3 Cheap Flatbed Scanners with Great Image Quality

Flatbed scanners have evolved so much in the past years and with CIS and CCD technology getting cheaper, you can get a decent scanner for the price of one trip for groceries. They might be cheap but they will scan in high resolution and they have all the features that you need

Here are our 3 Best Cheap Flatbed Scanners that you can buy today:
3 Cheap Flatbed Scanners with Great Image Quality
ProductFormatOptical ResolutionConnectivityColor DepthPrice
Our choice

Epson Perfection V19

Epson Perfection V19
A44800 dpi x 4800 dpiUSB 2.048-bit Color or 16-bit GrayscaleClick for more info

Canon CanoScan Lide 300

Canon CanoScan Lide 300
A42400 dpiUSB 2.048-bit color or 16-bit grayscaleClick for more info

Canon CanoScan Lide 400

Canon CanoScan Lide 400
A44800 dpiUSB Type-C48-bit Color or 16-bit GrayscaleClick for more info


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

Epson Perfection V19

ProductFormatOptical ResolutionConnectivityColor DepthPrice

Epson Perfection V19

Epson Perfection V19
A44800 dpi x 4800 dpiUSB 2.048-bit Color or 16-bit GrayscaleClick for more info
The Epson V19 is our favorite Cheap Flatbed Scanner. The reason we like this model is because it offers a lot of features and specs for a very low price.

The optical resolution is 4800 dpi optical without any kind of interpolation. This amount of pixels per inch is enough to produce high-quality scanned images for most users who don’t require advanced photography features. You can connect this scanner to your Windows and Mac computer using the USB 2.0 port. That is the port used for powering the scanner as most new flatbeds don’t require an AC adapter.

This color image scanner uses a CIS (Contact Image Sensor) because the CIS technology is cheaper and makes the scanner slimmer. There is no dual lens system on this scanner either like you get on the Epson V850 and Epson Expression models. The V600 and V550 which have a higher price, The V19 competes directly with the low-cost Canon Lide 300 and Lide 400 models which we will be reviewing below. There are TWAIN and ISIS drivers available to download from Epson. When you scan in color it has a color depth of 48-bit and when you scan in grayscale it is 16-bit. The scanner is extremely light at just 3.4 lbs which makes it one of the lightest flatbed scanners ever built. But it is also a slim scanner. It is even thinner than the already-thin Canon models, but it is not a big difference.

Epson ships this low-priced color scanner with the following software: Epson Scan with Easy Photo Fix technology, Epson Event Manager, Epson Copy Utility, Epson Easy Photo Scan. It doesn’t have any OCR technology from ABBYY like the V600 and V550 have, but you can use the Document Capture to convert the digital JPEG, TIFF and Bitmap files to searchable PDFs, DOCX and XLS files. It is not going to have the same text recognition accuracy but it will do the job.

The Easy Photo fix technology has some Digital ICE photo restoration features like the Digital Dust Correction. The Epson scanning software can automatically detect the orientation of the color photo and correct it if necessary, it can deskew it and crop the image so there is no blank space around the photo. It cannot determine the color mode automatically, you still have to tell it whether you want to scan the documents and photos in color or black & white before.

The software provided with this inexpensive flatbed photo scanner will also sync your photos with Facebook, Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox or your favorite cloud storage.

The Epson V19 does not have the ability to scan film negatives and slides like the V550 and the Epson perfection V600 color photo image scanner have which are also very good film scanners. If you want a version of this scanner with a higher scan quality and scan speed, then you need to add 30 USD to your budget and buy an Epson Perfection V39. We think the upgrade is worth it.

Epson also makes 2 great and cheap portable color duplex scanners: the Epson workforce es-50 and Workforce ES-200 mobile scanner.

Canon CanoScan Lide 300

ProductFormatOptical ResolutionConnectivityColor DepthPrice

Canon CanoScan Lide 300

Canon CanoScan Lide 300
A42400 dpiUSB 2.048-bit color or 16-bit grayscaleClick for more info
The Canon CanoScan Lide 300 is another great and Cheap Flatbed Scanner. It has a lower image resolution of just 2400 dots per inch. Canon says that with interpolation you can take it up to 19.200 dpi but there is no logical reason to do that, there is no extra detail in the photo, just a bigger file size.

