When it comes to choosing the barcode scanner you are going to buy for your business, there are a lot of choices. But you can?t just go out and buy the first scanner you come across. There are some significant differences between some types of barcode scanners. The most important criterion to get a handle on is the type of barcode you use.
There are 1D codes like the UPC codes you can find in just about every retail store and then there are 2D codes like QR and DataMatrix which are rarer, and in the case of QR codes, mainly used for other purposes. Some scanners can read all types of barcodes while others can only read the 1D codes. If you use a 1D code format, any scanner you pick will read it so the only other criteria you need to concern yourself with are price and mobility.
Socket Mobile CHS 7CI
The Socket Mobile CHS is available from Socket Mobile in a large variety of colors and capabilities. It is a fully wireless device that is quite small compared to some others, but fits in the hand very nicely. It is battery operated and capable of scanning barcodes from up to ten meters away, which can definitely come in handy in the stockroom.
If you use the Shopify POS system designed for iPads, this is the only choice you have for a barcode scanner, though if you use their system, you probably already have the version of the CHS they sell. However, it is a sturdy piece of hardware that offers anywhere from 10 to 19 hours of battery life before needing a recharge.
Because of the wide variety of devices, the price of a CHS can range from $219 for the 1D type available from Shopify, to $509 for a 2D, antimicrobial version from the main Socket Mobile web store. Connectivity and integration with OSes and other devices depends on the particular version you purchase, but in general, they can work with all Windows iterations from XP to 8, Mac OS, Apple iOS, and Android OS.
The Honeywell 1902 is definitely in the higher price bracket of barcode scanners, costing a solid $850 on the Barcodes Inc. online store. However, that price tag is there for a reason. The 1902 is one of the more advanced, area image scanners capable of reading all barcode types. It is a wireless, handheld device that connects to your system through Bluetooth when out of the cradle and USB while docked. It has a maximum range of around 30 feet and uses a replaceable lithium-ion battery to provide power for up to 50,000 scans, or about 14 hours of operation. While somewhat larger than the CHS, it still fits comfortably in the hand during use.
Available from Amazon, the TaoTroncs TT is a smaller handheld scanner that normally costs $130. It has a good scan range with a maximum effective scan distance of 50 meters. It uses a 2.4GHz wireless communication module that won?t disturb any other devices using that frequency.? It is compatible with multiple OSes, including Mac OS X, Windows XP/7/8, and other hardware with USB functionality. A rechargeable, replaceable battery provides up to 20 hours of usage. As a 1D scanner, this cannot read any of the more complex codes.
Motorola Symbol LS2208-SR20007R-NA
The Motorola Symbol LS retails for $109 on the Newegg digital store but comes with a five year warranty. Another 1D only scanner, the Symbol has a much lower range compared to the previous three, sitting at a maximum scan distance of 17 inches. However, it is quite durable, and could be considered the sturdiest on this list, easily capable of surviving five foot drops to concrete. For power, the Symbol requires an external power pack to be attached; otherwise it must sit in its USB connected cradle.
ID Tech EconoScan II
The most inexpensive device on this list, the ID Tech EconoScan has a starting price on the National Barcode online store of $44. The EconoScan is one of the smallest scanners available, weighing in at a mere three ounces without the cable. While the EconoScan is a 1D scanner like most of the others, it is unique in that it?s a CCD (Charge Coupled Device) scanner.
What this means is the scanner must be placed in contact with the barcode in order to read it. It can read codes up to four inches long though. While it may be lightweight and fit very nicely in the hand, it is a wired device that does not use any form of battery pack for power. As such, it is limited in the mobility department.?
While these five may be some of the best and most popular scanners available, they are by far not the only ones you can buy. If none of these strike your fancy, there are plenty more for you to research and look at.