1D vs 2D barcode: Which one is better for your business?

Nov 21, 2022 - Views: 134

Rating: 4.8 - 55Votes

1D vs 2D barcode: What are the differences between them? 

This is a question that customers often ask when considering label and date code validation for the first time. 

Here's a quick guide explaining the main differences between the two. 

Also, this article will help you better choose the barcode between 1D and 2D. 

The differences between 1D and 2D barcodes

The differences between 1D and 2D barcodes

What is a 1D barcode?

A 1D barcode (also known as a linear code) is a visual white and black pattern using variable-width lines and spaces for encoding information.

How do barcodes work

It is suitable for storing relatively small information amounts, such as location, brief description, product name, and number. 

The more information you can try to fit into a barcode, the longer it can be and the more problematic it can be.

The 1D barcode scanner may only scan 1D barcodes. 

However, its range is 50% larger than that of 2D imagers with better motion tolerance. 

This is suitable when employees scan items remotely or navigate shopping carts. 

Also, these are the more economical choices of the two.

Definition of 1D barcode

Definition of 1D barcode

1D barcodes encode information such as numbers or other keyboard characteristics from left to right horizontally. 

1D barcodes include a limited series of characters, normally 20-25 and it needs to be longer if adding the additional numbers. 

The most common 1D barcodes are those familiar UPC codes found on consumer and grocery items. 

After an UPC scanner reads the numbers in the code, they are linked to the product, pricing date, or other information.

Benefit:

  • 1D scanners are inexpensive

  • 1D scanners have good motion tolerance with a wide range 

Drawback:

  • 1D scanners can not read 2D barcodes

  • 1D barcodes may only contain a limited information amount 

What is a 2D barcode?

The bar code 2D includes a combination of dots and other geometric patterns. 

They can be read from any angle, allowing you to store a large amount of information amount in a small space. 

The entire Gettysburg address (275 words) could be printed on a 2D barcode. 

This means the barcode has enough space to display the location, product name, description, status, and many other useful labels. 

Definition of 2D barcode

Definition of 2D barcode

As stated earlier, 2D barcodes may be read at any angle, so they can withstand significant damage amount before becoming unreadable. 

This is an important consideration in a warehouse environment.

A 2D barcode reader is an imager because it takes an image of a 2D barcode. 

These are images, not barcode readers, so you may also capture images and signatures. 

Unlike a 1D scanner, a 2D imager may read both the 1D and 2D barcodes.

Benefits:

  • A 2D barcode scanner can read the 1D barcode and retrieve more information than a 1D scanner. 

  • 2D barcodes contain a lot of information, can be read from any angle, and can be read even with minor damage. 

Drawbacks:

  • 2D scanners are more expensive and less accurate when multiple barcodes are in close proximity to a product. 

Implementing a barcode system in your organization is essential, and using a 1D or 2D barcode system is a deciding factor. 

Which one is suitable for you depends on the type and information amount you need to store and how your organization uses the system.

Keep reading to get more information to pick up the most suitable one for your business.

1D vs 2D barcode: What are the differences?

What are the differences between 2D and 1D barcodes? 

Below is the basic information that helps you distinguish between 1D and 2D barcodes. 

Differences between 1D and 2D barcode

Differences between 1D and 2D barcode

Data Storage & Capacity

1D barcodes use spaces and variable width lines to encode data. This linear approach limits data storage to just a few dozen characters, and adding data lengthens the barcode.

2D barcodes use patterns of hexagons, squares, dots, and other shapes to encode data. Data may be encoded horizontally and vertically, so 2D barcodes may contain more data in a smaller space. 

In fact, barcodes may include hundreds of characters instead of tens of characters for 1D barcodes. 

Data storage and capacity

Data storage and capacity

With this extra capacity, 2D barcodes may also store images, website URLs, language data, and other binary data types. 

1D barcodes, on the other hand, are limited to only alphanumeric information. It can be used as a barcoding system in stocks. 

What does barcoding mean in stocks? It is a key part of the stock management system. 

People use 1D barcode to review and add information about specific products. 

Ease of Scanning

The horizontal and vertical orientation of 2D barcodes means they may be scanned at a virtual angle using an omnidirectional 2D imager. 

Zebra Technologies pioneered 2D imaging with the highly robust DS3600 series of scanners.

An omnidirectional 2D barcode scan is much more efficient than using 1D barcodes and laser imagers. 

This requires the scanner's laser to be precisely aligned with the barcode.

Ease to scan 

Ease to scan 

Database Dependence vs Independence

1D barcodes are database-dependent. 

You must scan each barcode relating to data in a database, inducing matching a UPC symbol with a price of the checkout system. 

In contrast, a 2D barcode can hold significantly more data and various information types. 

So, you don’t need to access a database to use the encoded information. 

You may scan, store, and retrieve all the data you need to get from the barcode itself. 

Database dependence and independence

Database dependence and independence

Applications

1D barcodes may be scanned with conventional laser or camera-based image scanners. 

2D barcodes, on the other hand, may only be read by an imager.

In addition to holding more information, 2D barcodes will also be very small, making them useful for marking objects impractical with 1D barcode labels. 

Other permanent marking techniques and laser etching have used 2D barcodes to keep tracking everything from delicate electronic circuit boards to surgical instruments.

Applications of 1D and 2D

Applications of 1D and 2D

1D barcodes, however, are good for identifying objects that may be linked to other information that changes frequently. 

