There are several main features to consider when weighing the options for a barcode scanner:
Barcode scanners typically have one of three types of scanning hardware:
Laser - This is the most famous type of scanner. It uses a laser to read the reflectivity of the black and white space in the barcode.
Linear Imager - Like laser scanners, linear imager barcode scanners only read 1D barcodes, but they do this by taking a barcode image and analyzing the information in the image.
2D Area Imagers - These scanners work like linear imagers, except that they can read stacks and 2D barcodes. They can also scan the barcode in any direction.
The type of product you need to scan and the type of barcode you use should determine the type of hardware you need. For example, if you use UPC code, a laser scanner can do this. If you use stacked barcodes, you will need to select a scanner with compatible hardware. Moreover, if you hold inventory in harsh environments such as industrial warehouses or manufacturing plants, it may be worth investing in industrial barcode scanners.
Most bar code readers today do not need to install any specific software or drivers to send bar code information to the computer. Typically, the barcode scanner sends data from the barcode to the computer in the same way that the keyboard sends keystrokes.
However, there is a professional barcode scanner application for your computer that reads the image of the barcode and decodes it for you. For example, TradeGecko allows you to store using a barcode scanner (more on this later). Most importantly, when you purchase a barcode scanner, make sure it is compatible with any software you use to manage your inventory.