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When you think of Barcode Scanners, you think of a machine that makes your business life easy on everyday basis. However, it was not the same a decade ago. Using barcode scanners would mean inviting a family of wires on your counter which would run around all places. Now all you have to is plug in the cable and you are ready to use your barcode scanner!

With multiple varieties available in the market to choose from, it has become important to select the right type of barcode scanner that is appropriate for your business. This may sound very challenging but knowing few important set of features that you would require in your daily POS routine is all that you need. You must give a thought to the following:

  1. Will the scanner be used for industrial purpose or will it be used for general purpose?
  2. How frequently will you be using your scanner?
  3. What will be the type of barcodes that your scanner will be reading?
  4. Do you need your barcode scanner to be connected to your PC at all times?

If you know the conditions where your barcode scanner has to be used, then it becomes very easy to find out which scanner you will be buying. Barcode scanners are available in different forms and technologies. Discussing each of these will help you understand their usability.

Types of Barcode Scanners:

Have you been trying to find the right type of scanner for your business? When you go out to look for a barcode scanner, there are a few things that you should always keep in mind. Some these concerns involve knowing the kind of scan engine that your scanner is built around. Knowing this is important because this will decide the condition in which the scanner will be used.


Laser scanners are amongst few scanners that are used by many businesses these days. These scanners read the reflection of the black and white gap which is left in a barcode with the help of red diode laser. If you are looking for a pocket saving and cost-effective scanner, then you must consider this one. However, these scanners can only read 1D barcodes and are also known as standard linear barcodes. You can find these scanners in majorly two varieties:

  1. The standard laser barcode scanners have a limited range of scanning which means that they can read barcode from 1 foot and maximum up till 2 feet. This may also vary considering the size of the scanner.
  2. The second variety in these scanners is the extended range of scanners which can read barcode that are 30-35 feet away. These barcode scanners work well with large reflective labels. Motorola LS3408ER is a good example for laser scanners that can read barcodes from a good distance.


Imager scanners can be classified into two categories:

Linear Imager Scanner- One Dimensional (1D)

Another type of scanner that reads only 1D barcodes is the Linear Imager Scanner. These scanners are similar to the that of laser scanners but the difference is that rather than decoding the barcodes with the help of reflections, these scanners click a picture of the barcode and decode the image of the barcode extracting important information. Linear Imager scanners are now getting more popular replacing laser scanners because they give the user a better range of products to choose from and the price of the scanners is almost the same. The reason behind their popularity is that these scanners manage to read the barcodes of products which are either not printer properly or have been scratched which is a little difficult with laser scanners. These scanners are quite efficient when they are used for businesses which require rugged use. Honeywell 1300g stands as a good example of a linear imager scanner.

Imager Scanner- Two Dimensional (2D)

The 2D imager scanner functions in the same manner as the 1D imager scanner. These scanners also take the picture of the barcode and extract the information from the barcode. The difference between the two is that unlike 1D imager scanner, the 2D imager scanner has ability to read all types of barcodes including the 1D, 2D and stacked barcodes. These barcode scanners are more efficient to use because they have the advantage of reading barcodes in any direction that is presented to them unlike laser and linear imager scanners. You don’t have to aim to scan a product anymore. This feature of the scanner helps the users to scan the barcodes at a faster rate than any other scanner. A very good example of the 2D imager scanner is Honeywell 1900 that is gaining popularity in the industrial sector because it provides faster speed of scanning in a rugged atmosphere.

Omnidirectional Barcode Scanners

The Omni Directional Barcode Scanners use different patterns of laser beams to interpret barcodes from multiple angles. Most linear imager and 1D laser barcode scanner uses a single beam of light to read the product barcodes. These scanners are best for retail showrooms and supermarkets. This type of scanners is very famous for their usage in warehouses because of their tough and rugged use. Omni Directional Barcode Scanners easier to use friendly because they are not required to be held as they are hands free devices. This device is also very useful when the stores are usually crowded and require quick customer check outs.

