Small Scanners: What To Look For When Size is a Factor

On the go, in your home, or at your office, you need a small scanner that can get the job done without dominating your space.

Whether at home or in the office, we want tools that put functionality, aesthetics, and easy storage above large, bulky devices that interfere with our workspace. A small scanner should comfortably fit into a workspace without taking up too much real estate, allowing you to operate it without any fuss or discomfort. For those that still haven't found the perfect option, here's what to look for when you're shopping for a versatile small scanner.

Need help picking the right scanner for your needs? Check out our guide, How to Choose the Right Scanner for Your Computer

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Is your small scanner really that small?

There's a minimum amount of space a scanner will take up–there's no way around it. The width will always be at least 9" wide so that it can scan letter-sized documents. However, many scanners that are advertised as "small" aren't really as petite as claimed to be. Large document feeders, poor document slot placement, and inefficient designs can cause a small scanner to take up more space than you were expecting.

Look for features that will minimize the amount of workspace the scanner requires while in use. Even something as simple as spitting a document out where you inserted it will have an impact on the scanner's total footprint. Bonus points for U-turn Path scanners that completely remove the document exit space, as that will make them much easier to store and optimize the position on your workspace.

Find a small scanner with excellent ergonomics and a tiny base footprint

There are lots of reasons to opt for small scanners over traditional options, space being the chief concern. While a small footprint is crucial in a small scanner, you should also look for scanners that are easy to move, easy to load and easy to collect scanned documents regardless of where it's being used.

A true small scanner will have a more manageable paper chute than larger options do, which will save additional room in your workspace. And while the width of a small scanner is more or less set in stone, the depth is a bit more flexible. A U-turn feed path can mitigate the amount of space that an obtrusive traditional exit tray has, making it less cumbersome to handle in general.

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

Multi-sheet vs single-sheet support

Small scanners have a different form factor than their counterparts, but there are still several size options within the category. Your small scanner needs will depend on your specific situation, though you should consider whether you want to opt for a single sheet or a multi-sheet scanner. This decision should be based on the volume at which you scan. If you're only going to be using a small scanner for the occasional sheet, it doesn't make sense to opt for multi-sheet support. It'll simply add additional size to the unit without much of a benefit.

Did You Know? PCMagazine described the ScanSnap iX1300 as a "snappy, accurate portable document scanner that's excellent for digitizing documents on the road or wherever space is limited." Click here to read the review and learn why it earned an "excellent" 4 out of 5 rating.

Our recommendation: ScanSnap iX1300 or fi-800R

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 including our professional grade scanners.

We're proud to offer a scanner for any environment, whether that's in your home, on a business trip, or in an office. Our small scanners are ideal for those looking to scan documents where they need to. For personal use, our ScanSnap iX1300 features an operating footprint small enough to be viable in even the most cramped of home and office settings, without sacrificing versatility and scan speed.

For professionals looking for a small unit to use in an office environment, the fi-800R has what it takes to get the job done wherever you are. With an ADF capacity of 20 sheets, 40 double-sided pages per minute (ppm), plus a 600 dpi resolution, the fi-800R maintains a small form factor without sacrificing quality. Its award-winning design supports standard letter paper, passports, and IDs, so you can be confident in your ability to scan almost anything. Click here to learn more and shop the full line of scanners.