Best Flatbed Scanners in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update July 31, 2020
Flatbed scanners are the most popular photo scanning devices thanks to their high-quality features. The market is overflown with these devices. Our flatbed scanner review will help you choose one of 5 best flatbed scanners on the market to digitize your images and documents. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Application
MAX SCAN SIZE
OPTICAL RESOLUTION
COLOUR DEPTH (OUTPUT)
Connectivity
Extras
Dimensions
WARRANTY
 
PROS

The NFC module will enable easy pairing with NFC-enabled devices, establishing a connection and scanning from them within seconds. The generous software bundle includes NewSoft Presto! BizCard, a program that will let you scan and archive different business cards as contact management data. 

CONS

Slow at duplex scanning. 

OUR VERDICT

Scanners that work both as flatbed and sheet-bed models are usually quite expensive. Fortunately, the Epson Workforce DS-1660 is not concerned with that. Featuring a 50-ADF and enabling automatic duplex scanning, this machine will have small businesses that work with single-sided pages and business cards running like clockwork.

detailed parameters
Application

Photos, images, plastic cards, documents, books, passports

MAX SCAN SIZE

210 x 297 mm (A4 / letter)

OPTICAL RESOLUTION

1200 x 1200 dpi

COLOUR DEPTH (OUTPUT)

24-bit

Connectivity

USB, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC

Extras

Compatible with Epson Scan app (available on iOS and Android), 50-page ADF (auto document feeder)

Dimensions

451‎ x 315 x 120 mm

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS

You can scan multiple prints at the same time. The automatic edge detection feature detects the image size, crops it, and saves that image as an individual file. The Digital ICE tech will be digitally removing dust and scratches from negatives, while the LED-based light will be eliminating the warm-up time. 

CONS

The scanning speed is relatively slow. 

OUR VERDICT

The Epson Perfection V550 churns out great-looking scans made from both negatives (films and slides) and photos. When you're done, the model lets you easily upload these scans to email, Facebook, and multiple cloud-based services without delay. With its maximum optical resolution reaching 6400 x 6400 dpi, the machine can produce the most detailed photos.

detailed parameters
Application

Photos, images, plastic cards, documents, passports, negatives (films, slides)

MAX SCAN SIZE

210 x 297 mm (A4 / letter)

OPTICAL RESOLUTION

6400 x 6400 dpi

COLOUR DEPTH (OUTPUT)

48-bit

Connectivity

USB

Extras

ReadyScan LED technology, Transparency unit

Dimensions

485 x 280‎ x 118 mm

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS

The Auto Dust, Scratch Reduction, and Fading Correction filters will enable correcting as well as enhancing the scans with minimal effort. The matte finish and grainy texture protects the surface from scratches and makes fingerprints less noticeable. 

CONS

The model's PDF compression rate is not great. 

OUR VERDICT

The Canon CanoScan LiDE 400 offers photo scans with vibrant colours, accurate image expression, and high detail. The kickstand will enable upright positioning, so you can save even more space. Using the EZ-operation buttons, you can control the machine without even opening anything from the extensive software bundle.

detailed parameters
Application

Photos, images, plastic cards, documents, books, passports

MAX SCAN SIZE

216 x 297 mm (A4 / letter)

OPTICAL RESOLUTION

4800 x 4800 dpi

COLOUR DEPTH (OUTPUT)

48-bit

Connectivity

USB

Extras

Advanced double-hinge Z-lid, Upright scanning feature, 4 EZ-operation buttons

Dimensions

367 x 250 x 42 mm

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS

The compact unit weighs around 1.5 kilogrammes, enabling hassle-free relocation. The LED-based lighting system will be able to reduce energy consumption.  The lid can be lifted and used to flatten the item, so you can optimise image quality making the item evenly lit. 

CONS

The firmware has a clunky UI. 

