The 3 Best A3 Flatbed Scanners of 2020

These are what we consider to be the 3 Best A3 Flatbed Scanners that you can buy right now in 2020. We selected 3 models: 1 from Epson, 1 from Plustek and 1 from Xerox. We compare them by the specs that they offer, the features, how fast they are and how happy users are with them

Here is our guide to the 3 Best A3 Flatbed Scanners that you can buy now:
The 3 Best A3 Flatbed Scanners of 2020
ProductFormatOptical ResolutionConnectivityColor DepthPrice

Plustek OpticPro A320L

Plustek OpticPro A320L
A31600 dpiUSB 2.048-bit Color or 24-bit GrayscaleClick for more info
Our choice

Epson Expression 12000XL-GA

Epson Expression 12000XL-GA
A32400 dpiHi-Speed USB 2.048-bit Color or 16-bit GrayscaleClick for more info

Xerox 4700

Xerox 4700
A3600 dpiHi-Speed USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 compatible)24-bit Color and 8-bit GrayscaleClick for more info


Let’s have a look at each product in particular.

Plustek OpticPro A320L

ProductFormatOptical ResolutionConnectivityColor DepthPrice

Plustek OpticPro A320L

Plustek OpticPro A320L
A31600 dpiUSB 2.048-bit Color or 24-bit GrayscaleClick for more info
The Plustek OpticPro A320L is the first large format A3 flatbed scanner that we will be reviewing here. This is a flatbed scanner with an image resolution of 1600 Dots Per Inch. It has a fast scanning speed because it only takes 8 seconds for it to do a full scan at 300 DPI. You get 7 one-touch buttons with pre-set functions and 2 that you can program to perform custom scanning functions. This A3 scanner connects to your Windows PC or Mac through a USB 2.0 port.

This A3 document scanner comes with some software in the package: Plustek DocAction, Plustek MacAction, ABBYY FineReader 12.0 Sprint. The ABBYY is a great Optical Character Recognition software choice especially if you want to scan your book collection on it. It has great text recognition accuracy, it can export to multiple formats: Searchable PDF, Word Doc, XLS, eBook, TXT, RTF and more.

And since we were on the subject of books, this plustek a3 flatbed scanner has a bezel around it so it is not the most friendly for scanning books. For books there is another scanner called the Plustek OpticBook. We use the OpticBook series scanners in our digitization center as flatbed attachments to our book scanners and departmental scanners for scanning the covers of the books that we digitize. The top lid comes off so if you have a thicker book or document you can fit it inside.

The software shipped with the Plustek offers a few image enhancement features like Auto Crop, Auto density, Image Edge Fill, removal of punch holes, background removal, denoise and Character Enhancement. You need to manually select the scan mode though. The software lets you adjuts the brightness, contrast and gamma with some simple sliders.

The Plustek comes with the usual TWAIN and WIA drivers so you will be able to use it with any scanning app. This scanner outputs digital images with a 48-bit color depth when you scan in color and 24-bit for when you scan in grayscale (halftone). It is compatible with Windows 10 64-bit. It uses an AC Adapter to power, it doesn’t charge via USB.

If you want a hybrid like a book document scanner, the OpticBook line is the best option, that has one side without a bezel so you can scan books in depth. We use OpticBook scanThis manufacturer also makes the Plustek A3 Flatbed Scanner OS 1180. The Plustek OpticSlim also scans A3-sized prints.

Epson Expression 12000XL-GA

ProductFormatOptical ResolutionConnectivityColor DepthPrice

Epson Expression 12000XL-GA

Epson Expression 12000XL-GA
A32400 dpiHi-Speed USB 2.048-bit Color or 16-bit GrayscaleClick for more info
The Epson Expression 12000XL-GA is one of our favorite A3 flatbed scanners and probably the best scanner for artwork out of all the scanners you can buy today. The product specifications are more than perfect. It has a CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) sensor with a pixel density of 2400 dots per inch. The hardware resolution is 2400 x 4800 dpi so at maximum resolution, the file size will be quite large and the scanning process will take some time but the quality of the scanned images is worth the wait. 1200×1200 dpi for scanning photo prints should be enough most of the time. The A3 scanning CCD sensor is assisted by a ReadyScan LED light source, a step up from the fluorescent lights that old flatbeds had to use. The new LED technology requires no warm-up time and takes needs less power.

