Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Barcode Scanner for Your Business

In today’s dynamic commercial landscape, achieving precision and efficiency in inventory management is crucial. The barcode scanner remains a timeless solution for this challenge. Nevertheless, the vast array of choices can make finding the perfect barcode scanner for your enterprise appear overwhelming. This guide is designed to simplify the selection process, offering the insights necessary for you to make a well-informed choice.

Types of Barcode Inventory Scanners

Barcode scanners come in various forms, each suited to different environments and applications. Understanding the key types will help you narrow down your options:

  1. Handheld Scanners: Are the most commonly used scanners for retail and inventory management. They are portable, easy to use, and can scan barcodes at various distances.
  2. Stationary Scanners: Often found at checkout counters, these scanners are fixed in one place. They are ideal for high-volume scanning and can quickly read barcodes from items as they are passed in front of them.
  3. Mobile Computer Scanners: Combine a scanner with a mobile computing device, allowing for barcode scanning and on-the-go data management. They are perfect for warehouses where mobility and data access are critical.
  4. Pen-Type Scanners: Also known as wand scanners, are simple, portable scanners that are swiped over a barcode to read it, are budget-friendly and suitable for small-scale operations.
  5. Image-Based Scanners: Unlike traditional laser scanners, these use a camera to capture an image of the barcode and then decode the information. They can read barcodes from screens and are effective in environments where barcodes can become damaged.

Advantages of Barcode Systems

Implementing a barcode system can transform your inventory management process, offering numerous benefits:

  • Efficiency and Speed: Barcodes reduce the need for manual entry, significantly speeding up the inventory process and minimising errors.
  • Accuracy: With barcodes, the likelihood of human error is drastically reduced, ensuring accurate inventory tracking and management.
  • Cost Reduction: Efficient inventory management means less wasted stock and more accurate ordering, leading to significant cost savings.
  • Real-Time Data: Barcode systems allow for real-time inventory tracking, providing up-to-date information that can inform decision-making.

How to Choose the Barcode Scanner

When choosing a barcode scanner, consider the following factors to ensure you select the best one for your needs:

  • Environment: Assess the environment where the scanner will be used. Dusty, wet, or harsh conditions require durable scanners designed for such environments.
  • Type of Barcodes: Determine the types of barcodes you will be scanning 1D, 2D Or QR codes however not all scanners can read every type.
  • Connectivity: Consider whether you need a wired or wireless scanner based on the mobility required and the layout of your workspace.
  • Scanning Volume: High-volume scanning environments may benefit from stationary or mobile computer scanners, while low-volume areas can utilise handheld scanners or pen-type scanners.

Cost-Effective Solution

The cost of barcode scanners can vary widely based on type, functionality, and durability. It’s important to balance your budget with your specific needs. Sometimes, investing a bit more in durable, efficient scanners can save money in the long run by reducing replacement costs and increasing productivity.

Types of Barcode Scanners and Solutions:

To provide a comprehensive guide on the best cost-effective solutions for barcode scanners, here are detailed considerations to keep in mind:

Barcode ScannerContactNon-ContactSolution
Pen-typeYes Ideal for small-scale or individual use due to their lower cost.
Laser YesAbility to read barcodes from a distance, efficient, higher cost.
CCD (Charge Coupled Device) YesRequire close proximity to the barcode, durable, lower cost.
Camera-based YesVersatile, can read 2D barcodes, can be more expensive.

Pen-type Scanners:

  • Ideal for small-scale or individual use due to their lower cost. However, they require direct contact with the barcode, which may not be feasible for high-volume scanning.

Laser Scanners:

  • Offer more flexibility with a higher scanning distance. Suitable for retail environments. They are more expensive than pen-type scanners but offer greater efficiency.

CCD (Charge Coupled Device) Scanners:

  • Known for their durability and ability to scan barcodes from a short distance. They are cost-effective for businesses that need a durable solution for moderate volumes of scanning.

Camera-based Scanners:

Utilise image capture technology to read barcodes. While more versatile and capable of reading 2D barcodes, they can be more expensive. Ideal for environments where versatility is needed.

Compatibility With Existing Software & Functionality Needs:

Ensure that the barcode scanner you choose is compatible with your existing inventory management software. Some scanners come with software suites designed to integrate seamlessly with popular inventory systems, while others may require custom solutions. Compatibility is crucial for a smooth workflow and to leverage the full capabilities of your barcode system.

Here are some points to consider:


Consider whether you need wireless scanners for flexibility or if tethered scanners would suffice. Wireless models are more expensive but increase mobility.


Ensure the scanner is compatible with your existing systems (e.g., POS systems) to avoid additional software or hardware expenses.

Barcode Type:

Determine if you need to scan 1D barcodes, 2D barcodes, or both. Scanners that can read both types are more versatile but might be pricier.

Durability for Different Environments:

  • Industrial Use: For environments like warehouses or manufacturing plants, invest in rugged scanners designed to withstand drops, dust, and moisture. These are more expensive upfront but reduce replacement costs.
  • Retail and Office Use: Less expensive, less rugged scanners are suitable for these environments, where the risk of damage is lower.

Cost vs. Long-Term Value:

  • Warranty and Support: Check the warranty period and what it covers. A longer warranty might justify a higher initial cost.
  • Battery Life (for wireless scanners): Longer battery life reduces downtime and the need for replacements, contributing to long-term savings.
  • Scanning Speed and Efficiency: Higher efficiency scanners can handle more volume, potentially reducing the need for multiple devices and saving money in the long term.
  • Consider Refurbished or Off-Lease Equipment:
    • Cost Savings: Refurbished or off-lease scanners can offer significant savings over new equipment. Ensure they come with a warranty or guarantee for peace of mind.

Software and Integration Costs:

  • Included Software: Some scanners come with software for inventory management or other applications, which can save on the cost of buying separate software.
  • Integration with Existing Systems: Consider the cost and complexity of integrating new scanners with your current systems. Choosing scanners that are easily integrated can save on IT expenses.

Selecting the right barcode scanner involves understanding the types available, recognising the benefits of barcode systems, considering your specific business needs, and ensuring compatibility with existing systems.

By taking these factors into account, you can choose a cost-effective solution that enhances your inventory management, improves efficiency, and drives your business forward.


Related articles

Convallis aliquet aliquet massa et malesuada egestas sed purus dapibus. Pellentesque est sit vitae facilisis magna ut pellentesque dictum. Turpis amet tempus non elit morbi.

Let’s find the best solution for you

Need guidance?

Talk to us directly and leverage our expertise to find the right solution for your business.