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Which Barcode Scanner is right for you?

There are so many variations of Barcode Scanner in the world and it can be difficult and time consuming going over the many variations to know exactly which one will deliver what your company needs. So, we have broken down the 4 Biggest considerations when purchasing a scanner for the first time.

1D or 2D

The best way to explain the difference between a 1D and 2D Barcode scanner is to first explain the difference between a 1D and 2D barcode.


 Initially, this seems like a strange idea, who knew a barcode could have so many different dimensions! 

 But a 1D barcode also known as a linear imager, simply means that it will look like a traditional barcode with the Black lines in different thicknesses interspersed with white. A 1D barcode scanner will be able to read all these barcodes but only from a fixed position. Most shops use 1D or Linear Barcodes. This helps to explain the strange dance you have to do with your shopping at the self-checkout tills!

A 2D Barcode holds more data than a 1D barcode. This means that you can have more information about what your scanning like an expiration date on a product (although this isn’t a standard feature and will need to be programmed separately).
Different types of barcodes come under the umbrella of a 2D Barcode. The most common ones include QR Code, Data Matrix and PDF. One of the major differences between a 1D and 2D barcode is that a 2D Barcode can be read by a 2D barcode scanner from any angle!


 So how does the above help you chose a barcode scanner? Well, a 1D Barcode scanner can read the traditional linear barcodes that you will find on most products or already use in your business. However, to make things more complicated a 2D Barcode scanner can also read 1D Barcodes as well as 2D Barcodes. So that might seem like a Game set and Match for the 2D, but it is also important to note that if you have multiple different types of Barcodes on a product but you only want to scan one a 2D Barcode scanner will read all of them. This could mean that you end up with a lot of different data and information that you didn’t need or want to be scanned and stored on your device.


HD, SR or ER

HD, SR, and ER stand for High Density, Standard Range and Extended Range. These all determine how close your scanner needs to be to the barcode.

Simply put a high-Density scanner is used in very close proximity to the barcode and is good for either very small barcodes like ones in manufacturing or jewellery, or precision scanning where you may have several barcodes on one product but you need to make sure you are scanning the right barcode every time.

 Standard Range is the most common scanning range and it usually gives a starting range of about 10-20mm away from the barcode to about 30- 40mm.

 Extended Range as you can probably guess allows the biggest distance between scanner and barcode. With an average starting range of about 90mm to 4M. This is ideal for needing to scan items high up or to scan items quickly from a distance.

Handheld or Fixed or Presentation

When you buy a scanner, you will usually see three options to choose from Handheld, Fixed or presentation. However, we have decided to split this and give presentation its own section as it can sneakily fall into either category. 


The main decision between Handheld or Fixed is how your scanner will be displayed. 


 A handheld scanner as you can probably guess is a portable scanner with a trigger that can be bought to an item or carried around with your worker. A handheld scanner is usually also sold with a charging base that protects the scanner from damage and charges it simultaneously. All whilst being easy to grab at a moment’s notice for the next item you need to scan. 


 A fixed Scanner is a smaller scanner that is built into a till system or kiosk. They are perfect for smaller items or if you want your customers to scan the items themselves. Typically, they are set up to scan items automatically and have the item/barcode bought to the scanner rather than the other way around. 

Presentation scanner

Presentation scanners as mentioned before can be Handheld or Fixed. Traditionally a presentation scanner is a fixed scanner however a lot of handheld scanners can be put into presentation mode, this is usually triggered when put into a charging cradle. A presentation scanner can also read barcodes from any angle and usually are picked up automatically without having to press on a trigger.

Wired or Wireless

This one is simple. There are two choices Wired or Wireless, Wired is best if you are scanning small items which are lightweight and can be moved to the scanner. Wireless is the way to go if you have a lot of big heavy items that you can’t lift to the scanner. Or if you have a large warehouse that you need to move around and scan stock rather than bring it all to the scanner.

So those are some of the most important factors to think about when first purchasing your barcode scanner. The different aspects can all be put together in whatever combination that your business requires.

Check out our range of barcode scanners here. Or if you have any questions about which barcode scanner would be best for your business contact us here.

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