More and more business owners are choosing to implement barcoded inventory systems as a way to improve the accuracy and efficiency of their organization. On the surface, acquiring the necessary equipment to implement a barcoded inventory system seems relatively straightforward. All that’s needed is the barcodes themselves, a barcode reader (or scanner) to read (or scan) the barcodes, and an inventory management software program that can store, transfer and work with the data collected by the barcode reader. A closer look, however, reveals a variety of different options when it comes to each of these barcode system components. There are a variety of different barcodes that serve different purposes, different types of barcode readers and different inventory management software programs with different capabilities. This post will focus on the factors business owners need to consider before selecting the right barcode reader for their needs. Many barcode equipment companies offer barcode reader rentals that allow businesses to find the right barcode reader or use it on a seasonal basis or at a special event.
Factors To Consider
Before investigating the different types of scanners, it is important to have a firm understanding of the context in which it will be used. Where the scanner will be used is an important factor in the ultimate purchase decision, especially if it will be used in a rugged environment such as a warehouse. How often the scanner will be used, what kinds of barcodes it will be reading and if it needs to stay connected to a computer are some other details that need to be worked out before the search for the right barcode reader begins.
Type Of Scan Engine
When most people refer to different types of barcode readers, they are actually referring to the different types of scan engines that are used in different devices. The type of barcodes that one needs to read plays a big role in the type of scan engine one will need. The three major types of barcode readers are laser scanners, linear imager scanners and 2D area imagers. Laser scanners are the most well-known type of barcode reader; they use a red laser to read the black and white spaces that make up a barcode. Though these barcode readers are only able to read standard linear barcodes, they are often the most cost effective option for consumers. Linear image scanners, like laser scanners, also are only able to read standard linear barcodes. Instead of reading the reflected light from the barcode as laser scanners do, they take a picture of the barcode: this is particularly effective for reading poorly printed or damaged barcodes. 2D area imagers, like linear imagers, also read the barcode by taking a picture. The benefit of 2d area imagers is their ability to read all types of barcodes, and they are also considered “smarter” scanners for their ability to read barcodes at many different angles and orientations.
Barcode Reader Styles
When it comes to different barcode readers, most people probably consider the different forms they come in to be their main distinguishing feature. There are handheld scanners, presentation scanners and mobile computer scanners. Handheld scanners, which may be cordless or connected to a computer, are the most common and considered very easy to operate. Presentation scanners are designed to sit on a flat surface and have the barcodes physically moved in front of the scanner, as opposed to the other way around; these are frequently seen at retail checkout counters. Mobile computer scanners are becoming increasingly popular, as they are able to offer a computer and a scanner in the same device. They hook up to Wi-Fi and cellular networks and are ideal for inventory management, asset tracking and other forms of data collection that require ongoing updates.