Barcode Scanner Buying Guide：Choosing the Right Barcode Scanner(II)
Once you know what type of scanner you'll need, the next big question is what form factor the scanner will be. Most of us are familiar with the basic gun-style and in-counter scanners from retail and grocery stores. There are 5 main form factors for scanners, and each has advantages depending on your application and how you'll use the scanner.
These are by far the most common form that scanners come in and are very easy to operate. Simply aim the scanner at the barcode and pull the trigger. Most models, like the Yumite YT-760A, will also offer a stand for hands-free operation. Handheld scanners are also available in cordless form to avoid cable clutter and increase your mobility.
Presentation scanners, like the Metrologic MS7580, are designed to sit on a counter-top and don't need to be picked-up or held. These scanners are made for hands-free scanning and will not require triggering to read. Likewise, instead of a single aimer like handheld scanners, presentation scanners have wide reading areas to reduce the need for aiming. You'll find these types of scanners at retail check-outs since it is easy to scan many items quickly. Just present the barcode in front of the scanner and it will read it automatically.
While they also do more than what basic scanners do, mobile computers provide complete freedom since both the PC and scanner are in a single device. Where other scanners need to be connected to a PC, mobile computers like the Motorola MC75A can move around freely while storing information into their internal memory or communicate via Wi-Fi and Cellular (WAN) networks. Mobile computers are ideal for applications that require true mobility like inventory management and asset tracking.
In-counter scanners are similar to presentation scanners in that you just present the barcode in front of the reader - however, these are made to be embedded into a counter-top. You have probably come across these types of scanners at grocery stores and self check-out lines. Units like the Datalogic Magellan 8300, are easy to operate for any user. Many models also have integrated scales to completely serve a POS lane.
A fixed scanner is a bit more specialized compared to the other types since it is really meant to be integrated with a larger automated system. These scanners are made to be mounted on a conveyor line or in a kiosk and do not have a typical trigger or button to scan. Often, these scanners will always be on or get triggered by external sensors or controllers. Fixed scanners come in a wide range of speeds, like the Yumite YT-M401, to accommodate even very high speed assembly lines without any user intervention.
Form Factors by Industry
|Industry||Corded Handheld||Cordless Handheld||Presentation||Mobile Computer||In-counter||Fixed Mount|