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6 Best Barcode Scanners For 2024

6-best-barcode-scanners-for-2024
6 Best Barcode Scanners For 2024

The best barcode scanner lets you search for products quicker when using a point-of-sale (POS) and can handle the day-to-day rigors of your business. 

To help you choose the best barcode scanner for you, we spent more than 50 hours researching dozens of scanners, from the bottom (< $100) to the top ($300+) of the budget scale. 

We reviewed these barcode scanners and apps for their ease of installation and configuration, scanning ability, functionality, OCR capabilities, and sharing options. 

Best barcode readers in 2024 

Zebra 2D USB barcode scanner

Best countertop barcode scanner

zebra 2s usb barcode scanner
Shopify

Countertop barcode scanners are designed to fit anywhere and scan everything with unmatched performance that keeps your customers happy. The Zebra 2D USB scanner is one of the best countertop barcode scanners, owing to its ease of use, unsurpassed scanning range, and scanning simplicity. 

Plus, it works quickly and accurately, scanning 1D and 2D barcode symbologies across a wide range, which improves checkout speed. 

Why we picked it

The Zebra 2D USB is a compact, easy-to-use scanner that delivers superior performance, even on poor quality barcodes. Its ergonomic, small, lightweight design offers maximum comfort over extended periods, reducing employee fatigue.

The scanner’s omnidirectional, point-and-shoot scanning eliminates the need to line up the imager and barcode. This ensures quick transactions and keeps the lines moving rather than using a 1D scanner that slows down the checkout process, frustrating customers at the key last personal touchpoint in your store.

Plus, it ships with PRZM’s patented intelligence software, which captures and deciphers inferior-quality data on virtually any type of barcode—even codes displayed on mobile devices—in any condition, and at record speeds and distances. This reduces power consumption and the risk of costly repairs. And as the PRZM software constantly evolves, you can capture 1D, 2D, and mobile barcodes, OCR, Digimarcs, images, documents, signatures, and anything else that may come along in the future. 

The scanner also includes a scan-to-connect technology, so you can easily pair it with any Bluetooth-enabled device. 

Features

  • Direct decode indicator 
  • Universal cable
  • Long-lasting 2400 mAh Lithium Ion battery

Pros

  • Pairs easily with other devices
  • Easy to use, deploy, and manage
  • Ergonomic and lightweight balanced design
  • Easily switches between handheld and hands-free scanning

Cons

  • Only works with Android devices

Price: $199

Socket Mobile 2D (S720)

Best 2D barcode scanner

socket mobile 2d barcode scanner
Shopify

The Socket Mobile S720 is a lightweight, ergonomically designed 2D barcode scanner that’s great for everyday general-purpose scanning. 

It can scan 1D and 2D barcodes, like PDF417, QR codes, and DataMatrix, on paper and screen, giving retailers an easy and accurate way to scan products and credentials from mobile wallets or digital IDs, or track inventory and assets. 

Why we picked it

The SocketScan S720 is compact, easy and convenient to use, and has a long-range Bluetooth connection of up to 33 feet. 

It can scan 1D, 2D, and QR digital and printed barcodes—even poorly printed and damaged barcodes. It features an ergonomic structure for better grip and the exterior is made with antimicrobial material to protect against potentially harmful bacteria. 

The scanner’s long-lasting batteries offer up to 16 hours standby time, so you can use it over extended periods. 

The omnidirectional barcode scanner uses a highly visible and safe LED aimer to scan barcodes on Android tablets and iPads. Intuitive LEDs, beeps, and vibrations are built into the scanner, which let you know the scanner’s battery, Bluetooth connection, and scanning status. And with its auto scan mode, you can scan barcodes continuously without having to press the scan button. 

Features

  • Auto scan mode
  • Charging dock 
  • Intuitive LEDs, vibrations, and beeps
  • Antimicrobial material 

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Ergonomic design
  • Intuitive features
  • Long-lasting battery

Cons

  • Expensive

Price: $269

NADAMOO wireless barcode scanner

Best wireless barcode scanner

image of NADAMOO wireless barcode scanner
Amazon

The NADAMOO barcode scanner is the best wireless barcode scanner for most people, because it’s reliable, fast, and reasonably priced. 

The plug-and-play device supports wireless and wired connection, so you can connect it to a computer via a USB dongle or cable. 

Like most barcode scanners reviewed, it’s compact, lightweight, and works virtually in every industry, whether you need a wireless scanner for your warehouse or a stationary scanner for your retail store, inventory, or POS.

Why we picked it

The NADAMOO wireless barcode scanner balances capacity, speed, and price. 

