3 Basic Types of Barcode Scanners

Although there are only three basic types of barcode scanners- fixed, portable batch and portable wireless, there are numerous varieties and designs of each. For instance, barcode scanners can be rugged, which means they can perform under harsh conditions or they can be general purpose for normal conditions. This is just one example of the many alternatives you have when choosing a barcode scanner. It is important to look at the differences between them because it can help you decide which scanner is right for your application. Let’s take a look at the three basic scanners and their capabilities in this quick overview.

Fixed Barcode Scanners

Symbol LS9208 Fixed Barcode Scanner

Fixed barcode scanners remain attached to a terminal and transmit data as a barcode is scanned. An example of this type of scanner is the Symbol LS9208 fixed general purpose scanner pictured above. These scanners are perfect for jobs that only require transmission of one data item at a time. Another example is the Intermec ScanPlus 1800 barcode scanner at the right. This is a fixed scanner as well, but you have the option to set it in a desk/vertical holder or use as a hand-held scanner. You’ve probably seen scanners such as these two examples used at retail store checkouts where data is scanned one barcode at a time.

Portable Batch Scanners

Portable batch scanners store data in memory for later transfer to a host computer. They are battery operated, allowing more flexibility than a fixed scanner. Portable batch scanners also contain an LCD monitor and keypad that allows users to perform tasks away from the host computer. Batch scanners come in hand-held, wearable and truck mounted styles. The scanner pictured above is a hand-held Symbol P460 Rugged Barcode Scanner with batch memory capabilities. So the P460 pictured above, is not only an example of a batch scanner, but also a rugged barcode scanner. I currently use a hand-held batch scanner at work and it allows me to scan products for price checks, change prices, make notes and even create signs, all while out on the sales floor.

Wireless Barcode Scanners

Like batch scanners, wireless barcode scanners also store data in memory. But, wireless barcode scanners transmit data to the host computer in real time. Many wireless barcode scanners come equipped with other features such as text-messaging, voice and basic data support, all via wireless LAN. The wireless barcode scanner pictured above has all of these capabilities, it is the CA50 VOIP-enabled Wireless Barcode Scanner by Symbol. Wireless scanners help employees achieve the highest level of productivity while also providing management with instant access to all data.

As you can see, choosing the correct scanner may be a difficult task because of the vast selection available. It is critical that you carefully examine what kind of features you will need for your application. In my next post Six Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Barcode Scanner, I’ll provide you with some important questions that can start you off on the right foot in the decision making process.