What’s the best scanner for a law office?
If you want to be truly paperless you need to buy at least one new piece of hardware. Yes, there’s no way of avoiding this: you need a scanner.
Okay, I know. Believe me I know: you absolutely dread the prospect of trying to find an office scanner. (I can even see you wince as I’m writing).
You’re convinced in your marrow that finding the right scanner for your office is going to be a Titanic catastrophe. Probably that’s because you (rightly) distrust machines with moving parts that do stuff to paper (see e.g. printers). If scanners are like printers then you expect to wind up with something (1) hard to set up (2) tricky to use, and (3) totally unreliable. Oh, and super-expensive too, right?
Yeah, that’s what I’d probably be thinking too.
Except that, I know about this one amazing scanner that’s inexpensive, easy to set up and use, and incredibly reliable. The scanner I recommend is suitable for any kind of law firm, and any kind of lawyer or legal professional. It’s been around for many years and has consistently been the top performer and most beloved tool for all folks who are serious about being paperless.
It’s hard to believe that there’s actually a clear choice when it comes to picking a scanner. But the choice is, in fact, quite clear.
So when lawyers ask “which scanner should I get?” the answer we have been consistently giving for many years is this:
Get the Fujitsu ScanSnap scanner
Actually, the more precise answer is: get the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 desktop scanner (there are other Fujitsu ScanSnap models that we’ll get to later). Here are some of its really great features:
- Costs less than $500 (usually around $420 at Amazon.com)
- Takes up very little space (easy to keep on a desk for quick access)
- Easy to set up: works with Macs or PCs
- Easy to operate: one big button to push
- Holds up to 50 sheets of paper in the automatic feeder
- Scans at a rate of up to 25 pages per minute
- Scans in color, with auto-detection if desired, or black & white
- Scans both sides of a page in one pass (duplex) and ignores blank pages.
- Automatically rotates upside down pages
- Handles letter and legal sized pages, even if intermixed
- Straightens skewed pages
- Comes with software that automatically makes PDFs text-searchable
- Can scan wirelessly to a computer, or to iPads, iPhones or Android devices
- Comes with Adobe Acrobat Standard, a $300 value (Windows software only however; sorry Mac folks!).
- Incredibly reliable (rarely jams or misfeeds)
If you want to get a sense of how popular this scanner is just read the rave reviews on Amazon (scroll down past product description). In the legal world, the ScanSnap is not only popular, it’s the lock-cinch dominant leader. Here are a smattering of the steady flow of positive comments that you’ll find in legal forums such as the MILO (Macs in Law Offices) Google Group.
— “I love my Scansnap.” — Barry H. (April 25, 2013)
— “we bought the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500. It sees daily use & is far superior to our previous scanners. It is fast, & does duplex & color with ease. I highly recommend it.” — Robert B. (July 18, 2013)
— “If you do much scanning, I suggest buying a Fujitsu Scansnap.” — Jeff N. (April 19, 2013)
— “just get a scansnap and forget about it.” — Michael W. (June 25, 2013)
— “First time I used it, brought tears to my eyes. It’s perfect.” — Kellie D.M. (June 25, 2013)
Avoid other scanners
Some lawyers know nothing about the ScanSnap but have heard of the “Neat Receipts” scanner, which is sold at kiosks in many busy airports. Those lawyers sometimes wonder: gee, should I try the Neat scanner? The answer is NO. Most definitely not!
The popular legal site, Lawyerist, reviewed the NeatDesk scanner in 2011 and quickly concluded that the then-current ScanSnap model (the 1500) was far superior. Sam Glover wrote that the NeatWorks software, which you have to use with the Neat scanner, “is slooow.” His summary paragraph says it all: “The NeatDesk is a very good scanner for the typical consumer, but a poor choice for a law office.” If you frequent some of the online legal forums you’ll see that the vast majority of lawyers who’ve tried the Neat scanners agree with Sam Glover’s excellent review. Here are some examples from the afore-mentioned MILO forum:
—“I’ve also used Neat for a couple years, the biggest issue is getting the scanner to connect when the app is opened – about half the time I have to unplug it and restart. Tech support for Neat is decent, yet not able to solve the problem. My patience for uninstalling and reinstalling the app is gone.” —MILO Attorney (June 6, 2013).
—“you will be disappointed with the Neat scanner.” — John S. (June 25, 2013)
So, if you’ve been wondering which scanner you should get for your law office you can stop now. The choice is clear. Opt for something other than the Fujitsu ScanSnap and you’ll likely wind up frustrated and disappointed. Rarely do the technology gods give hapless technophobes an easy and obvious choice. So don’t suffer the wrath of Zeus: just get the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500.
The other ScanSnaps I mentioned earlier are reliable and less expensive. But they’re too small and not as powerful. You might want one of them later on when you need to scan documents outside the office (at a deposition, for example). In your office, however, you need a workhorse scanner. Something that can quickly and easily convert stacks of paper. Bottom line?
If you’re not totally convinced or aren’t ready to order it, least click on this link and scroll down to read the Amazon reviews. Or read this email excerpt I got from a lawyer who read this blog and got one:
More Lawyer Reviews of ScanSnap
“For years, I wanted to purchase the ScanSnap scanner for my desk. I always put it off figuring that I needn’t spend $400+ when I had a large scanner in the office suite.
“Finally, I broke down and got the ScanSnap ix500 in early January. It’s amazing. I’m not quite certain why it is, but with a scanner right at my desk I no longer pile up documents to be scanned “later” which either never get scanned or, because a high number are scanned at once, the rate of misfiling is high.
“My conclusion: You have to be crazy not to have a good personal scanner at your desk even if you have a good high volume scanner in the office.” —Stuart Levine (Jan. 2014)
* * * * * * * * * *
“I got the Scansnap. It is fantastic.
“I had a very expensive scanner/copier at my old office and saving documents was laborious. The ScanSnap makes the task that much easier and faster. Worth the money in saved time.”
—Miles Trapolin (Mar. 2014)
So, if you’re serious about getting rid of paper and want to do it the fastest and easiest way, then get yourself a Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500. (then send me an email like Stuart and Miles did, to let me know how much you like it!)
Quick Action Step
If you want to learn more you can get started right away with our free 1-page guide called 5 Keys to Creating a Paperless Law Office.