The image quality of needle-image-plate (NIP) Computed Radiography (CR) scanners based on ScanHead technology was optimized. In order to get the best image quality for different applications, the influence of the phosphor layer thickness on the detective quantum efficiency (DQE) for different beam qualities was investigated. We compared a cassette-based, reflective CR-NIP-scanner to a new, transmissive flat-panel CR scanner with fixed, mounted NIP. The image quality was analyzed by DQE- and modulation transfer function (MTF) measurements supported by an observer study. The NIP systems reached DQE values up to three times higher than that of high-quality, state of the art CR scanners independent of the scanning principle. This allows a dose reduction by a factor of two to three without loss of image quality for both scanning systems. For high tube voltages, the variation of the phosphor layer thickness results in a DQE maximum at relatively large thicknesses. For lower tube voltages the DQE is less dependent on the layer thickness, reaching excellent values already at considerably lower thicknesses. Consequently, CR scanners can be adapted to different applications by using NIPs with different thicknesses. This could be easily realized for the cassette based system, but not for the flat-panel system with fixed IP. The latter demands a compromise with respect to the phosphor thickness, to yield superior image quality for all applications.