6.1. Choosing a Scanner
You'll find these three types of scanners on the shelves at most office supply and computer stores.
Flatbed (price range: $50 to $200) . Flatbed scanners hide a large plate of glass beneath a large lid. Lift the lid, place your photo or other item on the glass, and close the lid. When you tell Windows to scan, the scanner converts your photo or other item into an image file. Flatbed scanners are the most popular model for consumers because they work so well at the most common tasks : scanning in occasional photos, articles, receipts, and handwritten documents. Once you scan something, you can save it, reprint it, or send it to friends or coworkers.
Sheet-fed (price range: $400 to $1,000) . Sheet-fed scanners are built for scanning lots of items quickly. Instead of standing by the scanner, constantly lifting and closing its lid for each scan, you simply insert your stack of pages into the scanner's feeder tray. The scanner's spinning rollers suck in each page, scan it, spit it back out, and grab the next . Built for speed, they carry a sports car price tag compared to flatbed models.
Unless they come with a detachable document feeder, sheet-fed scanners are limited to scanning sheets of paperruling out quick scans of vintage album covers, bound books, cloth, flowers, or other items that end up on the flatbeds of the adventurous.
All-in-One (price range: $150 to $300) . These scanners come as part of an all-in-one printer (Section 4.1.3), which places a scanner atop a printer, and then throws in the smarts of a copier and fax machine. All-in-one models pack four gadgets into something that costs much less than the sum of its parts . These devices are heavy, making them awkward to carry in the front door, as well as move from one room to another. And the individual components are never as versatile as the dedicated models. But if you're shopping for both a scanner and printer, they're certainly convenient , and you can't beat the cost savings.