Barcode Scanners

Types of Barcode Scanners Explained

There is such a variety of different types of Barcode Scanners available that it can be quite confusing to figure out which model will suite your specific application.

In this article I will try my best to explain the differences between the different types.

Categories of Barcode Scanners

  • Linear or 1D Barcode Scanners
  • Imaging 1D and 2D Barcode Scanners
  • Corded scanners with USB or Serial Cables
  • Bluetooth or Cordless scanners
  • General use and Industrial type scanners
  • Handheld scanners and vertical table top scanners
  • Portable Data Terminals for stock taking, asset tracking etc.
Types of Barcode Scanners 1D Scanners
1D Barcode

Linear or 1D Barcode Scanners

These types of scanners are the most popular at this stage. Linear or 1D scanners can only scan the common barcodes found on commercial products.

2D Barcode

QR Code and 2D Scanners

This type of scanner is capable of scanning 1D and 2D barcodes. The QR Code is being implemented in various applications together with the other 2D codes and these types of barcodes are becoming more popular. The cost of the 2D barcode scanners are more than the 1D only models.

Types of Barcode Scanners
Corded USB Barcode Scanner

Corded scanners with USB or Serial Cables

Corded types of barcode scanners use a cable to connect directly to a PC, POS or other type of terminal. In the case of USB scanners, the scanner get power directly from the host machine via the USB port. Serial (RS232) corded scanners are not as popular as they once were. Serial scanners mostly use an external power supply giving them power to operate.

Corded scanners are available in 1D, 1D/2D, general use and industrial type models.

Cordless Barcode Scanner and Base

Bluetooth or Cordless scanners

Cordless scanners allow the user freedom of movement and to use the barcode scanner some distance away from the POS terminal or PC. These scanners use either Bluetooth or some other radio frequency for communication between the scanner and base station.

Cordless scanners use a rechargeable battery to power the unit. The battery is charged when the scanner is placed into its base station.

The base station is connected via a cable to the host either with a USB or Serial cable. When a barcode is scanned the data is transmitted to the base station and from the base station to the PC via the USB cable.

These cordless scanners include 1D, 1D/2D, general use and industrial type models.

General use entry level scanner

General use and Industrial type scanners

Barcode scanners are built in various degrees of toughness for different applications. You can use an entry level scanner in a clothing store as an example. The scanner is not going to be subjected to hard falls on concrete or exposed to moisture, dust etc.

In a warehouse type environment you will need a scanner that is durable and has a high Drop Specification as these could experience falls and hard knocks.

Tough industrial type scanner

Scanners used in an industrial type application such as production lines need to be tough and have a higher IP rating against dust, moisture and other contaminants.

General use and Industrial type scanners are available in Corded, Cordless (Bluetooth), 1D and 1D/2D type models.

So when ordering a scanner it is a good idea to consider the type of environment and get the right scanner for the intended job.

Types of Barcode Scanners Fixed Mount
Fixed Mount Scanner

Handheld barcode scanners and vertical table top barcode scanners

In a busy supermarket where many items are scanned at a POS checkout, a fixed mount barcode scanner is used instead of a handheld unit. The items to be scanned are passed in front of or presented to the scanner.

These fixed mount scanners can be used in may different types of industry where items are on conveyer belts etc.

Vertical Scanners are available in 1D or 1D/2D models.

Handheld Scanner with Scan Stand

Handheld Types of Barcode Scanners normally have a trigger that needs to be pressed when pointing at a barcode for the barcode to be scanned. Many of the handheld scanners also come with a Scan Stand that enables the scanner to auto-sense and scan the barcode when it is presented to the scanner.

This works similar to a fixed mount scanner but not as effectively.

Portable Data Terminal

Portable Data Terminals

Portable Data Terminals are scanners that have a display, keyboard and either 1D or 1D/2D built in scanner. Units are available with onboard memory that hold the scanned and entered data in memory until download. There are also models that have WiFi and Bluetooth capabilities that can transmit the scanned and entered data in real time. Read more here

Barcode Scanners

Bluetooth Barcode Scanner Datalogic GBT4500

The Datalogic GBT4500 Bluetooth Barcode Scanner represents the premium range of hand held scanners from Datalogic for general purpose applications. Designed with people in mind, the Datalogic Gryphon GBT4500 stands out with its elegant and cutting edge design, the unchallenged ergonomics, and features the most advanced Megapixel sensor with white-illumination 2D technology for outstanding performance.

