5 Tips For Choosing The Right Document Scanner For Your Office
Setting up an office space has never been an easy task, as it requires you to engage in countless errands, such as general cleaning and placing furniture. Among these chores, perhaps the most challenging part of the process is when you need to buy the equipment necessary to start operations.
After all, you shouldn’t settle for just about any office equipment. Each gadget must be cost-efficient so you can confidently say that you made the right choice. This is particularly true when it comes to document scanners, especially since there are different types of scanners. Furthermore, a document scanner consists of more specifications than most office equipment.
For these reasons, the buying process for a document scanner can be a bit complicated. But with the following tips, you should be able to find a suitable scanner for your office.
Take A Look At The Scanner’s Specifications
Perhaps the best way to determine whether a scanner is suitable for your purposes is by looking at its specifications. This will give you a good idea of how well the scanner would perform.
With that said, the following are the primary specifications of a document scanner:
Pages per minute (PPM)
Pages per minute, also known as PPM, determines the speed of a document scanner—naturally, the higher this number, the faster the equipment. The PPM may range from 50 to 200, although a high-speed document scanner may exceed this number. Of course, you don’t have to necessarily pick the fastest scanner on the market. Instead, it would be best if you choose a scanner with just enough PPM for your purposes.
Dots per inch (DPI)
Dots per inch, or DPI, refers to the image quality of the output. Think of it as the resolution of the digital copy of the scanned document—the higher this number, the clearer the image. DPI for document scanners ranges from 300 to 1500. Again, the ideal DPI would depend on your purposes, but a 600 DPI scanner should suffice for the most part.
Bit depth represents the capability of the scanner to store color information. The higher this number, the more colors the scanner can store. A one-bit depth would mean it can only show two colors (black and white), while a scanner with an eight-bit depth can store up to 16,000,000 colors. Ideally, you’d want to get a scanner with a bit depth of 24 to 36.
Take note that higher bit depth means bigger file sizes, so you don’t necessarily want to get a scanner with an excessive amount of bit depth as it may cause storage issues.
Of course, you must consider the size of the apparatus. After all, if you want to keep the scanner on your desk, for example, it shouldn’t take up more room than a computer.
For your reference, the average size of 25 x 18 x 6 inches, but you should be able to get a scanner that’s as small as a laptop. Ultimately, it depends on your available office space.
Allocate A Budget For The Scanner
While a scanner with incredibly high DPI, PPM, and bit depth might be tempting, it’s best if you refrain from these types of scanners, especially if you don’t necessarily need to use them that much.
This is mainly because the higher these numbers, the higher the cost. Hence, you might want to allocate a budget for your scanner to avoid overspending on this transaction. As a reference, the price of document scanners ranges from USD$500 to USD$10,000. Now, if you’re not exactly the best at figuring out the ideal specifications for your scanner, you might want to refer to the various classes of scanners.
Find A Scanner Based On Its Class
Document scanners can be divided into several classes based on their performance. If you’re struggling to find the right one for you, you can refer to the following categories:
- Desktop. This is the smallest type of document scanner as it’s designed to fit on a desk easily. Their speed ranges from 20 to 30 PPM, and the cost should be around USD$400 to USD$1,500. This type of document scanner is ideal for small and medium enterprises, although you may need to purchase multiples of this if you mainly do administrative tasks.
- Departmental. A departmental document scanner would be a perfect class if you have several employees and your office often deals with document scannings, such as insurance agencies and law firms. This type of document scanner has a scanning speed of 30 to 60 PPM and may cost around USD$1,500 to USD$3,500.
- Production. Lastly, a production class document scanner is designed for establishments with hundreds of employees. Its scan speed is around 60 to 200 PPM and may cost from USD$3,000 to USD$50,000. These scanners are typically larger than your average computer, so it’s not ideal if your office is relatively small.
Consider Getting An Attached Scanner
When you buy a fax machine, printer, or photocopier, you may notice that they typically have a built-in scanner. These scanners don’t have a high PPM or DPI, but they should be enough to handle basic document scanning. This type of scanner, also known as the attached scanner, is perfect if you don’t necessarily have many documents to scan daily.
For one, they’re cheap, especially since they come as an extra feature to a device that you need. Moreover, since they’re attached, as the name implies, you don’t have to worry about the scanner taking up space in your office. In other words, it’s the perfect choice if you don’t need to scan every once in a while, or if your office is already cramped enough as it is.
Choose Between Sheet-Feed And Flatbed Scanners
When looking for a document scanner, you generally have two options to choose from. You either get a sheet-feed scanner or a flatbed scanner. Here’s a closer look at what each type entails:
- A flatbed scanner consists of a glass plate at its top area. This is where you can place the document you want to scan, and the side that’s touching the glass plate will be registered into the device. For that reason, it’s possible to scan magazines, books, and other documents that aren’t in a coupon bond using this scanner.
- A sheet-fed scanner doesn’t have a glass plate. Instead, it has a slot or sheet feeder where you can place the document, which will then automatically move through the machine as the device slowly scans it. It’s perfect for scanning multiple documents since you don’t have to place them manually, unlike with a flatbed scanner. But of course, you can only scan documents that follow a specific format, so it’s not very flexible.
Nowadays, having a digital copy of your documents is a common practice. Not only can you protect them better that way, but it also makes the document a lot more accessible. Hence, there’s no reason not to have a document scanner, especially in an office where documents are practically everywhere. Alas, choosing the suitable document scanner for your office can be a bit tricky, especially with all its specifications. But with these tips, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.