Ready to Go Paperless? 6 Essential Steps to Get Started Today


Part 1 of our TidyGuide to Going Paperless, our duplex scanner review, is the best place to start your journey to a paperless life.

Despite the proliferation of online media, paperless billing, and eCommerce, we still find ourselves getting a lot of physical mail, “important” documents no less. And if you’re like many of our friends and readers, you’ve noticed that these “important” documents add up and take up space. The really add up and take up a lot of space. If you are ready for a change, we wrote this duplex scanner review for you. We’ve been living a paper-free life for 7 years, and we’ve never had second thoughts. (By the way, we’re still using the same Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 we started with back in 2010!)

Our TidyGuide to Going Paperless, beginning with this article, provides a road map to the six essential steps to going paperless:

  1. Invest in a great scanner: A high-quality, fast, sufficient capacity, double-sided scanner will make scanning a breeze.  Consequently, you will also find it much easier to stay compliant with your plan to live paper-free. This duplex scanner review covers what you need to know here.
  2. Set yourself up with the right software: Depending on what kind of computer you use and how organized your digital folders are, you may not need any new software at all.
  3. Define a scanning routine and stick to it: Defining a process that you can follow with the right frequency and minimal time investment is key to it becoming a routine. You: 1 — Paper: 0.
  4. Buy a durable, good capacity shredder: Everything that arrives in your mailbox will eventually go out in your recycling… Preferably without all of your personal information and account details along with it.
  5. Ensure you have a good digital backups system: Once your information is digital, digital backups are a must. We will review some of the best software packages and secure cloud/online backup options.
  6. Make life easy on yourself: For example, ensure that you’ve enrolled in all available paperless billing options you have. We will cover all the best tips here in our 6th and final post in this series.

This article covers steps #1, and we’ll publish the others soon. Follow our Facebook page to get a heads up when they do. 

Here is our review of the leading duplex scanners for home and personal use:

Note: To arrive at the following recommendations, we evaluated over 45 current scanner models. For more information on our methodology and the factors we considered in our assessment, see the Notes on Our Approach section at the end of this review.

Scanner #1 (Best of 2017): Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500

duplex scanner review Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500
Speed Up to 25 pages per minute (ppm) at 300 dots per inch (dpi, medium resolution for documents)
Capacity Up to 50-sheet auto document feeder (ADF) | Handles legal, letter, A4, A5, A6 and smaller
Durability Very durable manufacture. We’ve used the prior model weekly for 7 years and still love it. 
Ease of use Very easy to set up and use, and simple one-button scanning operation
Other factors n/a Helpful set of packaged software with variety of options (scan to file, cloud, editable PDF, etc.) 
Price $ $ $ $412 on Amazon (as of October 2017). We think it’s worth every penny.
More details: Full Specs | Datasheet
Purchase at: Amazon 

Bottom Line: This is a great, capable multipurpose scanner that will accelerate your journey to paperless living.

Scanner #2: Epson WorkForce ES-400

duplex scanner review Epson WorkForce ES-400
Speed Up to 35 ppm @ 300 dpi (medium resolution sufficient for documents)
Capacity Up to 50-sheet ADF | Max size: 8.5″ x 240″ | Min size: 2″ x 2″
Durability Daily duty cycle of 4,000 pages per day
Ease of use Some have reported challenges in getting the packaged software up and running.
Other factors n/a Scan to options include to file/folder, cloud, email, etc.
Price $ $ $ $350 on Amazon (as of October 2017)
More details: Full Specs
Purchase at: Amazon
Bottom Line: This is our second-favorite all around scanner with a really great set of features and capabilities. 

Scanner #3 (Lower-price option): Brother ImageCenter ADS-2000e

duplex scanner review Brother ImageCenter ADS-2000e
Speed Up to 24 ppm @ 300 dpi (medium resolution sufficient for documents)
Capacity Up to 50-sheet ADF | Max size: 8.5″ x 34″
Durability Daily duty cycle of 1,500 pages per day
Ease of use Robust set of packaged software including Nuance PDF Converter.
Other factors n/a Scan to options of packaged software are somewhat limited
Price $ $ $270 on Amazon (as of October 2017)
More details: Full specs | Datasheet
Purchase at: Amazon

Bottom Line: If you want to go paperless on a tighter budget, this is definitely the best option for you.

Scanner #4 (High-end option): Canon DR-M160II

duplex scanner review Canon DR-M160II
Speed Up to 60 ppm @ 200 dpi (medium resolution sufficient for documents)
Capacity Up to 60-sheet ADF | Max size: 8.5″ x 118″ | Min size: 2″ x 2″
Durability Daily duty cycle: 7,000 pages/day. Ready even for the demands of a small business.
Ease of use Built with SMBs in mind, this will take a little more work to set up compared to other models.
Other factors n/a Comes with free upgrade to Kofax VRS Elite automatic scanning software ($695 value)
Price $ $ $ $ $870 on Amazon (as of October 2017)
More details: Full Specs
Purchase at: Amazon

Bottom Line: This is a more-expensive, semi-professional option. If you want a scanner that will live up to the demands of a small business, go with this one.


Scanner #5: Xerox DocuMate 3125

duplex scanner review Xerox DocuMate 3125
Speed Up to 35 ppm @ 200 dpi (medium resolution sufficient for documents)
Capacity Up to 50-sheet ADF |  Max size: 8.5″ x 38″ |  Min size: 3″ x 2″
Durability Daily duty cycle of 3,000 pages/day
Ease of use Has a robust set of user-friendly packaged software to get up and running quickly
Other factors n/a Some have noted issues with home networking, but fine for direct connection to Mac or PC
Price $ $ $ $291 on Amazon (as of October 2017).
More details: Full Specs | Datasheet
Purchase at: Amazon

Bottom Line: This is another great option, leveraging Xerox’s years of expertise and leadership in corporate scanning / copying solutions.


Notes on Our Approach

In our close assessment of each model covered in this duplex scanner review, we considered the following factors:

  • Double- vs. single-sided scanning capability: Duplex scanners (or double-sided / two-sided scanners) are much more efficient and practical. Therefore all of the products we recommend in this review have duplex capability.
  • Speed: Pages per minute (ppm) is a measure of how quickly to scanner can feed and process pages. Impressions per minute (ipm) is typically twice the ppm rating (as it is scanning the front and back of the page simultaneously). The scanners we reviewed have ratings ranging from 24 to 60 ppm and 48 to 120 ipm.
  • Capacity: This is a measure of the auto document feed (ADF) tray’s capacity. This is important so that you can scan small batches of paper in one pass. The ADF capacity of the scanners we reviewed ranges from 50 to 60 pages.
  • Durability: Our objective in looking at durability is to understand how the scanner will hold up over time. We have been the happy owners of a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 for over 7 years, and we want you to have just as good an experience. We use the manufacturers daily duty cycle rating as a proxy for the long-term capability of the scanner.
  • Ease of Use: We look at the quality of the packaged software included with the scanner, how quickly you will be able to get up and running, and the ease / efficiency of the scanning process with each scanner and software package.
  • Other Factors: We also look at a range of other factors and points of consumer feedback specific to each duplex scanner and include these where relevant.

Enjoy this duplex scanner review? Follow us on Facebook to get notified about the remaining five installments of TidyFlat’s TidyGuide to Going Paperless, coming out soon. Also, take a look at our other articles in the TidyFlat Notebook.

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