We have received customers’ inquiry concerning how our 3D scanners can help their applications. But most of them have no idea about what fits for their purposes. Our customers come from a wide array of industries, such as architecture, engineering and education, so their uses of 3D scanners are varied. In many cases, they need to decide on whether to select a stationary 3D scanner or a handheld one. Before making the decision, it’s better to have some knowledge about the two categories of 3D scanners and some factors that matter.

Stationary 3D scanners often sit at a fixed location, mounted to a tripod or an arm. And the object is often placed on a turntable which rotates the object in 360 degrees during scanning. After the scanner captures the entire object at different angles, the computer software would merge all the scans to generate a complete 3D model.

Handheld 3D scanners are known for its portability. Users hold and move the scanner and point it around the object to scan from all the angles. A computer installed with the scanning software, connected to the scanner, would do the processing work.

Apart from the differences in the method of working, there are some factors that can help users differentiate the two kinds of 3D scanners.


As explained above, handheld 3D scanners are more portable than stationary 3D scanners in the scanning process. Therefore, it can work at hard-to-reach places, for example pipes, cabin of cars and even buildings. In terms of the accessories, stationary 3D scanners often work with tripod, turntable and a computer. For handheld 3D scanners, normally a computer with the scanning software installed is required. The weight of handheld 3D scanners also influences its flexibility. Nobody wants to carry a bulky machine to everywhere.


When using the same technology, for example, structured-light, a stationary 3D scanner would be more accurate than a handheld one, because the former takes still photos (like a camera) to construct a 3D scan, while the latter takes moving frames (like a video camera) to generate a 3D scan. The quality of the source data determines the accuracy of the result.

Scan volume

Scan volume is often determined by the scanner’s FOV. 3D scanners set at a fixed location has a fixed field of view. A stationary 3D scanner, paired with a turntable, can capture small to medium-sized objects. Handheld 3D scanners, though with FOV similar to stationary 3D scanners in each frame, are able to scan larger objects due to its mobility. Many handheld 3D scanners can capture large objects like human body and automobiles.

Whether to select handheld 3D scanners or stationary 3D scanners, the factors listed above and the specific applications should be taken into full consideration. If you have any question about purchasing one of our 3D scanners, please feel free to contact us.