How to Choose a Right Barcode Scanner? – Buyer’s Guide – PART II
Use of barcodes scanners have become very wide, and choosing the right barcode scanner can be a challenge without understanding the types and options. The barcode scanner is a plug and play USB device into your PC. Barcode scanners can seamlessly be integrated with use cases where data synchronization with your SAP or customized ERP software.
The first step to choose the right one, you must list out the specific needs:
- Where the scanner is going to be used? – Office or Retail – Indoor; Warehouse – Indoor & Outdoor that is a rugged environment where accidental drops to concrete floor may happen.
- What kind of barcodes need to be scanned? – 1D or 2D or DPM (Direct Part Marked Codes); Small sizes (3 mil) or High Density 2D Codes?
- What is the usage frequency? – How many scans per hour will be done? – Rare, Regular and Heavy?
- What is the material overlaying or protecting the barcode? – Glass or Plastic Covers?
- Do you need a Hand-held or Hands-free or Fixed Mount Scanners? – Used for scanning of product remain stationary or Moving over a conveyor?
- Is the scanner wired permanently to the PC or Wireless? – Inventory tracking
- What is the scanning distance between the product and the scanner?
Listing out such insights will help you decide the type, form factor, connectivity options and features of the barcode reader.
Types of Barcode Scanner
Laser Barcode Scanners – Most commonly and widely used type which is only able to read standard linear barcodes (1D) and is less expensive. The popular barcode scanners in Indian Market are from Honeywell MK5145, Voyager 1250g, MK 7120 and Symbol LS2208 and there is a new entrant in this segment such as Henex HC2000.
Linear Imager Scanners – The use is similar to Laser Scanners that reads 1-D barcodes only, but it can read poorly printed barcodes, as it takes picture of the barcode and analyses for decoding. This is very useful and come-in handy in aggressive scanning needs.
Honeywell – Hyperion 1300g and Zebra LI2208 are few of the models, well accepted in the market.
2D Area Imagers – Retail and Industries started to migrate to 2D area image scanners since this can read both 1D barcodes, Stacked (PDF417) and 2D codes. One more advantage of 2D scanners that it reads 1D barcodes Omnidirectional and the orientation of barcode is not important.
There are very wide ranges of 2D Scanners are available for retail, industrial and healthcare applications and available at different specification to meet different needs, also comes at different price ranges.
Every business situation needs a different form factor of product that suits the specific requirements. There are about 5 different form factors to choose from;
Handheld Barcode Scanners – are available in both corded and cordless variant and by far the most widely used in all businesses. Many suppliers include Honeywell and Zebra offer stand for hands-free mode operations of these handheld models. Wireless is preferred in areas where the product can’t be carried to the scan-location and it also avoids the clutter of cable and offer maintenance free operations.
Presentation Barcode Scanners – widely used in retail stores and very well located on check-out counters making the check-out operations easy, quick, automatic and avoid triggering to scan the product. Presentation scanners offer better field-view area to be able to detect the barcodes on the product.
In-Counter Scanner – is a perfect product in high-volume scanning at retail counters and many models are integrated with weighing scales. Data logic Magellan 8300, Zebra MP 7000, and Honeywell Stratos 2700 are popular models used world wide.
Fixed Mount Scanner – is a kind of specialized scanner over other types and is meant to be used in Industrial applications, generally to scan products moving at a speed on the conveyor and in a kiosk, where triggering is not required to scan the object or product. Such applications also require the scanner’s ability to be integrated PLCs and automation process. Zebra DS457, Honeywell 3320g, and Data logic Gryphon GFS4100 are few popular models that industries use in their automation process.
Mobile Computer / Mobile Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) / Enterprise Tablet – nearly all the modern PDA are a kind of mini hand-held computer with a 2D area imager that offers high performance to the data capturing and decoding in rugged environment of Manufacturing, warehouse, Transportation and Logistic business automations. It makes the inventory management and asset tracking processes as an effortless activity.
Connectivity Options of a Barcode Scanner – USB – Corded Connection comes with standard USB connectivity port.
Serial port RS232 – options can be employed using utility tool provided by the manufacturer or , by scanning an unique barcode on the product manual. RS232 Port needs power source to supply power to scanner, whereas the USB port draws power from the source PC.
Bluetooth Cordless or wireless Connection provides the radio range of 10 Meters, 30 Meters, and 100 Meters from different manufacturers. The pairing of the data are generally as a batch mode options, upon pairing with cradle. Many Bluetooth 2D Scanners can be paired directly with Mobile Phones and devices without the need to be paired to the cradle – Models such as Honeywell Voyager 1472g, and Zebra DS8178, CS3000.
Allmark manufactures and supplies Serial-to-Ethernet Converter, to convert scanner output to communicate to internet, without using a mobile computer or PDA. You can explore more about this feature with our YouTube Channel.
Each business have different work environment and even in normal working environment, the scanners can be accidentally dropped or mistreated and therefore you must choose the IP rating accordingly.
In outdoor and warehouse environments, you will find rugged scanners, Honeywell 1911i series and Zebra DS3608 series as choices, depending on the price, stock availability, and legacy of the product portfolio used in your business. These scanners are built with rubberized casing and completely sealed against dust which can handle 6ft drops on concrete floor.
If you are still having a support to choose the right barcode scanners for your business, call or write to us, we will be happy to support you.