Handheld Barcode Scanner Buying Guide

Barcode scanners, which read and decode barcodes, are widely used these days. This wasn’t the case less than half a century ago. The first supermarket to adopt barcode scanning in Australia was Sims, located in Melbourne’s western suburbs. This was in 1979.

Today, barcode scanners (along with a few small lines and numbers on the back of the products) have become essential tools in the globalised economy. Aside from being an essential piece of equipment of any retail store, they’re also common in office supply stores, drug stores, department stores, and warehouses. Since they come in many different types and a variety of shapes, sizes, and capabilities, choosing the right one for your business is crucial.  

What Is a Barcode Scanner? 

manager worker in warehouse with bar code scanner
source: techspring.com

The convenient hand held barcode scanner is a device that can read barcodes and transmit the information to a computer. It’s used in a variety of situations, including inventory management and tracking, point of sale systems and inventory tracking, library systems and retail check out. 

Barcode scanners come in several different styles depending on their intended use. One type is designed to be worn on the hand like a glove. Another uses an attached cable to connect the scanner device to a computer or laptop. A third type is designed to be suitable with a pen or stylus, allowing you to use the device like a pen when reading codes. There are also those handheld devices similar to digital cameras that can snap pictures of barcodes without needing to be held up or aimed directly at them.  

In addition, barcode scanners can be used for more than just identifying products or other items. Their purpose is broad enough to encompass identification, such as collecting data at conferences or events. Some high-end models even include fingerprint recognition capabilities. 

The main components of all barcode scanners include an imaging sensor, digital signal processor and programmable logic controller. The sensor translates light reflected from the barcode into electrical impulses that can be interpreted by the other components in the scanner device. The digital signal processor determines how the impulses are translated into recognisable data. The programmable logic controller directs the flow of information between the other two components to ensure that they function correctly.  

Types of Barcode Scanners – Handheld vs. Fixed  

types of barcode scanners
source: mitegen.com

There are basically two types of the barcode scanner, the handheld and the fixed. The portable hand held barcode scanner is lightweight and can be moved around wherever you need it. They are great for warehouses and retail stores where they will be used to scan items as they move from one place to another. 

The handheld scanners are often crucial for industries such as the automotive, warehouse storage, healthcare, or even manufacturing where fast-moving parts are used in production. These scanners can be also prove to be of the essence at job sites or in any other area where they would be come in handy with tracking materials as they move through a process. 

In comparison, the fixed scanner is mounted on a pedestal and is always stationary. It is usually best suited for areas such as offices or mailrooms where the item being scanned remains stationary throughout the scanning process. 

They can also be found in retail stores inside a cashier’s counter or halfway down an aisle. These scanners are usually placed on a waist-high stand where it’s convenient for cashiers to scan items without having to bend over or reach way up high to scan an item. They’re also good for receiving areas where packages are delivered and need to be scanned as quickly as possible so they can be processed into inventory.  

Things to Consider When Buying a Barcode Scanner

In addition to whether a fixed or a handheld scanner is fitting to your needs, there are a few more things to consider.

Screen Size  

The best hand held barcode scanner will have a high resolution, easy-to-read screen. Look for a display that is larger than two inches and features anti-glare technology to minimise eye strain. 

Scanning Distance 

If you plan on using the scanner in any retail environment, be sure that it can handle the close distances that are typical in these situations. The best designs can scan codes within an inch of their surface. If you need to scan more than an inch away, look for a model with a longer range.  

Scanning Speed  

Speed varies among models of hand held barcode scanners and is usually expressed as scans per second (or “sps” for short). When choosing your model, look for the highest sps possible while still staying within your budget. Most retailers prefer devices with at least 200 sps. 

Which Accessories Will Help You as You Work with Your New Handheld Scanner?

barcode scanner holder
source: carousell.sg

There are some accessories for your scanner that you need in order to operate it. For example, a holder, because it will be hard for you to hold it all the time while you are working with it. You will also need a stand to place it on so that you can work at ease.  

You have to also think about what kind of software you will use with your wireless handheld barcode scanner. There is barcode software available on the market today. You have to buy this kind of software if you want to be able to create barcodes using your scanner.

The next thing that is important when buying accessories for your handheld scanner is getting some kind of cleaning kit. As we know, the device needs cleaning after some time of work because dust gets inside the machine and this could affect its efficiency and performance.  

In addition to these accessories, there are other ones that could be useful for you as well: a holder for mobile phone, a carrying case and hand held barcode scanner USB cable so that you can connect it with computers and other devices in order to transfer files, or to be able to charge it.  

To Sum Up 

Ultimately, if you’re working with handling inventory, assets, or products on a regular basis, then acquiring one of these scanners is something you should consider. It will save time in both the short and long term, making it a worthy investment for any business.