OUR VERDICT

Despite its no-name beginnings, the Avision BF-1606B can complete with companies like Epson and Canon, the companies that have become synonymous with printers and scanners. Featuring considerable image enhancement modules, its TWAIN interface will let you deskew and despeckle photos, as well as correct and match the colour and adjust the colour dropout.

detailed parameters
Application

Photos, images, plastic cards, documents, books, passports

MAX SCAN SIZE

210 x 297 mm (A4 / letter)

OPTICAL RESOLUTION

1200 x 1200 dpi

COLOUR DEPTH (OUTPUT)

24-bit

Connectivity

USB

Extras

LED illumination system, Lifting lid

Dimensions

355 x 255 x 46 mm

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS
The OCR engine makes 6-point Arial documents editable and without errors. The Auto Scan button will lend you instant template recognition. The PDF button will automatically save the scan as a PDF file based on the parameters you set with the supplied software. 
CONS

Some find its operation quite loud. 

OUR VERDICT

The Canon CanoScan LiDE 300 will easily accommodate low-volume budget requirements. Even the least tech-savvy users will be able to get this device up and running within minutes. Despite its affordable price tag, the model makes sure that artwork and photographs look almost identical to the originals.

detailed parameters
Application

Photos, images, plastic cards, documents, books, passports

MAX SCAN SIZE

216 x 297 mm (A4 / letter)

OPTICAL RESOLUTION

2400 x 2400 dpi

COLOUR DEPTH (OUTPUT)

48-bit

Connectivity

USB

Extras

Advanced double-hinge Z-lid, 4 EZ-operation buttons

Dimensions

367 x 250 x 42 mm

WARRANTY

1 year

Epson Workforce DS 1660 W

Pulling Double-Duty as a Flatbed and Sheet-Feed Scanner

The Epson Workforce DS-1660 doubles as both as a flatbed and a sheet-feed model, something that scanners within this entry-level price range can seldom boast. With its 50-page ADF, automatically feeding documents and supporting automatic duplex scanning, this device will streamline moderate scanning tasks and easily fit small office needs. Sure, because the machine comes equipped with only one CIS (contact image sensor), it is pretty slow at two-sided scanning but the fact that this device can do that to begin with is already quite impressive.

Taking the above into account, you would presume that this model would be anything but compact. Nevertheless, at 451‎ x 315 x 120 millimetres and weighing less than 4 kilogrammes, this device commands the smallest footprint among its peers, occupying almost no spaces and enabling easy relocation.

Compared to the said peers, the model incorporates sparse, minimalist controls, featuring three buttons (Power, Cancel, and Start) and two status-displaying LEDs. As you can imagine, you will not be doing much with these buttons. Instead, you'll be using the company's Document Capture Pro software, setting the scan resolution, file type, and destination. The program will let you establish multiple profiles that will contain these settings. The program's management features will also allow you to save scans to a file, email, or the cloud. Last but not least, its optical character recognition (OCR) is more accurate than you would expect, whereas the NewSoft Presto! BizCard software will enable scanning and archiving business cards as contact management data. Of course, with the latter, the accuracy will depend on the card complexity, meaning that you'll have more success with simple white cards without graphics and complicated backgrounds than with the opposite.

Review of Epson Workforce DS 1660 W Flatbed + Sheetfeed Scanner

Editable Down to 6 Points

Performance-wise, the unit produces 25 ppm (single-sided) and 10 ipm (double-sided), which are respectable numbers considering that this is no single-pass device. What's more respectable though is that the aforementioned recognition tech makes Arial pages editable even down to six points without errors and Times New Roman pages down to eight points. We're talking about the default, 200-dpi setting here. When you increase the resolution by about 50%, TNR pages will be editable even at six points. The machine is even pretty good at converting decorative font pages.

Bottom line, at this price point, the Epson Workforce DS-1660 is the most capable and reliable scanning machine that works both as a flatbed and a sheet-bed model.

