Top Portable Scanners for 2016

In addition to the individual scanner reviews on this site, I have created a list of the top rated scanners from each category. If you are thinking of purchasing a scanner then a good place to begin your research is by checking out some of the bestselling items. The internal reviews as well as external customer reviews are linked to for each of the scanners listed for further details. I have also provided some general information on this particular category at the bottom of the page.

If you travel for business or do a lot of library research you may find a portable scanner indispensable. These small or handheld scanners can keep track of business cards, scan receipts, or be used for scanning library references.

The best mobile scanners are not only compact but were also designed for on the go. Some can be run with batteries and almost all are utilized without a computer. Some now have bluetooth capabilities for a completely wireless transfer.

Portable scanners make a great gift idea for the business traveler, college student and the family genealogist. They are also great for the person who has hundreds of old photos to archive but doesn’t have the room for a full-size scanner.

Here are some of the best portable scanners of 2016:

scansnap s1300 mobile scanner


1. The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300
Read our Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 Review



portable document scanner


2. The Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100
Read our ScanSnap S1100 Review




brother mobile scanner



3. The Brother DSMobile Scanner
Read our Brother DSMobile Scanner Review



As someone who has spent more than their fair share taking notes and making copies at the library, I think a portable scanner is pretty cool. These little gadgets can save a lot of time by letting you scan pages from a book at the library or scan historical documents at the county archives for a genealogy project. Or you can take it with you to your next family reunion and scan old photos from Grandma’s photo album.

The important thing to consider with mobile scanners is power and capture. The smallest models generally run off batteries which is convenient. A portable scanner should also contain an SD card for storing your scans until you can get back to your computer to download if you plan to travel with it.

Although not listed here, a handheld scanner like the VuPoint Wand scanner is key for scanning books or magazines. The feeder type mobile scanners won’t work in those cases but are better suited for standard size documents, receipts and business cards. Be sure you think through what you want to scan before choosing the type of portable scanner to buy.

Handheld vs Sheet fed Portable Scanners

There is one important distinction to make when talking about portable scanners and that is the method of scanning. Handheld scanners like the Magic Wand are waved over a document or photo to create the scanned image. The advantage is that you can scan items like books or basically anything that is flat. You can’t scan a page of a book with a sheetfed portable scanner. This versatility is great for students or people who need to scan outside of the home (like at the library).

The disadvantage of a wand-type scanner is that moving the unit across a page can take a little practice to get right. Otherwise you end up with blurred images. It can also get tiring if you have many pages to scan.

A portable sheetfed scanner draws a document through the feeder to make a scan. The advantage is that the scanner will do all the work for you to create the perfect scan. The disadvantage is that you cannot scan bound items like a page from a book nor can you scan on the run.