This A3 flatbed scanner with CCD also has support for film scanning and it comes with a transparent unit and some film holders for: 35 mm film strip, 35 mm slides, medium format film and 4 x 5 and they give the scanner the ability to scan and convert 48 frames of 35mm negatives in a single scan. It allows you to set the focus manually or just let it do that automatically. It is not the fastest slide scanner or negative scanner, it is more oriented towards high color gamut and deep black density.

It has a dynamic range of 3.8 Dmax. That’s actually not as good as the one on the V850 which has a 4.0 Dmax. The Dmax term is just a unit of measurement for dynamic range. Dynamic range is a fancy word for what is the ability of a scanner to capture very dark shades of black and very light shades of white all in the same picture. Cheap cameras with low image quality have a low dynamic range, they have to set their exposure to either very light or very dark and or something in between. But it’s never the full RGB spectrum. This flatbed photo scanner can output your scanned images to JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF and PDF files. Unlike the V600 and V39, it needs a power adapter to run.

The image scanner itself is quite heavy as it weighs 31.5 lbs (14 kg). But then this is understandable because it is an A3 tabloid scanner. You can connect the Epson to your computer via Hi-Speed USB 2.0. The software package is compatible with mac and pc and it contains: Epson Scan with Epson Easy Photo Fix Technology, LaserSoft Imaging SilverFast Ai, IT8 Target. The Silverfast software is meant ot substitute some part of the work that you would normally do in Photoshop or Gimp afterwards providing Digital ICE features for removal of scratches and dust from your Bitmaps. The scanner is compatible with both operating systems, Windows 10 64-bit and Mac OS and the Epson software will sync and upload your scanned images to Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive and Evernote.

Epson also makes the epson DS-50000 which costs less but has lower specs, still for everyday document scanning it might be enough. The Epson Workforce DS-60000 and Workforce DS-70000 would be right for you if you need a flatbed – sheetfed scanner which basically has a flatbed unit at the bottom and an automatic feeder at the top.

If you don’t want an A3 scanner, just a regular-sized A4 flatbed, then the epson perfection v600 color photo image film scanner and the epson perfection v550 color photo image film scanner will offer you the best value for money.

The equivalent A4 unit of the Expression 12000XL-GA is the Epson perfection V850 pro which has the Silverlight software, Dual-Lens system and 4.0 Dmax.

If you are on a really tight budget, your options are the Epson perfection v39 and Epson perfection v19. The Epson V39 is our favourite among the low-budget computer scanners because of the superior scan quality with a 4800 DPI optical resolution.

Xerox 4700

ProductFormatOptical ResolutionConnectivityColor DepthPrice

Xerox 4700

Xerox 4700
A3600 dpiHi-Speed USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 compatible)24-bit Color and 8-bit GrayscaleClick for more info
The 4700 is Xerox’s attempt at an A3 Flatbed Scanner made in partnership with Visioneer. But it’s not the first time Xerox does this, they have been doing it with large format printers and so many other products.

This A3 flatbed scanner has USB 2.0 connectivity and an optical resolution of 600 DPI without any interpolation. That’s a very low optical resolution for a flatbed scanner that costs almost 3 times the price of an Epson V550. The resolution is good enough for document scanning and OCR and not enough for high-quality color photos and that’s where you should get an idea of where this scanner would fit in. Scanners like these fit perfectly in our digitization lab to complement the document scanners and Book scanners that we already have.