Epson Workforce DS 1660 W Flatbed + Sheetfeed Scanner in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Epson Perfection V550

Somewhat Approaching Perfection

The Epson Perfection V550 is not perfect. As far as we're aware, perfect scanners do not exist. Still, we can let the name slide because this is one impressive machine and as close to perfection as any within its class. Plus, solid photo/film scanners that do not break the bank are almost extinct nowadays, so, again, the name transgression is forgivable.

But, before figuring out and discussing what makes this device so solid, let's start with the basics. Measuring 485 x 280‎ x 118 millimetres and weighing a little below 4.5 kilogrammes, this is not the most compact unit, not quite. At the same time, considering 6,400 dpi maximum optical resolution, the size makes sense and, to some extent, even becomes quite modest. The machine can scan four 35-millimetre slides, two rows holding six negatives each, as well as medium-format films using the removable transparency unit. To add more, the model enables scanning multiple prints simultaneously, with the automatic edge detection tech automatically (duh) detecting the image's size, cropping this image accordingly, and saving it as an individual file.

Not unlike its predecessors, the Perfection V550 adopts Digital ICE, the company's hardware-based solution that digitally removes dust and scratches, enabling accurate film scanning. Besides that, the device also offers software-based tools that remove dust but, as you would expect, the hardware-based Digital ICE tech is more effective, thus more preferable.

Review of Epson Perfection V550 Photo Scanner

Eliminating the Warm-Up Time

Again, the machine enables scanning negatives, photo prints, and 35-millimetre slides. Stacked up against flatbed scanners within this price point, the scan quality here is more than respectable, even making 4-by-6 prints look decent. Its LED-based light will eliminate the warm-up time, so you can always start scanning right away without worrying that you have just finished scanning or that you're starting cold. Also, unlike scanners that use CCFLs (cold cathode fluorescent lamps), this one does not contain mercury

From the speed perspective, the automatic mode takes ~25 seconds to churn out 4-by-6 prints. The issue here is that scanning slides that measure 2,400 dpi using the professional mode will take ~28 seconds to pre-scan and ~33 seconds to scan, which is not bad, but also not great. Plus, when you use Digital ICE before scanning, the scan time stretches almost 2 minutes and 20 seconds.

Nevertheless, despite its slow scanning speed, the Epson Perfection V550 is an excellent machine that will give you high-quality scans from both photos and film.

Epson Perfection V550 Photo Scanner in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Canon CanoScan LiDE 400

Use the Buttons, Luke

The Canon CanoScan LiDE 400 will cost you less than 90 quid. Considering the price, its attractive appearance and decent specs come as a nice surprise. Making the appearance point first, the model's matte finish with straight-line patterns is an interesting change from the standard glossy coating that most scanners are adopting these days. From where we're standing, the finish makes this device more visually expressive, charming, and refined. Plus, the grainy texture makes fingerprints and scratches less noticeable.

Looking down, you'll find five buttons. With the Start button, you'll be scanning the document that's sitting on the platen at the moment and automatically sending the scan to the connected device. When that's done, the unit will pause so that you can replace the document on the platen or finish scanning using the aptly named Finish button. With this button, you will close the scanning session and save the document as a PDF file. The third button is the Auto Scan button, automatically detecting the item on the platen, scanning it, and saving the item as an appropriate file type, choosing between searchable PDF, JPEG, TIFF, and PNG image formats. With the Copy button, you can scan the contents atop the platen and send it via the connected device to designated printers. Finally, the Send will ship the scan to designated email addresses or applications. The fact that you can do pretty much everything without even opening the software bundle that comes with the unit is an attractive feature, even though the resources that make this bundle are quite robust.

