The Best Handheld 3D Scanners Buyer’s Guide 2024

With the development of 3D laser scanning technology and its application in the surveying and mapping industry, more and more surveying and mapping projects need to use 3D laser scanning technology for data collection and processing.

3D scanning plays an important role at the beginning and end of the 3D manufacturing workflow. Engineers, product designers, and researchers use 3D scanners as a faster and more efficient way to start building digital models, whether by reverse engineering integrating existing designs, digitizing hand-sculpted clay designs, or referencing the exact body of the human body shape.

After manufacture, 3D scans can support quality control and help verify the accuracy of a 3D printed part, or, after a part is in use, a scanner can reveal how it performed – scans of deformed parts can tell you where to reinforce the next revision in the design.

With such a wide range of product choices, from handheld 3D scanners to desktop scanners, it can be difficult to choose the best 3D scanning system for your application and budget. The handheld mobile 3D laser scanner adopts SLAM positioning technology, which has the advantages of small size, lightweight, and portability compared with the vehicle-mounted or knapsacks mobile scanner. In this article, we explore some of the most important factors to consider when buying a 3D scanner.

What is the 3D laser scanner?

Three-dimensional laser scanning systems are divided into airborne, vehicle-mounted, backpack, and hand-held types. Among them, each type of laser scanner is aimed at different usage scenarios, and the accuracy is also different:

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Airborne Laser Scanning Systems: Geodetic Mapping, Urban-Level Mapping
Ground-mounted laser scanning system: construction, decoration, curtain wall
Backpack Laser Scanning System: Planning and Mapping
Handheld Laser Scanning Systems: Industrial

Therefore, using different types of 3D laser scanners, we can easily collect high-precision, high-density 3D point cloud data of various small, large, complex, standard, or non-standard scenes, and then quickly reconstruct the target scene. true 3D model.

What is the Handheld 3D laser scanner?

Handheld laser 3D scanners are used to detect and analyze the shape (geometry) and appearance data (such as color, surface albedo, etc.) of objects or environments in the real world. The collected data is often used for 3D reconstruction calculations to create digital models of actual objects in the virtual world. Its principle is based on a product designed on the basis of the original photographic 3D scanner. It scans and creates a point cloud image on the surface of the object. These points can be used to interpolate into the surface shape of the object. The denser the point cloud, the more accurate the model created, and the three-dimensional reconstruction. If the scanner can get the surface color, it can further paste a texture map on the reconstructed surface, so-called texture mapping. Handheld laser 3D scanners are the perfect inspection device for analyzing and reporting Geometric Dimensions and Tolerances (GD&T). The directly generated STL files are easy to import into inspection software for quick editing and subsequent processing.

What can a 3D laser scanner do?

Since its creation, 3D laser scanners have been used to accurately measure large objects that would otherwise be difficult to measure manually. They do this by scanning objects and then converting that information into a 3D model. Specifically, for houses under construction, 3D laser scanners can be used to measure walls, ceilings, floors, and other large flat surfaces. These measurements can then be used to create accurate 3D models to scale, making it easier for workers to visualize and track their construction progress.

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Where is 3D scanning technology used?

3D scanning technology is becoming more and more popular in various industries around the world. From design to use in the prototype stage, engineering, production, quality control, and distribution; 3D scanning technology can prove to be advantageous in every field. It has the advantages of precision, ease of use, and versatility, and can be used in various fields such as healthcare, education, manufacturing, and more. Let’s take a look at which industries/fields benefit the most from this technology.

  • In healthcare

It can be used to take accurate measurements on patients in situations where a prosthesis needs to be created or a child’s arm is broken, and the 3D scanning technology will take measurements quickly without forcing the child to sit in a fixed position for a long. By being able to scan the missing limb accurately and precisely, researchers can create exact replicas, which can prove to be time- and money-saving.

  • Interact with digital models and study artifacts

3D scanning technology can be used to examine precious historical artifacts that cannot be easily touched or removed for inspection and research. 3D scanning can help create digital models that can be studied. An example of 3D scanning actually being used when using 3D scanning to allow people to virtually interact with objects/artifacts.

  • In the field of education

Students are using 3D scanning technology to better understand history, design, and art.

  • In the medical field

3D scanning technology can be used to create virtual corpses for students to study and use.

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What are the technical characteristics of 3D laser scanning using the principle of laser ranging?

  • Data acquisition automation, one-click operation

The 3D laser scanner is highly intelligent and does not require manual intervention. The laser automatically emitted by the 3D laser scanner can measure the 3D coordinate information of the surface points of the target object without complicated operations, and realize one-key automatic scanning.

  • “Fast” (1 million points per second)

“Fast” is the concept born of the scanner. In conventional measurement methods, it takes about 2-5 seconds to measure a point. In complex scenes, it may take several minutes to measure the coordinates of a point.

