The Paperless Home — Options?

After looking at the mess of papers that my wife and I try to keep track of all the time we’ve decided to try and go paperless. By this we plan on scanning everything in that we get from a financial perspective and then hopefully just ditch the paper. Of course, shredding it first.

After discussing it and knowing how we are I’m pretty sure that we have to make this simple. If it’s not simple we just won’t do it. So, single page scanners are pretty much out. We get too many multi-page documents, statements, etc. I just wish we could get all of our statements online and this wouldn’t be necessary. Next, it has to be easy to get them in to a format that’s usable. PDF is probably the easiest. We want them searchable too, though. I’d love to have document management as well because I’d like to be able to search them, categorize them, whatever so that finding one down the road or searching for a particular term would bring up all the documents.

I figure we’ll just have an external hard drive that we dump the document to, encrypt the drive if possible and then back them up on DVDs using encrypted files. If our house gets broken in to the hard drive basically has all the information to steal our identity so it’s gotta be hard enough that a common criminal or even someone he pawns the drive to can’t break the protection.

So, I started searching. On Windows, at least, I have a few options. It seems like the following fit the bill:

Fujitso S500

Reviews Amazon, NewEgg, and PCMag

This one seems to get universally good reviews. It’s fast. It does duplex. It’s easy to use. It has a small footprint. The downside? At $400 street price it’s relatively cheap for a full document feeder. You also have to use its software since it doesn’t support TWAIN or any other standard interface. It does scan to PDF and comes with Acrobat 7.0 and Abby Reader OCR which makes up for it a bit. Still, it makes me wonder how easy it will be to upgrade its software. Am I always going to be stuck with the current versions of Acrobat and Abby? They might be very good but with a TWAIN and ISIS driver it would be easier to upgrade. Right now, as I write this, it’s the one I’m leaning towards.

Microtek ArtixScan Series

Reviews: Well, all I could find were bad ones to be honest. I really kind of stopped looking after this. Microtek is not really known with document scanning product groups so I’m just going to skip it.

Xerox Documate 152.

Reviews: PCMag and NewEgg

I couldnt find as many reviews for this as the ScanSnap but it seems to come with a good software setup including PaperPort’s document management and OCR software plus it has a TWAIN driver. Nice. It is a little more expensive than the ScanSnap but I like the fact I can use it with other software if I want to. It does duplex as well. It will create searchable PDFs and so on. Is relatively small from a desktop footprint standpoint. The main downside is that it is a little more expensive than the ScanSnap.

Other

I looked at some reviews of a Canon DR-2580C and HP ScanJet 7800 but both were out of the price I would find value at for home document scanning. The Canon lacked software I would require as well. The HP had really good software but I’m not sure I really need some of the software that I’m essentially paying for with the scanner.

When I make my final decision I’ll post it up here along with some early inputs as well as the final document workflow solution I put together.

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