How To Buy a Scanner

When you want to add a scanner to your computer system it might seem overwhelming to view all the options available. The good news is that when you want to scan and upload photos or other images to your computer, you can get a scanner that is inexpensive and productive. Follow these steps to buy a scanner that is right for your needs.

  1. Decide what you need. There are different quality grades when it comes to scanners so you might decide what you need before your get started. If price is all that drives you then you can get a simple scanner for around $30. You might also consider a scanner that is built into an all-in-one printer, copier and fax machine. This option is great for saving space in your office when an average grade scanner is all you need. If you are using a scanner for high level graphics manipulation or the images need to be reproduced in sharp detail, then you will need to look for a better than standard quality scanner.
  2. Check the specifications. There are two main specifications that indicate quality grade for a scanner - resolution and scan area. Resolution indicates how sharp the scan will be. Resolution is measured in dpi or dots per inch. This is very important when you have a high quality digital image; you want to be able to manipulate the image with graphics software or when you need the sharp details for enlarging an image. Standard users will be okay with anything ranging from 300-dpi standard for internet use while anyone wanting to enlarge images or create commercial grade graphics should start with above 2400-dpi. Scan area is less important unless you are scanning large images. A standard flatbed scanner or all-in-one has a scan area size of a letter size piece of paper.
  3. Consider advanced options. If you want more flexibility with a scanner take a look at some of the other options. One-touch options let you press a single button to scan an image. This is popular for basic users. More advanced users might be interested in scanners that are quick for high volume scanning, have a large scan area for legal size paper or even small poster sizes or tabloid sheet size. Some prefer an option for transparency. More experienced users might want to manipulate the scan to soften color, sharpness or contrast and these options are available as well. For those interested in an all-in-one option, be sure to evaluate the printer options and speeds as well as the scanner options so you get an all-in-one that meets all your needs, not just your scanner needs.
  4. For high volume users, look at memory. High volume users are those who want to scan a large number of images quickly or those who want to scan high resolution images. Both of these capabilities require a high level of memory in the scanner as well as a USB connection to the computer. High resolution images can take up hundreds of megabytes of memory space so the scanner and its interface with the computer need to take memory into consideration.

Buying a scanner is simple for most users. If you are a basic user, cost is your first consideration since most scanners will meet your needs. For a more advanced user, follow these steps to consider the specifications of the scanner that will meet your needs.


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