The best portable scanners in 2022

A person using the Brother DS-940DW portable scanner
(Image credit: Brother)

Looking for one of the best portable scanners? We're here to help you find the perfect lightweight scanner that you can take anywhere to grab digital copies of receipts and business cards for your records, or tuck away in a drawer so that it's not taking up valuable desk space.

Portable scanners are generally light, compact and reasonably inexpensive, and if you shop around you'll find there's not a great deal to separate them. Most scan at up to 600dpi, and speed-wise you'll find that they'll come in between 7 and 15 pages per minute; not super-fast, but nothing to really complain about. Options you may want to look out for are internal batteries so that you don't need to plug them into your laptop for power when you're out and about, Wi-Fi connections for easier transfer of scanned images, and if you have a lot of stuff to scan then there are a few options with built-in document feeders; not many, though.

We've found all the best options for all manner of use cases and at a range of price points, and decided which are the best ones based on our own knowledge of the products as well as consumer reviews across the internet. So whatever you require from a portable scanner, you should find what you need here. 

If you have more sophisticated scanning requirements, you should check out our guide to the best photo scanners, and bear in mind that many of the best home printers and best laser printers have scanners built in, too, so if portability isn't your main requirement you can invest in one of these and kill two birds with one stone.

The best portable scanners available now

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Product shot of Brother DS-940DW

(Image credit: Brother)

01. Brother DS-940DW

The best portable scanner overall

Specifications

Connectivity: Wireless, USB
Size: 6.3 x 31.9 x 4.5 cm
Weight: 1.1kg
Maximum scanning speed : 15ppm

Reasons to buy

+
Nice and fast
+
Duplex scanning
+
Scans almost everything

Reasons to avoid

-
Bit of a heavyweight

For the best portable scanner in general, you'll have a hard time finding a better option than the Brother DS-940DW document scanner. It ticks pretty much all the boxes: it'll scan everything from receipts and business cards through to photos and A4 paper at up to 15 pages per minute, it'll do two-sided scanning, saving you having to feed the same document through twice if it's printed on both sides, and it'll connect either wirelessly or via USB 3.0.

It comes with its own scanning software and a mobile app to help you get best results; the only real downside is its weight. At just over a kilo this is the heaviest portable scanner listed here, but we reckon its abilities make up for its ample mass. 

Product shot of Epson WorkForce ES-50

(Image credit: Epson)

02. Epson WorkForce ES-50

The best lightweight portable scanner

Specifications

Connectivity: USB
Size: 27.2‎ x 4.7 x 3.4 cm
Weight: 270g
Maximum scanning speed : 10ppm

Reasons to buy

+
Super-light
+
Reasonably quick
+
Useful software included

Reasons to avoid

-
No wireless connection

If the Brother DS-940DW's too much for you to lug around and you'd prefer something a lot lighter, we'd recommend the svelte Epson WorkForce ES-50. It comes in at less than a quarter of the weight of the Brother, making it absolutely perfect for scanning on the move, and it's powered by USB so you can simply plug it into your laptop and go.

It won't do double-sided scanning but it's still fairly versatile and capable of handling all kinds of media, including business cards and even credit cards, and paper up to 270gsm. It can scan at up to a reasonably quick 5.5 seconds per page, and to help you manage your scans and get the best results it comes with Epson's own SmartScan software.

Product shot of Canon ImageFORMULA R10

(Image credit: Canon)

03. Canon ImageFORMULA R10

The best portable scanner for small businesses

Specifications

Connectivity: USB
Size: 9.5 x 28.5 x 4 cm
Weight: 998g
Maximum scanning speed : 12ppm

Reasons to buy

+
20-page document feeder
+
Duplex scanning
+
Pretty quick

Reasons to avoid

-
No good for photos

One of the problems you're likely to run into if you're after the best portable scanner is that because of their compact proportions they're unlikely to have built-in document feeders, which means having to feed your stuff through page-by-page. However the Canon imageFORMULA R10 is cleverly designed with a lid that incorporates a 20-page feeder, enabling you to fold it out, load it up and leave it to get on with things at up to 12 pages per minute.

It does two-sided scanning to make life even easier for you, and it'll handle a wide range of media (although Canon specifically warns against using it with photos), and it comes with its own built-in software that's good to go as soon as you plug the Canon imageFORMULA R10 into your computer.

