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Barcode Scanner Buying Guide:Choosing the Right Barcode Scanner(III)

Fiona Yumite 2016-03-23 10:12:40
Connectivity - Corded vs. Cordles

Every scanner has to communicate with a PC to transmit the barcode information into the software that you are using. Historically, there were only corded scanners that connected directly to the PC through a cable. These are still the most common scanner type and normally interface with a PC through a USB connection. Serial (RS232), PS/2, and proprietary terminal connections are also available for many models. Corded scanners are easy to get up and running and will be your least expensive option. 

Cordless scanners have become more common today as their costs have become much more affordable. These handheld scanners function the same way a corded scanner works except that the scanner communicates to a base station wirelessly. This base station is then connected to your PC through a cable. Your PC does not need to have any wireless support since the cradle and scanner handle all of this. Just plug in the cradle, pair the scanner to the base, and you are ready to start scanning. It is very easy to replace a corded scanner with a cordless one since it has no effect on your PC or software. 

Most cordless scanners use Bluetooth to communicate, which normally gives you a range of 33ft. There are some specialized Bluetooth and proprietary wireless units that can transmit beyond 200ft. Some models also offer additional features that corded scanners don't, such as batch memory modes and direct pairing. The Yumite YT-890 for example, can pair directly to a device without using its dongle. This makes it a perfect match to use with a laptop, tablet, or smart phone that has built-in Bluetooth capabilities. Cordless scanners can provide greater mobility and freedom from cable clutter in any application.


Regardless of the environment that you'll be using your scanner in, ruggedness is always something to consider. Environment is a big factor, though you should also consider how the scanner will be used. You may be in a standard environment but if the scanners are mistreated, a more rugged option will help save time and money down the road. 


Most scanners are designed for daily use in an office or retail environment. An accidental drop once in a while will be ok. But if you are using your scanners in a warehouse or outdoor environment, you will want to consider a ruggedized unit like the Motorola LS3408FZ. The differences between a ruggedized and standard model are quite drastic. Rugged units are completely sealed against dust and can handle repeated 6ft drops on concrete. With a rubberized case, they can handle severe mistreatment. Some of them can even be used as a hammer without any problems! 

You can always tell a ruggedized scanner by their bright yellow or red cases. They may be more expensive, but the time lost when a scanner breaks and the cost of replacing it quickly balances out the initial extra cost.


Finding the Right Scanner

With all the options available for barcode scanners today, it's important to find the right device for your business needs. Determining how you will use the scanner and what features you need will make the decision process easier. If you are still having difficulty or have additional questions, give our scanner experts a call. We're happy to help you out.
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