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How To Evaluate Barcode Scanners For Warehouse And Industrial Applications

by Sean Balogh
Encompass Solutions, Inc.

What follows is part one of a multi-part blog post on selecting handheld mobile barcode scanners. Many questions, thoughts, and general discussions take place during the selection process. I will attempt to give you some overall guidance, but ultimately your decision should be based on your internal operations and preferences.

There are several key components to any mobile handheld scanner:

  • Imager Type
  • WiFi/Cellular Connection
  • Operating System (Windows Mobile or Android)
  • Working Conditions
  • Integrated Camera

Where To Begin Evaluating Barcode Scanners

Arguably the single most important component of barcode scanners (and why it’s listed first) is the imager type. You will need to know what the average scan range will be in order to determine a suitable scanner. For instance, if your operators will do close-up scanning (i.e. 1-5 feet) a standard range scanner will work fine in most cases. However, if you intend to have operators scanning from floor-level up to products on a higher shelf, consider an extended range imager. An extended range imager will be more expensive but able to perform both standard and extended range scans.

A close second criterion to evaluate is the ability for your imager to read 1D and 2D (QR codes) barcodes. If you decide (or your supplier decides) to start using QR codes, you will need to make sure to have 2D scanning capabilities. Most modern imagers accommodate 2D scanning, but it is something to note when shopping around. While we’re talking about 1D and 2D barcodes, it’s worth mentioning to always make sure your mobile handheld device supports a wide range of barcode symbologies. Symbologies are the different style of barcodes and are very important, but extremely technical and not suitable for discussion here.

I’ll cover more aspects of the handheld in part two of this series….

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