserving Memories 

The idea of preserving memories has already been touched on above, but this is another super strong reason to pick up a portable scanner. Being able to preserve everything from old documents, postcards, tickets to events, or any other kind of mementos is worth so much more than money. Whether it’s from an old family member or you want to preserve current memories, having the ability to scan different mementos is worth any price.

The best part is you don’t need to spend a lot to bring a portable scanner into your life. When you do, it eliminates any hesitations you may have had about getting started on creating a digital scrapbook. It’s too easy to lose so many important memories from days and years past that having a portable scanner can make sure you never have to worry about losing anything again. 

The Best Portable Scanners Available Today

#1 Most Portable: Brother DS-940DW

Most Portable
Brother DS-940DW Duplex and Wireless Compact Mobile Document Scanner
  • Scan up to 16ppm
  • Battery life of over an hour
  • It comes with a microSD card to easily store documents
  • Single and double-sided scan
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11/28/2023 06:42 pm GMT

While the price tag of the Brother DS-940DW might be competing with all-in-one printers, it’s about as portable as it gets. 

Around the size of a box of spaghetti noodles, the Brother DS-940DW is a truly portable scanner. Best of all, it can scan single and double-sided documents with ease. It has enough power to scan up to 16 pages per minute and nothing will slow it down. 

A lithium-ion battery keeps the scanning going for over an hour, which should be plenty of battery life. One of the best features here is using a microSD card to get documents off the Brother and onto a computer. Alternatively, you can also scan documents directly to Brother’s smartphone app and upload everything right to a cloud service. No matter what you scan, everything is uploaded with OCR smarts and works off any regular Wi-Fi connection. 

Best Under $100: Epson WorkForce ES-50

Best Under $100
Epson WorkForce ES-50 Portable
  • Scans documents up to 8.5 x 72 inches, ID cards, and receipts
  • Includes Nuance OCR
  • Scans a page in 5.5 seconds
  • USB-powered
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11/28/2023 06:54 pm GMT

For the best portable scanner under $100, the Epson WorkForce ES-50 is the way to go. 

One of the lightest portable scanners around, the Epson is also roughly the size of a spaghetti noodle box. Within this small package is the capability to scan a single page of text in under 5.5 seconds. Everything from pieces of paper to business cards and receipts can be scanned directly through the Epson feeder. 

USB-powered to connect to your computer, you don’t ever have to worry about battery life with the Epson WorkForce ES-50. Just plug it right into your machine and start scanning right to the cloud or upload documents directly to the connected computer. As you can scan documents size 8.5 x 72 inches in size (yes, 72!), you should have no problem finding a use case for the Epson. 

8 Reasons to Buy a Portable Scanner Today Summary

#1: When it comes to a portable scanner, portability is the name of the game. 
#2: A portable scanner can handle just about any kind of document or receipt you would like to scan. 
#3: One of the best reasons to use this product is to create a digital filing system. 
#4: For students, having a portable scanner makes it easy to upload all of your class notes for safekeeping. 
#5: Being able to scan your receipts and keep track of expenses can make sure your office pays you exactly what you are owed. 
#6: Portable scanners are very easy to use, which makes them just as easy to adopt as a tech product in your life. 
#7: Compared to all-in-one printers which can easily hit upwards of $400-$500, portable scanners cost far less. 
#8: Being able to preserve family memories with photos and documents is a great reason to pick up a portable scanner. 

Wrapping Up

A portable scanner is such a wonderful and easy sell for most people these days because of its small size. Ultimately, portability is the name of the game here. Having a piece of scanning equipment that weighs less than a printer and takes up less space is fantastic. For anyone who wants to truly move into a digital-only world, a portable scanner can be an invaluable product.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the number one reason for picking up a portable scanner?

Unsurprisingly, the number one reason to pick up a portable scanner is the go-anywhere portable advantage. 

Are portable scanners less expensive than all-in-one printers?

With rare exceptions, portable scanners are much less expensive than all-in-one printers. 

Do portable scanners work with both Mac and PC?

For the most part, portable scanners are operating system agonistic and will work anywhere. 

Can you bring a portable scanner on a plane?

Yes, absolutely. As long as it meets the size requirements of the bag you are taking, you can take it on a plane. 

Do portable scanners have batteries?

Some portable scanners work solely off battery life while others can be powered through a USB connection to your computer. 

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