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Five Best Document Scanners for Going Paperless

Five Best Document Scanners for Going Paperless

Not every scanner is a great one if you're thinking about going paperless. You need a good one that'll handle all the documents, receipts, and oddly-shaped papers you need to digitize, and preferably one with great software support to help you keep all that stuff organized. Here's a look at five of the best, based on your nominations.

Earlier this week, we asked you which document scanners you thought were the best for the job. Not just any old scanner, or multi-function scanner/printer/copier—specifically which document scanners were best for helping you empty that filing cabinet and go paperless. We have a favorite of our own, but we've shown you how to go paperless with any scanner, and even cleared up some of your questions after the fact. After tallying up your nominations, here's a look at the top five.

The poll is closed and the votes are counted! To see which of these top five took the crown as the Lifehacker favorite, head over to our hive five followup post to see and discuss the winner!

Five Best Document Scanners for Going Paperless

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500/Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500

Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner for PC and Mac (PA03656-B005)

List Price: $495.00 $426.98

The ScanSnap S1500 is technically no longer available, having been replaced by the newer ScanSnap iX500, but those of you who own them and nominated them noted that both models are exceptional at quickly scanning documents of different sizes and shapes, and even converting some text documents into searchable PDFs. While the S1500 was Windows only, the iX500 extends support to Mac users who want to organize their lives too. The S1500 sported 20ppm scanning, and the iX500 brought that up to 25, and both models have a document feeder that makes scanning multi-page documents as easy as loading the tray—no feeding each page one after the other. The iX500 also supports scanning to iOS and Android devices, can make PDFs with one button, and more. It'll set you back $500 retail ($430 at Amazon).

Five Best Document Scanners for Going Paperless

Doxie Go

The Doxie Go is a great scanner—so much so that our own Adam Dachis used it to go paperless in two days, and showed you how you can do it too. It's a tiny thing, portable enough to fit into a bag and go with you almost anywhere, is powered via USB, and great for scanning everything from photographs to multi-page documents to tiny receipts on thermal paper. Best of all, the Doxie comes with software that makes the most of its features and helps you organize the documents you scan with it. If you scan text, the companion app does OCR so you can search the text in those documents, and if you prefer to use another platform like Dropbox or Evernote to organize your files, it syncs with those services as well. Even if you don't use another web service for your documents, the Doxie's software can sync with all of your (iOS) mobile devices and computers on its own. The Doxie Go will set you back $199 ($187 at Amazon), but the other Doxie models are a bit cheaper.

Five Best Document Scanners for Going PaperlessExpand

Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i

If you're looking for a more affordable ScanSnap document scanner than the previously mentioned iX500, the S1300i brings a smaller, space-saving form factor to your desk without sacrificing much of the power that makes the ScanSnap line a great one for digitizing documents. It does away with the large body in exchange for a smaller, more streamlined model like the Doxie Go or the NeatReceipts, but still includes a fold-out document tray for multiple pages and papers of odd sizes. You can keep the tray closed and feed photos or other documents yourself though, and the fact that it's tiny and USB-powered makes it portable enough to take with you if you travel. It even supports multi-sided documents, and it comes with the ScanSnap software for Windows and OS X to make getting your documents in a format you can use easy. The ScanSnap software can also sync with and scan to other web services, including Evernote, Dropbox, and Google Drive, if you prefer to use one of those services to organize your newly digitized documents. The S1300i will set you back $300 retail ($260 at Amazon).

Five Best Document Scanners for Going Paperless

Neat Scanner

Despite its appearances on infomercials and late night television, the Neat Scanner is actually a capable document scanner, and those of you who nominated it praised it for being speedy, portable, and able to handle documents of all sizes easily, from business cards to full-sized sheets of paper. The Neat comes in two varieties, the NeatDesk (shown here) and the NeatReceipts, a smaller, USB-powered version similar in size and shape to the Doxie Go. Both models include supporting software to make scanning and organizing your documents easy, and that also sync with the Neat mobile app for iOS and Android. Neat's angle is to get you hooked with the device, and then sell you additional services, like its Neat Cloud service, which is essentially a Dropbox clone with a monthly fee, or its NeatVerify service that puts a human eye on every document you scan to make sure it's been processed correctly. On its own though, the Neat scanner and software package make a powerful enough combination to keep your paper clutter to a minimum. The NeatDesk will set you back $400 ($380 at Amazon), and the NeatReceipts $179 ($140 at Amazon). Both models come with the desktop software.

Five Best Document Scanners for Going Paperless

Your Smartphone's Camera

Several of you said that your smartphone's camera and an accompanying organizational app would work just fine for you. It's free, not including the cost of an app you may use, and it only requires the equipment you already own. This is true, but this is a perfect case of getting what you pay for: it may be free and easy, but it's slow, especially compared to the other contenders in the top five, and scanning large, multi-page documents you may want to digitize will undoubtedly be an agonizing process with a smartphone's camera. If you want the document you photograph to be legible and useful, or even searchable once you save it and organize it, good luck. Still, enough of you nominated it that it's worth mentioning as an option. Photo by Mauricio Lima.

Five Best Document Scanners for Going Paperless

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