Barcode scanners are designed to work for any kind of business with over a thousand different kinds of configurations but finding the right one can be a bit of a headache. To find out the best barcode scanner for you — you must know what options are available.

What connectivity is needed?

Wired – A wired barcode scanner attaches to a terminal/computer with a cord. Wired scanners are affordable and will suffice for any simple scanning needs. This is the type of scanner you may see in retail shops at the check stand. Cost will vary depending on durability, hardware, & service/warranty options.

Wireless / Cordless / Mobile – Wireless scanners uses radio frequency, WIFI, or Bluetooth to connect to a terminal/computer — range varies. Useful for anyone that needs the distance from their terminal/computer when scanning barcodes. Mobile Computers are wireless / cordless barcode scanners with a computer attached. Cost will vary depending on durability, hardware, & service/warranty options.

iOS/Android Scanners – These scanners can pair with tablets or mobile phones using bluetooth technology. Useful for any business that wants to utilize tablets or mobile devices with a barcode scanner.

What durability is required?

Barcode scanners have been manufactured to fit the needs of industries such as warehousing, healthcare, retail, and much more.

Office / Retail / Low Energy – Barcode scanners in this environment are usually connected to one station and rarely moved. Most low costing barcode scanners will be perfect for this environment. Cost will depend on connectivity, hardware, and & service/warranty/options.

Warehouse / Industrial / High Energy – This environment has a lot of movement around hard surfaces (metal, concrete) and dropping a device is inevitable. Devices manufactured for this environment has been trialed and tested to make sure the device lasts a long time if it falls. Cost will vary depending on levels of durability: certified for 4/8/12 feet drops, water-proofing, oil-proofing, extremely hot temperatures (hot vehicles), cold temperatures (freezers), etc.

Healthcare – Healthcare barcode scanners have been manufactured to include antimicrobial plastic to inhibit the growth of potentially harmful microorganisms. Healthcare barcode scanners can fall into either a low energy or high energy barcode scanner.

What is the scanning technololgy?

Scanning technology in Barcode Scanners affect the distance of the scan, how fast it can decipher data, and can greatly affect the overall cost of the device.

  • Laser Barcode Scanners – The most common type of scanning technology. Laser generally has a maximum scanning distance of 2 feet.
  • High Density Laser Barcode Scanners – High Density Lasers generally has a maximum scanning distance of 15-20 feet — perfect for large warehouses. High costing.
  • CCD (Charge Coupled Device) Barcode Scanner –  The most common type of scanning technology for very low costing barcode scanners. Have a very fast scan speed but a low scan distance— sometimes as low as 3 inches.
  • Imager Barcode Scanners – Generally found at check stands attached to the counter and some Mobile Computers. Imagers can usually read both 1D and 2D barcodes in any directions.

What kind of functions are available?

A barcode scanners is much like a computer keyboard. Anything a computer keyboard can input, a barcode scanner can too as long as the barcode has the information. Generally most low to medium costing barcode scanners will be just fine and cost will vary depending on what kind of connectivity, scanning technology, or durability is needed.

If you need the barcode scanner to store data, run a function, or synchronize with other scanners — a Mobile Computer is needed. A Mobile Computer is basically a barcode scanner with a computer attached. Mobile Computer costs jump up dramatically compared to wired / wireless barcode scanners.

  • Most Mobile Computers are now using Android.
  • Mobile Computers can collect, store, and edit data.
  • Many applications readily available for mobile computers: inventory management, fixed asset tracking, data verification, and much more.
  • Custom applications can be made using popular programming languages to fulfill any requirements.
  • Transferring data can be done in batches or live to a large database.
  • Cost is higher than wired/wireless barcode scanners and will vary depending on applications, durability, scanning technology, processing power, service/warranty, and accessories.

What types of barcode can I scan?

There are two types of barcodes: 1D barcodes & 2D barcodes.

1D barcodes are the type of barcodes you see on any product in stores. It is the type of barcode that is scanned at check stands that lets the computer / terminal know the cost and description of the item.

2D barcodes are the type of barcodes typically scanned with smart phones (QR Codes). They’re usually square shaped and look like a bunch of pixels together. Mostly found on promotional items, electronic parts, and manufacturing industries.

Most barcode scanners / mobile computers can NOT scan a 2D barcode scanner but they are available. Barcode scanners with 2D scanning capabilities are generally mobile computers and will be on the higher end of cost.

What accessories are needed?

Barcode Scanners / Mobile Computers have many accessories and knowing what’s available can make or break the purchase of a barcode scanner.

Here are some common accessories:

  • Barcode Scanner Stand – These are stands that can be mounted or simply placed on a table and a barcode scanner can be attached for hands-free scanning.
  • Cradle – For charging wireless barcode scanners without having to fumble with cables.
  • Wrist Straps – Attaching barcode scanners to wrists adds an extra layer of security from any potential damage.
  • Gun/Pistol Grip – Adds a gun-like grip to mobile computers for ergonomic use.

So, what is the best?

There is really no one answer because of all the variables and options with hardware and software. Knowledge about your options will help you find what you need but speaking with experts can expedite what you’re looking for. We can be your experts. Contact us — we guarantee you’ll find what you need.