A beginner’s guide to choosing the correct handheld barcode scanner
It is a learned fact that successful inventory control, resource utilization, maintenance and management are primarily reliant on asset tracking systems. In a way, they contribute largely to the system. Having said that we should keep in mind that even the best asset tracking systems lose their capability due to the wrong choice of data capturing tools. Automatic tools for data capture such as barcode scanners make these systems effective. It also helps the organizations to function properly. Hence, it is mandatory for us to know the basic functionalities of handheld barcode scanners before choosing the correct one to serve the purpose.
Barcode scanners of today
The barcode scanners that are available in the market today offer a wide range of functionality as well as durability. This makes it more convenient for organizations regarding connectivity, cordless functionality and a handful of other benefits. Thus, asset management at home or in the field of work and even in harsh environments have become very easy and convenient. Today different companies face various organisational needs regarding the different types of barcodes, and their functionalities, the range of cost, key characteristics etc. Before jumping to the first barcode scanner on the top 10 list, we must learn about the different types of handheld barcode scanners and their different aesthetics.
Different applications of handheld barcode scanners
Once can come across different use cases of handheld barcode scanners. In practical purposes, one can use these devices in abundance in almost every industry. From basic asset management to standard point-of-sale scan in stores, one can use barcode scanners in nearly every sector of the industry. Even repairing in industrial settings often require the help of handheld barcode scanners. Common uses of barcode scanners in different industries are as follows.
The defense industry has to monitor each and every asset carefully and have strict requirements regarding their maintenance. The sophisticated asset management systems they use are heavily dependent on barcode scanners.
The industry based on warehouses depends largely upon handheld barcode scanners. Mainly barcode scanner wireless for managing their inventory, ordering, streamlining the various processes and a variety of other tasks also.
- Gas and oil
The gas and oil industry manage a wide range of in-house and field assets. They must hence maintain a proper record for managing their equipment and therefore their assets. The industries use barcode scanner wireless on the field for streamlining and documenting the active assets. Hence, manage them properly.
- Cable and telecom
Pretty much similar, the telecom industry possesses an extensive range of assets which span across a large geographical area. Keeping track of all these assets and the resources is quite a robust process. The management system with the help of wireless USB barcode scanner can sustainably manage the process through efficient management of these assets. Outdoor works often require handheld barcode scanners for proper asset tracking.
The industry concerning utility has to track a wide variety of assets both outdoors as well as indoors. On top of that, they have to manage every data set associated with them. This amounts to a large quantity of data overnight. Correct barcode scanners can help to manage a lot of equipment like transformers, meters and utility poles in a much better way.
- Manufacturing industry
The manufacturing industry faces a significant requirement of equipment in repair and maintenance. Monitoring this equipment is essential, and documentation of the results are equally important. Handheld barcode scanners are the perfect thing which helps these industries to stay on top of the maintenance game.
Things to consider while choosing the right handheld barcode scanner
- Where will the scanner be used?
First, we need to determine the area of operation of the barcode scanner. Can we use it for indoors and outdoors? For indoors, one can use a square barcode scanner and 2d barcode reader. However, for outdoors, wireless 2d barcode scanner and wireless USB barcode scanner is suitable. How much light will it be accustomed to? There are scanners which work equally well in dim lighting as they do in bright light. In such cases, there are no reasons to worry about.
- Barcode symbology
Barcode symbology categories are 1D, 2D and even postal barcodes. You need to ascertain which symbology you will be dealing with. Not every handheld barcode scanner is capable of dealing with such variations of barcode symbology.
- Degree of usage
The degree of usage is also an essential aspect to consider beforehand. Putting your scanner on overload mode isn’t a preferred option. Overworking your scanner can cause several dangerous issues such as poor battery life, problems with connectivity. In high-performance requirement situations, we need to choose a barcode scanner which can match up to the level of performance expected from it.
- Scanning distance
Not many people are aware that the distance between the codes and the scanner is an important facet to consider. Evaluating the scanning distance is a necessary activity we need to perform.
Different types of barcode scanners and their functionalities
We commonly categorize barcode scanners on the basis of their scanning capabilities. For instance, we have laser scanners, imagers etc. Other than that, we can also classify barcode scanners based on their class like industrial, point of sale, etc. Their functionality can also differentiate them concerning wireless, handheld, portable etc. Let us have a brief look into the common types of barcode scanners and their utilities.
- Laser barcode scanners
1D and 2D barcodes use laser scanners to scan which mainly relies on a laser light source. The barcode scans this beam of laser light back and forth. A photodiode is then used to decode the barcode. The diode measures the intensity of the light, and a decoder interprets the resultant waveforms. Obtain the traditional data as the reader transmits the data to your computer for analysis.
- Handheld barcode scanners
The term “handheld scanners” refers to a vast horizon of scanners which one can easily use with a single hand. They are portable and usually deploy a trigger-like mechanism that provides a point-and-scan functionality. The scanners come in different types such as square barcode scanner, barcode scanner wireless, 2d barcode reader, wireless 2d barcode scanner, and wireless USB barcode scanner.
- Image barcode scanners
The image barcode scanner, also referred to as the imager is a scanner dependent on image capture technology instead of laser code and decode. One can use a digital image processing functionality to read and decode the labels of the barcode.
- Wireless Cordless Barcode Scanners
These scanners rely on a rechargeable power output for providing cordless operation. The barcode scanners can be both image or laser scanners. A key thing to consider in this aspect is the running time of the battery under typical average use. If your scanning requirements need your staff to be present on the field without a charging point, then the barcode scanners need to have long battery life.
- Industrial barcode scanners
There is a large array of barcode scanners, the industrial barcode scanners, are also typically handheld scanners. The companies use durable plastic and other kinds of materials to manufacture them. It allows them to function in below ideal environments. Classify these scanners with an IP (Ingress Protection) rating. The IP labels the equipment on the basis of resistance to environmental hazards like moisture, dust and other situations.
- Omni-directional scanners
The Omni-directional scanners are also kind of a laser handheld scanner, but they implement a far modern and useful technology. A complex interwoven series of lasers help to create a mixed-grid pattern instead of a single line laser. This allows 2d barcode reader and a wireless 2d barcode scanner to be Omni-directional and hence scan 2D barcodes as well as 1D ones. This Omni-directional attribute is a major plus when it comes to large organizational usage.
- The cost factors
The price of handheld barcode scanners varies considerably based on their functionality and offered capabilities. In general, an image-capture barcode scanner is costlier than typical laser scanners. Similarly, Omni-directional scanners are more expensive than single line scanners.
- Durability aspect
Besides these, durability is also a key factor in determining the price tag of the handheld scanning device. The most expensive barcode scanners are usually the most rugged ones. They operate in a harsh environment out on the field. The high price tag is a worthy investment considering their harsh applications. A little less rugged ones are available at a lesser price tag, such as $1,200 to $2,000. General purpose handheld barcode scanners come at the range of $300 to $600.
Handheld barcode scanners are a fundamental part of any organization, and their functionalities are hard to replace in the industry as well. That is why we must gain a brief knowledge of the different types of barcode scanners and hence make a well-informed choice before buying one. Buying the right scanner will go a long way in making your organization run successfully.