What barcode scanner do I need?

Answer
Barcode scanners have become easier to use than ever before. Simply plug the cable into the scanner and PC and you’re ready to start scanning.
There are so many options and types of scanners to choose from. Picking the right scanner can be a challenge without understanding all the various types and options.
The first step in finding the right scanner is working out your needs:

Barcode Scanner Types

Understanding how and where the barcode scanner will be used will help you find the right scanner for your needs.
Depending on the type of barcode that you will be reading will determine the right scan engine to choose.
There are 3 main types of scan engines:

1. Laser Imager

This is the most well-known scanner type. It uses a red diode laser to read the reflectance of the black and white spaces in a barcode. Laser Scanners are only able to read standard linear (1D) barcodes but are also the most cost-effective option. Standard laser scanners can read from a few inches to a foot or two away depending on the size of the barcode. There are also extended range laser scanners, like the Zebra LS2208 which can read up to 35ft away when using large reflective labels.

2. Linear Imager

Linear imager scanners are similar to lasers in that they also only read 1D barcodes. But instead of reading reflected light from the laser, they take a picture of the barcode. It then analyses this image to extract the information from the code. Linear imagers, have become a very good replacement for laser scanner as their read ranges and costs have become similar. A linear imager also does a better job reading poorly printed or damaged codes compared to lasers. For applications that need a more aggressive scanner, a linear imager will be a great fit for the same cost.

3. 2D Area Imagers

Like linear imagers, full 2D imagers also capture an image to analyze. But compared to the linear only devices, these scanners can read any type of barcode. 1D, stacked, and 2D barcodes are all supported by a 2D imager. Another advantage these imagers have is that the orientation of the barcode isn’t important when reading. With lasers and linear imagers, you have to line up the indicator horizontally across the barcode. A 2D imager is taking a more detailed image and is more intelligent, so you can read a code in any direction. This results in faster reads with less aiming. 2D imagers, can also read barcodes off of any surface including a monitor or phone screen. With their added abilities and very aggressive reading, 2D imagers are becoming more popular in all industries to speed up scanning applications and expand the ways in which barcodes are used.
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