Reviews You Can Rely On

Canon ImageFORMULA R40 Review

A great tabletop scanner, providing really good image quality with a small footprint that we are quick to recommend
Canon ImageFORMULA R40
Credit: Canon
Editors' Choice Award
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:   $329 List | $329.00 at Amazon
Pros:  User-friendly app, large queue capacity, fast, great images, awesome OCR
Cons:  Requires plug-in
Manufacturer:   Canon
By Matt Spencer and Benjamin Hickok  ⋅  May 27, 2022
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
87
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 10
  • Scanning Performance - 35% 9.0
  • Speed - 30% 8.0
  • Software - 20% 9.0
  • User Friendliness - 15% 9.0

Our Verdict

The Canon ImageFORMULA R40 offers the premium performance of the greatest models we've tested, challenging the top model on the market today, and does so at a lower price point. You won't get this good of a performance from other top performance models without spending a ton more. It's fast! It offers document feeding and scanning speeds that are more than sufficient for most office and small business tasks. It is also easy to use, and its optical character recognition (OCR) is top-notch. The OCR on this model is impressive and a significant improvement in the industry, challenging previous standards and setting new expectations in OCR accuracy.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $329 List
$329.00 at Amazon
$495 List
$449.99 at Amazon
$160 List
$129.99 at Amazon
$110 List
Check Price at Amazon
Check Price at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
87
88
79
70
62
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros User-friendly app, large queue capacity, fast, great images, awesome OCRFast, high-quality scans, easy to use, touch screen interface, 50 page feed trayGreat portability, up to 1200 dpi, wirelessGreat scan quality, small and portable, simple operation, good OCRNow available for free, high quality scans, great text recognition
Cons Requires plug-inExpensive, Optical Character Recognition not perfectSlow, no auto-feed or output traySlowSlow and laborious for multi-page documents
Bottom Line A great tabletop scanner, providing really good image quality with a small footprint that we are quick to recommendThe fastest, most fully-featured, easy to use, and highest quality scanner we've testedA great, lightweight, and portable scanner that is sure to fit into your budgetA great balance between performance, quality, and portability, all at a reasonable priceA perfect free option for those that occasionally scan shorter documents and receipts
Rating Categories Canon ImageFORMULA R40 Fujitsu ScanSnap iX... Epson WorkForce ES-60W Brother DS-640 Scanner Pro App
Scanning Performance (35%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Speed (30%)
8.0
10.0
7.0
4.0
3.0
Software (20%)
9.0
7.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
User Friendliness (15%)
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Specs Canon ImageFORMULA R40 Fujitsu ScanSnap iX... Epson WorkForce ES-60W Brother DS-640 Scanner Pro App
Paper Sizes Max: 8.5" x 14"
Min: 2" x 2.1"
Max: 11" x 17"
Min: 2" x 2"
Max: 8.5" x 72" Max: 8.5" x 32" Any size
Weight 6.17 lbs 7.5 lbs .7 lbs 1.0 lbs N/A
Resolution 600 dpi 600 x 600 dpi 1200 dpi 600 x 600 dpi N/A
Simplex/Duplex Duplex Duplex Simplex Simplex Simplex
Scanning Modes Color, Grayscale, Black and White Color, Grayscale, Auto Color, Grayscale, Black and White 24-bit color, 8-bit (256 levels) gray scale, 1 bit monochrome Color Document, Black and White, Color Photo, Grayscale Photo
Automatic Document Feeder 60-page 50-page No No No
PC Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A
Mac Compatible Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A
Measured Pages Per Minute 40 67 15 4 3

Our Analysis and Test Results

For years, few companies have been able to compete with Fujitsu's ScanSnap line of scanners. Still, the Canon ImageFORMULA R40 seriously challenges that superiority and does it at a much lower price point. It also managed to beat the top models when it came down to black and white receipt and document scanning quality. So if you are specifically looking for the best black and white scanning performance, you can do it for less than the premium price of other top-performing scanners.

Performance Comparison


Canon ImageFORMULA R40 scanner - the canon imageformula r40 is an exceptional scanner, giving other...
The Canon ImageFORMULA R40 is an exceptional scanner, giving other top models a run for their money.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Scanning Performance


The Canon ImageFORMULA R40 performed exceptionally well in our scanning performance tests and earned the most impressive performance black and white scanning that we've ever recorded. It also managed to do very well in our color photo scanning tests.


For black and white scanning, we tested the ability of the ImageFORMULA to scan various documents, including tax forms and receipts. We also evaluated the ability to digitize contrast, blotchy print, and handwriting with clarity.

Canon ImageFORMULA R40 scanner - black and white document text, and handwriting are no problem for...
Black and white document text, and handwriting are no problem for this model.
Credit: Matt Spencer

The Canon ImageFORMULA R40 achieved perfection across our black and white scanning sub-metric for incredible performance on our receipt quality, text clarity, and handwriting quality tests.