Product shot of Doxie Go SE Wi-Fi

(Image credit: Doxie)

04. Doxie Go SE Wi-Fi

The best portable scanner for Mac

Specifications

Connectivity: Wireless
Size: 31.1 x 5.7 x 4.4 cm
Weight: 898g
Maximum scanning speed : 7ppm

Reasons to buy

+
Wonderfully straightforward
+
Stores scans on SD card
+
No computer required

Reasons to avoid

-
Not very fast

Looking for the best portable scanner for Mac? That's not a problem; it's difficult these days to find a scanner that's not Mac-compatible. However we reckon that the best fit for a Mac workflow is the Doxie Go SE Wi-Fi. What we love about it is how beautifully self-contained it is; you don't actually need to plug it into anything. The Doxie Go SE Wi-Fi is powered by rechargeable battery and comes with a 16GB SD card that'll hold up to 8,000 pages, so you can scan whenever and wherever you want and only download scans to your computer when you need to.

The Doxie Go SE Wi-Fi comes with apps for Mac, iPhone and iPad (and Windows as well), and it'll scan everything from business cards to photos. At eight seconds per page it's not a speedy option, but for straightforward streamlined simplicity it's a winner.

Product shot of Brother DS-640

(Image credit: Brother)

05. Brother DS-640

The best cheap portable scanner

Specifications

Connectivity: USB
Size: 5.1 x 30.1 x 3.7 cm
Weight: 466g
Maximum scanning speed : 15ppm

Reasons to buy

+
Great price
+
Impressive speed
+
Handles most media

Reasons to avoid

-
No Wi-Fi connection

Don't want to pay a fortune for the best portable scanner? For our money, the best cheap option right now is another Brother, the DS-640. It's cheap but pretty impressive, with a scanning speed of up to 15 pages per minute, and it's compact and fairly lightweight.

It'll scan everything from receipts and business cards up to photos and A4 paper, and it's powered by USB 3.0 so you can plug it into your laptop and scan away wherever you may be. As you might expect it'll only do single-sided scanning, but on the whole this is a fantastic little portable scanner for the price.

Product shot of Epson WorkForce ES-60W

(Image credit: Epson)

06. Epson WorkForce ES-60W

The best portable document scanner

Specifications

Connectivity: Wireless, USB
Size: 3.4 x 27.2 x 4.7 cm
Weight: 300g
Maximum scanning speed : 15ppm

Reasons to buy

+
High DPI
+
Fast scans
+
Compact and lightweight

Reasons to avoid

-
No duplex scanning

Most of the best portable scanners do their thing at up to 600dpi, which is fine in most cases. But if you need super-crisp scans of your documents, the Epson WorkForce ES-60W is well worth your attention, with a DPI of up to 1,200. That comes in really useful when you factor in the ES-60W's included OCR software, that'll turn scanned text into searchable PDFs or editable Word and Excel files; when you're turning scans into text, the clearer the results the better.

The ES-60W has a rechargeable battery so you can use it anywhere, and you can connect it to your Mac or PC via Wi-Fi or USB. And it's another speedy option, scanning at up to 15 pages per minute.

Product shot of Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100

(Image credit: Fujitsu)

07. Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100

A versatile wireless portable scanner

Specifications

Connectivity: Wireless, USB
Size: 3.6x 27.3 x 4.7 cm
Weight: 400g
Maximum scanning speed : 12ppm

Reasons to buy

+
Can scan A3 paper
+
Good battery life
+
Decent speed

Reasons to avoid

-
No duplex scanning

Given the size of portable scanners, they're not a lot of use if you want to scan documents bigger than A4. However the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 has a neat little trick up its sleeve that enables you to scan A3 documents; by folding the document and putting it into a carrier sheet, you can scan both sides and the iX100's software will automatically stitch it together. It's a bit of a hack but it's a definite plus if you sometimes need to scan larger documents

On top of that cool feature, there's plenty to like about the iX100, it'll scan everything from receipts to photos and cards, it can scan directly to smart devices and it comes with a stack of software to help you get the results you need. It's fairly fast and battery-powered too, capable of up to 260 A4 scans on a single charge.

Product shot of Canon P-208II

(Image credit: Canon)

08. Canon P-208II

The best portable scanner for photos

Specifications

Connectivity: Wireless, USB
Size: 31.2 x 8.9 x 4 cm
Weight: 590g
Maximum scanning speed : 8ppm

Reasons to buy

+
Won't chew your photos
+
Duplex scanning
+
Document feeder

Reasons to avoid

-
Not especially fast

If you're shopping for the best portable scanner and hoping to use it to scan photos, it pays to read the small print. Some portable scanners quite definitely won't work with photos, and if you don't want your precious prints chewed up then you need to ensure that your portable scanner is photo-compatible. One great option is Canon's P-208II; not only will it cope with photographs, it'll also happily handle embossed card.

The P-208II does two-sided scanning as well, and for added ease of use it's one of the few options that comes with a document feeder; it can only handle 10 sheets, but that's still better than having to feed paper in manually. It's powered by a rechargeable battery and comes with built-in software so you can simply plug in and go, and while it's not especially quick, it's compact and versatile.

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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.