Choosing the right barcode scanner for your business requires a basic understanding of the technology at work. Barcodes are optical representations of data that can be read by machines, such as barcode scanners. While traditional barcodes have been around for 50 years, modern technology leverages four different types of barcode readers, including pen, laser and charge coupled devices.
A pen-style barcode scanners utilizes a photodiode and LEDs to illuminate the barcodes enabling the reading of the black and white bars. This form of barcode reader is best if your business needs an inexpensive solution for scanning barcodes quickly by hand.
Laser barcode scanners are much more accurate than pen-style readers. A laser beam is projected into a mirror inside the scanner itself which sweeps across barcodes reflecting back to the diode inside. The unit translates the data into a digital signal. Laser readers are ideal for mounted scanning units and are found in some handheld units.
A charge coupled device uses hundreds of LED lights in a single row to illuminate barcodes. Rather than measuring the reflection, CCD sensors measure the voltage of ambient light to provide a digital reading of the barcode. While a CCD scanners are more expensive than other barcode readers, they are extremely accurate and ideal for critical inventory applications.