Barcode Scanner Mobile Options: Which One is Best for You?

You’ve decided to implement an asset and/or inventory tracking system, and when it comes to the selection of a barcode scanner, mobile is the way to go, right? Regardless of your line of work, size or scope of your organization, yes. Before you purchase a barcode scanner mobile device, though, you should note that there are many varieties available to you, and they range in terms of their features, sophistication and price point. A more expensive scanner doesn’t necessarily mean better. Your decision should come down to the needs of your business today and your anticipated needs tomorrow. You’ll want to purchase a barcode scanner mobile device that complements your asset/inventory tracking and management platform, as well – something that allows you to easily scan and seamlessly transmit information to one centralized location.

Types of Scanners

The primary types of scanners you’ll find during your search are laser scanners, linear imagers and 2D area imagers. Laser scanners only read 1D barcodes (the simplest barcode) and are the among the most budget-friendly scanners. These scanners don’t have a very long range – usually 1 foot or less – however, some linear scanners offer an extended range. Linear imagers also read 1D barcodes, but they read them differently than laser scanners. Instead of scanning reflected light from the barcode as laser scanners do, linear scanners take a picture of a barcode, then obtain information from it. If you have barcode labels that have become damaged due to weather conditions or general wear and tear, a linear scanner will have an easier time reading them. 2D area imagers, like linear scanners, take pictures of barcodes – and those barcodes can be 1D, stacked or 2D in variety. One of the most attractive features of 2D area imagers is that they can scan from just about any angle; you don’t have to be precise in how you hold the scanner relative to the barcode. The versatility and ease of use that 2D area imagers offer, then, make them an attractive option, although they’re more expensive for obvious reasons.

Barcode scanner mobile devices are available in several styles to suit your preferences. The most basic variety is the wand-like handheld device, which comes in corded as well as cordless varieties, and is relatively straightforward to use. Counter-top or presentation scanners don’t need to be held; instead, they offer easy, hands-free scanning over a large area, minimizing your need to have precise aim. You’ll most often find these scanners at grocery stores or retailers, where the ability to scan quickly is a priority. Mobile computers, unlike other scanners, offer an all-in-one solution with scanner and computer in the same device, so you don’t have to connect the device to your computer later to transmit data.

The Most Streamlined Approach to Mobile Scanning

While these are all great solutions for your asset and inventory tracking needs, the most streamlined solution available today is the incorporation of mobile barcode scanners into mobile asset tracking apps. In other words, all you need to do to scan your assets and inventory is to take out your smartphone or tablet and open an app. This approach is easy for the masses, since most of your employees are likely to carry a smartphone; and it’s cost-effective, eliminating the need to purchase separate hand-held devices that can become lost or break down with time.

Asset Panda’s barcode scanner mobile solution is the most powerful, customizable and intuitive available today – and it’s offered a price point you won’t find anywhere else. For more information or to begin your free 14-day trial, visit


Courtney Roush

Courtney Roush is a freelance writer, editor, and communications strategist with 25 years of experience. Her favorite discipline is crisis communications – and it’s a highly relevant one in our present times.

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