Portable scanners were used by virtually all colonists and military units for basic scanning purposes. While small and short-ranged, these scanners fulfilled simple needs by incorporating equipment such as motion sensors, metal scanners, comm scanners, and life-form scanners. Other scanners also had equipment to detect droids, vehicles, minerals, energy fields, power generators, and other objects. Some scanners were small enough to wear on the belt or around the neck on a strap. Many types of scanners, including those employed by the Rebel Alliance on Hoth, could be attached to datapads or droids for increased analysis.
Many varieties of scanners existed, with varying ranges, sizes and capabilities. The Yuuzhan Vong were known to have several bizarre organic analogs to portable scanners.