Bluetooth Barcode Scanner
Datalogic Gryphon GBT4500


Featuring Bluetooth wireless technology (GBT model) or narrow band radio communications with Datalogic’s STAR Cordless System™ (GM model), the Gryphon 4500 wireless readers provide maximum flexibility to solve any end user application with the best technical solution


Retail – Point of Sale, Light Manufacturing, Healthcare: in laboratories, pharmacies and in-room patient care, Access Control, Transportation and Entertainment, Commercial Services: Postal, Banks, Public, Administration, Utilities

Bluetooth Barcode Scanner Wireless Charging

One of the most important technical innovations that the Gryphon 4500 wireless scanners achieve is the battery recharge through an inductive charging system, which enhances the reliability of the entire solution, lowering the total cost of ownership because it eliminates the need for contacts’ cleaning and maintenance procedures. The maximum reliability offered by the Gryphon wireless charging technology means 24/7 activities with no stops for maintenance or repair and top-level operating productivity and performance.


The Gryphon I 4500 omnidirectional imager provides snappy reading performance on all common 1D and 2D codes. High Density (HD) models are available for reading smaller, condensed codes as well as a dedicated version with red illumination optics to support Digital Watermarking.

Datalogic’s Motionix™ motion-sensing technology enables the scanner to intuitively switch into hand held mode when the device is picked up. When placed back into the stand, it seamlessly returns to stand mode. The adjustable position cradle provides the flexibility to use the scanner in presentation or stand mode while it’s charging.

Features of the Bluetooth Barcode Scanner

  • 1 MP optics for superior scanning and DOF
  • Datalogic distinctive technology with highly visible white-illumination and 4-Dot aimer with center cross for targeted scanning
  • Datalogic’s patented ‘Green Spot’ technology, exclusive 3GL™ (3 Green Lights) and Vibration for superior good-read feedback
  • Motionix™ motion-sensing technology for seamless reading mode transitions
  • Omnidirectional reading
  • Image capture and document scanning capabilities
  • Reads 1D, 2D, postal codes, stacked and composite bar codes and dot codes
  • Digital Watermarking and DPM reading on specific models/applications
  • Choice of Bluetooth wireless technology version 4.0 with BLE or Datalogic STAR Cordless System (radio frequencies available in 433 MHz or 910 MHz)
  • Wireless battery charging system
  • Adjustable position cradle with Scan-While- Charging capability
  • Batch Mode capability
  • Point-to-point / Point-to-multipoint transmission
  • Long lasting user-replaceable Lithium-Ion battery

Barcode Scanners

Cheap Barcode Scanners for sale

Cheap Entry Level Barcode Scanners, good quality with a minimum of 1 Year Warranty.

We at JNS Technologies have had a good look at all the cheaper barcode scanners on the market and have rejected many of them due to reliability issues.

Here is our recommended list of cheap entry level 1D and 2D handheld scanners:

Cheap Barcode Scanners Argox AS8050
Click on image for more information

Argox AS8050 (1D)

The new scanner from Argox (A Sato Company) is proving to be very popular and been one of our top sellers over the last year.

The scanner come standard with a Stand, USB cable and a 12 month factory warranty.

The scanners reliability seems to be great with not one unit returned as faulty (May 2020)

Click on image for more information

Datalogic QW2120 Quickscan Lite (1D)

The QW2120 Lite imaging scanner from Datalogic is also amongst our top sellers with a proven track record. There have been very few coming back for repair.

The scanner comes in either a USB,Keyboard Wedge or Serial kit and includes a Stand and a 36 month factory warranty.

Click on image for more information

Cipherlab 1000A (1D)

The Cipherlab 1000A CCD scanner has been around for some time and has proven itself to be quite a tough Entry Level scanner. 

The scanner comes in either a USB, Keyboard Wedge or Serial model. The 1000 CCD has the standard 12 month factory warranty.

Reliability of this unit has been good over the last few years with very few coming in for repair.

Click on image for more information

Datalogic QW2420 Quickscan Lite (1D/2D)

The QW2420 Lite area imaging scanner from Datalogic is also amongst our top sellers with a proven track record. There have been very few coming back for repair.

