This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy. Read the full article below at TheWirecutter.com
If you’re looking to buy a scanner that lets you digitize all of your personal and business documents without taking up much desk space—and that is light enough to take on the road—the $255 Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i is the way to go. The S1300i offers the best combination of speed and accuracy when creating searchable PDF files. Plus, it comes with the most comprehensive and user-friendly scanning software of any of its competitors, allowing you to easily convert documents, receipts, and business cards into formats that can be read by word processing, financial, and contact management software.
We came to this conclusion after more than 70 hours of research and hands-on testing, including analyzing scanned texts for accuracy over a variety of typefaces and font sizes. For more information on how we chose what to test, check out our full guide.
The Fujitsu S1300i is one of the most accurate portable document scanners that we tested, combining user-friendly software, manageable size, duplex scanning, to make it the best choice for digitizing documents either in the office, home, or on the road. It allows you to easily convert documents, receipts, and business cards into PDF files that can be read by word processing, financial, and contact management software, so you can quickly track down specific expenses and dates without having to physically leaf through a pile of papers.
Unlike many of the other portable document scanners on the market, the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i can scan duplex, reading both sides of a page at the same time. While this bulks up the scanner slightly, it also means that when you’re scanning a stack of papers, you don’t need to flip the whole set over when you’re done, and scan them again. If you’ve ever needed to digitize more than a few pages at a time, that’s a life saver.
Out of the five different scanners we tested, the Fujitsu S1300i has one of the most accurate optical character recognition (OCR) systems, and was able to identify text down to six point font. Running its OCR software on a scanned document from the IRS, and accurately returned 99% of the words. Combine that with the best and most straightforward software around, and it’s a great pick for most people.
The Runner Up
While not as accurate, and hampered by less intuitive software, the $240 Canon P-215 II is an excellent alternative if you want a document scanner that’s faster and more mobile. The Canon can draw power over just USB, so you don’t need to take a power brick with you, and is capable of scanning up to 16.4 pages per minute , compared to 9.4 from the Fujitsu. In the end, we think having more accurate information come out of the other end of the process is more important than speed, but there’s easily something to be said for getting through your scanning that much faster.
If you are on a budget
Use your smartphone. Services like Evernote allow you to take photos of documents from your smartphone, (especially easy with the new app Scanable) and will even convert them to searchable text. It won’t be as fast, it’s one side of the page at a time, and you’ll need decent lighting and a steady hand. But you can’t get more portable than your than what’s already in your pocket, and you already own an Android or iPhone anyway.
The IRS says you’re meant to keep seven years of tax records. Instead of filling up a filing cabinet, use the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i to digitize your paperwork. Rather than a cluttered office, you’ll have a series of PDFs—indexed, searchable, and easy to find. The S1300i is small enough to travel with, accurate, easy to use, can scan both sides of a document at once, and can handle bills, receipts, and business cards. If you want to rid yourself of documents and clutter, it’s an ideal solution (just make sure to use a shredder when you’re done scanning)
This guide may have been updated. To see the current recommendation please go to The Wirecutter.com