7 Best Art Scanners (Ranked)

Whether you’re an established artist or just starting out, you probably have many pieces of artwork lying around, and the thought of scanning it all can seem like a daunting task. However, there are many reasons why you should get an art scanner asap: 

  • Reproduce/make prints
  • Keep a digital record
  • Preserve your legacy 
  • Organizational purposes
  • Promotion and sales 

No matter what your why is, one thing is for sure: you’ll need the right device to help you do your job effectively. However, so many art scanners on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right one. I created this guide to make your decision easier.

Having scanned over 50,000 items (no joke) over the course of my life, and I have some opinions about which scanner for artwork is the best.

More importantly, I want to help you make the right choice so easily you can make beautiful reproductions of your art portfolio and reap the rewards it brings.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links, and I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. To learn more, visit my editorial guidelines.

What Is the Best Art Scanner?

1. Epson Perfection V850

Overview

The Epson Perfection V850 is a professional-grade scanner that makes crisp images with good color accuracy. It’s perfect for all artists who want high-quality, vivid reproductions of their watercolors, art prints, or acrylic paintings.

Mark Roslon, Senior Product Manager for Epson, explains: “The V850 has anti-reflection coatings on the optics, and high-reflection coatings on the mirrors, that simply eek out the last bit of image quality we can get from that system.”

In addition to producing high-quality TIF and JPEG files, it also has a fast scan speed. In fact, it performs 33 percent quicker than the highly-touted V800 model. It’s a worthwhile investment if you have a lot of artwork to scan.

Best Overall
Best art scanner, Epson Perfection V850

Epson Perfection V850

I’ve scanned thousands of images with the Epson Perfection V850, so I know what a fantastic scanner it is. If you’re a stickler for image quality and demand the best, I would definitely consider the V850.

Key Features

The Epson Perfection V850 includes these key features.

  • Scan Area 8.5 x 11.7 inches
  • Optical Resolution Dual Lens System: 4,800 dpi/6,400 dpi 
  • Color Bit Depth 48 bit
  • Scanning Speed 10.8 msec/line (color)
  • Supported Media 35mm slides, 35mm strips, medium-format 
  • Dimensions 19.8 x 12.1 x 6 inches
  • Weight 14.6 pounds

Bottom Line

  • Pros Color calibration software included, excellent image quality, fast, easy to use
  • Cons Software could be better

2. Canon CanoScan LiDE 220

Overview

Though many use it to scan photos, the Canon CanoScan LiDE 220 is also one of the best art scanners for anyone who wants to make decent quality scans with minimal fuss.

Compared to some of the others on this list, the Canon CanoScan LiDE 220 is a lightweight and compact scanner, which is a plus if you don’t have a lot of extra space on your desk. Furthermore, all it needs is a single USB cord to operate, so it doesn’t create a lot of excess clutter with bulky power adaptors. 

One nice feature is the band of shortcut buttons on the front of the machine. I like to make scans directly from the software, but it’s nice to have this option.

The LiDE 220 also gives you the ability to upload your image files directly to the cloud (Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, etc.), which might be useful depending on your workflow.

One drawback is the software, which is somewhat limited. If you want to fine-tune your images, you’ll want to use a good image editing application like Adobe Photoshop. 

Overall, the Canon CanoScan LiDE 220 is an excellent mid-range portable that makes scanning artwork (or any other type of reflective document) easy. It’s also one of the slimmest scanners, making it a great option for those with limited space.

Best Value
Canon CanoScan LiDE 220

Canon CanoScan LiDE 220

I like the CanoScan LiDE 220 because it is light and compact. If you live in a small space or don’t like having bulky equipment on your desk, it will save space and make excellent art scans simultaneously.

Key Features

The Canon CanoScan LiDE 220 includes these key features.

  • Scan Area 8.5 x 11.7 inches
  • Optical Resolution 4,800 dpi
  • Color Bit Depth 48 bit
  • Scanning Speed 10 seconds for A4 300 dpi scan
  • Supported Media does not scan film
  • Dimensions 9.9 x 14.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Weight 3.4 pounds

Bottom Line

  • Pros Easy to use, compact, quick scan time, good value, quality color
  • Cons Software is limited

3. Epson Perfection V600

Overview

The Epson Perfection V600 is a good choice for anyone who wants to scan all kinds of artwork quickly and easily without spending upwards of $300 for one of the high-end art scanners.

While many people buy the V600 as a photo scanner for slides or film negatives, it’s equally suitable for original artwork.

If you don’t have a lot of scanning experience, that’s okay. This versatile scanner is easy to set up and operate. From the time of unboxing, you can be making your first scans within 10–15 minutes.

