Which Barcode Scanner is Right for Me?

You’ve decided you need to buy a barcode scanner, but what type of barcode scanner is best? Depending on the type of scanner, a scanner can cost less than a hundred dollars or can cost upwards of thousands of dollars. Much of this depends on what we intend to do with it. There are several types of barcode scanners, but the type we choose depends largely on the type of application we have for the scanner.

Imager Barcode Scanners
The first type to consider is the image-based barcode scanners, which includes the CCD or charge couple device scanners and wand barcode scanners. These scanners use digital camera technology where the scanner flashes light on the barcode and takes a picture of it. Because it uses imaging technology, it can read a barcode regardless of how it is oriented. After it captures the image in a digital format, it then sends the information to the computer which has software to interpret the scan. These imager barcode scanners have fewer parts but have a limited distance, usually less than three inches, where they can scan accurately. They are best for close scanning and places which need more rugged scanners, such as outdoors or in extreme environments.

Wand barcode scanners are types of imager barcode scanners but require that the wand be moved slowly over the barcode at a certain speed or is pressed against the barcode so that the wand can read it. In most cases they require to be in contact with the barcode. They can be ruggedized for less than optimal environments, but they usually require larger resolution codes. On the plus side, these scanners are the most affordable scanners. We should choose these if we have a low number of scans needed or if we’re using them in a dirty or rough environment.

Laser Barcode Scanners
Laser barcode scanners are the most expensive, but are best in factory and assembly lines where accuracy and distance are imperative. They can scan at different angles and will scan immediately when the item is before it. They use lasers (hence the name), mirrors, and moving parts to scan, which makes them not portable. At the same time, many can pick up a barcode at the distance of two feet. They are delicate and do not fare well if dropped. These are best used in a high output factory or store environment which does not require the scanner to move.

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