Whether you’re meeting a client at their house, planning your startup in a coffee shop, or you just like working from different rooms in your home, you no longer need to be tied down to an office to run your business. Laptops, smartphones, and tablets can do a lot of the heavy lifting, but sometimes you still need to get contracts, photos, magazine pages, business cards, IDs, or any number of physical documents onto your computer. That’s where portable scanners come in, providing a fast, simple, high-quality solution that goes where you do.
Many connect to your computer or portable device using Wi-Fi, and run on batteries, meaning you don’t have to lug around a bunch of cables. They scan high-resolution documents quickly, leaving you more time to work on your deals than handle paperwork, and their included software can create PDFs, convert scanned pages into text, and provide a host of features to clean up photos. They’re lightweight, small, and easy to stow in a travel bag or even a backpack, the perfect tool for any modern-day road warrior.
When you don’t always have a computer with you. Amazon
No one wants to be tied down by a cluster of wires when traveling, which is why the Doxie Go SE connects to your computer, phone, or tablet via Wi-Fi. The unit can scan full-color pages in eight seconds up to 600 dpi, and you can scan up to 400 pages per charge. Internal memory allows you to store 400 pages before needing to sync with your computer, making it simple to scan and capture receipts, contracts, photos, and other paperwork while on the road. At only 12.2 inches long and 2.2 inches deep, and weighing 1.9 pounds, the scanner fits into luggage or a briefcase, or just stows out of the way when not in use. Included OCR recognizes text in documents and creates searchable PDFs. Auto adjust functions apply smart-cropping, de-skew, and automatic contrast adjustments.
When time is of the essence. Amazon
Wireless convenience and high-speed scanning mark Epson’s ES-65-RW, which can scan pages in as fast as four seconds. It’s also one of the smaller portable scanners, at only 10.7 inches long and 1.8 inches deep, and it weighs just about 11 ounces. Whether you’re using a Mac or PC, the scanner can create, convert, edit, and assemble searchable PDFs, and additional software also allows for automatic file naming and scan-object recognition. When you’re done, export your files to QuickBooks, Quicken, TurboTax, Excel, and more. Save your documents to a computer, smartphone, or tablet, or send them to cloud-based storage platforms like Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Drive.
For the professional on a budget. Amazon
This inexpensive scanner can still capture sharp documents at 16 pages per minute. It connects to your computer via USB, and using the included software, you can scan to a local file, shared folder, email, FTP, or printer. The unit includes a suite of scanning software for both Windows and Mac OS, including page management, PDF conversion, and OCR.
For designers and artists who think outside the document. Amazon
Sometimes you want to scan documents, and sometimes you want to scan wallpaper patterns. Maybe you want to capture the design on a pillowcase, or the picture on your mom’s sweatshirt, or that weird-but-interesting stain on the floor of the garage. In that case, a portable hand-held scanner is the way to go. When sitting in its docking station, the Magic Wand works like any other sheet-fed scanner, capturing images at 300-1200 dpi. However, remove the hand-held unit to scan any flat surface, whether it’s the side of a building or a swatch of cloth. The unit scans to a micro-SD card, and when fully charged, the built-in lithium-ion battery can capture 400 scans. When you’re done, pull the card, pop it into your computer, grab the images, and let your inspiration guide you.