Are Barcode Scanners And QR Code Scanners The Same?

Advancements in technology have allowed us to elevate the way we carry out our everyday lives. An important technological advancement is the introduction of digital systems, which allow us to quickly scan product tags and manage our inventory.

In terms of inventory management, there are two common codes that are used for tracking: barcodes or QR codes. Both of these codes have their own advantages and disadvantages, but if you were wondering whether scanning them is the same process, we’re here to help you learn more about it.

If you are curious to know whether or not barcode scanners and QR code scanners are the same, then please continue reading below.

Barcodes vs. QR Codes

Let’s briefly describe what barcodes and QR codes are, beginning first with barcodes. Barcodes are one-dimensional codes consisting of a series of black bars and white spaces of different sizes.

They are often attached to labels placed on items, objects, or on the packaging of a product. They contain important information about a product such as its price, date of expiry, and more.

Meanwhile, QR codes – which is short for “Quick Response” codes – are two-dimensional barcodes that can be read both vertically and horizontally. This is unlike barcodes, which can only be read horizontally given that they are one-dimensional codes.

QR codes are comprised of small square codes that make use of block shapes and white spaces to contain information. They are commonly found on many products nowadays, but can also be used for example, to share social media profiles to gain more visits and followers. 

Are Barcode Scanners QR Code Scanners Same

Scanning Barcodes

As previously mentioned, barcodes contain specific information about a particular product. This information is read by a barcode scanner, which you may have seen in many retail stores, supermarkets, book shops, and more. 

Barcode scanners are capable of interpreting the information contained in barcodes. The barcode scanner is made up of three different parts: the illumination system, the sensor, and the decoder. 

The illumination system is in charge of scanning the black and white elements of the barcode by illuminating the code with a red light. You can occasionally find green light scanners, but they can be a bit more expensive than red light scanners. 

Once the code is illuminated, it is converted into matching text. In other words, the sensor in the barcode scanner detects the refracted light originating from the illumination system, generating an analogue signal that will be sent to the decoder.

The decoder, last but not the least, interprets the signal and validates the barcode by making use of the check digit. This is converted into text to be delivered to a computer software system that will allow a person to read the information.

Scanning QR Codes

Similar to barcodes, QR codes can be read by machines or designated scanners. However, nowadays they are commonly scanned by smart devices such as smartphones and smart tablets. Users can use apps on their devices to scan the QR code and get the necessary information contained in the code. 

Because of this, QR codes are easily accessible. They can also be scanned from any angle which makes them convenient to use. 

Are Barcode Scanners QR Code Scanners Same


Barcodes and QR codes are both used for similar purposes such as inventory tracking, but they do also have their own differences. For example, barcodes are one-dimensional – which means that they can only be read horizontally – while QR codes are two-dimensional – meaning that they can be read horizontally and vertically. 

However, a primary difference is the way in which both codes are scanned. Barcodes are scanned by barcode scanners, which are comprised of three parts: an illumination system, the sensor, and the decoder.

The barcode scanner illuminates the codes, converts it to matching text which is decoded by the decoder and sent to a computer software system. 

QR codes, meanwhile, are usually scanned by smart devices such as phones. Usually, there is an accompanying app required to do this. 

For more information about Bar Code and QR code scanners, particularly for stocktaking purposes, please visit our website.

If you would like to know more about the best stocktake software and how the right set of software and point of sale systems could help you, give us a call.

Our team would be happy to discuss your needs and to help you build new, more efficient workflows that will support the best operation of your warehouse or store.

We have the right tools for companies of all sizes and will work to accommodate your business, supplying you with technologies that are tailored to suit your business to help improve your efficiency and accountability.

We are the market leader when it comes to the development of customised and packaged solutions.

This includes Inventory Management, Portable Barcode Readers, Supply Chain Management, Time and Attendance and Asset Tracking to name but a few.

Please call us today on 03 9578 7600 or 1800 061 642 or contact us through our website.