What are 1D and 2D barcodes?

What are 1D and 2D barcodes?

Apr 08, 2020

There are two general types of Barcodes;

1D (Linear Barcodes)2D (Two Dimensional Barcodes)

What are 1D barcodes?

1D barcodes are the oldest and most widely adapted. It is composed of vertical black bars and white spaces of varying lengths. They are read from mainly paper base printed surfaces and include different 1D barcode types such as UPC, code 128, code 39 and EAN-13.

1D barcodes don’t hold a lot of data and just range up to a few dozens which can include information such as purchase dates, expiration date, cost etc.

1D Barcode Scanners?

1d Barcodes are designed solely for traditional 1D paper barcodes commonly found on coupons, hang tags, retail products.


The main advantage of 1D barcode scanners is in the price. 1D barcode scanners are less expensive. If your organisation doesn’t need 2D barcode scanners, 1D barcode scanners are the money friendly option.

Commonly used for

  • Retail
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Supply chain
  • Logistics
  • Transportation
  • Education

What are 2D barcodes?

2D barcodes use specific patterns like dots, squares and other shapes that QR codes and data matrix codes use to store data. The more data they store, the smaller they will be. They can store hundreds of characters.

2D Barcode Scanners?

Capture every barcode

2D imagers can read 1D and 2D barcodes from both paper and electronic screens enabling users to virtually scan any barcode.

Omnidirectional Scanning

With the 2D barcode scanners you can leverage omnidirectional scanning, meaning users do not have to take the time to align the scanner with the barcode. This ensures productivity across a variety of surfaces and in various environments.

Superior performance on any condition

2D imagers are designed to easily read poor quality barcodes such as the ones that are damaged, torn, smudged, poorly printers and some can even scan barcodes under shrink wraps.

Read multiple barcodes with a single trigger pull

2D barcode scanners have multi-code capability. This means you can read multiple barcodes in a single trigger pull. This allows workers in the warehouse and manufacturing floors to populate a database automatically as they scan incoming shipments, faster and with high accuracy.

Go Beyond the barcode

Some barcode scanners are also capable of scanning more than just barcodes. Capture images, signatures, documents as well as support optical character recognition (OCR) for reading characters on passports, checks, invoices and more.

Commonly used for

  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Food services
  • Automotive
  • Electronics
  • Digital coupons
  • Engineering
  • Healthcare
  • Manufacturing
  • Warehouse
  • Aerospace and airports
  • Telecommunication

Which barcode to pick 

It depends on your application and needs. While 2D barcodes are smaller and can store more data than 1D barcodes, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are better. In most cases 1D barcodes are sufficient for businesses. If you are unsure on which barcode and which scanner best suits you, contact us and we are more than happy to assist you and provide a scanner or a whole solution (barcode printer, label design software, labels etc.) to best suit your needs and budgets.