Choosing The Best Flatbed Scanner

April 30, 2016 at 11:11 am

This is a scanner buying guide written by a friend of mine. I have shared some of these tips before but there is some additional information available here that shoppers may find valuable.

buying guidelines

Peripherals are a major part of your computer system. They allow you to perform tasks that you would ordinarily not be able to do like printing, faxing, extra storage and maneuver your pointer around your screen. One additional peripheral is a scanner.

When buying a scanner you should know how to choose the best scanner for your needs. With a few tips on what to look for this should be a relatively simple task, but do take your time before making a decision.


If your operating system comes across a program that it cannot understand it is said to be incompatible. It is important to ensure that the scanner chosen is specifically for the system your computer uses. They will usually plug into a USB port or hub. These are the most common units available. There are some units that are intended for larger systems such as in an office which most always uses a Mac operating system.


There is normally no control panel to flatbed scanners. Instead they are generally sold with software that tells the scanner what to do and how to do it. This is where all of the options such as scan, copy, resolution and options are located. The only buttons or switches that are usually found on the scanner is an on and off button. Occasionally if it is a part of a large unit with a fax, copier and printer, it will have a control panel located on the unit itself.

Software is usually always included with each unit sold. This is the program that allows you to choose such options as resolution, color depth, scan or copy and in most cases a photo editing program. The editing program will let you crop and modify any document or photo you have scanned. An operating software will let you print or save the edited image to your computer or send it to a printer.

Color Depth

Color depth refers to whether you get true colors when scanning an object, picture or document. The unit uses bit color to determine whether the color is true or just close. Most commonly used in home or personal units is 36-bit color. This means there are 36 possible colors that an image can be displayed. The more bits you scanner can produce, the truer the colors will be.

Dots per Inch (DPI)

Many people do not understand what a dpi is. This is how many dots are in each square inch contains – dots per inch. It is what makes up the resolution of an image. Typically the more dpi the image contains, the more crisp and clear it is displayed on your computer screen or when printed.


A warranty is very important when choosing your flatbed scanner. Most come with at least a 90 day warranty. If you are offered the option of purchasing additional warranty, do so. The least you should have is a one year policy. This ensures the device is covered should it fail to operate properly.


When you compare the options and features of the various models of scanners available, you will notice you also have options in the price. The more options and features the unit contains, the more you will normally have to pay. Specialty scanners like a business card scanner may cost a bit more than your basic flatbed. If you want it primarily for copying and producing photos, you should consider one of the more expensive ones that offers the best options.

These are only a few tips on how to choose the best flatbed scanner. Recommendations are always a help for choosing so take the time to do your research and see what is available to suit your needs.