Best overall: Canon CanoScan LiDE220

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The CanoScan LiDE220 ($79) by Canon is an excellent piece of kit for the price. The company has made full use of LED lighting to negate the need to allow the unit to warm up and scan a standard letter sized page in around 10 seconds. As an added bonus, the resolution of 4800 x 4800 means that old family photos can be preserved without losing detail, and there's even software to help sharpen blurry pictures.

Bottom line: If you're looking for a scanner that can do pretty much all you'll likely require, the LiDE220 is an excellent choice.

One more thing: The LiDE220 can also save scanned files to the cloud and allow sharing.

Why the Canon CanoScan LiDE220 is the best scanner

The Canon CanoScan LiDE220 has received accolades from reviewers and consumers alike for its speed, ease of use, and its quality output.

Its scanning light is LED, which means there's no warm-up time needed — it can scan a letter-sized page in roughly 10 seconds.

When scanning documents, its Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is capable of returning searchable and editable text documents. And the expandable lid makes it easy to accommodate thicker books for scanning.

With a resolution of 4800 x 4800 DPI, it will preserve the quality and detail of your old family photographs — and apply a little bit of software magic to sharpen those pictures have faded with age.

Additionally, you can save your scans to the cloud and easily share them with others at the touch of a button.

For most scanning uses, you can't go wrong with the LiDE220. However, there is one area where it falls short: it can't scan negatives or slides.

Best for documents: Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i

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The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i ($248.99) is more on the expensive side than our other picks, but we believe the price increase is totally worth it.

It has a 10-page Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) that some users claim can actually handle as many as 20 pages at a time. It also scans double-sided pages at the same time, so all you have to do is drop your multi-page document into the feeder and press a button. It's fast, too. It can scan color, grayscale, and monochrome documents at a rate of 12 double-sided pages, per minute.

Bottom line: If you primarily need a scanner for documents, take a look at the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i.

One more thing: The S1300i is capable of reproducing editable text that is 99 percent accurate when compared to the original.

Best for media: Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII

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The Canon CanoScan 9000F MKII ($169.99) is a highly rated scanner that comes with everything you need to scan photographs, slides, or negatives.

Because the 9000F uses LED lights, there's no waiting for it to warm up. From start to finish it can scan a 35mm film negative at 1200 DPI in just 18 seconds.

For regular photos, its maximum resolution is 4800 x 4800 DPI, which is enough for sharp, crystal clear images. If your source material, whether it's a negative or a photograph, is faded with age or full of film grain, the 9000F will automatically correct for these problems. If your scans need further editing, you can do it with the included software.

Bottom line: The ideal scanner for budding photographers.

One more thing: It comes with a film adapter unit for handling negatives and slides and has a top resolution for film of 9600 x 9600 DPI.

Conclusion

If your scanning needs are simple, your cheapest option is to use your smartphone with a scanning app; however, if you want to scan photos, negatives, or slides, or you regularly scan multi-page documents, a scanner will serve you best.

Best Overall: Canon CanoScan LiDE220

See at Amazon

The CanoScan LiDE220 ($79) by Canon is an excellent piece of kit for the price. The company has made full use of LED lighting to negate the need to allow the unit to warm up and scan a standard letter sized page in around 10 seconds. As an added bonus, the resolution of 4800 x 4800 means that old family photos can be preserved without losing detail, and there's even software to help sharpen blurry pictures.

Bottom line: If you're looking for a scanner that can do pretty much all you'll likely require, the LiDE220 is an excellent choice.

One more thing: The LiDE220 can also save scanned files to the cloud and allow sharing.

Updated on February 1, 2018: We gave this guide a pass to make sure it still offers only the best advice for buying an affordable scanner.