It was also quite accurate when it came to scanning full-color photos. The color accuracy in the resulting scans was very accurate, just not as good as the models that did slightly better in this test. This model also made a little more adjustment to brightness than other top models, darkening some areas and brightening others. The R40 did a great job when it came down to sharpness. This model was almost perfect at maintaining the sharpness of the original photos.

Full-color scans retain near-perfect sharpness, but some areas are...
Full-color scans retain near-perfect sharpness, but some areas are darkened whilst others are lightened.
Canon offers sharp imaging.
Canon offers sharp imaging.

Speed


In the world of scanners, speed matters almost as much as quality for most tasks. For example, a device without a feed tray can make scanning a 30-page document (or a 10-page presentation) an unnecessarily long and manual task. Some scanners also require more time for a slow or inferior optical sensor to scan a document. Fortunately, the Canon ImageFORMULA R40 is a fast scanner, and that speed does not compromise accuracy or quality.


The Canon had a great performance in our single-page test. It scans a single sheet document on the duplex, double-sided, 600 dpi color setting in just six seconds. We timed its ability to feed and scan 10-page documents on the duplex 600 dpi black and white setting, where it took 36 seconds. In other words, it averages 17 pages per minute.

Our last test scanned a 10-page document on a 600 dpi black and white setting, where it completed the task again in 36 seconds.

Canon ImageFORMULA R40 scanner - a large output tray and autofeed help make quick work of large tasks.
A large output tray and autofeed help make quick work of large tasks.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Software


We've never tested a scanner that has been able to perform perfect optical character recognition, although a few have come close. The Canon ImageFORMULA R40 is one of those models that are able to come very close.


Optical character recognition is an important software-based feature that turns printed and handwritten records into digitized documents. Digitization makes documents easier to organize and search through, but not all scanners or software are created equal. Some devices struggle to recognize the text on a blotchy receipt. Others have a higher error rate and poor performance due to less capable software, but the ImageFORMULA excelled in our tests.

For incredibly accurate performance in our optical character recognition test, the Canon performed quite well.

A few major platforms are used on desktops and work devices today, so multi-platform compatibility is a huge factor when rating software. So is the quality of that software. The software included with the Canon is both PC and Mac compatible.

Not only is it compatible with both operating systems, but it is also quality software with a nice user interface and design. The user experience is straightforward, making it easy to navigate settings, make selections, tailor those settings to your needs, and even save presets.

Canon ImageFORMULA R40 scanner - the r40 is easy to set up and the included software is easy to use.
The R40 is easy to set up and the included software is easy to use.
Credit: Chris McNamara

User Friendliness


We rated the user-friendliness of the Canon ImageFORMULA R40 with the rating split into two major metrics — the setup and the user interface.


You need to have Canon's software installed on your laptop or desktop to start scanning documents. The Canon ImageFORMULA R40 ships with the multi-platform CanonOnTouch, Readiris, and Cardiris. It relies on the typical but robust TWAIN driver. That technical jargon may not scream user-friendly but put simply; the setup couldn't be easier. We had the software installed and were ready to start scanning in five minutes!

User-friendliness extends to the user interface and all the functions and features that make using the device as simple and straightforward as possible. The Canon ImageFORMULA R40 does very well in this area. Single-touch operation, an automatic 60-sheet feeder, and a large output tray make scanning large stacks of documents a breeze. The super-simple app lets you easily access settings and save presets for quicker scanning options.

The combination of an easy and expedient setup and the simple, intuitive interface earned this model made this an incredibly user-friendly model.

Canon ImageFORMULA R40 scanner - a simple-to-use interface makes this model easy to use.
A simple-to-use interface makes this model easy to use.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Should You Buy the Canon ImageFORMULA R40?


The Canon ImageFORMULA R40 is a premium scanner that offers accurate performance and incredible speeds. It performed above and beyond in almost every metric. This high-performing device rivals the best for a more affordable price. Whether you work in an office, your business requires the digitization of paper documents, or you just value speed and efficiency, you can get it all and at a great price. We recommend this scanner to anyone who wants the best and would rather get the best dollar-for-dollar performance available on the market today.

What Other Scanners Should You Consider?


The Canon ImageFORMULA R40 is one of the best scanners on the market today, the best when it comes to black and white scanning performance, and probably the best dollar-for-dollar value. However, the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600 takes overall performance to the next level and is the best in class. If your budget allows, then it would be worth considering the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX1600. If you are looking for a highly portable device to handle tasks on the go, then take a look at the Epson WorkForce ES-60W. It performs nearly as well as the best devices we've tested, with obvious caveats because of its compact design, but is easy to throw in a pack and take to the job site.

Matt Spencer and Benjamin Hickok
You Might Also Like

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More