Scanners

Before choosing a scanner

When making a scanner purchase decision, many business and home consumers feel that they come up against a wall of confusion built with contrasting claims, multiple acronyms and a product range that can span in price from tens of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Scanners have been around for a long time, providing the perfect circumstances for confusion and the wrong purchase - especially for the first-time scanner buyer.

One solution is to simplify your approach to your purchase while arming yourself with must-know information. It is better initially to ignore the hype and marketing and concentrate on exactly what it is you would like to achieve with your scanner.

Some examples are:

  • My business needs to enter 1000 paper-based purchase orders into the computerised accounting system on a weekly basis (we all wish)
  • I want to scan in all my photos so I can store them on CD
  • I need to scan images from fat books and magazines for my Web site
  • I want to restore my grandparents' old and damaged photos (because you're nice)
  • I want to store the family's old holiday film slides on CD

Do this before you even begin to look at the available products.

This will ensure that the item you purchase will fulfil its role as a scanning device and help to safeguard you from over or under purchasing.

Some background info to consider

The type of scanner most commonly sold to both homes and businesses is referred to as an A4 flatbed scanner. There is a wide market for these scanners and, as such, there is a wide range of products available, priced from under $100 to many thousands of dollars. This said, the under-$1000 market is very popular in the home and small business environments and provides a diverse variety of scanner products to the Australian market from dozens of different vendors.

Flatbed scanner

Apart from price, which is usually commensurate with the capabilities of the scanner and the bundled software that ships with it, what distinguishes one model from another is the actual configuration and capability of the scanner package.

For example, a scanner with a built-in document feeder will probably be more expensive than one without. Another example is a scanner that ships with full versions of the software, which is normally more expensive than scanners that ship with 'lite' or cut-down versions of known software.

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