Review of Canon CanoScan LiDE 400 Colour Flatbed Scanner

Even Correction Filters

On the performance front, even the more demanding customers might be blown away looking at the vibrant and accurate colours and an impressive detail level that the device is offering. Sure, you'll be adjusting the brightness sometimes, but, assuming that the originals look good, the scans will also look pretty good. Moreover, the integrated filters, including Auto Dust, Scratch Reduction, and Fading Correction, will correct and enhance the scans without presenting considerable navigation challenges. Going back to the "impressive detail level" part, the model's maximum optical resolution stretches 4800 x 4800 dpi, churning out high-quality scans that can reproduce the most minute details.

In short, the Canon CanoScan LiDE 400 is probably the best occasional-use flatbed model under 100 quid. While not bad at handling text documents, photo scans are where the device truly shines.

Canon CanoScan LiDE 400 Colour Flatbed Scanner in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Avision BF-1606B

The Slimmest Package

The Avision BF-1606B is an interesting proposition. On the one hand, most customers usually feel sceptical towards printers/canners that are not made by Epson, Canon, Brother, or HP, let alone some no-name company like Avision. On the other hand, the model offers considerable advantages over its budget counterparts from known brands.

To start with, the model measures 355 x 255 x 46 millimetres, a little less than even the most compact Canon flatbed scanners. What's more impressive though is that the unit weighs less than 1.5 kilogrammes, whereas most models around this size weigh at least around 3-4. In other words, even the scrawniest, least physically-inclined people will be able to move this device even from home to work without any discomfort.

According to the people behind this product, its biggest standout feature is the TWAIN interface, which makes sense considering that the multiple image enhancement resources this interface incorporates, including deskew, automatic cropping, automatic colour correction and colour matching, despeckling, colour dropout adjustment, and more. With this interface, even questionable-looking originals will give you solid scans.

Besides that, the machine can automatically crop multiple images. This feature lets you place different documents (from photos to ID cards and business cards) onto the platen and the device will go to town cropping and creating multiple images in a single scan.

On a less positive note, the model comes fitted with no control buttons, which aids the aesthetics cause, sure, but also means that you can only use the firmware that comes with this device and its UI is muddled and a little clunky, so even experienced users might have a hard time with it initially.

Review of Avision BF-1606B Flatbed Scanner

LED Lighting System

Because the package is so slim, the model's optical resolution caps at 1200 x 1200 dpi, meaning that reproducing the finest details and the most subtle shades is not something that the machine will usually be able to do. On the upside, the LED lighting system reduces energy consumption and removes the warm-up time from the equation, letting you scan an A4 document in less than 10 seconds. Last but not least, you can lift the lid and flatten the item on the platen, optimising image quality with the item being more evenly lit.

In conclusion, trusting no-name brands can be a risky endeavour but there are always exceptions to any rule and, besides a few minor flaws, the Avision BF-1606B makes a pretty good exception.

Avision BF-1606B Flatbed Scanner in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Canon CanoScan LiDE 300

An Even More Affordable Sibling

As you would expect, the Canon CanoScan LiDE 300 is not that different from the 400 model, except that this machine is even less expensive but certain features are also lacking. To name one, the model does not enable upright positioning, not the biggest loss since people seldom use that anyway but still something that's worth mentioning. What's a little more concerning is that the maximum optical resolution does not go above 2400 x 2400 dpi, which is not bad but the 400 model doubles that and costs just 20 quid more, making it a more attractive option.

Nevertheless, this one has its advantages as well, not even counting the price. In fact, most home offices and small commercial spaces will find that this device is more than sufficient, digitising photos and enabling light document scanning. Where most applications are concerned, 2,400 dpi is even excessive. Most monitors do not display above 72 dpi, with high-resolution screens not even reaching 100 dpi. The benefit that high-res scanners are offering is that you can crop away more sizable sections and still have enough pixels at your disposal to increase the remaining area's size without degrading the finer details.

Size-wise, measuring 367 x 250 x 42 millimetres, this unit is pretty lean, not unlike its 400 sibling. Of course, again, the difference here is that this one does not include a kickstand that enables using the device upright.