The birth of the 3D laser scanner has changed this situation. Now the maximum speed of the 3D laser scanner has reached 1 million points per second, which is the basic guarantee for the 3D laser scanner to describe the objects in detail, such as ancient styles, factory pipelines, tunnels, and terrain. Such complex fields that cannot be measured have become a thing of the past.

  • All elements of data acquisition, high density and high precision (the error is millimeter level)

3D laser scanning can quickly acquire high-precision, high-resolution massive point data in both horizontal and vertical directions. All objects visible to the naked eye (except glass, water, and specular reflection objects) can be scanned at the scene.

  • The data is a three-dimensional vector, simple and intuitive

The data measured by the 3D laser scanner each time not only includes the information of X, Y, and Z points but also includes the color information of R, G, and B, as well as the information on the reflectivity of the object, so that comprehensive information can give people a kind of object. The feeling of real reproduction in the computer.

  • Non-contact measurement method to ensure work safety

Using the method of the non-contact target, personnel can directly collect 3D data on the surface of the object without touching the object to be measured, which reduces the risk of measurement. It can effectively avoid the measurement danger of special-shaped buildings and dangerous scenes (high altitude, power plant, radiation), and provide safety for measurement.

  • Good digital compatibility

By directly obtaining the data collected by digital signals, it has all-digital features, which are convenient for post-processing and output, and has good sharing with Revit, AutoCAD, SketchUp, ArchiCad, Bentley, Tekla, and other software.

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Why choose a handheld laser 3D scanner?

  • Small and portable, ergonomic design

Portable and handheld, the curved waistline of the body makes it extremely comfortable to hold, delicate and compact and can be moved freely. It can be carried in a small suitcase and can be easily operated indoors or in small spaces.

  • Not affected by the size, material, and environment

It has two modes: handheld quick scan and handheld fine scan, which can scan a wide range of objects and can scan products of almost any size and material.

  • Simultaneously capture geometry and color textures

While obtaining the geometric structure information of the object at high resolution, it can also capture the color information of the surface of the object, which is what ordinary 3D scanners cannot achieve.

  • Software and hardware co-processing, simple and fast 3D scanning process

Built-in professional scanning processing software, through 3D visualization, you can intuitively see the workflow.

How to Find a Good Handheld 3D Laser Scanner

When choosing a handheld 3D laser scanner, we tend to judge its quality mainly based on its parameters, especially its accuracy. However, accuracy is only part of the basic parameters. Another key feature that doesn’t usually appear in parameter tables is repeatability. The repeatability aspect completes the final performance overview of the 3D scanner.

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Accuracy is a very important parameter when it comes to 3D scanning and 3D metrology. When measuring, the difference between the actual measured value (or the average of the measurements) and the actual value is called the error. The smaller the error, the better the accuracy.


The accuracy of measurement includes not only the accuracy but also the precision of the measurement. We often focus on accuracy and tend to ignore precision. Precision refers to the degree of agreement between values ​​measured repeatedly under the same conditions, also known as repeatability.

An archer can exemplify the accuracy of the scanner. A shooter is considered a good shooter only if he can hit the bull’s eye and maintain his hit rate per shot. Accuracy can be referred to as the deviation between each hit and the target, while precision describes the deviation between multiple hits.


The smoothness and efficiency of the scanning process are critical to the experience of using a 3D scanner. This can be assessed visually in field scans.


3D scanning is not yet automated. There is no device on the market that gives you a finished product at the push of a button. For the first 2-4 weeks, expect frustration during scanning, and even more frustration during post-processing behind the PC. There is a definite learning curve. Having said that, you will start seeing good results about 2-4 weeks after starting.

Even if you’re looking for the best 3D scanner for home or business use, you need to choose the best device on the market. It’s fun to have the best scanners that make your scanning work convenient and professional.

If you need to buy the best 3D scanner, you need to know what’s the best. There are so many 3D scanners, but not all of them are good and the best 3D scans. If you are a novice, you can contact us and we will recommend the most suitable handheld laser 3D scanner for you.

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Why choose FORSUN CNC?

  • High-quality raw materials

The whole line of products comes standard with well-known parts manufacturers, cooperates with advanced processing and assembly technology, and has strict quality control!

  • Strictly control the inspection

With many years of production experience, the technical support team composed of professional technical engineers can solve technical problems for customers in a timely manner. With many years of production experience, the technical support team composed of professional technical engineers can solve technical problems for customers in a timely manner.

  • Wide range of industry applications

The company’s products cover woodworking, advertising, craft gifts, architectural models, electronics, CAD/CAM industrial molds, engineering decoration, logo signs, and other industries

  • Reasonable price

According to the actual production capacity and production needs of customers, we recommend reasonable solutions for customers, combined with the actual situation of customers.

  • No worries after-sale

We wholeheartedly provide customers with good after-sales service, including product design, installation, training, maintenance, etc.

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