The scan quality is decent. For best results, be prepared to post-process with the image editing software of your choice.

However, with a maximum scan resolution of 6400 dpi, you’ll have plenty of room to do whatever you want with your image files at a large scale and have them look great.

Best Versatility
Epson Perfection V600

Epson Perfection V600

The V600 is another scanner I have experience with, having scanned countless photos and artwork over the years. It will scan almost anything fast and deliver high-quality images in the process.

Key Features

The Epson Perfection V600 includes these key features.

  • Scan Area 8.5 x 11.7 inches
  • Optical Resolution 6,400 dpi
  • Color Bit Depth 48 bit
  • Scanning Speed  21 msec/line (color)
  • Supported Media 35mm slides, 35mm strips, medium-format 
  • Dimensions 11 x 19 x 4.6 inches
  • Weight 9 pounds

Bottom Line

  • Pros Good value, easy to use, scan quality is above average
  • Cons Clunky, outdated software 

4. Epson Perfection V39

Overview

The Epson Perfection V39 is one of the most inexpensive art scanners on this list, but the scanning quality is up there with the rest of them. 

The V39 is a compact and portable scanner. At only 3.4 pounds, you could easily throw this scanner in your backpack and bring it with you on the go. It only requires a single USB cord attached to your computer, which is another great feature.

The scanning lid is removable, which comes in handy for oversize images. Let’s say you have a watercolor painting that measures 16 x 24 inches. By taking the lid off, you can scan the artwork in sections without worrying about the paper pressing up against it. 

The software comes with a Scan-n-Stitch function, which is helpful if you have a lot of large images to scan. I stitch image together in Photoshop, but if you don’t have Adobe, this offers another way to do it.

The only major downside of the V39 is that it only scans reflective media. It doesn’t scan film, so that is something to be aware of.

Best Deal
Epson Perfection V39 art scanner

Epson Perfection V39

The Epson V39 is shockingly inexpensive, considering what you’re getting. If you know how to calibrate the settings correctly, you can still get excellent scans out of this cheap scanner.

Key Features

The Epson Perfection V39 includes these key features.

  • Scan Area 8.5 x 11.7 inches
  • Optical Resolution 4,800 dpi
  • Color Bit Depth 48 bit
  • Scanning Speed 10 seconds for A4 300 dpi scan
  • Supported Media does not scan film
  • Dimensions 9.9 x 14.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Weight 3.4 pounds

Bottom Line

  • Pros Compact design, lower-priced scanner, good quality for the price, easy to use
  • Cons Limited software, slow at higher resolution scans

5. Plustek OpticPro A320E

Overview

When most people think of art scanners, Epson and Canon are the first names that come to mind. Though Plustek is not a household name, the company has a long and established history going back to 1986. Its A320E scanner checks many of the boxes I was looking for in my quest for the best art scanner.

One of the best things about the Plustek OpticPro A320 is its size. With a scan area of 12 x 17 inches, you have the option of scanning larger artworks as opposed to traditional scanners with letter-sized surfaces. Of course, it is always possible to scan in sections and stitch the pieces together, but that can be time-consuming if you have a lot of images to get through.

In general, oversize art scanners are more expensive, but at $549, the Plustek OpticPro A320 is priced like a regular-sized flatbed, making it an excellent choice for larger pieces.

Best Oversize
Plustek OpticPro A320 scanner

Plustek OpticPro A320E

You may need an oversize scanner if you make art in paper sizes larger than 8.5 x 11 inches. You can always scan the artwork in pieces in stitch it together, but it’s a pain. The Plustek will save you that headache

Key Features

The OpticPro A320 includes these key features.

  • Scan Area 12 x 17 inches
  • Optical Resolution 800 dpi
  • Color Bit Depth input 48 bit/output 24 bit
  • Scanning Speed 7.8 seconds for A3 300 dpi scan
  • Supported Media does not scan film
  • Dimensions 24.53 x 15.75 x 5.51 inches
  • Weight 16.52 pounds

Bottom Line

  • Pros Large scanning area, high-quality images, fast scan speed
  • Cons Doesn’t support film, low ceiling on optical scan resolution

6. Canon CanoScan LiDE 400

Overview

Priced under $100, the CanoScan LiDE 400 offers incredible value and is an excellent choice for artists who want to scan their drawings, watercolors, or acrylics without breaking the bank. 

Aside from the low cost, one way this top-notch scanner stands out is the software. A lot of scanning software feels clunky and outdated, but the LiDE 400 comes with various utilities to make your job easier.

