Modern scanners have come a long way since they were first released. Not only are they vastly more powerful, but performance has dramatically improved - the fastest scanners on the market offer not just superior speed but some of the most accurate detail imaginable. In a bid to offer the best scanners out there manufacturers, it seems have listened to the demands of business users and hobbyists who need to process huge volumes of documents in a hurry.
We’ve tested the fastest scanners you can get for your office and home office. As part of our review process, we’re on the look-out for nanosecond-quick scans and high-resolution imaging in one complete package. And, because efficiency and productivity count, you’ll find our round-up includes those with a seamless, intuitive user interface to boot. Naturally this speed won't count for much without clear images and accurate scans, which is why we're serving a selection of scanners which balance their speed with a reasonable DPI resolution and helpful software to correct processing errors.
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Fastest scanner for home and office
1. Fujitsu Image Scanner fi-800R
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The Fujitsu Image Scanner fi-800R - also known as the Ricoh fi-800R - is a pint-sized and powerful document scanner. Its compactness is down to the fact that it uses Fujistu's 'Return Scan' and 'U-Turn Scan'.
This means the ADF (auto document feeder) is capable of processing sheets and returning them via the output tray, so there's no need to push out documents via a separate slot. This is particularly useful for bulkier documents like passports.
Its stated scanning speed with manual feed is one page every 3.5 seconds. The fi-800R even has 'active skew correction' to make sure scanned pages are properly aligned.
Connectivity is currently only via USB. You'll also definitely want to install the bundled 'PaperStream' software, as control panel options are limited.
Fastest high-capacity scanner
2. Brother ADS-4900W
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
The Brother ADS-4900W is a mid-range document scanner with a reasonable price tag. One of its biggest draws is a huge 4.3" control panel, which you can use to save scans directly to an external USB flash drive as well as upload scans directly to cloud services like Dropbox or Google Drive. Connectivity is available via USB, Ethernet and WiFi.
Its 100 page feeder capacity is one of the largest we've seen for a scanner and it's 120 ipm (impressions per minute) for both color and monochrome scanning are extremely impressive for the price.
The printer comes with some bundled software including Brother's iPrint & Scan for both Windows and Mac. However, the included Kofax Paperport OCR and Power PDF are only available for Windows.
Fastest scanner for small businesses
3. Canon DR-G2140
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
This scanner is currently amongst the very fastest Canon has to offer. It scans up to 140 pages per minute - both sides in a single pass. That means in theory it can scan 280 impressions every sixty seconds. Its suggested daily volume is 70,000 pages, which you may well be able to reach given its generous 500-page document feeder.
Connectivity is via both USB and Ethernet. The printer has its own processing chip meaning its scan speed isn't limited by that of connected devices. Although Canon's website does offer some firmware for macOS, the DR-G2140 seems only to be officially supported for Windows. If you can bear this and the hefty price tag, you'll have a scanner leaps and bounds above most of the competition.
Fastest scanners: FAQs
Can I use a printer scanner?
Does fast scanning mean low image quality?
Not necessarily! Most modern scanners are designed to balance scan quality with speed. Keep an eye on the DPI resolution in scanner specs and check whether they have features like skew correction and color adjustments.
Are high speed scanners suitable for all document types?
For this guide, we've assumed you want to scan ordinary printed documents, though some scanners like the Fujitsu fi-800R have a wider slot for bulkier items like passports and ID cards. If you regularly scan delicate and/or oversize documents, you may need a specialist scanner.
How to choose the fastest scanner
When choosing the fastest scanner for the job, make sure to check the advertised 'ipm' (impressions per minute). Remember this may vary depending on whether you're scanning single pages or scanning in duplex mode. Some scanners like the Canon DR-G2140 can scan both sides at once.
If you're focusing on raw speed, remember also to check the ADF (auto document feeder) capacity. The fewer times you need to manually reload documents to be scanned, the faster you'll get through them.
Pay close attention to the connectivity options. If you want everyone in your organization to access the scanner, it's best to find one that supports ethernet/WiFi out of the box.
All the scanners we reviewed are Windows compatible, but if you're a macOS or Linux user make sure to check the scanner support site for compatible drivers before you buy. You should also do this for any other bundled software - for instance whilst the Brother ADS-4900W is compatible with both Windows and macOS, its companion software for OCR is for Windows only.
How we test the fastest scanners
Whether we're testing for the fastest scanners or any other task, we assess a range of factors beyond speed. We also explore image resolution, accuracy, and value-for-money.
As with the printer tests we conduct, when testing image quality, we always use the same test documents for an accurate overview across all devices. This document includes text in different font sizes and colors, as well as images. We also test patterns, evaluating sharpness and color fidelity.
Finally, we calculate running costs, and compare the interface, design, and build quality to others in the same category and use-case.
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Nate Drake is a tech journalist specializing in cybersecurity and retro tech. He broke out from his cubicle at Apple 6 years ago and now spends his days sipping Earl Grey tea & writing elegant copy.