How to Choose a Computer Scanner

A scanner is a device that converts printed matter into digital information that a computer can use. Confused with the wide variety of scanners? Read on!


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    Know your requirements . The type of scanner needed for home-use will be very different from that needed for business applications or heavy usage.
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    Scanners are classified on the basis of four features:
    • Resolution - A normal resolution scanner (not more than 1200 dpi) is perfect for home use as well as for scanning text and images. The resolution of scanners needed for business applications changes with requirement. For example, scanners required for cutting-edge photographic work requires high resolution while normal text scanning for business purposes requires normal resolution.
    • Bit Depth - Scanners with higher bit depths tend to produce better color images.Today, most color scanners are at least 24-bit and are perfect for normal use. For those wanting better image quality, 30 and 36-bit scanners are available.
    • Dynamic Range - Another important criteria for evaluating a scanner is the unit's dynamic range. It is a measure of how wide a range of tones the scanner can record. Most color scanners have a dynamic range of about 2.4. It is a good idea to go for a scanner that offers a higher dynamic range depending on your budget.
    • Speed - Speed becomes a factor when purchasing a scanner for commercial purposes. Heavy users will need a scanner with a high scanning speed. Most home scanners have optimum speeds for home and light use. However, the speed is the biggest factor in pricing, so choose wisely. The scanning speed can be determined by taking a few sample scans.
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    Cost - Find out the scanner that best satisfies your requirements and try to fit it into your budget. If it is too costly, find out which feature of a scanner you will require most for your purpose and choose a scanner which scores high for that particular feature and a little less on others.


  • If you don't scan books and magazines, consider a flat-bed sheet fed scanner that occupies less desk space.
  • Purchase a parallel-port scanner if you don't use the scanner often or work with large files.
  • Resolution is the primary determining factor of image quality.


  • Your computer will need at least 32MB (ideally 64) of RAM to scan.
  • Don't buy a scanner that has greater resolution than your printer or display device because the images that you scan cannot be displayed or printed at all or to the quality desired.

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Categories: External Components | Input Devices