What to Consider when Buying a Barcode Scanner?

What to Consider when Buying a Barcode Scanner?

23rd Jan 2019

Choosing the right Barcode scanner that will best suit your application can be overwhelming given the number of different Barcode scanners available in the market today. There are hundreds of models available, each consisting of a different set of features and benefits to suit various specifications or business needs.

In this blog, you will find information about key areas to narrow down selecting the right barcode scanner for your company needs.

Application

This is a key factor when narrowing down the Barcode scanners. Will the scanner be used indoors or outdoors? Some Barcode scanners work just as well in natural sunlight as they do in dim lighting conditions. Also if you often work with damaged or faded barcodes, you will need a higher performing barcode scanner capable of reading imperfect barcodes. Checking the environment and the application for the scanner will determine the type of scanner that you will be required to purchase.

Connectivity

Do workers need to move freely or stand in one place to scan barcodes? A barcode scanner has to be connected to a device such as a PC/ Laptop or a tablet either corded or cordless. Corded scanners are physically connected to the device via a cable. Simply plug the scanner into your device and scan barcodes. If you are scanning items in a retail setting, you can probably use a scanner wired directly to the PC where your database is set up. For greater flexibility there are also wireless barcode scanners which connect to devices via Bluetooth. Bluetooth scanners pair easily with laptops, tablets or base units and typically do not require additional hardware or software to connect. Using a Bluetooth Barcode Scanner in a warehouse can increase efficiency and productivity immensely.

Scanner Type

Once you know the application the scanner will be used with, the next important question is what type of Barcode Scanner should be used. Determine if you want to hold the scanner in your hand while scanning or if you would you rather take the barcode and item to the scanner hands free. If you work in extreme temperatures, you will need to pay attention to the scanner operating temperature, storage and ruggedness if it will be subjected to hard conditions such as weather, dust or moisture. Handheld corded scanners are very reliable and good for most internal logistics or retail applications. Cordless model are more convenient (and more expensive) and are ideal for warehouse operations. Also if you are working I the healthcare industry, it is vital to make sure the scanner is disinfectant ready.

Imager vs Laser

Laser barcode scanners are the typical red line laser devices. When you line up the laser horizontally across the barcode, the light is reflected and the scanner will scan the item. Imager scanners are more advanced compared to the traditional laser scanners and offer the most scanning compatibility. Unlike laser scanners you don’t need to aim as accurately to scan the barcode. If you need a scanner that will read very quickly and efficiently an imager is the best choice. Imager scanners can also scan barcodes from a computer screen or a mobile phone.

1D/2D barcodes

1D barcodes represent data with parallel black bars and numbers. The most common type is the UPC/ EAN13 barcode, which is found on most product packaging. On the other hand, 2D barcodes have vertical and horizontal data such as QR codes which have become popular in marketing and social media. The main difference between these two types of barcodes is the amount of data they can contain. Not all barcode scanners are capable of scanning 2D barcodes. So consider if your barcodes are 1D or 2D and look for the appropriate barcode scanner that has the capability to decode them.

Barcode scanners come in all shapes, sizes and types. While the options may seem overwhelming and the specification complex, taking the time to carefully evaluate the business requirement and select the right barcode scanner is time that’s well invested.