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January 23, 2020 01:01 PM

Product Review: Top 5 Barcode Scanners

There are thousands of barcode scanners in the marketplace, and you will find them ranked in different ways. For example, in their annual lineup of the best barcode scanners for 2019-2020, the team at The Balance broke out their rankings by categories like “best budget barcode reader” or “best for wireless connectivity,” and while that is great, it is better to look at them in a broader manner.

A recent report from one manufacturer noted that asset tracking systems are diverse and that even the best system is inefficient and not at all effective if it does not pair to the right data capture tool, i.e. the handheld barcode scanner. That means you must identify the features and capabilities to meet your system’s needs.

While most of today’s scanners are going to be more durable, flexible, and functional than earlier models, they might also use features such as Bluetooth connectivity or operate cordlessly. They may be able to function in harsh settings or even “in the field,” and so you must take the time to identify a list of your specific requirements and then look at our five top picks to identify which are a better fit for your needs.

As an example, will you use scanners in your warehouse, in a manufacturing plant, in retail? Is it indoors or outdoors? Will the device face heavy use or light use? Will it have to scan over a great distance? Will it have to address 1D and 2D? What about image capture? Will omnidirectional scanning have to work? How fast will you need the scanner to work?

With that in mind, here are five of the barcode industry favorites for 2019 and 2020:

HooToo Wand from Zebra – This is noted as being fast and easy to use, but it can be configured beyond 1D and 2D scans. It is capable of rapid processing and batch modes. It can be dropped from heights of five feet without damage and features a 433Mhz long range receiver. Indoors transmission is 100m and outdoors it can scan up to 200m. It has long working hours thanks to its charging base and design and works with most operating systems. Affordably priced, it is among the best for retail and industrial use.

TaoTronics BS030 – Bluetooth tech and a high storage capacity make this a great solution when lots of data capture in a wireless system is required. Capable of holding more than 200k entries before offloading to a computer, it can also send data wirelessly from up to 130 feet away (without obstacles or interference). Fast charging and a 30-hour battery life make it a good choice for multiple settings. Withstands drops of up to five feet, it pairs with most Android devices and can scan up to 200 times per second. Higher priced than some, it is a 2-in-1 design.

Motorola DS4208-SR – This is an omnidirectional scanner and imager that works wirelessly or with a USB cable. Capable of scanning 2D and linear codes, it is designed for high amounts of use, easy reading from screens, and field work with its water-resistant body. It supports all industry code standards. It costs a great deal more than many other options, but that is for its diverse capabilities, more rugged design, and efficient omnidirectional capabilities. Highly rated, even distribution networks like Amazon.com tag it as their “choice” in scanner.

Nadamoo Wireless – This is for the company that requires multiple users to send data at once. With the USB receiver active, you can use up to 32 of these handheld and wireless scanners to send data. The individual handsets hold up to 100k scans offline and with indoor obstacles, they can still send over 100m from the USB device. Dual modes allow keyed or hands-free scanning, and this is noted as the ideal solution for the long-distance, indoor, and multi-channel scanning system. This too is a noted Amazon pick and comes in at one of the lowest price points.

Inateck BCST-70 – Capable of scans at 35 meters, and with a 15-day battery life (even in continuous use mode), it has four scanning modes and a 19” scanning range. It can be dropped from six feet and features anti-shock support in its design and relies on Bluetooth capability. At a mid-range price point, it is another of the Amazon recommended options.

There are scores of other scanners that can provide you with what you need, but it is best to start with the five top-rated. Remember too that the quality of the bar codes and labels matters. At Express, you can find a full array of labels, barcodes and other identification products to interact with your new scanner.