What's the Right Scanner for Your Mac?
- Best Flatbed Scanner For Windows 10
- Best Flatbed Scanner For Mac
- Best Flatbed Scanner For Photos
- Flatbed Scanners Reviews
There's no secret ingredient in determining the best scanner for your Apple desktop or laptop, as the factors that make a Mac-friendly model great are, by and large, the same as those that set the best Windows scanners apart from the pack. As with any tech product, prospective buyers look for the ideal combination of performance and features based on their needs, and set it against the price. For a document scanner, common criteria include speed, the ability to scan to various formats, the paper capacity of the automatic document feeder (ADF), optical character recognition (OCR) performance, the ability to scan and read business cards, the presence of a flatbed, the ability to scan over a network, and portability. Among the desired traits for photo scanners are speed, high resolution, the ability to scan slides and film, as well as prints, scan quality, and dust and scratch removal.
In order for a scanner to work at all with a Mac, it has to have an OS X driver. Beyond that, the software that's usually bundled with a scanner may or may not be Mac-compatible.
For most of these factors, it makes little difference if your scanner is connected to a PC or a Mac. But there is one area in which Mac users are at a distinct disadvantage, and that is in software. As popular as Apple computers have become, Mac users are underserved when it comes to scanners and some other peripherals. As a Mac owner myself, I'm keenly aware that it's still largely a Windows world out there.
Get the Right Driver
In order for a scanner to work at all with a Mac, it has to have a macOS driver. Beyond that, the software that's usually bundled with a scanner may or may not be Mac-compatible. Most recent photo scanners can work with Macs. Photo scanners often just come with drivers and a scan utility, leaving it to the user to provide a photo-editing program. Popular choices, including Photoshop Elements and Photoshop CC, are available in both Windows- and Mac-compatible versions.
See How We Test Scanners
It's All in the Software
Fewer document scanners are Mac compatible, and some are only partially so. Most document scanners (with the exception of some high-end models) come with a software suite that includes, at the minimum, document management, OCR, and business-card programs. A good bundled software package for a scanner intended for both operating systems should include a full suite of both Windows and Mac programs. However, it's not uncommon that an otherwise Mac-friendly scanner will be missing parts of the suite. You can buy the programs separately if they're even available, but that's an extra expense that you'll have to factor into your costs.
Statistically, there are far fewer Mac-friendly scanners than there are, say, printers, though their numbers are growing. It may take a bit more hunting to find the perfect scanner for your Mac than it would for a Windows-compatible model, but we've come across some excellent choices, which we present below. For more on what to look for when choosing a scanner, check out our scanner buying guide. And if you're in the market for a model specifically for photos, see our list of the best photo scanners.
Best Scanners for Mac Featured in This Roundup:
Canon CanoScan LiDE 400 Review
Pros: Vibrant photo scans. Excellent software bundle. Comes with kickstand for upright positioning. Very simple to use.
Cons: Lacks mobile device and wireless support. Could be more accurate when scanning serif fonts.
Bottom Line: The entry-level Canon CanoScan LiDE 400 is a software-rich flatbed photo scanner that also handles text documents with ease.Read Review
Epson DS-870 Review
Pros: Fast scanning and saving to searchable PDF. Huge volume and capacity for the price. Highly accurate.
Cons: Networking is an add-on. No wireless or mobile connectivity.
Bottom Line: The highly capable Epson WorkForce DS-870 is a fast, no frills high-volume scanner ideal for heavy-duty scanning and document-archiving environments.Read Review
Epson DS-80W Wireless Portable Document Scanner Review
Pros: Fast scanning. Accurate OCR. Light and small. Easy to use.
Cons: Lacks ADF.
Bottom Line: The Epson DS-80W is a fast and accurate single-sheet-feed portable document scanner ideally suited for scanning short jobs to your laptop or smartphone on the road.Read Review
Epson FastFoto FF-680W Review
Pros: Quickly scans stacks of photo prints. Decent as a document scanner. Scans to searchable PDF. Solid OCR performance.
Cons: Somewhat pricey. Slower at photo scanning than its predecessor.