The scanner comes in either a USB,Keyboard Wedge or Serial kit and includes a Stand and a 36 month factory warranty.

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Barcode Scanners

Purchasing cheap barcode scanners from online stores

We receive many requests for support on Barcode Scanners that have been purchased from online stores. There are quite a few cheap unknown brands of scanners that are available lately from various online merchants.

There seems to be a lack of support from most of the online stores. Barcode Scanners and Printers can be quite complex when certain configurations need to be programmed into these units.

Its not possible for us to help clients that have bought these scanners or printers. We only deal with the Major brands like Datalogic, Honeywell, Cipherlab, Argox and Zebra. All the Barcode Scanners and Label Printers come from reputable distributors that have footprints across South Africa. All warranty and out of warranty repairs are done locally.

We only offer technical support or advice on the devices purchased from us.

Please consider the above before deciding where to purchase your Barcode Products. We offer personal support – Henry is available to chat about what model will best suite your needs or application.

Our best selling General Purpose Barcode Scanner has to be the Datalogic Quickscan Lite QW2120. The scanner comes with a scan stand and USB Cable and carries a 3 Year Warranty.

Datalogic QW2120 Barcode Scanners

The QW2120 has Datalogics “Green Spot” Technology which throws a green circle of light on the barcode after a successful read. When inserted in the Scan Stand it becomes auto sensing. This means the scanner becomes a Hands Free device, you just need to pass the barcode in front of the scanner to be scanned.

The Datalogic Quickscan Lite QW2120 USB Kit normally sells for about R650 including vat, depending on the exchange rate at the time the scanners are brought in to South Africa.

Barcode Scanners

Honeywell Retired Barcode Scanner Replacements

There are some Honeywell Barcode Scanner Models that have been retired lately, below are two retired models and their replacements.

Handheld Products 3800G, Welch Allyn 3800G and the later model Honeywell 3800G.

Replacement for the 3800G will be the new Honeywell 1300G Hyperion Linear Imager Barcode Scanner. The Hyperion 1300g delivers outstanding linear imaging performance and versatility. Fast intuitive bar code reading out to 457mm, and high density bar code reading are both enabled in a single device, eliminating the need to purchase specialty scanners. The Hyperion 1300G is available in USB, Keyboard Wedge and RS232 Kits.

Honeywell Eclipse 5145. The replacement for the Eclipse will either the Honeywell Youjie YJ3300 or the Honeywell 1250G Laser Barcode Scanners.  The 1250G is available in USB, Keyboard Wedge and Serial Kits and comes with a flex neck stand. The YJ3300 is only available in USB.

If you need to upgrade or replace your existing Barcode Scanners with new technology scanners, give us a call to discuss your requirements.

Barcode Scanner Repairs Barcode Scanners Faulty barcode scanner

Vertical or Presentation Barcode Scanners not Scanning Effectively

If your vertical or presentation scanner is battling to scan smaller barcodes which it once did effectively, it is possibly caused by a dust buildup internally on the optic surfaces.

The laser scanners all use a rotating mirror motor which spins at high speed to distribute the laser light across mirrors to achieve the scan pattern that scans barcodes at different angles. This spinning motor causes air movement inside the scanner enclosure that sucks in dust over time.

The dust settles and coates the highly reflective mirrors causing the beam to loose its “sharpness” and scanning becomes more and more difficult.

This dust also settles on the inside of the scan window which hinders the reflected light from reaching the sensor that reads the barcode inside the enclosure. 

Don’t suffer the frustration of the barcode scanner that battles to scan – bring or send it to our Technical Guy for a thorough cleaning. All covers are washed and the reflective mirrors are cleaned and polished, PC boards are cleaned. The scanner will, after this “Service”, scan all your barcodes aggressively again. 

Barcode Scanner Repairs Barcode Scanners

Honeywell 3800G and 1300G Barcode Scanner Cables

Please be aware that the Honeywell 3800G and the 1300G models look similar but do not use the same cable.

The connector end of the cables differ between the 3800G and the 1300G

Apart from the physical difference between the cables, the pin configurations also differ resulting in damaged to the components on the PC Board.

The 1300G cable can not be inserted into the 3800G but we have seen cables that have pushed in with force or the end caps have been changed to allow the cable to fit. 

