Barcodes come in many flavors that can serve different purposes. A key to using them is also having the appropriate scanner to read the barcodes that you work with daily. Also, thinking proactively when it comes to barcode scanners. Just because you do not use that type of scanner today, is there a chance you may in the future? Would it be a good business decision to invest in a more advanced scanner now or wait until you reach that point in your business plan.
Before you can decide on which scanner best meets your needs, you need a good foundation on the different barcode types. I like to call it Barcodes 101!
Barcodes fall into two main categories, one-dimensional (1D) and two-dimensional (2D). One-dimensional represent data through the widths and spacing of parallel lines and include: UPC, EAN, Code 39, CODE 93, GS1 Data Coupon, and ISBN barcodes. Two-dimensional barcodes represent data through two-dimensional shapes and symbols and can represent more data than one-dimensional barcodes. QR codes and PDF417 are a couple of examples.
The most prevalent category is the handheld or gun style barcode scanner. Handheld scanners are the most popular, because they are easy to operate and are cost effect. Don’t let handheld fool you, even though they are called handheld; many come equipped with stands for hands-free use.
They come in both corded and wireless. While the corded scanners are less expensive; the mobility is limited to the length of the cord. Corded scanners are historically more durable, powerful, and reliable. They are a great option if you are using them in a stationary location.
Wireless handheld scanners give you more flexibility when scanning barcodes. The scanner communicates with the base, which transmits the information back to the POS workstation. Although it is mobile you must stay within the range of your base for it to be functional, but some top-end wireless handheld scanners have a range up to 50 feet!
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