Portable Document Scanners: What To Look For When Digitizing On-The-Go

Including compact size, a portable document scanner must be light, reliable, fast, and user-friendly.

There's no reason to settle for second best. If you need a portable document scanner, it needs to be measurably superior to simply using a smartphone's camera. That means it has to excel in all categories, or it's not worth taking up room in your bag, briefcase, or pocket.

The best portable document scanner should be easy to carry, work fast, work well, and not require a college course to figure out. Here's what you should keep in mind when you're in the market.

Need to brush up on portable scanning fundamentals? Check out our helpful guide, "Portable Scanners: What You Need to Know to Scan on the Go"

Shop ScanSnap Scanners Now

You only have so much space in your bag

It's the 2020s. There is more to portability than fitting in a laptop bag. If your new portable document scanner requires a wall socket, a pack of single-use batteries, and/or several meters of extension cord, then it's not living up to its name. If it's so heavy that you're practically doing a bicep curl every time you get it out to use, then it's not a "portable" document scanner.

A perfect portable document scanner should be lightweight, ideally weighing about a pound. It should also balance being big enough to handle whatever documents you might encounter with being small enough to fit neatly into a carry-on or briefcase.

A scanner that works as fast as you do

We expect all of our devices to be smart. Your portable document scanner shouldn't be the exception. It should be easy to use, with reliable wireless connectivity, cloud access, and be capable of scanning fast.

A good portable document scanner ought to have your files digitized and ready for use within seconds. You're on the road and on the move; you want to be able to scan once without post scan adjustments. You need both performance and portability in the same streamlined package.

When you scan a document with a purpose-built, well-made portable document scanner, you want it to be easy-to-use – power on, scan and put away, without having to worry about image quality or file storage. You need responsive hardware, useful software, and fast-moving connectivity. If it's hard to use, awkward to move, and/or doesn't provide crystal-clear image clarity, it's not worth using.

Did You Know? PCMagazine described the ScanSnap iX100 “one of the most impressive portable document scanners we’ve ever seen.” Click here to read the full review.

Free up desk space and USB slots

Even on a designated work computer, you've only got room for so many devices at once. Between a mouse, keyboard, printer, microphone, camera, mobile devices, backup drives, and whatever other hardware you might need on any given day, your available USB ports and desk space are both at a premium. The best portable document scanners free up some of both.

With a wireless connection to a cloud service, your valuable documents, business cards, and other necessary items can be scanned and transmitted on the spot. When not in use, it's easy to stow your portable document scanner in a drawer or bag.

Did You Know? PCMag gave the ScanSnap iX100 a 4 out of 5 "Excellent" rating, calling it a "fast and feature-packed" scanner well suited to data capture on the road. Read the full review here.

Our recommendation: ScanSnap iX100

We know you have no shortage of options when it comes to choosing a home document scanner. We pride ourselves on having spent the last 50+ years designing and developing some of the most beloved electronics in the world, including our line of award-winning, easy-to-use, one-touch ScanSnap scanners.

Our ScanSnap iX100 single-feed scanner only weighs less than 1 lb., and can create up to 600 dpi images of documents as large as 8.5" x 14.17". Its "One Button Simplicity" is a hallmark of the ScanSnap line, where one-touch is enough to turn all your loose paper into useful digital documentation. The software enables you to transmit, store, and modify all your documents as easily as you scanned them. Click here to learn more and shop the full line of ScanSnap scanners.