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The best photo scanners in 2022

Best photo scanners: Man using Epson photo scanner to digitize photos
(Image credit: Epson)

The best photo scanners have enjoyed something of a revival in the past few years. With a resurging interest in film photography, plus no shortage of people looking to digitize their archives of old snaps, there's very much a demand out there for a good scanner.

However, it can be tricky to figure out which scanner you need. Different models offer different advantages – some are designed for speed and batch-scanning, while others are much slower, but will scan an image at much higher resolutions. On scanners, resolution is measured in dots-per-inch (DPI) – if you want a decent, clean scan of your photos then you should be looking for something with at least 600dpi, but many scanners go considerably higher than this. It depends on what you want to do with the scans – if you're planning on making new prints, then you need as much resolution as possible.

You may be scanning more than printed photos, such as film negatives or slides. If so, then you'll want to look for a scanner with dedicated holders to keep the film in place. Some scanners will be able to batch-scan, while others will require you to feed in the photos one at a time. If your archive is a large one, you'll probably want the former, as otherwise you'll be sitting around in front of the scanner for hours.  

Below, we outline our selection of the best photo scanners available now. We've based our evaluation on each device's specs, such as resolution, as well as customer reviews and value for money (we've included options for a range of budgets). Take a look below to see our selection of the best photo scanners available now, and if you're also planning to print hard copies of your scans, see our guide to the best home printers. Also, if you're scanning documents to sign, see our guide to the best e-signature software.

The best photo scanners

Epson Perfection V600 angle view, open with photo insideCB

(Image credit: Epson)

01. Epson Perfection V600

The best photo scanner overall

Specifications

Scan resolution: 6400dpi
Interface: USB
Size: 48.5 x 28 x 11.8cm
Weight: 4kg

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent resolution
+
Perfect for film and prints
+
Automatically restores photos

Reasons to avoid

-
Big and bulky

As an all-rounder photo scanner that does everything you need without costing a fortune, the Epson Perfection V600 gets our recommendation. It's a flatbed scanner, capable of scanning film negatives as well as printed photographs, which majorly expands its usefulness for analogue photographers. 

The Perfection V600 comes with two film holders that can be adapted to different sizes and formats, from 35mm negatives to mounted slide transparencies. With a resolution of up to 6,400dpi, it can digitize your images in stunning detail, and also offers extensive digital correction and enhancement technology that can automatically get rid of the likes of spots, scratches and dust motes from your images, which we reckon could be a big time saver if you're hoping not to need to edit your images once you've scanned them.

Plustek ePhoto Z300 front view, scanning photo of familyCB endorsed

(Image credit: Plustek)

02. Plustek ePhoto Z300

The best affordable photo scanner

Specifications

Scan resolution: 600dpi
Interface: USB
Size: 28.96 x 16 x 15.75cm
Weight: 1.48kg

Reasons to buy

+
Simple and straightforward
+
Good price
+
Built-in-enhancement tools

Reasons to avoid

-
Basic and slow

The Plustek ePhoto Z300 is an ideal budget photo scanner, optimised for scanning printed photos in decent quality. Its scan resolution is 600dpi, which clearly isn't as good as the likes of the Epson Perfection V600, but, well, that's one of the reasons it's less than a third of the price. 

The design is understated and the physical weight/footprint of the scanner is fairly minimal, meaning you can tuck it away in the corner of an office or living room. Of course, this does come with other trade-offs, namely that photos need to be fed through one at a time. If you've got a big archive that needs digitizing, you may want to consider a scanner that can batch-handle photos or you'll feel the precious years of your life ebbing away while you scan each image. If this concerns you, then you may want to scroll down to our next entry.

Otherwise, if you don't mind this restriction, we think the straightforward interface of the Plustek ePhoto Z300 makes it easy to use. Plus, there are some useful built-in image-enhancement features, which can add some zhuzh to faded photos without the need for too much fiddling. 

Epson FastFoto FF-680W front view, scanning photo of sunsetCB endorsed

(Image credit: Epson)

03. Epson FastFoto FF-680W

The fastest photo scanner

Specifications

Scan resolution: 300 or 600dpi
Interface: USB, Wi-Fi
Size: 17 x 30 x 17.5cm
Weight: 3.7kg

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly quick
+
Great for batch scanning

Reasons to avoid

-
Short on features
-
Not cheap

Photo scanning can be a royal pain in the proverbial, so it's always good to look out for ways to speed it up. One of the best is the Epson FastFoto FF-680W, a scanner designed for speed above all else, as implied by the name. Unlike the budget Plustek ePhoto Z300 above, there's no feeding in individual images with this zippyphoto scanner. It can be loaded up with 36 prints at a time, and if you set the resolution to 300dpi, it can manage a photo per second.

The downside? Well, 300dpi is a little stingy. It'll do for casual snaps or images to upload to Instagram (which will compress them anyway), but if you want a decent level of detail, you'll want to bolster the resolution up to its maximum of 600dpi; just be aware that this will make the scans take longer. 

If you have boxes and boxes of old photos taking up space in your attic or basement, the Epson FastFoto FF-680W is the ideal way to get them digitised as efficiently as possible. It makes for a good interim solution – use the fast scanner to get everything digitized, sift through for the keepers, and then take them to a lab to be digitally scanned at high resolutions.