The scanner can read 1D linear barcodes and process 260 scans per second in real time, providing several scans for better data capture accuracy. It’s cheaper than our top pick, but has a larger battery, which can work about 30 days or 60,000 scans in daily usage when fully charged. And, it offers a duplicate detection function that emits an error beep if it scans the same barcode it just read.

Depending on your environment, you can use the scanner’s pairing modes to transmit barcodes from one scanner (one-to-one) or multiple scanners (more-to-one) to a single USB receiver. The latter is ideal in busy environments with medium to high-volume inventory, where several people are scanning items at the same time.

The scanner also offers two working modes: upload and storage. Upload mode sends the barcode contents immediately. Storage mode lets you scan and store up to 100,000 barcodes in offline storage mode when away from the receiver, and then update the data to your computer when you’re back online.

Features

  • One-to-one and more-to-one pairing modes
  • Instant upload and storage working modes
  • Key the trigger or automatic scanning modes
  • Duplicate detection function
  • USB receiver
  • Large 2600mAh battery

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to hold
  • Long distance wireless transmission
  • Available in different colors
  • Can read reverse barcode, Universal Product Code (UPC), EAN, and extra code

Cons

  • No native mobile device support
  • Can’t scan type 2D or colored barcodes 
  • Can’t read barcodes on silver foil paper, under plastic bags, or printed on colored labels

Pricing: $34.98

NETUM C750 wireless bluetooth barcode scanner

Best Android barcode scanner

image of NETUM C750 wireless barcode scanner
Amazon

If you want an Android barcode scanner solution, try the NETUM C750 wireless Bluetooth barcode scanner

It’s a portable, easy to use, and fast device that can capture multiple barcode symbologies from paper and screens. 

Thanks to its three-in-one design, you can easily scan and transmit barcodes wirelessly to a computer or mobile device for easier movement and uninterrupted productivity. 

The scanner pairs easily with any device and transfers data quickly and efficiently, eliminating the hassle of manual data entry. 

Its ergonomic design provides a comfortable grip and reduces fatigue during extended scanning sessions, while its rugged construction makes it suitable for multiple applications and industries.

Why we picked it

With an advanced CMOS sensor and motion tolerance of 24 inches per second, the NETUM C750 barcode scanner can easily capture 1D, 2D, and QR codes from paper and screens, quickly and accurately.

The scanner’s three-in-one connection design is compatible with Bluetooth, wireless, and wired connections for easy connection with a computer, mobile device, or POS hardware. Its pocket-size design and weight is another plus, making it more convenient to carry around and the perfect scanning solution wherever you go. 

It’s pricier than our overall pick, but supports mobile devices and has extra frills like three scanning options, two upload modes for online or offline use, and an energy-saving power switch. 

The NETUM C750’s biggest drawback is its 1200mAh battery, which makes batch-scanning more time-consuming, as it lasts only 20 hours. Not only will you need to charge it often, but you’ll also have fewer hours of continuous hands-free scanning. 

It’s ideal for retailers with low-volume scanning needs, rather than those in environments with medium or high-volume inventory who rely on scanners that can last longer.

Features

  • Physical power switch
  • 3-in-1 connectivity: Bluetooth, wireless, and wired
  • 3 trigger modes: key, continuous, and auto-induction
  • 3 scanning options: manual, auto-sensing, and continuous
  • Global shutter technology with auto exposure

Pros

  • Lightweight, compact, and portable
  • Multiple connectivity options
  • Can capture 1D, 2D, and QR codes
  • Compatible with multiple platforms
  • Multilingual support
  • Effortless pairing
  • Quick data transfer

Cons

  • Small battery capacity
  • Only 20 hours continuous scanning time

Pricing: $52.19

Reviews:

Sortly

Best barcode scanner app for iPhone

If you need an app simply to scan and decode barcodes and QR codes on your iPhone, the native iOS camera app has this functionality built-in. Once it detects the code, it triggers an automatic scan and displays the information you need. 

However, it’s not suitable for retail environments and does not offer the functionalities that a dedicated barcode scanner app can provide. For that, you’ll need Sortly, a fast barcode scanner that can track all your scanning history and organize and manage inventory from any location. 

Why we picked it

Sortly offers a user-friendly experience, complete with barcoding and QR coding features, as well as convenient functions like low stock alerts and detailed reporting.

When you open Sortly on your iPhone, your camera transforms into a barcode or QR code scanner, letting you scan items on the floor and see their details. You can also view your Sortly dashboard, set stock alerts, and sync items with just a few taps.

Managing inventory in real time from your iPhone, whether you’re in a store, warehouse, or on the move, is a key feature from Sortly.

If your business has a large volume of inventory that requires constant monitoring and tracking, Sortly is equipped to handle these needs efficiently. Each item is accompanied by a picture for quick identification and tracking, with the option to export data to Excel for comprehensive reporting and trend analysis. Additionally, onboarding new staff and tracking item checkouts are streamlined processes within the app.

