How to Choose the Right Barcode Scanner
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right barcode scanner.
If you have used a particular barcode scanner in the past, or have a good
recommendation from someone that is using a barcode scanner for a similar
application, then it may make the most sense to just shop by brand (on the left)
or search for the exact part number (above).
In most cases though, it is beneficial to answer these questions before you
make any purchases.
- If you are planning to use the barcode scanner to replace keystroke
entry, are the keystrokes short, repetitive pieces of data or are they
longer more complex packets of data?
- Typically, what distance will the barcode scanner be from the barcode
- Are the barcodes you are scanning one (1D) or two (2D) dimensional?
- Will the scanner be in a fixed position, or will the operator pick it up
to scan the barcode?
- How far away from the PC will the scanner need to be able to reach?
After you answer the above questions, and understand the following about
barcode scanner technology, the more successful you will be in choosing the
right barcode scanner for your application.
1D or One-Dimensional Barcode - Barcodes with
vertical lines, or bars, that are what most people probably think of
when they picture a barcode. With these linear barcodes, data is encoded
in a horizontal line similar to words written on a page. 1D barcodes
hold smaller amounts of data like serial numbers or item names and are
typically used for
inventory management and
asset tracking purposes in various industries such as
healthcare, warehousing, shipping and electronics.
2D or Two-Dimensional Barcode - A 2 dimensional
barcode stores data both horizontally as well as vertically and must be
read in its entirety from side to side and top to bottom for the barcode
scanner to be able to decipher the contents. 2D barcodes are becoming
popular especially in applications where the space available is small in
relation to the amount of data that must be encoded. It is interesting
to know that the entire Gettysburg Address can be encoded into a 2D
barcode the size of a postage stamp.
Tethered Barcode Scanners - 90% of all barcode scanner applications
are relatively simple as they are designed to replace the manual
keyboard entry on a PC/cash register. In this scenario, the barcode
scanner "wedges" its output into the stream normally reserved for the
keyboard. This is why you will sometimes hear tethered barcode scanners
being referred to as keyboard wedge scanners. Replacing keyed entry is
the quickest way to reduce labor costs and ensure accuracy using barcode
Cordless Barcode Scanners - With virtually the same
look, feel and functionality as a corded barcode scanner, cordless
barcode scanners are ideal in situations where the operator will
routinely be more than 6 feet away from the PC while scanning or works
in an environment where the cord could be cumbersome or even dangerous.
The cordless barcode scanner communicates wirelessly to the PC either
via Bluetooth or WiFi. As such, the battery requires frequent charging
(after each shift) in heavy use applications.
Fixed Mount Barcode Scanners - As the name suggests, fixed mount
scanners are designed to stay in the same place and the barcodes are
passed in front of them. These are commonly found in grocery stores,
large retail chains and are also widely used in conveyor, packaging and