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Best Scanners For Scanning Old Pictures : Review And Buying Guide

Gretchen Rubin
  Sep 25, 2023 3:58 PM

Every one of us stores numerous photo albums away. We cherish our photo collections, whether they are from a single trip we took two years ago or from the days when camera flashes caused everyone's eyes to water. Sadly, there just isn't enough room in the globe for them all.

You can scan in photos and have them available digitally instead of storing a huge, heavy box of pictures in the basement. It's a great way to give old photos a new lease on life by printing new copies to frame. As a result, they won't get worn down to the point where they're unreadable.

Scanning photos, however, is often a bothersome process. These handy machines can be expensive and time-consuming to learn how to use properly. No one wants to trust their most treasured childhood images to a machine they don't understand.

We understand the strain that modern gadgets may put on you. Because of this, we've put in the time to find the best 3D printing pens and other emerging technologies so you don't have to. Since photo scanning is something we all look into at some time in life, we’re determined to the work easier for you by examining the top best scanners for scanning old images accessible now.

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Last update on 2023-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images, Product Titles, and Product Highlights from Amazon Product Advertising API

Buying Guide


Is a flatbed or feeder more appropriate for your needs? Maybe a portable device or a smartphone app? Select whether a stationary scanner is more appealing to you or whether portability is more important to you. If you do a lot of work on the go, Option #1 (which is both lightweight and highly regarded) is a great choice. There are both free and paid scanner app choices available, albeit they are often not designed for scanning photographs.


Obviously, this is something that everyone thinks about, but it bears mentioning here. Investing in an excellent or fast scanner, such as #3, is likely to be highly worthwhile if you intend to scan frequently for business purposes. But if you're just seeking to scan a few photos as part of a one-time minimalist paper dump, a cheaper alternative will likely do the trick.

One Or Two-Sided

Several of the photographs contain endearing, long-forgotten comments and dates on the back, while others are left blank. Does scanning on both sides of a document become necessary? Scanning on both sides is a common feature of flatbeds, and some feeder models are starting to catch up. Even with a one-sided scanner, you can scan both sides of a small number of images and store them together if you need to see both. Ultimately, it comes down to personal taste.


The expression "time is money" is apt. The third choice is among the quickest professional scanners, capable of scanning multiple pages in a single second if necessary. Feeder scanners tend to be speedier, but flatbeds can also be relatively speedy if you know what you’re doing. If you're in a hurry, it's worth it to go for a faster model.

Printing And Copying

There are a wide variety of excellent choices if you require a scanner that can also print, copy, and maybe even fax. Actually, the market has seen an increase in the number of standard printers that also scan. In the same way as printing and scanning are inseparable processes, so are copying and printing.


More information can be scanned if the scanner has a greater resolution. If you're looking for a printer that can also scan negatives, photographer Richard Sibley recommends a resolution of at least 3200 dpi, if not more.

Scanning negatives

The photo scanners we've listed in this roundup are mostly intended for scanning prints, but some models can also scan negatives and transparency film. When asked about scanning film, Richard said that certain flatbed scanners come equipped with mounts to scan both 35mm film and bigger format slides. As an expert once put it, "A dedicated negative scanner will give the best results for negatives, but they can be slow to scan and you have to be very careful to keep dust away, or it will show up on the scanned images."

Cloud Support

To have your scanned documents available from any location, cloud storage is a must. These days, most document and photo scanners have built-in cloud uploading capabilities, so if you're in the market for a scanner, it's best to seek for one that works with Dropbox, Google Drive, or another service you use.

Automatic Vs. Manual Feeders

Choose one of the two feeders from the several available scanners. Each document or photograph must be inserted individually into a flatbed scanner, which has a flat, glass surface, in order to scan them. They are best for scanning ancient, fragile images since they create higher quality scans than their automated counterparts but require more time to process.

Contrarily, automatic feeders will stack your papers or photographs in a manner analogous to a printer's paper feed, and then scan them all at once. Remember that scanners occasionally experience paper jams, which can severely damage your images if they are particularly fragile, and that the scanner will automatically sort through the photos and papers and scan each one.


Paper jams can cause serious damage to documents and original images, therefore it's best to scan them by hand using a flatbed scanner. Manual photo scanners create higher-quality scans overall, but automatic scanners are faster and better for processing large volumes of images.


Photo scanner or all-in-one printer?

Numerous picture scanners and all-in-one printers (which can scan and print both photos and documents) are available. To get the best quality and most out of your scanning experience, a dedicated picture scanner is the way to go if you intend to digitize a large number of photos.

What Is The Best Resolution To Scan Old Photos?

What you intend to do with the digitized images will determine the optimal resolution for scanning old photographs; for high-quality photo prints, select a resolution of 300 DPI or above (or even lower for a lesser loss of detail). You simply need a DPI of 72–96 if you're only going to post the images online.

Is It Better To Scan Or Photograph Old Photos?

Scanning images rather than reproducing or photographing them with a camera is easier, more efficient, and results in higher-quality images. Silk, on the other hand, requires offset illumination in order to be seen well.


It can be a hassle to look for the ideal photo scanner. To help you get organized and simplify your life, we've compiled a list of the top photo scanners on the market right now.

With this information in hand, you should be better equipped to choose a photo scanner, given that you know why scanning photographs is useful, the best photo scanners to use, how to scan, and the many advantages of doing so. Since we have already done the legwork, scanning photographs has never been easier. Using one of these top-tier scanners for scanning old photographs is the most effective way to ensure that treasured family memories and crucial documents are saved for future generations.

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