One of Sortly’s limitations is its current lack of integration capabilities. It may not be the ideal solution for restaurants and traditional retailers relying heavily on POS transactions for inventory management.

For businesses with multiple locations, particularly warehouses, and that need mobile inventory scanning and management capabilities, Sortly’s barcode scanner app stands out as a valuable tool.

Features

  • Customizable user access and role permissions
  • Mobile barcode and QR code scanning
  • Low stock and date-based alerts
  • Item photos
  • Custom folders, fields, and tags
  • Inventory reporting
  • Report summaries 

Pros

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Works offline
  • Multi-location management abilities
  • Robust reporting tools
  • Highly rated mobile app
  • Supports UPC, ISMN, ISBN, and other barcode symbologies

Cons

  • Low stock alerts only in paid plans
  • Limited monthly entries
  • API access only for Enterprise users

Pricing: Free; Premium plans start at $49/month.

Orca Scan

Best QR code scanner app

orca scan app in 4 windows

Orca Scan is the best QR code scanner app because it puts the most important settings at your fingertips, providing ample control for easy and quick scanning. 

Installation is a simple and essentially identical process, regardless of the mobile platform. Orca Scan also has a quick-start guide with instructions on how to use the software. 

Why we picked it

Orca Scan is built for retail businesses. With this app, you won’t need expensive barcode or QR code scanners or endure the error-strewn process of manually entering data into spreadsheets. It also lets you track inventory across multiple stores and locations.

Its core QR code scanner is simple, fast, and accurate, making it perfect for maintaining real-time inventory and performing cycle counts.

The app can capture retail inventory data, then push or pull it into programs like Google Sheets or Excel. You can use the information to monitor stock levels, where they are, how long they’ve been in store, and when to restock.

In addition to scanning QR codes, Orca Scan’s ability to generate and print barcodes or QR codes means you can also use it for products or items without barcodes. 

If you have multiple stores or locations, create separate sheets for each, then use the app’s Sheet QR code to switch locations with a simple scan. This method allows you to scan in batches using location QR codes, manage user permissions by section, and analyze data by bin, section, or location.

Orca Scan can also connect all your store outlets, so you can isolate projects by region or store, combine multiple store data, or integrate with other systems.

Features

  • Custom data fields
  • Sheet QR code
  • Multiple data export formats
  • REST API 

Pros

  • Flexible and versatile
  • Fast scanning
  • Compatible with various barcode and QR code symbologies
  • Can generate and print barcodes
  • Exports to Microsoft Excel, JSON, XML, and CSV
  • Syncs data with various ePOS systems

Cons

  • Requires an account to use
  • Doesn’t display item photos

Pricing: Free

Buy the best barcode reader for your store

Choosing the best barcode scanner to scan barcodes and QR codes requires a deep analysis of your business workflow and needs. Each scanner and scanner app in our guide has promising features and functions. 

In choosing one, consider relevant factors like scan speed, accuracy, support for multiple barcode symbologies, integration with your existing systems and software, and the overall benefit to your business. Then, go back to our list and find the scanner or app that best fits the bill.

How do barcode scanners work FAQ

Can retail barcode scanners integrate with existing POS systems?

Absolutely. Retail barcode scanners can integrate with POS systems for easier inventory management and a smooth checkout process. For example, Shopify POS incorporates barcode scanning and is compatible with the Zebra D2208, Socket Mobile 1D, and Socket Mobile 2D barcode scanners.

What features should I look for in a barcode scanner to enhance the checkout process?

  • Simple, user-friendly interface
  • Integrated keyboard
  • Multiple connectivity options
  • Barcode scanning range
  • Support for multiple barcode symbologies
  • Fast scan speed
  • High read rates
  • Compatibility with existing software
  • Ergonomic design
  • Long battery life and reliable charging options

Can barcode scanners support mobile payment methods and loyalty programs in retail?

With a mobile device or barcode scanner that can scan QR codes, you can collect payments from customers by scanning the QR codes stored in their mobile wallets. Barcode scanners also efficiently work with or connect to barcode-based loyalty programs, allowing you to swiftly scan customers’ physical loyalty cards or the barcode on their mobile device. This way, they will earn points or discounts instantly during transactions.

A good example is CVS Pay. A cashier scans the barcode, then the customer picks a payment method in the app, pays for items, picks up prescriptions, and earns loyalty points.

Can barcode scanners be used for both in-store and online inventory management?

Yes. A barcode scanner, just like a keyboard, is an input device, which you can connect to your inventory management software or back-of-house system to enter barcodes.

This article originally appeared on Shopify Retail Blog and is available here for further discovery.
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