Document Scanners: stand-alone or multifunction?

I’m looking to upgrade my paperless office workflow and I’m looking for advice about choosing a document scanner. I’m scanning into DEVONThink, if that matters.

The core question is: do I get a multifunction color laser (e.g. Brother MFC-L3770CDW / MFC-L8900CDW or HP MFP M479fdw), or a dedicated scanner (Brother or ScanSnap) and a duplex laser printer? I’m trying to avoid buying extra things I don’t need and I don’t know if a dedicated scanner is that much better than what I can do with the scanner interface built into Brother’s or HP’s MFP.

I’m coming from a Brother MFC-9330CDW that I’ve been pretty happy with overall. The one thing that I’ve not been terribly happy with the automation around document scanning. I’d really like that to work better. I don’t know if HP’s any better than brother in that regard. It seems that ScanSnap has a huge following. Is that deserved, or is it just because there’s safety in numbers?

Ideally, I’d like to just drop household paperwork and receipts into the scanner and have things correctly scanned (duplex or not, color/bw, correct size, etc.) into DEVONThink. With my current Brother MFC, I have buttons that do color or black & white, but I still have to dive into the menus to toggle duplex scan. We get a lot of mail, so being able to confidently and quickly scan one doc and then move onto the next is pretty important.

I’ve always felt like products that combine multiple functions like scanner, printer, copier, etc never function well and simply underperform. I took David Sparks recommendation long ago for the ScanSnap scanners. They are hands down winners far ahead of the competition. Further, they seem to work flawlessly and never stop. I have one that is years old in my office, and even purchased a newer one for my wife in her office setting. Each time I have an appointment in a doctor’s office or other, I always seem to see these ScanSnap scanners in use in these industrial like settings. Many of the units appear to be years old in service, previous models still just simply doing their job.

Desk real estate is scarce in my home office (and just got scarcer). :slight_smile:

If printing and scanning are occasional things I’d recommend a multifunction device. (In my case I almost never scan with the device and rarely print.)

I guess I’m getting a ScanSnap. Space is always at a premium, like Martin says, but my use is definitely not occasional. Large family alone means we have a bunch of documents coming in daily. Add in work and hobbies, and you can guarantee I’ll be scanning dozens of pages a day.

I was really trying to avoid buying a separate device, but what everyone says about the benefits of the ScanSnap make sense. I’m going to give it a try.

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I use both. I have a relatively small scanner on my desk, and a MFP (Printer/Scanner/Copier) in another room. I scan frequently, statements, and such so I can shred them, but I print rarely. The MFP also provides a flatbed scanner which can scan bulky items (like pages from a book for example) which can’t go through the small scanner.