Categories of Barcode Scanners:

After ascertaining the type of barcode scanner that your business requires, it is also important to determine the shape and form of scanner that you be suitable for your business. In this segment, we will understand the form of barcode scanner which are majorly divided into 8 categories. These will depend on the nature of your business that you will eventually understand after you have read about the following barcode scanner:

Handheld: The most popular scanners for all type of businesses

Handheld barcode scanners are the most popular type of barcode scanners that exist in the POS market today. They are very convenient and easy to use. These scanners are available in both wired and wireless forms. Many people prefer wireless handheld scanners to improve the mobility and efficiency of their daily operations and also because some people prefer less cables to be visible on their counters. People prefer these scanners because aiming at the barcode and pulling the trigger is all that you need to record a transaction into your system. The Motorola LS2208 is a popular example of a handheld barcode scanner.

Presentation: One of the most efficient scanners for retail outlets

Presentation scanners work well for retail businesses where the scanner can be made to sit on the counter and doesn’t need to be held in hand while billing, unlike handheld barcode scanners. These scanners don’t require aiming at the barcodes to read them and extract information. They have a considerably wide angle of reading areas which helps in minimizing the need for aiming at the barcode. These form of barcode scanners are very popular in retail stores, grocery stores, libraries, supermarkets and other check out outlets. The reason for their popularity in such stores is because it provides more efficiency when you have a lot of customers flowing in your store. All you need to is put the barcode in front of the scanner and it will automatically scan the product.

Fixed Mounts: Looking for scanners for warehouses or manufacturing units?

Fixed mount scanners are better equipped and are more specialized if you compare them with other barcode scanners. These scanners don’t come with triggers for scanning. They are mostly synced with large automated systems. The Fixed mount scanners are generally fixed on conveyer lines in logistics units or fitted on top of kiosks. These scanners are automated with external sensors which provide extremely high speed to the users so that the barcodes can be scanned without any hindrance or system failure. The Microscan MS-9 is a good example of a Fixed Mount Scanner.

Mobile Computer:

Try the handiest barcode scanners that universally work in all type of businesses

Besides providing more features than any other scanners do, mobile computer scanners are the most convenient sort of scanners that gives its user the freedom from being connected to a computer all the time. These scanners are like a two in one machine which means it not only a scanner but also a PC. Motorola MC75A lets you move around without worrying about connected to a PC. These scanners are connected to Wi-Fi or WAN networks because of which they can store information on their internal memory. The mobile computers are scanners that work well for all type of businesses but are best suited for businesses that require complete freedom of movement like inventory management.


Looking for a barcode scanner for a grocery store?

The In- Counter Barcode Scanner possesses almost the same feature as the presentation scanner. These scanners too do not have a trigger or a controller to scan the barcode of a product. These scanners have a wide range of reading areas which makes it easy for the user to scan a product. All you have to do is present the barcode in front of the scanner and the barcode gets scanned within no time. The only difference between presentation scanners and in-counter barcode scanners is that the in-counter scanners gets fixed under the counter top. The Datalogic Magellan 8300 is an example of in-counter barcode scanner that you may have seen in many supermarkets and grocery stores. Some of this type of scanners come with embedded scales to measure the weight of the products often referred to as Scanner Scales.

Phone & Tablet:

Need a scanner that works with iPhone?

If you have been searching for scanners that work well with iOS and are specially designed to be connected with iPhones and iPads. iPhone barcode scanners are certified specially for iPhones so that the users can be satisfied about compatibility of your scanner with you iPhone. Using this scanner is very simple. All you have to do is connect your phone to your scanner using Bluetooth and scan all the barcodes. The information of these barcodes is directly transferred to you one of your iPhone barcode scanner apps.

Choose the right scanner for your iPad

iPad barcode scanners are particularly designed to work well with your iPad to provide seamless performance. These scanners can be connected to your iPad using Bluetooth which is very similar to the features of iPhone barcode scanners. These scanners too are certified for smooth operations with your iPad. Connect your iPad with your scanner and you are ready to scan all the barcodes whose information will be recorded in your app.

Selecting the correct scanner for your Android device

The demand for Android devices like smartphones and tablets has been rising which is why most of the business owners are looking to introduce scanners that can be compatible with their android smartphones and tablets. These scanners just have to be connected to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth and they can provide 1D and 2D scanning for your barcodes.

