Types of Barcode Scanners – How to Choose the Best One?

Posted by Jim Walker

barcode scanner

Barcodes are basically data codes having important information and data related to any product. Various letters and numbers are encoded with spaces and bars of different widths and lengths. For accuracy in inventory management, these codes are very vital. In this guide, we will cover different barcode scanning technologies and help you make an informed decision.  

Barcode has some white and black spaces with a product number of 12 digits, which is then scanned and decoded by the computer. After decoding the information, the cashier bills the product at the counter.  


Types of Barcode Scanners 

On the basis of technology used, there are basically 4 types of barcode scanners –  

Pen Method 

These are usually barcode wands which have photodiode at the tip and LED light. When you slide this pen-like scanner on the barcode, the white and black bars are illuminated with LED light. As per their thickness, the reflected lights vary from these bars. The photodiode captures the light and converts the same into digital data.  You need to pass the scanner on the barcode at a specific speed. The scanner should also be in touch with the barcode. Accuracy of data is also affected by any kind of human disturbance.  

Laser barcode scanners 

These types of barcode scanners are very popular and are used widely in the retail industry. They are more accurate as compared to pen methods. Actual unit of laser beam is released on the mirror which moves the way that laser passes through the barcode in a single line. The reflected light is captured by a photodiode and then turned into data. It is either mounted or hand-held scanner.  

Charge Coupled Device or CCD scanners 

These types of scanners are a bit on the expensive side but they come up with accurate outcomes. They are also known as LED scanners because of having hundreds of little LED lights in a row. The lights are shot at the barcode and the scanner measures the voltage of ambient light. Later on, it is turned into digital data. These types of scanners are widely used with POS systems. But they should be held in 1 to 3 inches off the barcode. In addition, the barcode should also be smaller than its face.  

Camera-based or Imager barcode scanners 

These are more like video cameras as they have video cameras and they take pictures of barcodes instead of shooting laser light on the code. Despite the position of the scanner, they can easily read the barcode and improve the speed of scanning significantly. 


Choosing the Right Barcode Scanner

When looking for the best barcode scanner for your business, consider these questions – 

  • Do you want to use it in stores or warehouses? 
  • What should be the range of scanning? 
  • How often would you need to scan? 
  • Do you have a budget limit when buying a scanner?
  • What will be the connectivity options?  

These days, imagers are even more affordable than other types of barcode scanners. They can work with both 2D and 1D barcodes. But it is also up to other factors and your choice. 

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