Buying Guide for Tera Barcode Scanners
Selecting the ideal barcode scanner for your business can be daunting, especially when they all look similar. However, a wide variety of options and features set them apart, and comprehending these distinctions can help making an informed decision.
Essentially, a barcode scanner is an optical device that transforms information from 1D or 2D barcode images into machine (computer) readable forms.
Example 1D (1-Dimensional) Linear barcode
Example 2D (2 Dimensional) or Matrix Barcode
Your barcode scanner choice depends on your needs:
- Scanning 1D linear barcode or 2D Matrix barcode?
- Data transmission method: wired, wireless, or with Bluetooth?
- Barcodes display surface, e.g., paper, cardboard, screens?
For starters or self-employed/ small businesses,
Most small businesses need only a quick and efficient scanner for 1D or 2D barcodes.
1D barcodes typically consist of horizontal bars and spaces and are commonly found on consumer products and books. Common 1D codes standards include UPC, EAN, GS1 DataBar, GS1-128, ITF-14, etc.
2D barcodes are made up of squares, hexagons, dots and other shapes. Common 2D standards include QR codes, Datamatrix, PDF417, etc.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barcode#Barcode_verifier_standards for a list of all barcode standards (And history) if you want a reference point for further reading.
Understanding how the scanner will be used helps determine the necessary features and options. Consider the following 6 factors:
1. Barcode imaging technology
There are three main types of barcode scanning technology.
Reads 1D linear barcodes printed on paper or cardboard. This covers most examples in a warehouse or retail environment.
Laser scanners cannot read barcodes from digital screens or 2D barcodes, *Safety Note: laser comes with a warning that they can cause permanent eye damage if shone into the eyes.
Good at identifying long linear barcodes, moving barcodes, and the scanning depth of field generally reach up to 1.1 to 16 inches (3-40 cm).
CCD (Charged Coupled Device) scanners are great for reliability and can read 1D barcodes, whether they are printed on paper, card, or electronic screen, but are not capable of scanning 2D barcodes.
A CCD scanner has no laser and is safe for eyes, is more robust, and good at scanning long linear barcodes.
CCD scanners usually don't work well under dim light environments, where a laser scanner would be a better option.
The reading distance is generally up to 1.9 to 19.6 inches(5-50 cm), and good at reading colorful and damaged or less-than-perfect barcodes.
2D CMOS scanners are capable of decoding both 1D linear barcodes and 2D barcodes, but struggle with decoding long 1D linear barcodes.
2D CMOS scanners are better at reading color barcodes, fuzzy barcodes, crumpled or defective barcodes, and oversized barcodes.
DPM (short for Direct Part Marking) barcode scanners is a special sub-category under 2D CMOS scanners, such scanners are equipped with 2D CMOS imagers that are capable of scanning etched or imprinted barcodes from silicon, metal, plastic or glass materials.
2. Connection Capability
USB (wired) is the most cost-effective if you don’t need to move your scanner beyond your chosen USB cable length. A common site on cashier desks, sometimes with long USB cables.
Wireless scanners allow freedom of movement but are more expensive due to the technologies involved.
Most Tera Bluetooth-compatible scanners support Bluetooth HID connections. Once paired, you can output in Notepad or other popular formats e.g., txt, excel, word, google docs, etc. It can be connected to a computer, Android or Apple phone, and other compatible devices, with a range of approximately 30 meters depending on materials between scanner and receiver.
2.4GHz wireless usually transmits over 100 to 200 meters (open distance) and about 30-50 meters indoors, depending on materials between device and wifi access point.
USB wired barcode scanners are the most common and cost-effective choice.
3. Form Factors
Handheld scanners are the most common form factor for barcode scanners, simply hold it with your hands, press the trigger and aim at the barcode you would like to scan.
Model 8100 or HW0006 if bluetooth connection is a must have feature for you;
Model D5100 if you need wireless data transmission and increased mobility
Model D5100Y or L5100Y are also good value choices. Models 8100 and HW0002 also come with a stand, allowing you hands free operation with them.
Models 9100 and 9300, and some other handheld scanners have stands and are designed to sit on a counter and not picked up regularly. These scanners are compatible with hands free features under continuous scanning or activated sensor mode, where the item being scanned is “presented” to the scanner for identification.
The 9100, 9300 are designed to have wider scanning areas and support scanning barcodes at any angle, reducing the need for aiming. These types of presentation scanners are often used at check-outs in supermarkets or other retail stores.
There are also some other factors that you may need to take into account when purchasing.
Most scanners are designed for daily use in offices or retail stores, and occasional drop wouldn't be a big problem. However, if your working environment is industrial or outdoors etc., a more rugged and/or water resistant scanner would be an essential consideration.
5. Air quality
If the working environment has grit and dust, or high humidity, then consider purchasing an IP certified (water resistant) barcode scanner.
Low or brightly lit environment? Good lighting helps any scanner. If you are unsure, get yourself a demo unit for testing before committing to a bulk purchase.
These considerations will assist in making the right choice from the different types and features of barcode scanners. If you are still not sure which is right for you, please don't hesitate to reach out to a Tera expert for advice: we are more than happy to help.