Best Photo Scanners of 2016

Time to shine a light on the best photo scanners available now.

There's an abundance of photo scanners currently on the market, each promising to give you what you want: clear images, quick scan time, and a reasonable price. But what works best for you? Size, price, and quality all come into play as we look at the best photo scanners available.

Canon CanoScan LiDE 120

Canon CanoScan LiDE 120

Some people just want a cheap scanner that produces high-quality copies of their favorite photos — there's nothing wrong with that. Why pay top dollar for features you'll never use? Enter the Canon LiDE 120. Starting at about $60, this is the cheapest scanner in our roundup, yet it was chosen by PCMag as an Editor's Choice:

The image quality for photos was excellent in my tests, with the LiDE 120 capturing details based on color quality — like the sheen on a satin bridal gown — that many scanners miss. Comparing the scanned photos with the originals, I saw little to no difference.

Use an auto-scan feature for extremely simple scanning of your photos and documents, or tweak settings as you see fit; remember, this scanner doesn't deal with film, so if you want to scan anything other than your photos or text documents, you'll have to go with a pricier option.

See at Amazon

Epson Perfection V800

Epson Perfection V800 Photo Color Scanner

The most expensive flatbed photo scanner on the list, the Epson Perfection V800 is geared toward serious photographers. This device can scan your positive and negative film, and will deliver a clear result. PCMag, in their review, named the V800 their favorite overall photo scanner:

For most serious amateur photographers, and even many professionals, the V800 delivers impressively high-quality scans with a combination of price and features that make it both the right fit and our Editor's Choice.

When handling large amounts of film, the V800 has the ability to scan up to 18 frames of 35-millimeter film, or 12 frames of 35-millimeter slides, in a single tray. Coupled with ICE technology, this scanner is the perfect tool for backing up your family's memories.

If you have a lot of money to spend on a scanner, like more than $800, go with the V800. As it becomes harder to find, consider checking out the Epson V600, which is also a solid option available for about $200.

See at Amazon

Canon CanoScan LiDE 220

Canon CanoScan LiDE 220

Named Editor's Choice at PCMag and top pick for a cheap scanner at The Wirecutter, the Canon LiDE 220 has a lot going for it. At only about $80, it's likely the scanner most people will choose when it comes to digitizing their photos.

It will adjust its settings automatically depending on what type of document you're scanning, it produces excellent quality scans, and you won't have to sit around waiting for it to work. The Wirecutter says:

The Canon produced sharp, clear photographs and vibrant colors, with high contrast and reliable consistency from one scan to the next.

This flatbed scanner will handle nearly anything you throw at it, except film negatives. If that's a problem, you'll want to look elsewhere. If you plan on using your scanner for standard photos, though, this scanner should be taken into serious consideration. One more thing: If you're worried about space, you can prop this device up at a near-90-degree angle and still get great results.

See at Amazon

Epson Perfection V550

Epson Perfection V550

Although it's priced in a similar range as the Canon 9000F Mark II — about $170 — the Epson Perfection V550 is more suited for purists. It isn't the fastest scanner on the market, but it does deliver an unaltered scan that anyone who wants to edit their own photos will love. PCMag gave it an Editor's Choice award, and The Wirecutter named it the "best for photographic accuracy" and went on to say:

...the Epson model's images came out practically identical to the originals, for better or for worse.

This scanner can handle your printed photos as well as slides and film negatives, and while it will scan your other documents, it's definitely geared toward photography. If you're looking for a scanner that delivers clear, unaltered images, give the Perfection V550 a glance.

See at Amazon

Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II

Canon CanoScan 9000F Mark II

Want to scan negatives and film, but don't want to spend hundreds of dollars? The Canon 9000F Mark II (about $170) is a great mid-range option with fast scanning speeds that deliver a clear image. The Wirecutter named the 9000F Mark II a runner-up to their choice for best cheap scanner, the Canon LiDE 220, stating:

...if film scanning and saving a few extra seconds per scan is worth $100 to you, this is your pick.

Those extra seconds are saved thanks to using LEDs as a light source; you can turn it on and start scanning almost immediately. The 9000F will touch up sharpness and color on its own, and you can also use the included software to make your own changes as you see fit. If it's film scanning you require and a low price you want, check out the Canon 9000F Mark II.

See at Amazon

Other options

Looking for a great scanner you can have with you on the go? Check out our list of the best portable receipt and document scanners.

If you need a scanner and don't feel like shelling out big bucks, have a look at our list of the best cheap scanners — it includes the awesome Office Lens that turns your phone into a scanner.

Updated September 22, 2017: We've refreshed this list to ensure you're still getting a roundup of the absolute best photo scanners no matter your needs.