Review of Canon CanoScan LiDE 300 Colour Flatbed Scanner

Excellent-Looking Photos

Flatbed scanners should be, at the very least, decent at reproducing photos and artwork as close to the original as possible. When you can do so without wasting hours on the settings, that's when the device is worth investing in. In this case, you have a device that's quite good at picking up individual colours and fine details. Sure, at times, you'll have to adjust contrast and hue settings but, generally speaking, the scans will be coming out almost indistinguishable from the originals.

Budget flatbed models seldom come equipped with especially accurate OCR engines but this one, making even 6-point Arial pages editable without errors, does not disappoint, to say the least.

Some find the unit a little loud but, besides that, the Canon CanoScan LiDE 300 offers more than any reasonable person can expect when they're paying less than 75 quid. In other words, low-volume scanning environments cannot go wrong with this one. Plus, the Auto Scan feature enables instant template recognition with one click, streamlining scanning.

Canon CanoScan LiDE 300 Colour Flatbed Scanner in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

What Is a Flatbed Scanner?

Nowadays, storing your data digitally is getting more and more popular (and convenient). Up-to-date photo and video cameras record data on digital media. Most documentation processes also involve computers; the data is stored on servers, and not in large dusty storage rooms like years ago. In a digital format, the information can be stored for much longer than its paper-based equivalent.

But this is all true about modern devices. What if you had old photos and important documents? You'd want to prolong their life and not to worry about the paper being torn or damaged any other way. This is what the flatbed scanners were created for. High resolution and other parameters will allow you to digitise your photos with maximum precision to save them forever. Or you can scan documents to transfer the data from paper to your computer and, for example, send it all via e-mail to your business partners, friends, or relatives. With some models, you can even scan old slides, films, and negatives, and the flatbed film scanner will automatically convert the colours. A pile of documents can now be stored on a single USB-storage device.

If you need to scan a lot of documents (for example, in the office), you may be interested in our shortlist of document scanners with automatic sheet feed for scanning.

What Features to Compare

Type

Mostly, flatbed scanners are multifunctional devices. But there are actually models with particular features. And they can be of different sizes. Decide on what documents you would like to make digital copies of, and after that choose the scanner's type. Most often people need to scan documents and photos and for this purpose a desktop flatbed scanner is perfect: you just put the picture on the glass surface, under which a scanning array moves, and the device does the rest. These models are easy to find, affordable, and user-friendly. Their only downside is usually a bulky size. If you aim at scanning a moderate amount of documents and your desk space is limited, then a sheetfed scanner might be a better choice. Such models have an unmoving scanning array, and the scanning itself is performed by dragging the paper sheet through the device. They are small in size and portable, but you will be able to scan only separate sheets, such devices can't digitize a book or a booklet.

There are reflective scanners that can be used anywhere, they are called portable. They are, too, small in size and allow you to scan 4" x 6" images, but at the same time, the software of such portable flatbed scanners is able to join few scanned images into one. Before making the final decision, we recommend you to find out its weight: you wouldn't enjoy carrying a heavy device around, would you? The variety of connectivity options is also helpful, and the wireless option will make it easier to place the scanner anywhere you feel convenient. Also, if you are looking for a portable model of a flatbed photo scanner, be sure to check the time it works on a battery.

Scanning Quality

The main purpose of reflective scanners is to digitize images. And the higher the scanning quality is, the better the device is. The main parameter affecting the said quality is the scanning resolution. A higher resolution gives you a more detailed digital image, though it takes more time to complete. For text documents, it is enough to have 200–300 dpi, but if you are scanning an image you are going to edit or magnify further, then the resolution of 600 dpi will be better. The next important parameter is the colour depth. It shows how precisely the colour will be displayed when digitized. The colour depth is measured in bits, and every colour has 8 bits of data. Scanners operate in an RGB three-colour range, therefore, the 24-bit colour depth is usually enough to display colours pretty accurately. And, of course, it is important to look at the flatbed photo scanner's scanning speed. Usually, the manufacturers indicate this parameter in averages, but some tend to point out the minimum time needed for low-quality scanning. Also, note that with changing the scanning resolution the time also changes.