Continuing the UPC example, the item that the UPC identifies does not change, but the price of that item often changes.

For this reason, linking static data (item number) to dynamic data (price database) is better than encoding price information in the barcode itself.

2D Barcodes are increasingly used in the supply chain, and manufacturing applications as the cost of imaging scanners has dropped. 

By moving to 2D barcodes, companies can encode more product data while simplifying scanning as products move down assembly lines and conveyor belts. 

No need to worry about the orientation of the scanner.

This is especially true in the electronics, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries. 

These companies are tasked with providing large amounts of product tracking information for a few very small items. 

For example, the U.S. FDA's UDI regulations require certain types of medical devices to include multiple manufacturing information. This data can be easily encoded into a very small 2D barcode.

Although there are differences between scanning 1D and 2D barcodes, both types are convenient and inexpensive ways to encode data and track items. 

The type of barcodes (or combination of barcodes) you choose depends on your application's specific needs. 

They can be the type and amount of data that needs to be encoded, the size of the asset/item, and how and where the code is placed. 

Basic comparison 1D vs 2D barcode

Basic comparison 1D vs 2D barcode

1D vs 2D barcode: Which one should you choose?

As you can see, 1D and 2D barcodes each have their advantages and disadvantages. Neither is the final solution for scanner technology. 

Although 2D barcodes can technically replace 1D barcodes, they are more fragile and not as fast. 

Both techniques will be used for years to come.

1D and 2D barcodes are perfect examples of barcodes for different scenarios. 

Do you need simple data and want to be able to scan it quickly and easily, like a cash register?

You should choose the suitable barcode type between 1D and 2D

You should choose the suitable barcode type between 1D and 2D

Are you an event manager looking to make check-in easy, but your staff doesn't have access to a scanner?

Is security important, and should you pack more data into the code? 

If you have a decent printer and slower scan speed, increased scan difficulty isn't too much of an issue; this is what you want. 

You may need to combine both. Believe it or not, this is a matter of course.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can you convert an image to QR Code?

2D barcode scanners allow businesses to continue working in the past while looking to the future. 

A new 2D barcode scanner can be used to read older 1D barcodes, working with suppliers and customers who still use 1D barcodes. 

One of the big advantages of 2D barcode scanners is that they can also read newer 2D barcodes. 

This means your business can move into the future without overhauling old systems or requesting new barcodes from old suppliers, customers, or customers.

2. Can a phone read a 2D barcode?

iOS smartphones and Android use 2D barcodes with built-in barcode scanners. 

When a user takes a picture of the 2D barcode with the smartphone's camera, the built-in reader interprets the encrypted URL and directs the user directly to the proper website.

3. What is the main benefit of 2D barcodes compared with 1D barcodes?

Small businesses that want to make a big impact on their customers can use 2D barcodes. 

2D barcodes can contain more information than 1D barcodes, such as price, quantity, web address, and even images. 

Small business owners must constantly improve to stay ahead of the competition and keep up with the market. 

One of the key tools you can use to improve your small business is 2D barcodes. 

They are easy and inexpensive to use for your customers and employees. 

Conclusion

The above is the basic differences between scanning 1D and 2D barcodes. Despite being different, both types are convenient and inexpensive ways to encode data and track items. You can choose the barcode type based on your application's specific needs. Hopefully, our article “1D vs 2D barcode: Here are the differences between them” is useful for you.

Rating: 4.8 - 55Votes

16 Comments

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  1. Amelia Watson

    Is the error correction rate higher at QR or 1D barcodes?

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    1. Barcodelive

      Definitely QR codes. 2D codes incorporate strong error correction techniques, whereas 1D codes just rely on a checksum, or nothing at all.

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  2. Aurora Thomas

    What are the biggest hurdles for 2D barcodes to gain broad adoption and how can they be overcome?

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    1. Barcodelive

      They're big (and ugly) and pretty much have to be that way. There's a reason we put barcodes on the backs of packaging

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  3. Jason Ward

    Can any 2D barcode scanner scan both QR codes and data matrix?

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    1. Barcodelive

      Yes, both codes can typically be scanned by the same scanning devices

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  4. Daniel Lee

    Every bit of this guide is just amazing. Thanks for creating this. Cheers

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    1. Barcodelive

      Thanks!

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  5. Emily Morris

    Why 2D barcodes are better than 1D barcodes?

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    1. Barcodelive

      2D barcodes can store much more information. They can also be read by mobile devices and phones equipped with basic cameras that scan both 2D and 1D barcodes

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  6. Eleanor Kelly

    Can the 1 Dimensional barcode readers read any type of 1D barcode? For example, can the barcode reader at the Point Of Sale read barcodes of type code 39?

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    1. Barcodelive

      Typically, yes, a 1D barcode reader will read Code39, though it may not always be the case. Most barcode scanners are programmable with the ability to enable or disable different barcode formats

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      1. Eleanor Kelly

        Thanks for your reply!

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  7. Marcus Baker

    I have a question for you about QR code: We use so many QR codes a day, yet they don't expire. how is it that we never seem to run out of QR codes? Will we eventually run out of QR codes

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    1. Barcodelive

      Standard QR codes can contain up to 23,624 bits which means that the maximum possible permutations allowed is 3.4*10^7111 or 34 with 7110 zeros afterward. An unbelievabley huge number

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      1. Marcus Baker

        Good answer

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