Digital life wouldn’t have been easier without scanners because it helps millions of people save important papers and documents on their laptop. Every person wants to use a high-quality scanner to get digital files of physical photos and documents. However, based on the requirements, you can either choose sheet-fed or flatbed scanning machines.

Out of the two types, the flatbed model is smaller, and you have to place a paper onto the scanning panel to get the desired output. Although sheet-fed machines scan, it doesn’t provide high-quality result like flatbeds. Flatbeds are an extremely popular choice of big companies that focus on quality and want to scan marketing materials or photographs.

Further reading: The Ultimate Guide To Choosing A Scanner That Best Fits Your Needs

What Are Flatbed Scanners?

A flatbed scanner is a machine that lets people convert paper documents or images into a digital format. This large machine comes with a hinged lid and is created to be used with a laptop or computer. After lifting the lid, the user can place the document flat against the glass underneath.

Flatbed scanners can work as a copy machine. Using light or an image sensor, the flatbed machine scans the document. If you want to scan documents occasionally, then choosing a flatbed scanner will be a great decision. However, these scanners work best with photos, film, and fragile images.

Some people refer to flatbed scanning devices as document scanners. However, a flatbed scanner and a document one don’t have the same features and functions. You can find document scanning machines that can scan multipage documents simultaneously and come with an auto-feed feature.

How Does A Flatbed Scanner Work?

Since there are so many flatbed scanners available in the market, choosing the best one becomes difficult. In most flatbed scanners, you will find a glass window where the object needs to be placed for scanning purposes.

While placing the document, you have to ensure the section that needs to be scanned is facing downward. Then, close the scanner’s cover, and when you are ready, press the button for the scan. Now you will be able to see how the flatbed scanner operates.

  • Flatbed scanners generally have an in-built source of light along with the glass bed. Either the light used in these scanners is LED or fluorescent. A voltage regulator or a similar device is used to regulate this light. Hence, the light can spread throughout the document or image.
  • The document gets illuminated by the light source that starts the actual encoding process of the document. The flatbed scanner includes a lens and CCD array generally fixed at the top and is known as the scan head. Upon the complete document, these mechanism moves or roll.
  • Scan head works like a stabilizer and is generally fixed to a bar. Hence, the entire scanning process will take place properly, without any deviation.
  • Then, the document’s image is reflected by an angled mirror on another mirror. Once the picture reflects on this second mirror, the image will get again reflected on the lens.
  • Then, the captured image gets projected by the lens onto the CCD array using a filter.

Usually, this is why the encoding is done. Once it gets in the CCD array, the document gets decoded by the laptop. Then, the screen reflects the document exactly like it is in reality. The process is pretty straightforward and requires only a few seconds to scan any image or document.

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What Is A Flatbed Scanner Used For?

Flatbed scanners store scanned copies of physical documents digitally on laptops, computers, or mobile devices. Most people choose this scanner because it provides quality, detail, and accuracy in scanned images. Although there are different scanners, the result and accuracy you get by using this device are unmatched.

Moreover, these machines can also be used by a newbie. You only need to place the document properly above the glass panel while ensuring the section to be scanned facing downward. Compared to other scanners, flatbed scanning devices are considered an ideal choice for both home and office use.

Features Of A Flatbed Scanner

 Dual Side Scanning

There are a lot of flatbed scanners that include the duplex scanning feature. Hence, you can save enormous time and get quick results, particularly when there are more than 100 papers ready to be scanned.

 Power-Saving Mode

Several companies that use flatbed scanners regularly ensure that the power-saving mode is included in the machine to reduce energy consumption. Various latest flatbed scanners come with a power-saving mode feature so that users don’t have to worry about it.

Flatbed Scanner Advantages And Disadvantages


 1 – Great Quality

Compared to other types of scanners, flatbed devices are popularly known for their great quality scans. You won’t find the image appear lopsided after using flatbed scanners. Other scanners give poor-quality results because of huge amounts of equipment that are stuffed inside a small space. A flatbed scanner can get a perfect snapshot of the document’s both sides without making the document move from its place.

