Handheld barcode scanners suying guide

There are a number of great hand held barcode scanners available. Every business will need a scanner for a different reason, so buying the right one can be overwhelming. Follow this buying guide to find the right hand held scanner for your specific needs.

In fact, defining specific needs is the first step in choosing a scanner. Answer the following questions honestly:

  • In what type of environment will the scanner be used?
  • Will it be used often?
  • What types of barcodes do you read?
  • How will it be connected to the ERP or WMS system?


Next, you'll want to inspect the scan engine to find out which one will work best for your company needs. The scan engine you choose will depend on how aggressive you need the scanner to work.


The laser is the most common type of scanner. A red diode laser picks up on the black and white reflectance on a barcode. They can only read standard linear, or 1D, barcodes, but they are typically the most cost effective.


These also only read a 1D barcode, but they capture an image of the barcode instead of reading with a laser. The image is then analyzed to read the information. The cost has become similar to the laser, but these scanners are used for applications that need a more aggressive scan.


These scanners capture an image similar to the linear imager. However, these scanners are able to read every type of barcode, not just 1D. Additionally, the orientation of the barcode doesn't matter to these types of scanners. This is by far the most intelligent scanner available. It can read barcodes from screens and monitors.


Will you need a corded or cordless scanner? The corded scanner is, by far, the cheapest option and will be the fastest to set up. It does, however, require a direct connection with the software necessary to record the information on the barcode. A cordless scanner can move around anywhere and will communicate with the software wirelessly. The range is still limited, but it is by far farther than the corded version. Pay attention to the battery life, however; if the cordless hand held scanner runs low on battery, it will send incorrect information back to the database.

Finding the right scanner for your business will depend on your unique business needs as well as your budget. To talk more about this, or anything else, please contact us. Thanks.

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