Inventory management is nowadays one of the major concerns of company managers. Indeed, it must be optimized to allow the traceability of products and thus increase the profitability of the company and its reputation with its customers.
SBE offers several models of barcode scanners that will help you save time during your inventories thanks to their fast and reliable data reading and their ease of use.
What is a barcode reader?
A barcode scanner is a reader in the shape of a shower head, hence its name, which is used to scan the barcode of a product. It exists in several models according to the shape, its functionalities and its options. The purpose of this portable tool is to read the barcodes and then transform them into characters as if they had been recorded manually on the computer.
Barcode scanners save time and simplify many applications such as scanning, inventory management, monitoring, maintenance, automation of industrial operations or sales by connecting it to a cash register.
Handhelds are often used in various professional environments such as defense, oil and gas, utilities, telecommunications, manufacturing, and retail that need to manage large amounts of assets and logistics flows within their warehouses or stores. They can also be used in schools and libraries to manage incoming and outgoing traffic.
How to choose a barcode reader?
It can be difficult to choose the right barcode scanner for your needs. There are several criteria to check before choosing your barcode scanner:
1. Width of the shower head
Expressed in millimeters, it must be adapted to the width of the bar codes of your articles. If it is not the case, the reading will be difficult or even impossible
2. The maximum reading distance
Also expressed in millimeters, this is the distance between the shower and the product barcode. The greater the distance, the easier the handheld scanner will be to use. Indeed, it will not be necessary to move your products to place the shower head on the surface to be scanned or to try several times.
3. Reading speed
It is expressed in "lines per second". The higher the reading speed, the better. In fact, you will only have to move the scanner in front of the product's barcode instead of holding it in place for a few seconds.
4. Type of reading
There are 2 types of reading: 1D (one dimensional) or 2D (two dimensional)
The handhelds are able to read most of the 1D barcodes (CODE39, 2Parmi5, C128, EAN128, EAN13, EAN8, UPC-A, UPC-E). They are different from readers that can read 2D, more complex codes with more data (QR codes, DATAMATRIX, UPC-A, EAN8...).
5. Type of sensors
There are 3 types of sensors: CCD, laser and imager
The CCD reading uses a special image sensor with a single row of pixels that can only read 1D barcodes. Discover our bestseller, our CCD barcode scanner, resistant and efficient thanks to its reading speed of 200 scans/second with a USB connection on PC and Mac.
The laser beam reading allows to read only the 1D barcodes near and far thanks to its important range. The laser scanner is recommended for high speed scanning and in motion. Our OPL6845Z laser barcode scanner can automatically read 1D barcodes with a scan speed of 100 scans/second, ideal for retail and administrative environments.
The reading by imager consists in photographing the 1D and 2D barcodes to be decoded and thus to register the products. Its advantage is that it can scan the information on PC, tablet or smartphone screens.
6. The indicator of good reading
This indicator can be visual or sound. Once the barcode is scanned, the handheld will emit a beep or a small green light on the top of the handheld.
7. Wired or Wireless
Wired barcode handhelds are fixed handhelds that have a cord of 1.50 to 3m. They need to be connected to a computer via a USB connection to operate and to be powered. They are particularly suitable to be at a fixed point and have the advantage of not being recharged regularly. However, the wire can be a hindrance to scan some bulky products or difficult to access.
Concerning the wireless barcode scanners, they are more mobile and can be used in a radius of 10 to 50m. They do not need to be connected to a computer to be operational. They work by Bluetooth with a limited range, ideal to be placed at the checkout of a store or by WIFI which allows a longer range and is more suitable for use in warehouses, stores.The wireless barcode scanners can be equipped with a memory to store the data of the goods.
8. Handheld scanner support
You can opt for a barcode scanner with a support whether it is wired or not. This will not only allow you to avoid leaving the barcode scanner lying around or putting it directly on a counter to use it as a fixed scanner. In the case of a wireless barcode scanner, the support will also be used to recharge the device by simply placing it on top.
9. The resistance
If you will use your handheld in a risky environment such as a warehouse, it is important to choose a handheld that is resistant to shocks as well as to humidity and low/high temperatures so that it will last over time. Our showerheads can be used under -5°C to 50°C and comply with the IP54 standard which is a protection index against dust and water projections. In addition, they are resistant to falls of 1m50 on concrete.
How does a barcode reader work?
A barcode scanner can read barcodes and transform them into alphanumeric information in a database. Each barcode is assimilated to a product allowing to know its characteristics and its quantity in your stock.
To do this, it is important to connect the connectors properly when reloading or connecting to a device.
It is also necessary to test the compatibility of your handheld with your computer and software whatever the chosen function (Bluetooth, Wifi, USB cable). Note that the operating system or the software can be the cause of an incompatibility.
When you go to the step of setting up the handheld, you must refer to the user manual provided with the device in order to do it properly. Incorrect settings can alter the data transfer and completely distort the information.
How to differentiate between a handheld scanner and a barcode reader?
It is easy to confuse a barcode reader and a barcode scanners because they both allow to scan barcodes. We explain you how to make the difference.
A barcode reader is recommended for stores to read 1D barcodes at short distance. It is more handy than the reader and generally less expensive.
As for the scanner, recognizable by its gun shape, it is more adapted to inventory management because it can read 1D and 2D barcodes like QR codes and RFID tags. It is more efficient thanks to a fast reading speed and a higher distance thanks to its laser.
Discover the comparative table of the different solutions to scan barcodes:
|Reader||USB / Bluetooth / Wifi||CCD / Laser||1D||100 scan/sec||cash registers in stores, medical field|
|Scan||USB / Bluetooth / Wifi||Laser / Imager||1D / 2D||60 à 100 scan/sec||storage management|
|Terminal||Bluetooth / Wifi||Laser / imager||1D / 2D||100 scan/sec||storage and asset management, logistics|
Discover our whole range of barcode scanners, readers and terminals and make your choices with our article "How to choose the right barcode reader?"