Portable Photo Scanners: 5 Things to Consider for Remote Image Digitization

Portable photo scanners are great tools. Here are the features to look for.

A portable scanner for photos needs to be reliable, compact, and accurate. Finding the right option means finding a unit that blends these elements together, creating a scanner that performs well wherever you need it. Here’s a deeper explanation of why these features matter.

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"

Jump to a section…

What to look for in a portable scanner for photos

Consider where you’ll go with a portable scanners for photos

Fast scan speeds are vital

Organization is as important as digitization

Reliability and usability define greatness

Battery life keeps the productivity train chugging

Our recommendation: ScanSnap iX100

Shop ScanSnap Scanners Now

What to look for in a portable scanner for photos

You could use any number of document digitization devices to scan physical pictures, but few are well-suited to doing so away from an office setting work or the home office. Here are four considerations you should prioritize when looking for a portable scanner for photos.

  • Compact size: Scanners need to be small to truly be considered portable. Try to find one that weighs less than a pound and is under a foot wide.
  • Device-less scanning: A portable scanner for photos benefits from the ability to directly scan photos to the cloud without auxiliary devices. This removes friction from the experience and makes life easier.
  • Battery life: It’s impossible to predict when you’ll be near an outlet while traveling with a portable scanner, so make sure yours has great battery life.
  • Speed and versatility: A portable scanner might be slower than a full office scanner, but it should still be speedy and versatile for scanning in any environment.

Here’s a deeper look at the features that drive a quality portable scanning experience.

Consider where you’ll go with a portable scanner for photos

Ideally, your portable scanner should fit into a small to medium-sized bag, allowing you to cart it around on planes, to take to events, and to stow it at home when it’s not in use. The scanner should be under a foot wide and be less than a pound, ensuring that you won’t think twice when taking it with you. It should help you avoid taking up an excessive amount of space digitizing memories from a family photo album at a relative’s house during the holidays.

Fast scan speeds are vital

Speed is an important metric for any scanner, but especially in portable units. You want to minimize the time you spend digitizing photos at a social gathering, quickly moving through the photo stack so you can get back to interacting with your loved ones. For business applications, faster scan speeds cut down time spent on a non-value-added task. In addition to raw scan speed, staple features like one-button start and continuous document feeding will reduce the amount of time you spend capturing photos and documents.

Did You Know? ScanSnap scanners specialize in versatility and ease-of-use at an affordable price. Click here to learn more.

Organization is as important as digitization

Scanning adds to digital clutter — a disorganization of files, photos, and apps that can cause as much stress as physical clutter does. A good portable scanner for photos will minimize your digital headaches by offering an organizational solution directly from its software. Intelligent sorting should help manage where scanned photos and documents are filed, adjust scans to ensure that they’re accurate, and easily retrieve scanned data.

Did You Know? PCMagazine described the ScanSnap iX100 as “fast and feature-packed.” Click here to read full review and learn why it earned an “excellent” 4 out of 5 rating.

Reliability and usability define greatness

When you’re traveling, it’s crucial that your scanner is easy to use and reliable. Odds are that it will take some extra bumps and scrapes as you cart it around on travels, so high-quality components and sturdy designs are important. Small, portable scanners will also have fewer components, which means there’s less of a chance that something will go wrong. Simple, one-touch functions mean you’ll always know how to use it, regardless of how much time has passed since you last used the scanner. Electronics are at their best when they emphasize usability and reliability, which form the backbone of day-to-day use.

Battery life keeps the productivity moving

A portable scanner for photos is nothing without good battery life. You shouldn’t have to worry about having to hunt for an outlet or your scanner powering-down midway through a job. Keep in mind what your typical workload is, then leave yourself some additional buffer room with the battery’s max capacity. If you’re going to go a full day, or even multiple days, without charging the scanner, then you’ll want to account for that with the unit you purchase.

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.

The ScanSnap iX100 maximizes efficiency and portability, packing quick scan times and easy-to-use functions in a small package. Featuring one-touch scanning, cloud upload functionality, and continuous document scanning, the iX100 will meet all of your portable photo scanner needs without sacrificing quality. Small enough to fit into a carry-on, the ScanSnap iX100 is perfect for both professionals and everyday operators in any environment. Click here to learn more and shop the full line of ScanSnap scanners.