 2 – Easy To Use

One of the biggest advantages of flatbed scanners is that even beginners and teenagers can use the machine without getting confused. While using a flatbed scanner, you only need to place the document in the device and close the top. Then, turn on the scanner, make the required settings, and press the “Scan” button.


1 – Space Consumption

Generally, flatbed scanners are large and bulky. Although every flatbed scanner is created differently, most devices take more room than other scanners. However, there won’t be any issues when arranging two square feet of desk space for the flatbed scanners.

2 – Price

Since the flatbed scanners are better than other scanners and provide a quality result, you will need to pay more than a hundred dollars to get this device. Those looking for the best design and features in flatbed scanners will find the machines quite expensive.

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What Is The Difference Between A Flatbed Scanner And A Document Scanner?

1 – Mechanics

Document scanners include sheet feeders for the conversion process from physical documents into digital images. You won’t find these sheet feeders in flatbed scanners. The cover and glass panel comes with flatbed devices so that users can easily place their documents for scanning purposes.

2 – Practical Uses

When you want to scan a lot of pages in a short period without worrying about quality, then choosing a document scanner will be an ideal option. However, those looking to scan photos, stamps, cards, and older documents should always choose a flatbed scanner. You are guaranteed to get a high-resolution scan without causing any damage to the original physical document.

How Do I Choose The Best Flatbed Scanner?

1 – Check The Scanning Resolution

Those buying a flatbed scanner for storing documents as a digital image in laptops should choose one that scans between 300 and 600 dpi. If you want to scan photos and might require printing them, later on, you should buy devices that can scan at least 600 dpi or higher.

2 – Color Or Bit Depth

There are several gray shades that the flatbed scanner can process. When the color of the bit is higher, you will get scanned images with better contrast. Although for documents, 24-bit is enough, you should look for a higher bit for scanning photographs.

3 – USB Or Wi-Fi Connection

Flatbed scanners might come with a USB cable or can be connected using Wi-Fi. While buying choosing flatbed scanners with a USB cable, you should ensure it supports a faster USB 2.0 connection.

What You Need To Know About Flatbed Scanners

Best Flatbed Scanners 

Epson Perfection V600 Document Scanner

Epson Scanners are easy to use, and you can scan around 4 medium format photos at once. This flatbed device includes an additional film holder that can be used for mounted slide film. You can get different quality scans based on the selected scan mode. The device will take a short or long time according to your desired scan quality.

You will find no issues connecting the scanner and running the software in Apple MacBook. There can be some connectivity and software issues while using Windows. The operation is simple, but the design of the software is outdated. You will find 4 modes in the software with specific options. The easiest one is full auto mode. However, you should use home mode because it provides several choices and won’t cause confusion.

Those who don’t know about scanners should avoid using professional mode because the computer can get crowded quickly with different modules. However, if you are willing to experiment with professional mode, then an additional color palette module can help in altering the hues of colors in the photos.

What We Like:

  • Easy-to-use
  • Good price
  • Decent scan quality

What We Don’t Like:

  • Outdated design of scanning software
  • High-quality scans take more than a few seconds

Xerox Xd-Combo Duplex Combo Flatbed Scanner

Xerox Duplex Scanner is an entry-level combination of document and flatbed scanners created for small companies, banks, and travel agencies. The scanning results are relatively quick for the price of the machine. You get a superb software bundle with the flatbed scanner. The biggest advantage of the combo scanner is that you don’t need to buy any other scanner while using different documents and photos.

Moreover, the duplex scanner comes with two sensors that help you scan both sides of a document at once and save time. Xerox flatbed scanner is small and light. Hence, this machine is considered the best option for people who don’t have enough space in-home or office. In the control panel of the Xerox combo scanner, there are four options – Up or down arrows and Simplex or Duplex buttons.

Simplex and Duplex buttons on the control panel allow you to choose whether the scanning process should start for one side or both sides. You can scan photos and passports, book pages, magazines, and any other difficult-to-access content. For a scanner under $300, you can scan 1500 documents every day.