Please note that using the wrong cable on the wrong scanner results in a blown board which can not be repaired. Always ensure that you have the correct cable.

Contact us for information or inquiries on Barcode Scanner Cables.

Barcode Scanner Specials Barcode Scanners New Barcode Scanners and Printers

General Purpose Handheld Barcode Scanner Argox AS-8050

Argox AS-8050 an excellent general purpose handheld barcode scanner!

Fast 1D barcode reading.

New technology and powerful scan engine with excellent performance highly increases the reading speed.

Up to 3mil reading capacity.

High density resolution that can capture the code on 3mil barcode such as jewelry tags.

Easy to read screen barcodes.

Support all type of electronic device, such as mobile phone, tablet and LCD displays.

For More Information and Pricing click here

Barcode Scanners Bluetooth Barcode Scanners

New Battery Free Wireless Barcode Scanner Honeywell 1202g-BF

The Voyager 1202g-bf is the first battery free bluetooth laser barcode scanner. Instead of using a conventional battery to power the scanner the 1202g-bf uses a supercapacitor capable of achieving a full charge in less than 35 seconds. That is enough power for at least 100 scans.

With no tethered cable to trip over, you’ll benefit from complete freedom of movement up to 10 meters (33 feet) from the base in a typical work environment. In fact, with a clear line-of-sight to the base, you can get a wireless range of up to 30 m (100 ft). We’ve even added a paging system on the base to help you locate a misplaced scanner.

Built on the proven Voyager platform, the 1202g-bf mobile device offers high performance linear barcode scanning and the convenience of wireless – all without the battery!

Click here for more …

Barcode Scanners

Choosing the Right Barcode Scanner for your Application

Barcode Scanners have through the changes in technology become easier to use than a few years ago when scanners had to plug into decoders and used external power supplies. The majority of users now plug the scanners into PC’s or other devices with USB cables. Scanners can also be used with Keyboard Wedge or Serial (RS232) interface cables.

With all the advances in technology there are now many more options and varieties of scanners to choose from. Choosing the correct model for your application can seem like a daunting task if the different options are not fully understood.

First step in finding the correct scanner is looking at your needs:

  • In what environment will the scanner be used? Office, Retail or Industrial.
  • How many scans will it be required to do in a day?
  • What type of barcode will you be scanning? 1D or 2D barcodes
  • Will the scanner be connected to a PC or is a wireless model required?

Scanner operational environment.

Using a scanner that was designed for office or light commercial use will not last in an industrial type environment where it is exposed to dust and moisture and rough handling.

Entry level light commercial or office type scanner Rugged industrial type scanner


Scanner Usage

An entry level barcode scanner will be suited to operate in an office or light commercial store but will be ineffective where high volumes of items need to be scanned. Scanners are available with Scan Stands allowing the user to pass the barcodes in front of the scanner or it can be used as a handheld. In high volume supermarkets we suggest using a fixed mount presentation type scanner.

Handheld Low Volume Scanners Medium Volume with Scan Stand High Volume Supermarket scanner


Type of Barcode to be scanned

1D Barcodes are seen almost daily on retail products. There are a few different types of these barcodes like, EAN, UPC, Code 128, Code 39 etc. These are known as the different “Symbologies”. All 1D barcode scanners purchased from us read all the popular 1D symbologies. The 2D barcode scanners do also read the 1D barcodes. View 1D Scanners.



2D Barcodes are seen on vehicle license discs or the drivers license. A 2D barcode can hold a significant amount of information. As with 1D barcodes there are a few different symbologies like PDF417, QR Code, Matrix etc. Only a 2D barcode scanner will read these types of barcodes. View 2D Scanners.



Corded Scanners and Wireless Scanners

Scanners that are corded need to plug into a PC or other device with a USB, Keyboard Wedge or Serial cable. The average length of the cables is 3m. If you need to scan product further away from the PC or terminal then a wireless scanner is required. The wireless scanners use Bluetooth or some other frequency to communicate with its base station which in turn is connected to the PC or Terminal. The range that these scanners can operate depends on the models and manufacturer. They typically range from 10 to 100m.

Corded Barcode Scanner Wireless Bluetooth Scanner

Contact us to discuss your requirements or answer any questions you may have 011 425 5439 / 071 411 2567 /