How to Select a Barcode Scanner

Barcode Scan Graphic

Not sure what barcode scanner is best for you? Simply fill out the form below, tell us what you need and we will email you the best product at the best price.

The first step in selecting the right scanner is identifying your specific needs.


There are 4 main types of barcodes that are used.  The most common barcodes  are 1D (one-dimensional) and 2D.

Linear barcodes (1D) are easily read from printed surfaces of labels and include UPC, Code 128 etc.

2D barcodes are often referred to as QR codes or Datamatrix.  2D Barcode Scanners can read both 1D or 2D codes from any surface, including monitors and phone screens.


General purpose barcode scanners are ideal for indoor retail type applications, document scanning and office applications.

A rugged environment calls for a rugged scanner that can be used in a range of harsh environmental conditions.  Rugged barcodes scanners are tested and able to withstand being dropped onto concrete, dust and water exposure.


It’s simple really – either corded or cordless.

A corded barcode scanner is connected with a computer through a direct cable connection.  The most common form of connection is USB.

A cordless barcode scanner communicates via Bluetooth or RF.  This allows the user to move freely and scan away from a computer.  Data is sent in real-time to the host computer.

Read Range

The read range of the barcode scanner needs particular consideration when selecting a cordless barcode scanner.

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Form Factor

Handheld Barcode Scanners – standard gun-style units for handheld applications.  Ideal for retail, commercial, warehousing, and healthcare applications.

Hand held scanners are the most common form of scanners available, are very easy to operate and cordless models are available.

Presentation Barcode Scanners – Perfect for fast hand free scanning.  Ideal for point of sale and self-scanning applications.

Typically presentation barcode scanners are found at retail check-outs since it is easy to scan many items quickly.  The barcode is presented in front of the scanner and read automatically.

Mobile Computer – Mobile computers are a step-up from your basic barcode scanner and provide mobility and accuracy in the work place. Mobile computers can be used to work anywhere while storing information and collecting data. Both batch (internal memory storage) and real time transmission of data is available.

This type of scanner and solution is perfect for applications like inventory management and asset tracking.

iPhone/iPad/Android barcode scanners – Barcode scanners are available that are designed specifically to pair with smartphones running iOS or Android.  Barcode scanning can be added to any application and is suitable for small boutique businesses.

Fixed Mount Scanner – These scanners are more specialised and are designed to be integrated with larger automated systems. Mounted on conveyor/production/assembly line these scanners will generally always be on.