Affiliate Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases..
Home  /  Office Solutions  /  Payments & Point of Sale  /  USB Barcode Scanner

The Best USB Barcode Scanner

Buyer's Guide

Buyers Guide: How to Get the Best USB Barcode Scanner for Your Business.

Whether you're a wholesaler, retailer, distributor, or manufacturer, the ability to quickly and accurately read barcodes is essential to your business. You need a device that's fast and accurate. You also need a device that can withstand the demands of a busy warehouse or store floor. The best USB barcode scanner will allow you to focus on other aspects of your business rather than worrying about whether your scanner will work properly.

That said, there are many different types of scanners available that vary in price and performance. In this buyer’s guide, we'll explore everything from the basics to the latest technology so you can find the perfect scanner for your needs.

USB Barcode Scanner

What is a barcode scanner?

A barcode scanner is a device that uses an electronic beam to scan the bar code on a product. This data is then used to process a transaction and track inventory. Barcode scanners can be attached to mobile devices, computers, or tablets for easy use at the point of sale.

Many manufacturers are entering the market with their own specific plug-and-play products. Here's what you need to know about these scanners:

How does a USB barcode scanner work?

A barcode scanner is a device that reads barcodes. In order to read a barcode, the scanner emits an electromagnetic field which can then be read by a receiver. The receiver sends the data from the field to a computer and you are able to view or process it as needed.

The key difference between different types of scanners is how they pick up and transmit data. Some use radio waves while others use light waves. Some scanners also have multiple ways of picking up and transmitting data such as radio waves, light waves, and ultrasound signals.

As technology advances so do the newer types of scanners on the market. With new technology comes new features that make scanning easier than ever before.

Types of Barcode Scanner

There are two major types of scanners: laser scanners and optical scanners. Laser scanners typically use a red laser to read barcodes and are more precise. Optical scanners use infrared light to scan barcodes, so they work in less-than-ideal lighting conditions.

Every scanner has different features like laser or software speed, battery life, and connectivity. Take your time when looking for the right scanner for your needs so you're sure you're getting the best bang for your buck.

Below we'll explore both types of scanners in detail and help you find the perfect USB barcode scanner for your needs.

Basic scanners

When you're first starting out, you may not have the budget required for a more advanced scanner. A basic barcode scanner is an ideal solution for the time being.

A basic scanner is typically smaller and lighter than other models, making it easier to transport between locations. It uses a USB interface which makes it easy to connect with your computer or mobile device.

Basic scanners typically offer a lower level of performance as well. These scanners are usually quite affordable, but they aren't built to last. You also won't be able to read many barcodes with these scanners often requiring manual input from the user.

If you're looking for an inexpensive way to start your business, this type of scanner is perfect for you!

Mid-range scanners

Handheld scanners

Handheld scanners are the most affordable option available. They're also easy to use and can be used in both indoor and outdoor environments. While their accuracy can range, they're typically accurate enough for point-of-sale applications.

**NOTE: While handheld scanners are the most affordable type of scanner, they do require batteries which will add to your operational costs.

Fixed-mount scanners

Fixed-mount scanners are best for warehouses where space is at a premium or for retail stores where sales associates need to move quickly between different departments but only want to carry one device with them (e.g., sales associates who work in clothing departments need a fixed mount scanner so they can scan clothes as they go).

**NOTE: Fixed-mount scanners are significantly more expensive than handheld devices, but they often have larger scanning areas which make them suitable for warehouse or retail environments with multiple departments close by each other that need scanning throughout the day.

Portable scanner

Portable scanners are best suited for retail stores with high foot traffic or mixed business locations (e.g., supermarkets). They're great because you can use them indoors or outdoors so long as you have sufficient power and an unobstructed view of

High-end scanners vs. entry-level scanners

There are different types of barcode scanners you can choose from, including high-end and entry-level models that vary in price and performance.

The most basic type of scanner is a handheld scanner. These scanners can be used with a laptop or desktop computer to create inventory lists at the warehouse or store floor. The downside to these devices is that they don't offer full barcode reading capabilities. They're still useful for the occasional use though!

An example of a high-end barcode scanner would be the HP Barcode Scanner; this model offers advanced features like multiple languages and long battery life. The downside to these high-end models is that they're much more expensive compared to lower-end models.

If you're looking for an entry-level device, consider a laser scanner like the Oce Proximity Reader V2; it's compact and sleek enough to fit on your desk at work or home office! It's also easy enough that anyone can read barcodes without having any knowledge of scanning technology.

Features to Consider Before Buying USB Barcode Scanner

Like anything, scanners come with a variety of features that vary across brands. When you're shopping for a scanner, consider what you'll be using your scanner for and which features are most important to you.

Some of the more common features that you'll want to take into consideration are the number of barcodes supported, the scanning resolution, or even the size and weight of the device itself. You may also want to think about whether or not your scanner is wireless.

Keep in mind though, some features will affect other aspects of your business. For instance, if you need a device that can scan in low light conditions, this could affect its battery life as well as its ability to scan text. If you're looking for something lightweight with good battery life, it might not have a great scanning resolution. On top of these considerations, think about what type of software you'll be using with your scanner and whether or not it's compatible with any specific operating system or program.