Additional Features

Finally, there are additional features of the scanner that widen its potential. There are reflective scanners that can scan old photo films and slides and, thus, have additional modules to do so. Such an option will be interesting to those who have a large collection of negatives at home. The technologies for image correction, automatic content recognition, or the option to cut the scanned area will simplify the digitizing of large quantities of images. With the feature that allows sending files directly to the Cloud Storage, you will not have to worry about forgotten or accidentally deleted photos. And the software supplied with the device itself will make it easy to edit photos or recognize and edit the text.

Flatbed vs Sheet-Bed Scanners

There are scanners out there that combine both functions but, generally speaking, most models fall under a flatbed or sheet-bed category. Both types have considerable advantages and disadvantages, so let's dive right into it.

Simplex vs Duplex Scanning

Most flatbed models work on one document side at a time. With the item placed on the platen, you have to flip that item manually to scan the other side. On the other hand, sheet-bed models can usually automatically scan both sides, making them more suitable for medium- and high-volume scanning.

Batch Scanning

Following suit, flatbed scanners cannot automatically scan each page one by one without you inserting these pages one by one manually. Meanwhile, even the cheapest sheet-bed models come equipped with feeders that enable batch scanning, at least somewhere around 50 documents at a time.

Size

Because sheet-bed scanners have to accommodate inputs feeders and output trays, they're usually much less compact than flatbed models. Sure, some units can be quite lean as well but, more often than not, flatbed scanners occupy much less space than sheet-bed units.

Manual Work

Again, coming back to the same subject, because you're removing/flipping/swapping items, flatbed models require much more manual work than sheet-bed scanners. With the latter, you can put at least 50 documents in the feeder and focus on other tasks while the device is automatically scanning dozens, maybe even hundreds of documents. Unfortunately, the former require someone standing right there, putting the documents on the platens, reversing them, and swapping the items.

Scanning Anything but Documents

It seems that bed-sheet scanners are winning at the moment but that's because we haven't addressed flatbed models biggest advantage yet, which is scanning anything but documents. First, flatbeds will let you scan books, magazines, newspapers, with the removable lid enabling additional clearance and allowing you to flatten the item so that it is lit more evenly, improving the image quality. Sheet-beds can scan loose sheets but that's about it. Unless they come in a loose page form, they cannot scan books and magazines.

Odd-Shaped Documents, Art Pieces, Even 3D Objects

Besides books and printed press, flatbed scanners are able to scan 3D objects, including sketchbooks, art canvas, even flowers. Needless to say, even the most expensive sheet-bed scanners cannot match that. Plus, flatbeds can scan odd-shaped documents, plastic cards, thick pages, and more, whereas sheet-beds will usually jam trying to scan those. Last but not least, flatbed models will let you scan old photos and damaged documents without making then even more damaged. Conversely, we would not recommend putting these documents/photos into sheet-bed feeders.

Image Quality

As much as different price brackets determine that, when we're talking about comparable costs, flatbed scanners easily outshine their sheet-bed counterparts when it comes to capturing the tiniest details and making the scans look as good as the originals.

Sources:

1. John Lister How to Choose the Best Flatbed Scanner, CHron.

2. Solomon Poretsky How to Choose the Best Flatbed Scanner, azcentral.

3. Jim Galbraith Scanner Buying Guide 2013: Find the Right Scanner for Your Needs, PCWorld. November 18, 2013.

4. Mark Toft What to Look for in a Flatbed Scanner, Staples.

5. What should I look for in a scanner? BBC WebWise. October 10, 2012.

6. Christian Cawley The Easiest Way To Scan Old Slides With A Flatbed Scanner, MakeUseOf. May 2, 2012.

7. Scanner Buying Guide, Newegg.

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Publish Date: 2020-07-31 13:01:26