The Stitch Scan feature lets you scan oversize artwork in pieces then stitch them back together with ease. You also can send image files directly to cloud services like Google Drive or DropBox.

This scanner also comes with a kickstand that lets you to store it upright when not in use. This option for vertical placement is great as it clears up more desk space.

As far as scan quality, the LiDE 400 can produce nice-looking image files, but keep in mind that it’s an entry-level model. If the highest possible scan quality is your top priority, you should consider other options.

Best Price
Canon CanoScan LiDE 400

Canon CanoScan LiDE 400

I like the LiDE 400 because it has an absurdly low price while still being capable of making decent high-resolution scans. It’s also very compact, making it ideal for artists on the go.

Key Features

The CanoScan LiDE 400 includes these key features.

  • Scan Area 8.5 x 11.7 inches
  • Optical Resolution 2,400 dpi
  • Color Bit Depth 48 bit 
  • Scanning Speed 8 seconds for A4 300 dpi scan
  • Supported Media does not scan film
  • Dimensions 14.5 x 9.9 x 1.7 inches
  • Weight 3.6 pounds

Bottom Line

  • Pros Low price, robust software, compact size
  • Cons No wireless capabilities

7. Epson Workforce DS-50000

Overview

Epson’s Workforce DS-50000 large-format document scanner is a professional-grade model with a large scan size, making it ideal for artists who have oversize original artwork.

While scanning an image in pieces and stitching it back together in post production is doable, it’s a time-consuming process. I like the fact that this machine allows you to scan artwork up to 11 x 17 inches.

It’s also quite fast, so if you have to scan a high volume of watercolors, for example, the DS-50000 will help get the job done faster.

The maximum resolution is lower than most scanners, but I would argue that 600 dpi is plenty for most people. It all comes down to how you will be using the scans.

Despite this relatively low ceiling on scan resolution, the DS-50000 is no slouch in the quality department. It includes Epson’s 4 line CCD sensor, which helps give your images accurate color reproduction and sharp detail to match your original piece.

Best Speed
Epson Workforce DS-50000

Epson Workforce DS-50000

Being a scanner for work environments means the DS-50000 can scan fast. The tradeoff is a lower ceiling on resolution, but 600 dpi is plenty for most people. The large scan is the cherry on top.

Key Features

The Workforce DS-50000 includes these key features.

  • Scan Area 11.7 x 17 inches
  • Optical Resolution 600 dpi
  • Color Bit Depth 48 bit internal/24 bit external
  • Supported Media does not scan film
  • Dimensions 25.2 x 18.5 x 6.2 inches
  • Weight 32.6 inches

Bottom Line

  • Pros Large-format scanning, fast scanning speed, good quality
  • Cons Expensive, low resolution

Conclusion

That concludes my list of the best art scanners.

To recap, if you are looking for the best overall art scanner, I recommend the Epson Perfection V850.

The CanoScan LiDE 220 is compact, affordable, and easy to use, making it my number two choice.

Priced under $300, the Epson Perfection V600 is one of the best mid-range art scanners, offering high value at an affordable cost.

The Epson Perfection V39 is my choice for the best quality scanner under $100.

Plustek’s OpticPro A320 is my top choice for scanning oversize artwork.

The CanoScan LiDE 400 is one of the lower-priced scanners on this list, but can still make decent quality scans.

The Workforce DS-50000 is another good option for an oversize scanner if you prefer the Epson brand over Plustek.

What Is an Art Scanner?

Generally speaking, flatbed art scanners are built for multipurpose use to appeal to a wide range of customers. That said, some are better than others for artwork reproduction based on several key features.

Scan Area

Flatbeds have a standardized scan area of 8.5 x 11.7 inches. However, some have a larger scan area of approximately 12 x 17. If you have a lot of large-scale paintings, it might be worth investing in one of these models as the extra time stitching pieces back together will start to add up. On the other hand, if your paper sizes are smaller than 8.5 x 11.7, the traditional scanner size should be fine.

Resolution

Decent art scanners will have the ability to produce digital images at a minimum of 300 dpi. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a scanner that couldn’t meet that threshold.

These days, many flatbeds go all the way up to 4,800 dpi, even though that’s way more resolution than you will probably ever need.

Echoing this point, Society6 says, “The higher the dpi of the scanner, then, theoretically, the larger you would be able to print without pixelation, but this is usually not necessary unless you are working in huge formats.”

Color Depth

Much like resolution, virtually all art scanners these days can create image files with 48 bits of color depth. This is true even for a budget scanner like the CanoScan LiDE 400.

The main thing to keep in mind is that 48 bit color depth is best if you plan to print your images, while 24 bit depth is standard for web use.

