What Are The Different Types Of Barcode Scanners?

Barcode scanners have made doing business much easier and much more efficient.

Compared to manual encoding, barcode scanners eliminate human error.



When you are dealing with a large sales inventory, human encoding errors can mean thousands of dollars in profit loss.

Using barcode scanners makes business transactions faster, easier, and more accurate.

It is a reliable tool for processing sales that reduces mistakes and employee training time. This means more profit for your company.

Choosing the right barcode scanner for your business is very important.

In doing so, you will have to consider your needs, the scale of your business, your IT setup, etc.

Before choosing, it is important that you consider the following factors:

  • How heavy is the daily load the scanner will be taking on? How aggressive of a unit do you need? This depends on how big or how small your operation is.
  • What type of barcodes will you be reading?
  • The type of scan engine.

Types of Barcode Scanners

1. Pen-type or Wand-type Readers – this scanner has a LED light and a photodiode on its tip that is used to scan the barcodes on various items. You have to carefully pass the scanner over the barcode at a slow speed. These are the most inexpensive type of barcode scanners.

2. Laser Barcode Scanners – works just like the pen type reader but is more convenient and gives more accurate results. It uses a laser beam that sweeps across the barcode and reads the information accurately. It can read a barcode from 15 cms to 60 cms away. Some long-range laser scanners can read from half a metre to 3 metres away. This is the most popular type of barcode scanner and is widely used in retail. 

3. CCD (Charge Coupled Device) Barcode Scanners – Also called LED scanners. These use hundreds of tiny LED lights that shoot directly at the barcode. These types of scanners are very popular in POS or Point of Sale Applications. CCD Scanners need to be 3cms to 10 cms away from the barcode, otherwise, it will not work. It cannot read any barcode that is longer than the scanner monitor. SSC barcode scanners are very expensive but give the most accurate results.

4. Imager Barcode Scanners or Camera-Based Scanners – This scanner has a video camera inside. It takes a picture of the barcode and uses a sophisticated digital decoding technique. This scanner can read a barcode no matter how you position it against the scanner. It makes for much faster transactions. 

Zapper Tornado 2D BT HC – 2D Scanner

5. 2D Scanners – these types of barcode scanners also have the capability to scan 2D barcodes, QR codes, and even Australian Post 4-state barcodes.

6. Anti-Microbial Barcode Scanners – these are high-performance barcode scanners that have built-in anti-microbial agents to minimise or stop the spread of viruses and infectious bacteria. This type of scanners is used in hygiene-sensitive applications, such as health care, among others.

7. Bluetooth Barcode Scanners – these are wireless scanners that rely on Bluetooth technology. They give you the freedom to scan data anywhere at any time without being restricted by cable connections.

8. Fixed Barcode Scanners – these scanners are permanently mounted on a piece of equipment or on a surface. The items with barcodes are scanned past the monitor. 

9. WIFI-dependent Scanners – this type of scanner needs WIFI (WLAN) in order to perform. If there is no internet connection through WIFI, the device will not work.

The choices are plenty, so deciding on which one to pick for your business can be tricky.

Following are some questions that will help you choose the right barcode scanner for your business.

  • What will I use it for? For a warehouse or retail store?
  • How often do I need to use the scanner?
  • How far from the product should I be able to scan it?
  • Where will I connect the barcode scanner to?
  • What is my budget?
  • How many scanners do I need?
  • What type of barcodes will I be scanning?

Two Types of Barcodes

1. 1D Barcodes – the usual linear black and white spaces with varying widths that will have more or less 12 characters under it. This is still the most popular and widely used type of barcode. Ninety per cent of the applications still use 1D barcodes.

2. 2D Barcodes –  these are barcodes that are read in two dimensions using horizontal and vertical patterns. Examples are QR codes, data matrix squares, etc.

Barcodes contain important data regarding your product. It is vital that you use a dependable, reliable, and accurate scanning device to read these data. 

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.