How to select a barcode scanner

Barcode Scan Graphic

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The first step in selecting the right scanner is identifying your specific needs.


There are 4 main types of barcodes that are used. The most common barcodes are 1D (one-dimensional) and 2D.

Linear barcodes (1D) are easily read from printed surfaces of labels and include UPC, Code 128 etc.

2D barcodes are often referred to as QR codes or Datamatrix. 2D Barcode Scanners can read both 1D or 2D codes from any surface, including monitors and phone screens.


General purpose barcode scanners are ideal for indoor retail type applications, document scanning and office applications.

A rugged environment calls for a rugged scanner that can be used in a range of harsh environmental conditions. Rugged barcodes scanners are tested and able to withstand being dropped onto concrete, dust and water exposure.


It’s simple really – either corded or cordless.

A corded barcode scanner is connected with a computer through a direct cable connection. The most common form of connection is USB.

A cordless barcode scanner communicates via Bluetooth or RF. This allows the user to move freely and scan away from a computer. Data is sent in real-time to the host computer.

Read Range

The read range of the barcode scanner needs particular consideration when selecting a cordless barcode scanner.

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