Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 Scanner

In all honesty, this is one of my favourite pieces of technology that I’ve used in years.

If there is was only one product that I was to select for my desktop, it would probably be this scanner.  The Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500, it’s fast, easy to use and can be configured in many different ways.

Why I like the Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500

Obviously the world has come a long way since flatbed scanners, and every type of scanner has it’s place.  The Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 is a workhorse of a scanner, it’s super fast, dual sided scanning both in colour and black and white makes scanning large documents literally a Snap!

I started to use ScanSnap’s with the smaller portable Fujitsu ScanSnap S1100 – Which is great for Salesmen and Road Sales — but Fujitsu really produced the work horse with the ix500 Desktop Model.

The Quick Specs on the ix500

  • 25 pages per minute (ppm) of colour scanning dual sided (50 page doc in 1 minute!)
  • It can be used over the network or USB
  • It works on Windows or Mac systems
  • Can be configured for easy 1 touch scanning to network
  • Can be used to scan directly to e-mail or other applications


What is the best use for the ScanSnap ix500?

While the ScanSnap ix500 can be used as a shared network based scanner, it really comes in to the zone when it is used on a per-desk basis.

If you are trying to be a paperless office, you need to make sure that it is easy to use, available, and fast and this scanner really meets all of those requirements.

Our company is an on-site support IT Services company and we have roughly 75-100 of these scanners deployed amongst all of our clients and have worked exceptionally well for:

  • Legal Firms
  • Accounting Firms
  • Book Keepers
  • Receptionist
  • Warehouses


Really we recommend them for anyone who has a high paper volume or is pushing towards a fully paper-less archiving system.  Many Canadian companies are starting to go fully digital in regards to their receipts and documentation for the CRA, using services like HubDoc to store and sort their receipts.  This device is really complementary in this type of situation.

Where does the ScanSnap ix500 not a great fit?

If you need to scan high resolution graphics, photographs and things of that nature, there are certainly other products that are better suited to your needs.  Generally, any feeding type scanner won’t produce a really exceptional result for anything particularly high resolution.

This scanner is definitely geared towards documentation and receipts, with a page width of 8.5″ (though the length can certainly be flexible).

Paperless Offices and the ScanSnap ix500?

Many companies, especially paper heavy ones end up with massive filing rooms or pay large monthly fees to document storage facilities. Scanning all your documentation provides a few benefits that are worth noting.

  1. Free up storage rooms full of boxes and reclaim expensive office space
  2. Searching for documents in digital format can be fast and efficient, if setup and planned correctly.
  3. Reduced expenses from storage facilities and document retrieval fees.


Now truth be told, going to a fully electronic documentation system does have its trade-offs as well.  With an increase in data, you need to an increase in server storage capacity as well as ensuring your backups are exceptionally protected — both of these things come at an added expense.  Though most of the time these trade-offs cost less than the storage costs associated with physical archiving.

How long does the ScanSnap ix500 Last?

Just as a sample of the ones we manage for our clients (about 75-100 at any given time), we see extremely low failure rates.

On average they exceed a 4+ year life span and we haven’t had any out of the box failures to date.

One issue we did see was if the USB Cable needed was excessively long it sometimes impeded the scanner for working perfectly, but a shorter USB Cable or higher quality cable typically resolved those type of issues.

Out of all the ones that have broken on us, there was an underlying reason for the failure — The person ran wet ink, staples, paper clips, tape or something through the device which ended up messing up the imaging surface, we’ve actually never had one die on us purely from “wear and tear”, which says a lot about the quality of units produced.

Multi-Functioning Printer (MFP) or a ScanSnap ix500?

It’s fairly standard in offices to have a few shared multi-function printers that take care of printing, scanning, faxing and so forth.  Personally I’m a fan of not having to leave my desk to scan documents, and like to have them instantly available to me.  I think the ScanSnaps aren’t exactly an apple to apple comparison because the nature of this device is at the individual desktop level – scan quality and speed would likely been comparable, but for me it comes down to productivity and I think the desktop scanners win hands down.

From a cost perspective, these ix500’s run about 600-700$, so there is certainly a higher cost to deploy them at the desk, but depending on the nature of your business and how many staff you have you may see enough of a productivity gain to warrant the costs.

Order one now from Amazon: 
Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Scanner for PC and Mac (PA03656-B005)