Everything You Need to Know About Flatbed Scanners

With their versatile nature and efficient scanning capabilities, flatbed scanners are the perfect addition to your office. 

If you’re considering purchasing a flatbed scanner or want to know more, read our guide to everything you need to know about flatbed scanners. 

For your home or office needs, browse our wide range of high-quality, affordable scanners. We have a product for everyone and every need. 

What is a Flatbed Scanner?

A flatbed scanner provides a flat, glass surface for scanning documents, photographs and other items, making it a great choice. 

This topical scanner operates similarly to a photocopier, yet it creates a digital copy instead of a paper document. 

Flatbed scanners use a Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) or Contact Image Sensor (CIS) technology to efficiently scan a document.

With their high-quality scanning ability, these are a more favourable option than sheet-fed scanners for photos and delicate options. 

How do Flatbed Scanners Work?

CCD sensors are popular for higher quality scans and are found in more professional scanners, whereas CIS is more compact and energy-efficient, commonly used in portable and home scanners.

An LED light or fluorescent lamp illuminates the document, and the lid is closed to prevent external interference. In CCD scanners, mirrors and lenses direct the reflected light from the document to the CCD array. 

Contrastingly, CIS scanners have a light sensor close to the document, eliminating the need for additional optical components.

The sensor captures the reflected light to carry the image information, which is then converted into electronic signals. Each point of light corresponds to a pixel in the final image. 

Features to Consider When Choosing a Flatbed Scanner

When choosing the perfect flatbed scanner for you, there are various factors to consider:

  • Resolution: A higher DPI means more detail can be captured. A standard resolution of 300 to 600 DPI is usually sufficient for general scanning.
  • Size: Most flatbed scanners are compatible with standard paper sizes like A4. You will need a large-format scanner to scan larger documents or multiple images.
  • Speed: For high-volume scanning in work environments, faster scanning speeds are required. 
  • Connectivity: Wireless options like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth offer more flexibility and ease of use, particularly in shared office environments.
  • Colour depth: A 24-bit scanner is sufficient for most purposes; However, a 48-bit scanner provides superior depth and gradation. A higher bit depth is crucial for high-end photographic work.

Common Uses of Flatbed Scanners

There are various uses of flatbed scanners, including: 

  • Home use: Scanning photographs, documents, and artwork.
  • Business use: Document management, archiving, and digitisation.
  • Educational settings: Scanning teaching materials, student projects and library services.
  • Creative applications: High-resolution scans for graphic artists and fabric design.
  • Specialised scanning: legal and medical offices and real estate

How to Maintain Your Flatbed Scanner

You must carry out a regular cleaning ritual to keep your scanner in good condition. Use a soft microfibre cloth and gently wipe the glass, interior, and exterior components. For stubborn stains, use a glass cleaner. 

Always be gentle when using your scanner to avoid damage and keep liquids away from the device. To maintain its function, always keep your scanner software and driver updated. This will prevent any bugs and improve its performance. 

Whilst flatbed scanners are durable, you want to avoid overloading them with high volumes of scanning to prevent wear and tear. Make sure the device is off when it’s not in use.