Barcode Scanner Formats: A Beginner’s Guide

Nov 2, 2014Blog

Business owners who have done adequate research concerning the type of scanner they need must move on to the next step: finding the form of scanner that would best suit the unique needs of their businesses. There are many different forms of barcode scanner systems available, such as the variety available through Shopify, and each scanner system comes with a set of strengths and weaknesses that can be specifically applied to any given business. To learn more about the different forms of barcode scanners available on today’s market and how they can aid a given business, try reading the information below.

Most business owners are surprised by how great a difference the correct barcode scanner format can make concerning overall business efficiency and productivity. The following five barcode scanner formats should help business owners secure a stronger grasp when it comes to choosing a scanner that is “just right.”

Barcode Scanner Formats: A Beginner’s Guide

Format One: Handheld Scanners

Handheld scanners are the most common type of scanner form. Engaged couples can often be seen roaming the aisles of retail stores with these “guns,” i.e. scanners with handles for gripping and horizontal heads for scanning. Handheld scanners are both easy enough for “twitterpated” engaged couples to manage within a few seconds and complex enough to get the job done quickly and effectively. In order to operate a handheld scanner, an individual must simply pull the trigger, which is located on the stem directly beneath the horizontal scanning portion of the device. Handheld scanners come in wireless formats so that flexible, mobile businesses can quickly scan barcodes without dealing with the hassle of tangled cords.

Format Two: Presentation Scanners

Presentation scanners differ from handheld scanners in that they possess “feet” instead of handles for operation. Presentation scanners were designed to remain on a flat surface, such as a countertop or table top. Since these scanners do not require any maneuvering, they make the perfect choice for businesses that value hands-free options. Presentation scanners are made to be presented to; in order to scan an item’s barcode, all an individual has to do is wave the item in front of the scanner itself. Presentation scanners have very wide perceptions in comparison to handheld scanners. They are able to read a large space so that operators do not have to deal with the hassle of finding the “sweet spot” needed to get a confirmation beep. Presentation scanners are often used by retailers because they are quick and effective.

Format Three: Mobile Computer Scanner

Mobile computer scanners consist of exactly what they sound like. A mobile computer scanner is comprised of both a computer and a scanner all wrapped up into one useful device. These devices offer the greatest degree of freedom and flexibility to businesses because no connection is necessary for the easy accessing of digitally stored information. Many mobile computer scanners are equipped with a generous amount of internal memory so that information can be directly stored on the device itself; however, mobile computer scanners are also capable of rapidly communicating with wi-fi connections for further accessibility to information. Used most commonly for the tracking of vital inventory assets or the tracking of other invaluable information, mobile computer scanners are absolutely essential for businesses that have complex documentation needs.

Format Four: In-Counter Scanners

These scanners are stationary and cannot be maneuvered about. Obviously, this means that in-counter scanners are not the best scanners for businesses that value flexibility and mobility. Instead, these scanners are most commonly used in grocery stores where little mobility is necessary for successful operation. Any user can manage to operate an in-counter scanner, as evidenced by the many self-checkout stations that feature in-counter scanners. In order to scan a barcode with an in-counter scanner, users simply swipe the barcode in front of the scanner itself (much like the presentation scanner studied above). Owners of small grocery stores and other frequently trafficked retail stores may benefit from the installation and implementation of an in-counter scanner set.

Format Five: Fixed Mount Scanners

Scanners that are fixed are considered one of the more specialized scanner formats because they cater to a niche market. These scanner formats are typically used with large systems that run automatically. For instance, a fixed mount scanner is often mounted near the doors of a shopping center to monitor for theft. No triggers, switches, or buttons of any kind initiate the scanning process. Fixed mount scanners simply scan everything that goes by. Available in different speeds, fixed mount scanners are great for large businesses that need a large, automatically run barcode system.

Business owners who are trying to choose which barcode system format is right for them may be benefited by keeping the information above in mind. Handheld scanners, presentation scanners, mobile computer scanners, in-counter scanners, and fixed mount scanners are all valuable tools with unique assets that can aid businesses in areas of productivity, efficiency, and overall professionalism.


Graphic and website designer, currently, I attend to the maintenance of about thirty sites for existing clients as well as creating websites for the new ones. In my free time, I get into the secrets of the world of Linux, SSH, WP-CLI and I’m preparing this blog.

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