Canon P-208II photo scanner angle view

(Image credit: Canon)

04. Canon P-208II

The best portable photo scanner

Specifications

Scan resolution: 600dpi
Interface: USB
Size: 31.2 x 8.9 x 4cm
Weight: 590g

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and portable
+
Decent results
+
Cheap

Reasons to avoid

-
Wi-Fi not as standard

One of the main issues with photo scanners is their size and weight. Big, bulky, and designed to sit in an office or home studio, they're no good for scanning on-the-go. Fortunately, the Canon P-20811 is designed with portability in mind. Marketed towards business travellers who need to scan in expenses receipts, business cards, or other industry documents while out visiting clients, it's suitable for photos as well.

Buyers find it small enough to fit in most bags and it's surprisingly capable, with a 10-sheet capacity and duplex scanning. It connects via USB, but if you want to scan to your phone or tablet, there's an optional Wi-Fi unit available that will allow you to do that wirelessly.

Epson Perfection V850 Pro front view scanning photo of boats

(Image credit: Epson)

05. Epson Perfection V850 Pro

The best professional photo scanner

Specifications

Scan resolution: 6400dpi
Interface: USB
Size: 50.3‎ x 30.8 x 15.2cm
Weight: 6.6kg

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent resolution
+
High dynamic range
+
Ideal for prints and film

Reasons to avoid

-
Big, heavy and expensive

One of the absolute best scanners for photographs is the Epson Perfection V850. If you want high-end quality you'll have to be prepared to shell out for it, because it is much more expensive than other models in our round-up which makes it more suited towards professional photographers and serious amateurs who have the budget for it. It can scan up to a huge 4800dpi for general photo scanning, and you can boost it to 6400dpi to scan film negatives and slides. It even has dual-lens technology built-in, which automatically selects the best lens to scan with based on the image you're using.

Like the cheaper Epson Perfection V600, it features Digital ICE tech for removing dust and scratches from old photos, and it boasts a high dynamic range so that it should perfectly match the tone and colour of every print you feed to it.

Canon DR-F120 angle view scanning documents

(Image credit: Canon)

06. Canon DR-F120

The best photo scanner for Windows users

Specifications

Scan resolution: 600dpi
Interface: USB
Size: 33.5 x 46.9 x 12cm
Weight: 4.6kg

Reasons to buy

+
Versatile
+
Good feeder capacity
+
Duplex scanning

Reasons to avoid

-
Windows-only

If you're a Windows user and you need to scan more than photos alone, the Canon DR-F120 is a great solution. It has a document feeder on the top with a 50-sheet capacity, making it ideal for office work. Underneath that, there's a flatbed scanner that's perfect for photos, so we think this scanner is a perfect jack of all trades. It offers a respectable 600dpi max scanning resolution, although those seeking highly detailed scans for professional work might need better. However, it's a solid all-rounder that'll do a good job and scan up to 20 pages per minute.

Canon DR-C225W II front view

(Image credit: Canon)

07. Canon DR-C225W II

The best slimline photo scanner for those who want to save space

Specifications

Scan resolution: 600dpi
Interface: USB, Wi-Fi
Size: 15.6 x 22 x 30cm
Weight: 2.7kg

Reasons to buy

+
Compact
+
30-sheet capacity

Reasons to avoid

-
Primarily for documents
-
Windows-only

Running out of desk space? The Canon DR-C225W II slimline document scanner isn't the portable option of the P-208II at number 4, but it is another option that's much smaller than many of the best photo scanners. Its sheet-fed design is probably not that suitable for older, more fragile prints, since it's mainly aimed at scanning A4 documents, but it is a small, slimline scanner with reliable results.

It can hold up to 30 sheets in the feeder, and it'll scan in colour at up to 25 pages per minute (of course it'll take longer than that at higher resolutions). Its Wi-Fi connection means that you don't have to worry about messy cables cluttering up your desk either. Like the DR-F120 above, this is another Windows-only scanner.

Xerox XD-COMBO angle view

(Image credit: Xerox)

08. Xerox XD-COMBO

One of the best photo scanners for Macs

Specifications

Scan resolution: 600dpi
Interface: USB
Size: 40.13 x 33.02 x 13.97cm
Weight: 2.7kg

Reasons to buy

+
Flatbed and sheet feeder
+
Built-in image enhancement
+
Mac-compatible

Reasons to avoid

-
No Wi-Fi

So what about Mac users? Well if you're disappointed that the two last options are Windows-only, don't despair because we think the Xerox XD-COMBO is a fine combination scanner. It also has a sheet feeder on top and a flatbed underneath, making it suitable for most scanning jobs. It will work with Windows as well as Mac, and similar to the Canon DR-F120, it can scan at a resolution of up to 600dpi. It also includes an additional feature for improving visual clarity thanks to the on-board Visioneer Acuity technology.

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Jim McCauley is a writer, performer and cat-wrangler who started writing professionally way back in 1995 on PC Format magazine, and has been covering technology-related subjects ever since, whether it's hardware, software or videogames. A chance call in 2005 led to Jim taking charge of Computer Arts' website and developing an interest in the world of graphic design, and eventually led to a move over to the freshly-launched Creative Bloq in 2012. Jim now works as a freelance writer for sites including Creative Bloq, T3 and PetsRadar, specialising in design, technology, wellness and cats, while doing the occasional pantomime and street performance in Bath and designing posters for a local drama group on the side.

With contributions from