Poor quality barcode scanners aren’t just frustrating but also bad for business as well. Imagine all the time wasted on malfunctioning barcode scanners that won’t read faded code or that lose their charge after just a few hours. The good news is that you don’t have to waste another second. The best barcode scanner models available today are dependable, durable, and long lasting.
Whether you need a sturdy, portable barcode scanner for use around a busy warehouse, or just need one to sit on the counter next to the register, we’ve selected the best barcode scanner with you in mind.
Things to Consider
Before picking a new barcode scanner, carefully consider how it will be used. Durability is often a factor, sparing your scanner from accidental drops or dangerous work environments. Additionally, consider if you need a portable scanning unit or whether your barcode scanner will spend most of its time on a counter. While all of the barcode scanners on our list are hand-held, some come with convenient stands for static use.
Here are some other things to consider when selecting the best barcode scanner:
- Symbology. Barcode scanners decode 2 types of symbolody, 1D and 2D. Laser scanners can typically only decode 1D barcodes, though omnidirectional laser scanners can decode both. Imager scanners take a picture of the barcode instead of simply scanning it with a laser, and are better at decoding damaged or faded barcodes. Linear imager scanners decode 1D, while 2D area imager scanners can decode both 1D and 2D.
- Connectivity. Dependable wireless transfer is often important. The best barcode scanner models with the most portability are Bluetooth enabled, featuring 30 to 200ft of wireless connectivity depending on your needs. Other popular barcode scanners require a USB connection to transfer data, and some have on-board memory to store data for later transfer.
- Scanning Distance. Barcode scanners work effectively at a range of distances depending on your needs. A laser scanner should be good for anywhere between a few inches to a few feet, but imager scanners should be used for reliable long distance scanning.
- Battery Life. Ideally, barcode scanners can last through a couple full 8 hour shifts between charges. Some of the best barcode scanner options available today will even last weeks or months at a time. If you need a lasting, portable barcode scanner, be sure to check its battery strength.
The more durable, energy efficient, and capable your barcode scanner is, the more time you’ll have to spend on the more important aspects of your business. Here are our top choices for the best barcode scanner:
Best Barcode Scanner Top 10 Comparison Guide
Reviews of the Top Rated Barcode Scanners
The exceptional versatility of this device makes it the best barcode scanner on our list. The Zebra Symbol DS4208-SR by Motorola uses area imager scanning to handle both 1D and 2D symbology. It allows you to scan codes at every angle and size, from almost any surface, in the blink of an eye. Go from scanning paper postal codes to scanning coupon codes on a phone screen without missing a beat.
Users are happy with this imager scanner’s ability to read small, cramped code, as well as damaged and poorly printed code. While it’s compatible with both Windows and Apple operating systems, it works especially well with iOS which is where other barcode scanners are lacking. Plug and play with this barcode scanner in under a minute after connecting the USB cord.
Notably, this is not a portable unit. It comes complete with a USB cord, though, delivering fast and accurate data straight to your computer. It weighs just 6oz and features a sleek, compact design. For the most convenient operation, it also features a red cross hair for accurate scanning, and requires you to pull the trigger instead of depending on unwieldy auto scanning.
For simple 1D scanning, the Honeywell Voyager 1250G deserves your attention. This affordable, wired laser barcode scanner can read code up to 23 inches away, making up for its lack of portability. What really makes this such a great scanner is its dependability, accurately deciphering even the most battered barcodes. Even if the laser scanner fails you, connecting a keyboard for easy manual data entry is a breeze.
At 4.7oz, the Honeywell is even lighter than the Zebra, and unlike the Zebra, it comes with a flexible stand. Of course, it also comes with a 3ft USB cord. It’s not the most durable barcode scanner, but it will survive the accidental drop from heights of up to 5 feet.
For everyday 1D scanning needs, this is the perfect barcode scanner. It’s light, simple to use, features above average range, and can survive the everyday abuses of typical retail.
The Honeywell makes a great 1D wired barcode scanner, but if you need advanced portability and Bluetooth connectivity, the Motorola Symbol LI4278 is your best option. Starting with a range of 29 to 55 inches, this superior barcode scanner is also dust proof, spalsh proof, and shock proof up to 6 feet. Matched with powerful, secure Bluetooth technology with a range of over 40ft, and you have one rugged and portable device.
Read from both paper and electronic surfaces with this 7.9oz barcode scanner. It’s a bit heavier than the competition, but its well balanced design feels great in your hand. It lasts up to 72 hours on a full charge, and charges in just 3 hours. All that while taking up to 547 scans per second, this barcode scanner was built for both speed and endurance.
For maximum convenience, portability, and wireless data transfer, Motorola makes some of the best barcode scanners on the market, and this is one of their very best models. Few other wireless 1D scanners can compete with this linear imager option.
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