Unveiling the Key Features of Barcode Scanners

Features of Barcode Scanners

Selecting the right barcode scanner for your business can be a daunting task. With a myriad of options available, it’s crucial to understand the key features that differentiate one scanner from another.

By focusing on the essential capabilities, you can ensure that you invest in a tool that enhances efficiency, accuracy, and productivity. Let’s explore the top features to look for in a barcode scanner.

Types of Barcode Scanners

Before diving into the features, it’s essential to understand the different types of barcode scanners available. Each type has its unique capabilities and is suited to specific business needs.

Handheld Scanners

Handheld scanners are versatile and widely used across various industries. They are designed for easy, on-the-go scanning.

  • Pros: Portable, user-friendly, versatile.
  • Best For: Retail, inventory management, warehouses.

Fixed-Mount Scanners

Fixed-mount scanners are ideal for high-volume environments where items pass through a designated scanning area, such as on conveyor belts.

  • Pros: Hands-free operation, high-speed scanning, durable.
  • Best For: Manufacturing, logistics, large-scale retail operations.

Mobile Computers

Mobile computers combine the functionalities of a barcode scanner with a mobile device. They offer real-time data access and are perfect for field operations.

  • Pros: Multifunctional, portable, real-time data access.
  • Best For: Field service, delivery services, mobile inventory management.

Scanning Technology

The technology used in a barcode scanner is a fundamental feature that determines its performance and compatibility with different barcode types.

Laser Scanners

Laser scanners are efficient for reading 1D barcodes. They use a laser beam to scan the barcode, which makes them precise and fast.

  • Advantages: Accurate, fast, can read from a distance.
  • Limitations: Limited to 1D barcodes, affected by reflective surfaces.

Imaging Scanners

Imaging scanners use cameras to capture and decode barcodes. They can read both 1D and 2D barcodes, including QR codes.

  • Advantages: Can read 1D and 2D barcodes, works on screens, versatile.
  • Limitations: Generally slower than laser scanners for 1D barcodes.

Connectivity Options

How a barcode scanner connects to your system is crucial for ensuring seamless operation. Different connectivity options cater to various business environments and needs.

Wired Connectivity

Wired barcode scanners connect to a system via a cable, usually USB. They offer a stable connection without the need for battery management.

  • Advantages: Reliable connection, no battery charging required.
  • Best For: Stationary setups, retail counters, desktop use.

Wireless Connectivity

Wireless scanners connect via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, providing mobility and flexibility in operations.

  • Advantages: Mobility, flexibility, eliminates cable clutter.
  • Best For: Large warehouses, mobile operations, fieldwork.

Durability and Build Quality

The environment in which you’ll use the barcode scanner should dictate its durability requirements. For harsh or industrial settings, rugged scanners are ideal.

Standard Scanners

Standard barcode scanners are suitable for typical retail or office environments where the risk of damage is minimal.

  • Pros: Lightweight, cost-effective, easy to handle.
  • Best For: Retail, offices, small businesses.

Rugged Scanners

Rugged scanners are built to withstand tough conditions, such as drops, dust, and moisture.

  • Pros: Durable, resistant to environmental hazards, long-lasting.
  • Best For: Warehouses, manufacturing plants, outdoor use.

Scan Speed and Accuracy

The efficiency of a barcode scanner is significantly influenced by its scan speed and accuracy. This is particularly crucial in high-volume environments.

High-Speed Scanning

Scanners with high scan speeds can process numerous barcodes in a short time, essential for busy retail or logistics operations.

  • Benefits: Reduces wait times, increases throughput, enhances productivity.


Accurate scanning ensures that the correct data is captured, reducing errors in inventory and sales transactions.

  • Benefits: Minimises mistakes, ensures data integrity, improves customer satisfaction.

Compatibility with Barcode Types

Different businesses use different types of barcodes, and your scanner must be compatible with the barcodes you utilise.

1D Barcodes

1D barcodes are linear and used in various industries, including retail and logistics.

  • Common Uses: Product labelling, shipping labels, inventory management.

2D Barcodes

2D barcodes, such as QR codes, hold more information and are increasingly used in modern applications.

  • Common Uses: Marketing campaigns, product tracking, ticketing.

Additional Features to Consider

Beyond the fundamental features, there are several additional functionalities that can enhance the utility of a barcode scanner.

Multi-Barcode Scanning

Some advanced scanners can read multiple barcodes at once, significantly speeding up processes in high-volume settings.

  • Advantages: Saves time, increases efficiency, ideal for logistics and warehousing.

Scan Confirmation

Visual or auditory signals confirming a successful scan can improve accuracy and user experience.

  • Advantages: Reduces errors, provides instant feedback, improves workflow.

Ease of Use

User-friendly scanners with ergonomic designs reduce fatigue and increase productivity, especially during prolonged use.

  • Advantages: Enhances user comfort, reduces training time, improves efficiency.

FAQs about Barcode Scanners

How does a barcode scanner work?

A barcode scanner works by emitting a light source that illuminates the barcode. The reflected light is captured by a sensor within the scanner, which converts it into an electrical signal. This signal is then decoded into data, which is transmitted to a connected device, such as a computer or POS system, for processing.

How to use a barcode scanner?

Using a barcode scanner is straightforward:

  1. Connect the Scanner: Attach the scanner to your computer or POS system via a cable or wireless connection.
  2. Position the Scanner: Hold the scanner a few inches away from the barcode.
  3. Activate the Scanner: Press the trigger or button to emit the scanning light.
  4. Scan the Barcode: Move the light across the barcode until you hear a beep or see a confirmation light indicating a successful scan.
  5. Verify the Data: Check the connected device to ensure the data has been accurately captured and recorded.

Are barcode scanners compatible with different POS systems?

Most barcode scanners are designed to be compatible with a wide range of POS systems. Ensure that the scanner supports the same connectivity options (USB, Bluetooth, etc.) as your POS system. Many scanners also offer plug-and-play functionality, making integration seamless and straightforward.

Can barcode scanners read QR codes?

Yes, many modern barcode scanners, particularly 2D imaging scanners, can read QR codes. These scanners use advanced imaging technology to capture and decode both 1D and 2D barcodes, making them versatile tools for businesses that utilise a variety of barcode types.

Can barcode scanners scan barcodes of different sizes and materials?

Yes, barcode scanners are capable of reading barcodes of various sizes and materials. Advanced scanners can handle small, dense barcodes as well as larger, simpler ones. They can also read barcodes on reflective surfaces or under plastic covers, making them highly adaptable to different business needs.

Enhance Your Business Operations with ASP

Ready to upgrade your barcode scanning capabilities? At ASP, we offer a comprehensive range of barcode scanners equipped with the latest features to meet your business needs. Visit ASP Microcomputers today to find the perfect scanner that enhances efficiency, accuracy, and productivity in your operations!

Please call us today on 03 9007 2678 or 1800 431 539 or leave an enquiry.