How does a barcode scanner work? Types of Barcode Scanners

Nov 24, 2022 - Views: 141

Rating: 5.0 - 55Votes

How does a barcode scanner work?

If you have never stopped to think about its operation, read this post.

We’re going to explain how it works as well as types of barcode scanners, and types of additional scanner hardware.

This post will help you have complete knowledge of this barcode technology nowadays.

 How do barcode scanners work?

How do barcode scanners work?

How does barcode scanner work?

When you run a busy store with hundreds or even millions of goods, you will need something to track and manage inventory.

You can not write down each product customers buy at the checkout and then compile a list of the purchases and inventories.

There are too many errors when you do it manually.

That time, you need barcodes and a barcode scanner.

Barcodes are numerical codes that contain data or information about a specific product. 

Bars of varying lengths and widths are used to encode different letters and numbers.

In a store, a sale agent will use a barcode scanner to read the barcode printed on a product and that adds up quickly into a customer’s shopping bill. 

To sum up, Barcode scanners must be able to quickly read the black-and-white zebra lines on products and feed that information to a computer or checkout terminal, which can immediately identify them using a product database.

The way a barcode scanner operates

The way a barcode scanner operates

Benefits of barcode readers

Barcodereaders are really vital in business but they are often overlooked. 

You can save a lot of money and time as well as run your business much more efficiently with the help of barcode and barcode scanners.

Keep on reading and you will explore the benefits in more detail.

Benefits of barcode scanners

Benefits of barcode scanners

Easy Implementation

Barcode scanners are simple to use and set up. 

They are simple to install because they only require a simple driver and minimal programming.

It is also very simple to train employees to use barcode scanners. 

Operating a handheld barcode scanner takes only a few minutes. 

Employees are also not required to be familiar with an entire inventory or pricing procedure. The best part is that you can save money on training!

Prevent human error

Writing down each item or entering each product on a computer also have potential risks. 

By using a barcode reader, human error can be prevented.

The employee just simply scans a barcode and yeah, finish.  

Most importantly, avoiding human error can even help you save money. 

This is because clerical errors can be costly and damaging if data is encoded incorrectly. 

Barcode scanners are an excellent long-term investment and a safety net for your company.

Barcode scanners prevent human error

Barcode scanners prevent human error

Efficiency

Barcode scanners are extremely useful tools.

If a customer wants to learn more about the history of a product that has been on the shelf for a while, he/ she won't have to rummage through old files and lost papers.

You can instead use a barcode scanner to find that information for you. 

In a matter of seconds, your customer can obtain the information they require.

Customer satisfaction is critical, and barcode scanners are one way to achieve it!

Save time

Traditional inventory can be time-consuming due to manpower and number-crunching. 

There is also a fair share of errors that can take some time to correct.

However, with barcodes and barcode scanners, tasks like inventory counting can be completed much more quickly. 

Instead of physically logging in and recording everything by hand, you can simply scan the barcode, which contains all of the information you require. 

This data is automatically logged into a computer, saving you a significant amount of time and effort.

Barcode readers help users to save time 

Barcode readers help users to save time 

Barcode scanners can also help to speed up transactions. 

Because cashiers do not have to manually record products, check out times are much faster.

Real-Time Updates

Updating data with barcode scanners is also much simpler. 

You can now immediately update data and access the data. 

Barcode scanners eliminate any delays caused by inaccuracy, making them extremely useful.

See also: How much data can a QR code store?

Components of a Barcode Scanner

There are 3 main part system of a barcode scanner: illumination system, sensor or lens, and decoder.

Main part

Responsibility

Illumination System

Read the code and send the image back for processing.

Using traditional lamps, LEDs, or lasers.

Sensor or Lens

Take the image and converts it into a corresponding electrical signal.

The Decoder

Take the binary code and convert it into a piece of information. 

 

Note: Some barcode scanners will require a "keyboard wedge," which functions as an external decoder between the scanner hardware and the computer.

Components of barcode reader

Components of barcode reader

Types of Barcode Scanners

Barcode scanners are various on the market in capabilities and prices. 

In general, the higher the price of your scanner, the better it will be at reading imperfectly printed or displayed barcodes.

Consider your purposes and finance to select the suitable one.

Here are 3 common types of scanners: 

  • 1D Linear Scanners or Laser Scanners

  • 1D Image Scanners

  • 2D Camera Based Scanners

1D Linear Scanners or Laser Scanners

A 1D barcode can hold a few dozen characters using UPC and SKU numbers, but more letters and numbers are required as more information is added. 

1D linear scanners, which are frequently "gun-shaped," have been in use since the mid-1970s. 

To scan flawlessly, the scanner needs to be close to the barcode (a few inches to a few feet) to read it.

This type of barcode scanner uses lasers as a light source to relay the image back into the scanner.

1D linear scanner

1D linear scanner

1D Image Scanners

1D linear imagers capture a barcode image using CCD technology, similar to that of a digital camera. 

The image is captured and converted into data by a network of hundreds of light sensors.

