Barcode Scanners for Sale: Which Route Should You Take?

You’ve decided to take a smarter approach to asset tracking and management, so you’re on the hunt for software and barcode scanners for sale. Barcode scanners come in a few varieties. The best one for you really depends upon the needs of your business, but in general, these are the pros and cons to consider as you’re perusing barcode scanners for sale:

You can choose from image-based, laser-based or 2D area barcode scanners for sale. Laser scanners are more expensive, while image-based scanners have a shorter scanning distance. 2D area imagers are the most versatile; they’re able to read any type of barcode, whether it’s 1D, stacked or 2D, and you don’t have to line up the barcode perfectly with the scanner to get a read; therefore, you save time.

Handheld barcode scanners: As the term suggests, these cordless scanners are handheld, simple to use and relatively easy to carry around throughout your warehouse or other location.

Pros: The biggest advantage of handheld barcode scanners is that they give you the ability to scan an item without lifting it – and if you’ve got a lot of heavy items on your shelves, that’s a great convenience. They range in price, and don’t have to be terribly expensive. Accuracy is a huge advantage with handheld barcode scanners; compared with manual data entry, they’re hands-down the better choice. They also provide real-time data about inventory – for example, the quantity of an item you have left in your warehouse. These handheld scanners also save lots of time when you consider the time and effort involved in manually keying in your asset and/or inventory-related data.

Cons: On the downside, if you’ve got multiple employees tasked with scanning items, and/or multiple locations in which assets and inventory need to managed, you’ve got to purchase multiple handheld barcode scanners, and that can add up. Additionally, the scanners can become lost, broken or stolen. Handheld barcode scanners tend to have rather short reading zones, so you can’t simply wave one in the general direction of an item placed high up on a shelf. Some new laser-powered versions can read up to 30 feet, though the average scanner can read about 20 feet. Finally, while it’s convenient to be able to carry your scanner around, it can also be inconvenient from the standpoint that it’s not hands-free and can actually slow down your productivity.

Presentation Scanners: These scanners are intended to sit on a countertop and read barcodes as they come across – think retail store.

Pros: Presentation scanners are hands-free and can read several barcodes in quick succession. They also have a wide reading area, so your aim doesn’t have to be as precise.

Cons: None, but they’re specific to their environment.

Mobile Computer: Mobile computers combine the functions of a scanner and PC in the same device.

Pros: Many of them are hands-free and communicate via Wi-Fi. You can carry them anywhere as your asset and inventory needs dictate.

Cons: They’re expensive. Some need to be connected to a PC.

In-Counter: They’re much like presentation scanners, but they’re embedded into a countertop; for example, at your grocery store. Like presentation scanners, they can scan several items quickly and don’t require a precise aim to get a read.

Pros: In-counter scanners are hands-free and can read several barcodes in quick succession. They also have a wide reading area, so your aim doesn’t have to be as precise.

Cons: None, but they’re specific to their environment.

Fixed Mount: These scanners are mounted in a kiosk or on a conveyor line. They’re great for high-speed or otherwise high-volume environments, like fast-moving assembly lines.

Pros: They’re rugged, offer hands-free convenience and speed.

Cons: None, but they’re specific to their environment.

Here's a look at how one company saves both time and money with Asset Panda's all-in-one approach to inventory and asset tracking:

While these are the primary varieties of barcode scanners for sale, there’s another kind of scanner that offers the benefit of convenience, cost savings and ease of use – and it works in conjunction with a flexible, powerful mobile asset and inventory tracking platform. Asset Panda offers a built-in mobile barcode scanner via a free mobile app, along with completely customizable features and an intuitive interface you’ll love. To learn more, or to start your free 14-day trial, go to



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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