Which Barcode Scanner Should You Buy?

Barcode scanners come in numerous available options. Before making a purchasing decision, it is vital to understand your specific use of the device and scanning environment. For instance, do you intend to use the scanner in a store setting or somewhere with rugged conditions such as a factory? Will you be scanning barcodes continuously or only for certain periods? Do you require a hands-free device? Do you prefer a wireless barcode scanner to be able to scan from a distance?

Answering the questions above will help you determine the best barcode scanner for your needs. In addition, knowing what your options are and what each offers would also be helpful to anyone in the market for a barcode scanner. Here’s a list of different types of barcode scanners. Take a look to determine which one suits your needs best.

Pen/Wand Type Barcode Scanner

This small and lightweight handheld scanner has the simplest design with no moving parts. It’s the most affordable type of barcode scanner available in the market but it’s quite durable and resistant to infiltration of dust and dirt. However, in order to use the wand barcode scanner, there must be a direct contact between the scanner and the barcode, which may pose a problem. When there’s a need to scan a barcode more than once, touching it constantly with the device may smear or damage the barcode, rendering it unreadable. Also, because it is operated by hand, the user must hold the wand at the right angle and use it at the right speed. A pen/wand barcode scanner is ideal for low-volume scanning needs and when cost is the biggest factor in the purchasing decision.

CCD Barcode Scanner

CCD stands for Charge Coupled Device. This type of barcode scanner offers quick and easy barcode reading with the use of an imaging device to take a snapshot of the barcode for decoding. However, it has two drawbacks: a limited scan range and a short width. Typically, a CCD barcode scanner can only read a barcode from up to 3 inches away so it is not a good choice for industrial or warehouse use. Also, this scanner can only read barcodes that are as wide as its imaging device. Because of its speed and affordability, CCD barcode scanners are commonly used in point of sale terminals.

Laser Barcode Scanner

This is a versatile barcode scanner and is the most popular choice. It does not require direct contact with a barcode to be able to read it and has a wide scanning range. The standard range of a laser barcode scanner allows it to read barcodes from 6 inches to 2 feet away while the long range and extra long-range type of laser scanners can read barcodes up to 8 feet and 30 feet away, respectively. These scanners come in various models at different price points.

In-Counter Barcode Scanner

This type of barcode scanner is designed to be mounted fixed into a countertop, allowing hands-free scanning of barcodes. This scanner is popularly used in high volume retail environments such as grocery stores because of its fast and very reliable scanning. It also has a wide scanning area that makes it easy to scan items quickly without having to aim at the barcode directly.

Wireless Barcode Scanner

Without any cord attached to it, this scanner can be ideally used in warehouses, factories and other types of settings where high levels of activity can damage the cable and, in turn, the scanner system. A wireless barcode scanner also removes access restriction to the scanner and is the best option whenever you require the use of the scanner beyond the counter such as when shipping and receiving items and scanning items at the checkout counter that are too heavy or big to place on top of the counter.

Portable Barcode Data Terminal

This handheld barcode reader is a battery-operated device that combines laser barcode scanning with mobile computing technology. It features a keyboard and an LCD display. It offers a range of barcode scanning options and is able to store information in its internal memory for data uploading later. This durable device is well suited for intensive scanning applications and for use in rugged environments such as warehouses, distribution centers and manufacturing facilities.

Wearable Barcode Scanner

This is a barcode scanner designed for mobile users. Worn as a ring, the scanner is activated by pointing either the scanner or the finger at the barcode. Because of its wearable technology, this hands-free scanner boosts efficiency and productivity in warehouse applications by allowing operators to scan items while using both hands to do other tasks.

Remember, there are different barcode scanners to suit each application, so always consider your intended use. The cheapest scanner might be all you need for periodic scanning but something more durable is essential for more intensive scanning in a manufacturing environment.