Did you know that there are different kinds of barcode scanners? When it comes to choosing the right barcode scanner, it is important to familiarise yourself not only with the types of barcodes you wish to scan but the features of each type of barcode scanner.
If you would like to learn more about what types of barcode scanners you can choose from and what their individual features are, please feel free to continue exploring this topic with us below.
Before choosing the right barcode scanner, it is important to first consider what type of barcode you plan to scan. Typically, there are two types of barcodes: 1D and 2D.
1D barcodes appear as a series of black lines with white spaces of varying widths. They are commonly found on consumer goods and can hold only a few dozen characters. However, they become physically longer if more data is added. Because of this, it is common for users to limit their barcodes to 8-15 characters.
Meanwhile, 2D barcodes often use patterns that are shaped as squares, hexagons, dots, and more in order to encode data. 2D codes are able to hold up to 2,000 characters, which means they can hold much more data than 1D codes can.
Because there are different kinds of barcodes, and they can only be read by compatible, specific types of barcode scanners. As such, it is important to consider what type of barcode you plan to scan.
When it comes to the different types of barcode scanners, there are generally four kinds you can pick from. All of them differ based on the technology that they utilise to scan barcodes. Continue reading below to learn more about them:
Pen type readers, or barcode wands, consist of an LED light and a photodiode at its tip. It is used by sliding the barcode scanner over the barcode, where the LED illuminates the black and white bars. The photodiode captures the light reflected from these bars and is converted into digital information.
However, there is a certain level of caution you must exercise with this barcode scanner, so you need to carefully pass the scanner over the barcode at the proper speed. The scanner needs to make contact with the barcode and any human error could produce flaws in the obtained data.
Compared to the other types of barcode scanners, pen-type readers are relatively inexpensive. They are commonly used to scan 1D codes.
Out of all the barcode scanners, the laser barcode scanner may be what you are most familiar with. They are very popular and widely used, especially in retail settings.
Laser barcode scanners make use of a laser beam that is shot at a mirror inside the actual unit. The mirror moves so that the laser can sweep the barcode across in a straight line. A photodiode, similar to the pen type reader, captures the reflected light and converts it into digital information.
Laser barcode scanners can be mounted or hand-held. Standard laser barcode scanners can read the code from 6 to 24 inches away. Meanwhile, a long-range one can read a barcode from 2 to 8 feet away and an extra-long one can read from 30 feet away. Additionally, these scanners are used to read 1D codes.
CCD scanners, sometimes referred to as LED scanners, are expensive but provide very accurate results. They contain hundreds of small LED lights that are arranged in a row inside the unit. These lights are directly shot at the barcode, where the voltage of the ambient light is subsequently measured. Similar to the previous barcode scanners, the light is later converted to digital data.
CCD scanners are commonly applied for Point of Sale (POS) purposes. However, CCD scanners must be held 1 to 3inches from the barcode and cannot read the code that is longer than its scanner face.
The camera-based barcode scanner functions more similarly to a video camera than a scanner. The unit consists of a video camera that takes a picture of the barcode and analyses it with digital decoding techniques.
Image barcode scanners can read the barcode no matter how the scanner is placed in front of it, further improving the speed of scanning multi-fold. These barcode scanners can scan 1D and 2D codes; in fact, 2D codes can only be read with these types of scanners.
When choosing the right bar code scanner, consider questions such as “Where do I need to use a barcode scanner?” “At what length from the product should I be able to scan a barcode?” and, “What is my budget for a barcode scanner?” It is important to consider all of these factors when choosing the right barcode scanner.
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