Supported Media

A scanner that supports film is preferable as it allows the opportunity to scan old family photos or film photography. Unless you are 100 percent sure you will never need to scan film negatives, 35mm slides, or medium format film, art scanners that supports film are the way to go.

Scanning Speed

In my opinion, unless you are scanning artwork at a high volume numbering in the hundreds or thousands, scanning speed is less important than other factors, such as color accuracy and sharpness.

That’s because when we are talking about the scanning speed of various models, the difference is usually only a matter of a few seconds.

Granted, these seconds can add up if you have thousands of images to get through, but if you’re only sitting down to scan a handful of items at a time, I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

FAQ

What is a drum scanner?

A drum scanner is a high-end device that can capture reflective or transparent items at extremely high resolutions.

The image is placed inside a clear cylinder “that is spun at speeds exceeding 1,000 RPM during the scanning operation,” says PC Mag. A focused light beams onto the image and moves down the drum incrementally throughout the scanning process.

Due to their price, size, and the skill required to operate one, they are typically only used by professional scanners and photo labs.

What is a flatbed scanner?

A flatbed scanner uses a flat glass surface for scanning reflective or transparent materials. Since they do not require movement of the item being scanned, they are often used for fragile items such as vintage books, photographs, or art.

These types of scanners have a hinged lid used to press the material down against the glass while a scan head moves slowly across the image. They are popular due to their ease of use, high scan quality, and relatively affordable price.

What is a sheetfed scanner?

A sheetfed scanner is a device that looks and operates similar to a laser printer. They are suitable for text-based document scanning where quality isn’t a concern.

Paper is placed in an automatic document feeder. Then, it passes quickly through the machine where the image sensor is located and ends up in an output tray.

These scanners are known for their automatic features. They can scan documents fast with little-to-no manual intervention. However, they are not advised for valuable or fragile items.

Which is better: 24-bit or 48-bit color depth?

According to Adobe, “Bit depth specifies how much color information is available for each pixel in an image. More bits of information per pixel results in more available colors and more accurate color representation in an image.”

Bringing it back to scanning, when you capture an image at 24 bits, you get 8 bits per channel. When you are capture it at 48 bits, you get 16 bits per channel. Therefore, an image file with 48 bits will have far greater color depth than an image with 24 bits.

That said, many computer monitors only display images at 24 bits, so your color will be “dumbed down” when viewed on most screens.

It should be noted that only TIF files can be scanned at 48 bits. If you convert the TIF to a JPG, the color depth will be converted to 24 bits. This is partly why TIF files are larger than their JPG counterparts: they carry more information.

Which is better: TIF or JPG?

If the image is intended for print, it is best to scan the material as a 48 bit TIF. If it is designed for the web, you should scan it as a 24 bit JPG.

However, the best option is to make 48 bit TIF files then create JPG copies that you can use for the web. Though it takes a bit more work upfront, it ensures you won’t have to go back and scan the same image multiple times.

How do I make a good scan?

There is a common misconception that a good scanner will produce a picture-perfect digital image right out of the box with little to no effort from its user. This is simply not true.

Making good scans is a skill that takes practice. Through a process of trial and error, which entails trying out various settings, your scans will start to improve.

Turn off Auto Mode

First off, to make your scans go from good to great, you should turn off any auto-scan features.

I have found that the auto color control setting blows out my highlights and oversaturates my colors way too much. You want vivid colors, but only if it looks natural.

That is why I scan with color correction turned off. I prefer to keep my images as raw as possible so that I can fine-tune them myself in Photoshop.

Determine Resolution and Target Size

Another common misconception is that the more resolution you have, the better your scan will be. The truth is that the amount of resolution you need depends on what you are using the image for.

There’s no use scanning an image for your website at 1,200 dpi, as most of that resolution will be lost as soon as you upload it.

On the other hand, if you plan to use that file to create a large format poster or print, then scanning at 1,200 dpi makes more sense.

Also important to resolution is the target size of your document. The target size tells you how tall and wide in inches your image will display in relation to the specified resolution.

So, if I were making an 18 x 24-inch print, I would want to adjust my settings to scan a TIF file at a minimum of 300 dpi with a target height of 18 inches. 

Keep it Clean

The glass surface of a flatbed scanner has a way of accumulating dust, so you should wipe it down with a soft cloth—or, better yet, use an air duster—periodically. Getting in the habit of dust removal will help ensure high-quality scans.

Keep Light Out

Finally, when scanning, make sure the entire surface of the item is pressed firmly against the glass. The hinged lid does a pretty good job of this, but for oversize or irregularly shaped items, you may need to use your hands.