When to choose a standalone scanner vs an MFP solution

A time may come when you will be asked to choose between a standalone scanner or a multi-function printer (MFP) with a built-in scanner. Choosing the right device might seem pretty straight forward since it mostly depends on your scanning demands — for today and years to come. But even if you just require occasional scans, it’s important to know when to choose between a standalone scanner and an MFP.

Scanning expert Doyle Cryer of National / AZON shares some insight on the differences:

Standalone scanners

  1. Software is generally more robust with operator input towards quality assurance but only on an as-needed basis
  2. Advanced paper handling features with options to have originals “feed and dive” – exiting the scanner in the back where document sets can easily be stacked. This feature alone more than doubles the production in a scanning project
  3. Solution that works with scan on demand + scanning document sets + scanning entire file cabinets or rooms full of drawings
  4. Multipage PDF capable – standard offering
  5. Large monitor displays for enhanced quality control – system uses Windows 10 64-bit systems and allows use of full-size keyboard and mouse
  6. Full “incremental batch naming” resolves post-scan renaming of files
  7. 90% of drawings scanned are of CADD plots and 10% older, historical documents
  8. Turn a printer into a copier by adding a standalone scanner. Standalone scanners can also print to an MFP
Standalone scanners

MFP (print/scan/copy)

  1. Not all MFP units are created the same. Those with integrated scanners tend to have more limited interfaces designed to operate for a small(ish) touch panel. Hence the system capability is reduced to fit the operational space of the smaller touchscreens
  2. MPFs are NOT Windows standard operating systems designed to make scanning easier but more a reduced or dumbed down set of options to make one-off copies or scans of a single sheet
  3. Without full control of quality assurance options, operators often QC their scan or image by either printing/copying to hard copy or viewing scan files from their own workstation. Rescans are more common and rescans are the costliest item in production scanning
  4. Physical document handling is seldom accounted for in MFP systems. Typically scans enter through the front of the scanner and exit over the top back to the operator. This is ineffective for heavy scanning volumes due to the number of touches required with each scan
  5. Some MFP systems do have a front stacking system for scanned originals; however, a common problem occurs when 30” x 42” originals actually cover the throat of the scanner, preventing another sheet being fed in until the document is removed
  6. 99% of originals being scanned are of CAD plots – not hand-drawn originals
Scanners for MFP solutions

IQ Quattro X large format scanner

Standalone or Nextimage Remote (tablet)

Operate your scanner from a PC separate from the stand or use a tablet as remote control via the Nextimage Remote app.

View all Standalone scanners

Contex MFP solution

Turn new and existing printers into copiers.

View all MFP solutions

ScanStation Pro solution

A third way to operate Nextimage scanning software is directly on your scanner with a ScanStation Pro solution.

View all ScanStation Pro scanner solutions


HD Ultra X ScanStation Pro solution