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If you are new to the world of printing, you may look to compare a flatbed scanner vs an all-in-one printer. Many of the best printers, after all, include a scanning feature that may rival some standalone scanners. So what are the differences between these two, should you choose from the best all-in-one printers, and what are the pros and cons of each? Keep reading to find out.
The main difference is that flatbed scanners just scan, and all-in-one printers do a bunch of things, which is similar to when comparing an inkjet vs an all-in-one printer. Many of the best all-in-one printers handle printing, scanning, copying, faxing, and more. Scanners are somewhat hobbled, features-wise, but scanner maintenance is generally easier than printer maintenance.
If you are looking to save space, go with a multi-function printer, as it includes multiple units in one.
Here are more contrasts between the two so you can choose between a scanner and the best ink-efficient printer.
This one is a no-brainer. Scanners scan, and that is just about it. If you have a piece of paper you want to make a digital copy of, then a scanner is your best bet. However, multi-function printers also scan, in addition to copying, faxing, printing, and more. Think about your personal needs here. Do you just want a scanner to, say, scan a large number of official documents or even family photos? Or do you want the ability also to make copies and make prints?
Have you heard the phrase “jack of all trades, but master of none”? That could be lobbied at a multi-function printer with regard to its scanning capabilities. This is not to dismiss the scanning capabilities of an all-in-one, but dedicated flatbed models will just have more scanning bells and whistles. You will find larger scanning trays, more size options, and quicker scan times. Of course, you get this for a cost, as you will not have any functionality in the worlds of printing, copying, or faxing.
STAT: The flatbed scanner is the ideal scanner for scanning a wide range of documents, including business cards, invoices, pictures, and even irregularly shaped papers. (source)
Professional-grade flatbed scanners with advanced image sensors are extremely expensive, as they allow you to scan photos and artwork at a high resolution. When it comes to commercial flatbed scanners and all-in-one printers, there is only a negligible difference in price. On average, you will find multi-function printers to be slightly more expensive than an average scanner.