This flatbed color desktop scanner also uses a CIS sensor to capture the digital image and it has a scanning time of 8-10 seconds at 300 dpi. The scanner is compatible with all the major operating systems and it connects to your computer using a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port. When scanning in color, the RGB color depth is 48-bit and when doing the same in grayscale it is 16-bit. It will digitize any photo on the scanning surface as long as the paper size is up to A4 format.

The software provided with the this USB color scanner consists of: Scanner Driver, IJ Scan Utility (Windows) / IJ Scan Utility Lite (Mac) Auto Scan, Document Scan, Photo Scan, Custom Scan, Stitch Scan, and OCR (Optical Character Recognition), ScanGear MP Driver, Quick Menu. It too has proprietary OCR technology, a decent choice but not the best for Optical Character Recognition. We recommend you use a 3rd party option like ABBYY or Nuance. The software will sync with cloud storage services like Google Drive and OneDrive.

The Canon software also offers all the Digital ICE features for removing dust particles and scratches from photos. This
affordable flatbed scanner cannot scan film negatives nor slides, only photos and documents.

The lid on the Canon flatbed document scanners is quite clever because it can be raised for when you scan books or any other thick media. The buttons on the front a programmable and you can create scanning profiles with just one touch.

Canon CanoScan Lide 400

ProductFormatOptical ResolutionConnectivityColor DepthPrice

Canon CanoScan Lide 400

Canon CanoScan Lide 400
A44800 dpiUSB Type-C48-bit Color or 16-bit GrayscaleClick for more info
The Canon CanoScan Lide 400 is a Cheap Flatbed Scanner that is very similar to the 300 but with a few key differences. The pixel density is 4800 dpi instead of 2400 dpi scanning resolution making it a better competitor to the Epson V19. It has a USB Type-C port which is the newest data transfer technology that you will find. No power adapter is needed, you power it via the USB cable. It has a 5GBPS data transfer rate. It weighs just 3.6 kg so more or less the same as the Epson. It might be worth pointing out that CIS sensors don’t work when the document is not perfectly touching the scanning glass. That is why CCD sensors are more expensive and more versatile. You need to really press that paper on the glass to make sure that the focus is correct, otherwise it will come out very blurred.

This scanner is also a bit faster when it comes to scanning time than the Canon Lide 300 because of a faster and more evolved image processor. This low-budget flatbed scanner cannot scan film negatives nor slides and neither can the other two scanners in this article. Film scanning is off the table at this budget and for that you need to look somewhere in the 200 USD price range.

This color flatbed scanner uses the LED lamp with no warm-up time that is far superior to the fluorescent lamps that you would find in older scanners. The detachable stand is a very useful tool for when you are not using the scanner. Instead of taking space on your desk, you just put it on the stand and it will stay there vertically and ready to use.


What Cheap Flatbed Scanner should you choose?

The Epson V19 is our choice because of the combination of features and software, it is easy to use and the software is quite powerful. But it is very similar to the Canon Lide 400 so if you go for either one, you will be getting a good bargain. A cheap scanner that is worth mentioning is the Doxie Flip portable document scanner. It is the only flatbed portable scanner that you can buy on the market today, but it only has a scan size of up to A6. That is going to be a problem especially for office documents. The following scanners are missing from the list because they are not cheap at all: canon canoscan 9000f mark ii which is discontinued, epson perfection v800 and epson perfection v850 pro because they cost up to 10 times what a scanner featured here costs. The epson perfection v600 and epson perfection v550 are in the mid-range but still well above the prices of these models. So is the case with the plustek opticslim 1180. If you want a cheap photo scanner then the Epson fastfoto ff-680w and plustek ephoto z300 are the two best buying options. For scanning paintings or murals with depth, you can have a look at the Widetek 12 and Widetek 25 scanners which have depth perception. They don’t scan 3d objects, just flat surfaces which have maybe a few milimeters of depth. But what if a flatbed is not enough and you also want a duplex document scanner that has an automatic document feeder as well? Then the HP ScanJet Pro 2500 f1 flatbed ocr scanner is a solid choice. It is a duplex combo scanner where you get a sheet feeder on the top and a photo flatbed unit on the bottom. A Canon Imageformula scanner with an extra color flatbed unit can work or a Xerox Documate duplex scanner with an extra flatbed unit like the Xerox 4700.
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