As a result, 1D imagers are able to read damaged barcodes that 1D scanners cannot. 

However, because phone screens do not reflect the image, 1D scanners cannot read the barcodes displayed on them.

1D barcode imager

1D barcode imager

2D Camera Based Scanners

These scanners, which have two-dimensional reading capabilities, can read both horizontal and vertical 2D barcodes. 

2D barcode scanner captures URLs, loyalty programs, images, voice recordings, and other information. 

Furthermore, this scanner type can also read barcodes from the screen of a computer or phone. 

2D camera based scanner

2D camera based scanner

2D barcode scanners are quickly replacing 1D scanners as the scanner of choice for most organizations due to their versatility. 

They are, however, not always a perfect fit for everyone. 

Compare the common features below to determine whether you need a barcode scanner with a 1D or 2D scan engine.

Compare 1D versus 2D barcode scanner

Compare 1D versus 2D barcode scanner

Types of additional scanner hardware

Individual requirements can be accommodated with various types of scanner hardware, such as mobile use durability, handheld scanners, stationary devices, price range, scanner range, and more.

Scanner Pens

These are the most basic and low-cost barcode scanners. 

They have the appearance of oversized pens and require direct contact with the actual barcode. 

Scanner pens can be used by plugging them directly into a laptop USB device.

They are more durable and less susceptible to environmental hazards such as dust and dirt, but they are much slower and are only useful for very low scanning needs.

Scanner pen

Scanner pen

Portable Scanners

Portable wireless scanner guns can be extremely useful in situations where mobility is required. 

Do you need to scan large, heavy objects, such as furniture? 

Do you require a scanner to track inventory in a warehouse or on a large retail floor? 

The ability to move around with the scanner can be extremely useful in these situations.

Rugged Scanners

Rugged scanners are available for warehouses and hardware stores, ensuring protection against drops and other forms of wear and tear. 

If you have employees who move around a lot and do inventory in a more industrial setting, these types of rubberized scanners are a better fit because they have a longer life and are more durable.

Rugged scanners are useful for warehouses and hardware stores

Rugged scanners are useful for warehouses and hardware stores

Presentation Scanners

Presentation scanners are more appropriate for locations with ticketing, smaller items, or cell phone QR codes. 

Because they are stationary and require customers to make contact with the barcode to complete the information capture.

Thus, these also make it easier for employees to use the POS scanner system because they don't have to aim and press a button every time a customer approaches it.

Smart Scanners

That’s a mini computer with camera capture capabilities, memory, wifi, and inventory applications. 

These portable smart scanners can perform end-of-day (EOD) batches as well as a variety of other functions that sync with your POS or inventory management system.

They can also use LTE or memory storage to scan tickets outside of a concert venue, theme park, or vineyard where POS terminals are not available.

Smart scanner device

Smart scanner device

Aside from barcode devices, people can scan barcodes through a barcode scanner app. 

Best barcode scanner app for android or iOS is advertised a lot on social media.

If you are interested in it, download one and try out. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Do you need software to use a barcode scanner?

To function properly, barcode scanners do not require any special software or drivers.

They will simulate a keyboard and be recognized as a general input device by your computer.

2. Do you need a special printer for barcodes?

The type of barcode printer used by each business is determined by their application requirements. 

Each type of barcode printer serves a distinct purpose.

For example, If you need barcode labels to stand up to extreme temperatures, UV light, moisture (water, chemicals), smudging, and scratching, you need a thermal transfer printer.

3. Can I connect a barcode scanner to my phone?

Yes, you can.

The USB barcode scanner allows users to connect Android smartphones, tablets, or iPad to scan barcodes. 

The bottom line

Barcode and barcode scanners are considered one of the great inventories in history. They help us to control everything in order easily and increase efficiency, and effectiveness. Through this post, hope you understand deeply “how does a barcode scanner work?” and choose the suitable one for your business. 

Rating: 5.0 - 55Votes

12 Comments

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  1. Zachary Bennett

    Is a barcode scanner an application of AI?

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    1. Barcodelive

      No. it involves merely detecting pulse widths for the scanned bars and then applying simple logic equations to the values to detect presence of specific characters. It's not really AI

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  2. Harper Williams

    Can barcode scanners read barcodes displayed on an iPhone or other smartphone? Why or why not?

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    1. Barcodelive

      Yes, lots of barcode scanners could read barcodes displayed on an iPhone or others smartphone

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  3. Carter Baker

    Can a smart phone scan a barcode?

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    1. Barcodelive

      Any camera-equipped smartphone can scan basic barcodes

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  4. Mckenna Smith

    What an amazing article. I have never interested in barcodes until I followed your blog

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    1. Barcodelive

      Thanks

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  5. Edison Gray

    Do all scanners work with barcodes or just specific ones?

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    1. Barcodelive

      Plenty of scanners for 1-D barcodes don’t do 2-D barcodes

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  6. Christopher Parker

    Superb design and article. Thank you for sharing your knowledge about the barcode scanner

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    1. Barcodelive

      No problem. Happy to help

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