Bottom Line: The Epson FastFoto FF-680W is a sheet-feed desktop scanner that excels at scanning stacks of snapshots while doing a credible job at document scanning.Read Review
HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow N9120 fn2 Document Scanner Review
Pros: Fast. Can scan up to tabloid-size paper from either flatbed or ADF. Connects by Ethernet or USB.
Cons: Large and heavy. A major investment.
Bottom Line: The HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow N9120 fn2 Document Scanner offers an excellent mix of features and performance for offices that do a high volume of scanning.Read Review
HP ScanJet Pro 3000 s3 Sheet-Feed Scanner Review
Pros: Excellent speed and accuracy for the price. Well-rounded software bundle, including document and business-card archiving software. High daily duty cycle.
Cons: Primary scanning utility is slow.
Bottom Line: The moderately priced HP ScanJet Pro 3000 delivers excellent speed and respectable accuracy, as well as an inclusive software bundle, making it a good value.Read Review
Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 (2019) Review
Pros: Accurate OCR. Fast. Robust software bundle. Versatile connectivity options, including mobile. Reasonable price.
Cons: Lacks single-pass auto-duplexing.
Bottom Line: The Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 is a fast and feature-packed manual-feed document scanner designed for light-duty data capture on the road.Read Review
Panasonic KV-N1028X Review
Pros: Superb OCR accuracy. Customizable touch screen. Comprehensive software. Competitive speed when scanning to image files and searchable PDF. Wired and wireless networking, including Wi-Fi Direct. Three-year warranty.
Cons: Individual workstation licenses sold separately. A bit pricey.
Bottom Line: The Panasonic KV-N1028X is a snappy and exceptionally accurate networkable document scanner, designed primarily for enterprise environments.Read Review
Scanning a document in Mac OS X is extremely simple, but for those who might not be familiar, or are coming from Windows, it’s useful to take a quick tour through how it works.
RELATED:How to Scan Documents to PDF with Your Android Phone’s Camera
It’s worth noting that a good percentage of the time you can just use your smartphone’s camera and scan it to PDF easily. For most common scanning tasks, that option will work really well, and it’s an especially great option for scanning a picture of a receipt to save into your digital archive.
Scanning in OS X is Easy
You can open the Printers & Scanners app through System Preferences, but it’s easier to use CMD + SPACE to pull up Spotlight and type in “Scanner” to bring it up.
Once you’ve opened the preferences panel, you’ll see your printer, and you’ll want to click on Scan, and then Open Scanner.
At this point you’ll see the Scanner window, and you can click the Scan button, but we’d recommend using the Show Details option to get into the settings for the scanner. If you have a sheet feeder, you could select that checkbox, and change the drop-down from Pictures to something else before scanning, but it’s easier to just get into the details first.
Best Flatbed Scanner For Windows 10
Once you’ve arrived at the Details screen, your scanner will usually warm up and take a preview scan before you select the options for the actual scan, although this will load from the flatbed.
Most of the options make sense and are straight-forward, but we’ll list out the important ones just in case.
- Scan Mode – If your scanner has a sheet feeder, you can use this to select that instead of the flatbed.
- Kind – If you only want black and white you can change to that mode for documents, although the default Color option is probably just fine.
- Resolution – You can almost always leave this at default for documents, unless you are trying to scan photographs, in which case you would want to use a higher resolution. 300 dpi will be just fine for a document.
- Scan To – You can choose a different folder than the default, which is your Pictures folder for some reason, even though the default format is PDF. It would make more sense to have Documents as your default folder, but whatever.
- Name – This is what the file is actually going to be saved as. Change this to something descriptive.
- Format – The default is PDF, but you can change it to an image format instead if you are scanning pictures. You can also use the “Combine into single document” checkbox to take everything off the sheet feeder and put it into a single document.
Best Flatbed Scanner For Mac
Once you’ve selected your options, which mostly consists of selecting between sheet feeder or flatbed, picking the folder, and changing the name of the document, you can simply click Scan to start the scanning process.
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Flatbed Scanners Reviews
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