Ever since barcode scanners have entered the inventory management industry, every procedure has been accelerated and simplified. Among the reasons why you should implement a barcode scanner in your warehouse operations is the reduced time consumption of simple tasks like inventory-taking, the elimination of human errors, as well as the organizational efficiency it offers.
Seeing the advantages this provides, you might want to try implementing barcode scanners in your warehouse procedures. However, singling out a barcode scanner that fits your needs is a complex venture.
For this reason, we’ve accumulated some useful information that will guide you to make the right choice!
1. What to Keep In Mind While Searching
Most electronic devices will suffer a drop in their lifetime. As this is unavoidable, you need to find a scanner that will withstand the wear and tear of time, especially if the device is not mounted in a fixed place.
If for example your warehouse has high shelves and you need to scan items from higher points, then you should purchase a scanner that doesn’t have internal moving parts. Those types of barcode scanners tend to be more resilient to drops.
Moreover, if your warehouse is dusty, you should consider buying a scanner with a high Ingress Protection (IP) rating. Most middle-range scanners have an IP40 rating, which means that they are not resistant to dust. IP ratings of 61 and above can protect your devices from dust ingress, but that also means that they’ll be more expensive.
Another factor that you should keep in mind is the lighting conditions of your establishments. If your warehouse is brightly lightened, then you should look for a barcode scanner with a bright screen. That way you’ll be able to read its contents easily and work faster.
Further, a scanner with a bright screen will benefit you if you’re planning to use it outdoors. Direct sunlight usually makes it difficult to read low-brightness screens.
If neither of the above scenarios is the case for you, then a barcode scanner with a medium-brightness screen should do the trick!
Different Types of Barcodes (1D, 2D)
There are two types of barcodes, 1D and 2D. Linear or 1D barcodes store less information than 2D ones. Also, the latter can store images, website addresses, and other types of data, making it more useful to the operator.
There are barcode scanners that can only read one or the other, but there are ones that can do both. When deciding which of the two to purchase, think about the long run. 2D barcodes are becoming more and more popular and you might need a scanner that can read both types.
If your budget is tight, you should consider investing in a scanner that is pricier but can read both 1D and 2D, rather than buying one again in the future to accommodate your needs.
Fixed Position or Portable
When you search for a barcode scanner, weigh the pros and cons of a portable one and a scanner in a fixed position. A fixed-positioned one doesn’t need to be carried around, being an extra burden to the operator. It also means that the chances of it being dropped or harmed in any other way are minimized to a great extent.
On the other hand, a portable one can offer you freedom of movement. For example, you’ll be able to pick up the barcode scanner and go to your warehouse to search for a certain item. In this scenario, a portable one will be beneficial, specifically a wireless one. If you opt for a wireless barcode scanner check the range that it could be used. If you have a large warehouse, check the Bluetooth range of the device before buying it.
However, bear in mind that portability maximizes the chances of you dropping the device and damaging it.
2. Types of Barcode Scanners
There are many different types of barcode scanners. Each has its own set of pros and cons you need to be aware of to make the right decision.
This is the least expensive type of barcode scanner. They are very small and easy to carry. The more recent models can read barcodes as well as text and recognize 50 or more languages, making a great choice for international businesses.
The main drawback is that the operator has to scan the barcode at a certain angle and speed to read it properly. This could be a problem for businesses with a high volume of scanning, such as grocery stores, as the scanning process will need more time. However, if you need it for your warehouse activities, this is a viable solution for you!
Area Imager Scanner
This type of scanner works in a unique, camera-like way. It essentially takes a picture of the barcode and proceeds to analyze it with the help of digital imaging processors. Newer camera-based barcode scanners are becoming the standard for reading new 2D labels.
It has the ability to scan barcodes off of digital screens as well as regular ones, making it very versatile. This characteristic comes with an extra cost, as the area image scanner costs more than any other regular type of scanner.
The way a laser scanner works is that it projects a thin, very precise laser beam onto the barcode. They can scan in direct sunlight and can read wide barcode labels, with no contact needed. There can be a distance of up to 30cm between the scanner and the item, and there’s a very low error rate.
Keep two things in mind. Firstly, the laser scanner is more expensive, relative to other types of scanners. Secondly, it has internal moving parts, meaning that in case of a drop, it is more susceptible to damage than other barcode scanners.
CCD Barcode Scanners
CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) barcode scanners use LED lights to illuminate the label and read it. They are designed for harsh working conditions and are quicker and cheaper than laser scanners. They also have the ability to scan in direct sunlight and most can read barcodes from an electronic device screen.
The downside according to Syblycode is that they cannot read barcodes that are wider than their face size, while they can only scan barcodes that are in close proximity to the device.
The process of choosing a barcode scanner for your warehouse operations is a difficult task. Ultimately, the decision-making process should be based on your budget, the needs of your business, and the specs of each type of barcode scanner.
There are a lot of great options to choose from and following this guide will almost certainly help you pick the best one!
Zoi Vasileiou works as a Marketing Assistant for Megaventory the online inventory management system that can help businesses synchronize stock and manage purchases and sales over multiple stores. She loves content creation, keeping up with the latest marketing updates, and always enhancing her skills.