What We Like:

  • Light and small
  • Easy to deploy and use
  • Robust software bundle
  • Relatively fast for the price
  • Economically priced

What We Don’t Like:

  • Lacks wireless and mobile connectivity

Epson Perfection V850 Pro Scanner

Epson Perfection Scanner is created for experienced photographers who need the best possible scan quality for pictures. The Epson Perfection V850 scanner is the better version of the Epson V750-M Pro. Compared to different scanners provided by Epson, Perfection V850 is currently a top-of-the-line photo scanner.

You can not only scan photographic prints but also scan film using the machine. Epson V850 is a bit different set than other scanners because it offers an extra set of film holders. Hence, users can insert one set in a holder while scanning one set of originals in another film holder. You can save a lot of time when there are different sets of originals.

Epson V850 allows users to get slightly improved scan quality because its software includes the best version of LaserSoft Imaging’s SilverFast. You won’t have difficulty setting up the USB-connected scanner. However, the scanner is a bit bigger and heavier than most scanning devices. Although the price of V850 is higher than Epson’s V800 scanner, those who want a high-quality scan should choose this one.

What We Like:

  • Best quality scanning result for film and photographic prints
  • Includes color-calibration target and software

What We Don’t Like:

  • Color-calibration software is difficult to use

Canon Canoscan Lide220 Photo Scanner

Canon CanoScan is the high-end photo scanner for those who don’t need to scan film. The scanner is available at an affordable price and offers excellent output quality. Users like this scanner because it comes with an automatic color restoration feature for faded photos. Compared to LiDE 210 Color Image Scanner, Canon LiDE220 provides higher resolution at the best price.

Canon LiDE220 scanner doesn’t change the color of photos even slightly. That is a common problem with most scanners. Although the software of LiDE 220 is different from Canon LiDE 210, the limitations and capabilities are almost the same. Built-in optical character recognition (OCR) is provided in the scan utility. Hence, you can not only scan to image PDF format but also searchable PDF files.

The setup process is simple, and even beginners can install the software provided by Canon LiDE 220 scanner. You just need to install the software. Then, find the USB cable from the box and connect it with the laptop or computer. Although scanning is easy, some people get confused by seeing different physical buttons on the scanner’s front panel.

What We Like:

  • Scans to editable text forms and searchable PDF files
  • High-quality photo scans
  • Image enhancements include dust removal and color restore features

What We Don’t Like:

  • No photo editor
  • Extremely limited software
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Can You Scan Negatives On A Flatbed Scanner?

Yes, you can scan negatives on a flatbed scanner. However, you must keep in mind certain things. Flatbed scanners that renowned companies do not provide are not ideal for scanning photo negatives. You might notice the low color quality and poor resolution.

Those who want to use flatbed scanners for negatives should invest in the best scanning devices. Moreover, before starting the process of scanning, remove any dust particles and debris using a microfiber cloth. There is photo editing software provided by some scanners that can help in getting the desired result.

Are Flatbed Scanners Good For Film?

Ordinary flatbed scanners won’t be able to scan film. Conventional scanners are designed to capture the reflected light of the document getting scanned. However, the film has to get illuminated from behind. Hence, you should only choose a flatbed scanner promoted as a film scanner by its users. You must check the reviews about the flatbed scanner online to find out whether they are good for the film.

Can You Scan Slides On A Flatbed Scanner?

Yes, you can scan slides on a flatbed scanner. However, only the best flatbed scanner from renowned companies can provide high-quality results. Before you start scanning a slide, make sure the slides are clean.

Generally, they are stored in boxes for more than a year and can include a lot of dust particles. Clean the image using a small microfiber cloth. This process is important because you want to scan the image without any dust.

Since all the scanner software provides a preview function, users should check whether the image has been picked properly. Additionally, you will be able to choose the preferred area for the main scan. Use the settings to make sure the image in the slide is not getting scanned too dark.

Does A Flatbed Scanner Use Wi-Fi?

Most flatbed scanners don’t come with wireless connectivity. However, you can find ADF scanners with a flatbed option. Those who want to get Wi-Fi features can also look for ADF scanners.


We hope now you understand the benefits of using a flatbed scanner, which big companies mostly use. You can get high-quality digital images by using these scanners for home or office use. Renowned companies provide the best flatbed scanners. You must invest in a scanner that does the work of both document and photo scanners.


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