EpsonWorkForceDS30The first question most of you have is, “What’s the difference between a document scanner and a regular scanner?”

Answer: A document scanner usually doesn’t have a bed on it; it usually operates in sheet-feed-only mode where you place the paper in the thing, it’s auto-fed through, and the scan is sent out afterward. Think of it operating just like a paper shredder, but you’re scanning instead of shredding.

The advantage of a document scanner is that it’s much smaller compared to a flatbed. Pictured right is the Epson WorkForce DS-30. Your first reaction is going to be, “That’s it?”, because in all honesty it doesn’t look like much. Your second reaction will be, “Geez, that’s pretty expensive for a scanner.” Yes, it is considering a regular flatbed scanner is under $60.

What you’re paying for with a document scanner is convenience more than anything else. Most document scanners can be mounted directly on the wall, which is quite nice where desk space is limited. These scanners also usually weigh less than a pound, making wall-mounting even easier and also making them great for travel purposes as well.

Why would anyone want to travel with a document scanner? Mainly because it makes for ridiculously easy travel expense management. At the end of each business travel day, you can scan in all your receipts and then store them on a laptop, smartphone or even send the image files out to cloud storage. This is altogether better than stuffing a bunch of receipts in an envelope and carrying them around for the whole trip.

On the desktop, the fact you can wall-mount one of these is usually the best selling point. Flatbed scanners by nature are bulky, but the document scanner definitely isn’t.