Basically when we have fragile blueprints and documents that happen to have a paper size larger than A4 and that we have to scan but we don’t need extremely high-quality. It’s not worth spending 1000$ on a V800 because we don’t need the 4.0 Dmax for really deep blacks in your color scans, the extra pixels per inch or the 64-bit image processing and the vivid colors on a paper or that just has some text on it. Here it’s all about the scanning size. Moreover, scanning at more than even 400 dpi will start to be a burden on projects because the files get harder to access, store and share.

The speed is also an indicator that this flatbed document scanner was meant to be more productive than picky with quality. The scanning speed for an A4 is just 2.5 seconds. Moreover, it can be connected via USB to a Xerox automatic document feeder scanner so that they work as one. That is a big advantage and we will explain why: They can share the scanning profile, so the file name will be the same and the documents will be saved in order. These are document management features that you don’t get with other scanners that lack integration. We use this feature because we need the large format scan size for blueprints that are interposed with hundreds of A4 documents in a file.

Now before you jump to buying this device, have a look at the manual downloads section on the manufacturer website and check if the integration features specifically match what you need.

The daily large format document scanning volume? 1,000 pages per day. You can export the digital files in PDF, JPEG, and TIFF. The scanner has a 24-bit color depth when you scan in color and an 8-bit color depth for grayscale (halftone) scanning thanks to its CIS (Contact Image Sensor). This device has a very high daily duty cycle, meaning it allows users to scan 1000 A3-sized documents per day.

The included software bundle with this Xerox Documate contains: Visioneer Acuity with DriverPLUS, Visioneer OneTouch, ABBYY FineReader Sprint. The ABBYY is perfect for OCR although I would assume that people who buy this might already have an OCR software put in place. We put a link to the Amazon page where you might find things from the product description that we may have missed, product ratings and any scanner accessory for this device that you may need.


What is the best A3 Flatbed Scanner to buy?

It’s actually not a hard choice. If you are going to use it for photos, then the Epson Expression will offer you the quality and features you need to get the most out of them. If you are going to use it in an office and need to be slightly more productive than quality-oriented then you should go for either the Xerox or the Plustek. Great flatbed scanners like the epson perfection v600 are not on the list because they are A4-format scanners. If you were thinking of buying an A3 canon flatbed scanner like the canon canoscan lide line, they don’t make pure flatbed scanners anymore. You can however purchase a color duplex document scanner with an automatic document feeder adf tray from Canon and then just purchase the Canon Flatbed Scanner Unit 201 which is a simple a3 flatbed accessory that you can connect to most Canon scanners. The advantage with a flatbed attachement is that they can share the scanning profile and save the files in order in the same folder. The Mustek a3 1200s, A3 2400s are also discontinued. If you decided that you do not need an A3 scanner anymore and that an A4 flatbed scanner will do just fine, then our recommendations are to look at the Canon Canoscan 9000f mkii. Canon doesn’t make it anymore but you can still find it on Amazon. Fujitsu also has an interesting proposition in order to scan A3 documents, the Fujitsu ScanSnap SV600 which is a document camera with a CCD sensor. It is very productive for scanning documents, you just put whatever you want to scan underneath it and scan. It works very nice with objects too, you can even scan A3 DTG Prints Scanners like the: canon dr-6030c production scanner, canon dr-g1100, canon dr-m1060. You can do the same with other brands, you don’t need to stick to Canon. Epson Workforce, Fujitsu ScanSnap, HP Scanjet, they all offer some kind of flatbed integration although some are limited to A4-format scanning. Sometimes people are looking to scan books on these A3 flatbed scanners and if this is the case, our recommendation would be to purchase a dedicated book scanner like the czur et18 pro document camera. Being a digitization center that deals mostly with book scanning, just take our word for it and don’t bother with flatbed scanners. We also did reviews on portable scanners, mobile scanners, network scanners and related products which you may find useful. Check out our homepage for more product information, more products related to them and more details.
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