Accuracy and Speed

Accuracy is very important when it comes to scanner selection. You don't want to waste time or money on a device that's inaccurate. It wastes your time and slows down the process of scanning multiple items, which can lead to missed opportunities.

Speed also matters. Don't buy a scanner that's slow. It will not only waste time but it will also cost you more in the long run because customers won't be able to scan their purchases as quickly as they should.

That said, some scanners are faster than others, so make sure you take the time to compare different devices before making a purchase decision.

Durability and Build Quality

When it comes to the best barcode scanner, you'll want a device that's durable and made to last. This is true regardless of whether you're looking for an industrial-grade scanner or a consumer-grade scanner.

One way to ensure durability is through build quality. The best scanners will be made of heavy-duty plastic that can stand up to the rigors of warehouse floor use. Although some scanners are more expensive than others, they won't break as easily because they won't feature cheap, fragile plastic materials.

Another consideration is battery life. Some models may only need one AA battery while others might require 3 or 4 AAA batteries in order to function properly. Look for a model that has a long battery life so you don't have to worry about your scanner dying on the job.

Finally, look for models that are USB compatible and can scan both barcodes and RFID tags with ease. You'll find these models tend to be slightly more expensive than those that just scan barcodes but make sure you get a versatile model for your needs!

Popular Brands for USB Barcode Scanner

If you're looking for the best USB barcode scanner, the big names in scanners are made by several different brands.

For example, the popular brand of scanners is Symbol Technologies, which offers a range of scanners with various features and price ranges. You can find scanners with as few as one or two scan modes, up to 10 or 20 scan modes, and some that come with professional software packages.

Additionally, a number of other well-known companies produce scanners that offer similar features and prices but vary in size and weight. For example, if you're looking for a small handheld scanner for your warehouse or store floor, try one from Handheld Barcode Technology.

If you're on a budget or just want to compare different models to get an idea of what brands have what features, it's worth checking out the manufacturers' websites.

Frequently Asked Question About USB Barcode Scanner

How do I choose a barcode scanner?

Consider the code format & scanning distance when scanning barcodes. Any sort of barcode scanning can benefit from 2D imaging. Linear barcode scanners are only suitable for 1D barcodes. If you need to scan from a considerable distance, search for a unit that has Advanced Long Range and Extended Range capabilities.

Are all barcode scanners the same?

All barcode scanners serve the same activity and operate in the same way. However, there are multiple kinds of barcode scanners. Imagers and laser barcode scanners were not the same thing. And wired scanners are not the same as wireless scanners. In principle, every barcode scanner works by flashing a particular red light on a code to read and decipher it. Where barcode scanners differ is in how this is accomplished and how the scanner delivers the information to a computer.

Are barcode readers expensive?

A lot of this stuff on the cheaper side ($300 to $600) features 15-year-old hardware, then on a high end of the range they're Windows Phone PDAs with only a barcode scanner (which isn't a bad thing), but those start at around $800.

Which scanner is mostly used in shopping stores?

The laser scanner is the most common and well-known type of scanner. In order to read the barcode it is scanning, this scanner employs a laser and a photosensor to detect its reflection of the lines. It reads basic barcodes on a one-dimensional (1D) plane.

What are the different types of barcode scanners?

There are five main types of barcode readers.

Pen Wand

This is the most basic and least expensive form of barcode reader. It is long-lasting and has no movable parts. To take up the data, it must maintain close contact with the barcode and be kept at a specific angle. It must also move at a specific speed across the barcode.

Slot Scanner

This type is a stationary barcode scanner, and the item to be scanned is pulled thru the slots on the barcode reader device by hand. This sort of barcode scanner is typically used to scan the barcodes on identity cards and swiped cards.

CCD Scanner

This sort of barcode scanner is most commonly found in retail sales. It has a longer range than a pen wand and a gun-like interface. To read the barcode, it must be brought closer to it. To reduce mistakes, several readings are frequently taken. The drawback of utilizing this kind of barcode scanner is that it will only read barcodes the breadth of its face size.

Image Scanner

A camera reader is another name for this sort of barcode reader. It has a tiny camera that is used to record a barcode picture. It has digital image processors that read barcodes and can read them from a distance. It can scan barcodes from a distance of 9 inches away.

Laser Scanner

This kind of barcode scanner can be carried or stationary. It is not necessary to be near to the codes in order to read them. This device reads barcodes using mirrors and lenses and can be utilized up to 24 inches. Long-range models can scan barcodes 30 feet away. It can also scan barcodes regardless of their orientation. Laser scanners can scan at speeds of up to 500 scans every second.

USB Barcode Scanner


To start your search for the right scanner, consider what type of user your business has. If you're in a store or warehouse with lots of people around, consider one with an omnidirectional antenna that picks up radio signals easily. If your business has more space for space to spread out, get one with 360-degree rotation that can scan multiple axes simultaneously.

Scanning barcodes is a critical part of your business operations and with the ever-increasing popularity of mobile devices, finding the right scanner for your business becomes more difficult.

During this guide, we will cover the basics of barcode scanners, their features, and how they work. We'll also take you through some of the best brands to choose from and some of the features you should be looking for in a scanner. Finally, we'll teach you how to pick the right scanner for your business needs and what to consider when making your purchase.