Wand: Looking for barcode scanners for remote locations?

Wand scanners look very different from other scanners. As the name suggests, these scanners are sleekly designed for the purpose of scanning barcodes that are placed in remote locations. The wand scanners work well for reading RFID tags. These scanners provide great efficiency for inventory scanning thus improving the management of your stock. The Unitech MS100-NUCB00 wand barcode scanners work well in inventory management.

Kiosk: Improve customer self-service and customer experience

Kiosk barcode scanners are best suited for businesses that require technology for self-service for customers. If you are looking for barcode scanners that are easy to install and convenient to use, then this is a must buy for your business. Your customers can check the product details such as the price, stock as well as their loyalty card balance. The Motorola MK500 is a very powerful kiosk scanner that provides additional tutorial videos for its users.


Corded or Cordless:

Corded Scanners: Evergreen, easy to manage scanners

Going back to the history, there existed scanners that were corded. Scanner that could be easily connected to your PC through a wire/cord. Corded scanners are still the most used scanners by many businesses and have managed to maintain their popularity even after cordless scanners were introduced. These scanners are very easy to connect to your PC. It comes with many interfaces which is either Serial (more commonly called Rs232), PS/2 and USD connection. In addition to providing easy connectivity and integration, corded scanners are cheaper option when compared to cordless scanners.

Cordless Scanners: New technology wireless scanners

New technologies have been coming up which are consequently leading to improved efficiency of the people at work. Cordless scanners are one such example in the POS industry that provides cordless scanning to its users. These scanners were expensive when they were introduced but are now more affordable. The wireless scanner works exactly in the same fashion as the corded scanner. The only difference between the two is that the cordless scanner is connected to a base station which integrated through a wire to your PC. To start using the cordless scanner, connect it to your PC through the cable and pair your scanner to the base station and you are good to go.

Which connectivity suits best for your business?

Cordless scanners can be connected via Bluetooth and usually gives you range of 33 feet of scanning. A few scanners come with special ability of scanning beyond 200 feet of range. These scanners have specialized Bluetooth technology that enable them to record transaction from a distance. Cordless scanners are proving to be more efficient because they give more freedom to the user. A very good example to prove this is the Motorola LS4278 can be used with all your wireless devices like laptop, smartphones and tablets because the can be paired with your device without being connected to the cradle.


Are you looking for a scanner for industrial or general purpose?

Rugged scanners are always a good option to keep whether your scanner needs to be used in rugged industrial purpose or general purpose. However, the conditions in which the scanner has to be used. If you use your scanner roughly but your working conditions are normal, then it is always a better to opt for rugged scanners.

Almost all the scanners are made in a manner that they can be used in normal retail environment but not all scanners are designed to sustain tough industrial usage. Scanners like Motorola LS3408FZ are best suited for outdoor businesses, inventory management and warehouses. Rugged scanners are quite strong if you compare them to standard scanners. They are specially designed to resist any type of physical challenge which means that the difference in strength between the two is pretty extreme. The scanners that are designed for rugged use can survive dust and drop from 5-7 ft.

How to identify rugged scanners?

Rugged scanners can be identified when you see their red and yellow rubber casing. These scanners may appear more expensive when you plan to buy one but they’re worth every penny that you spend. It’s always better to invest more in the initial set up than spend more when your existing scanner has broken.


Does your business require 1D barcode scanning or 2D barcode scanning?

Deciding the capability of your scanner is an important thing that you should keep in mind while buying a scanner. 1D barcode scanning is available in two types of scanners:

  1. Laser barcode scanners uses lasers to scan the barcode on your product.
  2. Linear Imager scanners uses camera that takes a picture of the barcode to decode the information of barcode.

1D barcode scanners work well for small set ups that are trying to save money on their POS purchases. These scanners are quite pocket friendly. However most of these scanners can read data up to feet distance.

2D barcode scanning are also called 2D Imager scanners. The 2D barcodes are very small in size which makes them a more practical method to be used for items that are small. 2D barcode scanners have also become cheaper if you compare its prices from the past. Many manufacturing units and supplying unit chains have been using these scanners because of the reduction in the price of these scanners.