Barcode Scanner Buying Advice
Do I really need to buy a USB Scanner?
The barcode reader is what does the real magic. Basically, it types in the number it reads. Prices vary widely from $40 to $1,000. Some of the more expensive ones can read barcodes faster, in brighter light and/or can decipher scratched or hard to read barcodes.
Ever since we launched the Mobile Scanning Apps we've been getting this questions.
Long story short, it depends on your program.... See this help article for more info.
What you need at a minimum
- USB barcode reader that reads your barcode number format. We have been using "Code 39 barcode" tags which are widely supported by most readers.
- It must send a carriage return after it reads the barcode. Some of the very low cost scanners do not do this. Most do, and some you need to program for this to work.
- Trigger button to initiate scanning
- Auto sensing scan
- Barcode alignment
- Bluetooth wireless connection.
Our first purchase was the Honeywell Voyager MS9520 auto sensing with a stand (pictured above). The thought was we'd place this on a table and allow the children to approach and scan themselves in. The down side to this was that there was a learning curve as the children tried to get the distance and alignment correct for it to scan. We eventually removed it from the table stand and used it as a hand scanner to help align the reader to the tag. This proved to be the best method and why we recommend you get the "trigger" style readers as the Auto sensing version sometimes required us to "wake it up" to continue the scanning.
We've tested these USB Scanners (requires a computer connection):
- $40 Generic Scanner
- $150 Honeywell Voyager MS9520 both the auto sensing and trigger style
- $400 Motorola DS9208 Omni Barcode Scanner
We've tested these self contained scanners.
Mine might be defective, but on week two it was difficult to scan any barcode and I had to try multiple times.
Spending $150+ gets you a scanner that is more durable, reads barcodes faster and from further away.
A good scanner really makes a big difference. This one is the next scanner I would buy:
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