handheld scannerWith so many handheld scanner models available in the market, choosing the right scanner for your business can be confusing.  Every handheld scanner comes with a variety of specifications to meet different operational requirements.

Due to their compact style, flexibility, and multiple usages such as inventory tracking and field operations, handheld scanner models have gained a lot of popularity in a brief period.

A Handheld Barcode Scanner Can Be A Valuable Asset

The introduction of corded and cordless handheld scanners is a boon to the business sector.  Earlier the handheld scanner was only familiar with small retail and grocery stores, but with the development of modern technologies, these devices now help employees in big firms to optimise work with easy inventory management and data collection.

handheld scannerKeeping a track on maintenance operations and assets of the company is easier with barcodes and asset tags. Without handheld barcode scanners, getting information encoded through these labels is next to impossible.

Other than maintaining proper data, a handheld scanner is an excellent tool that helps to reduce the time of documentation and increases productivity.

Which is the perfect fit for your business?

While selecting the right handheld scanner for your business, it is important to keep in mind the utility potential of the device.  Some models are designed to work better in harsh environments, while others cannot bear elevated temperature but are good with multi-directional situations.

Handheld scanners and their Features

Let us discuss the components of the handheld scanner.  This article focuses on:

  1. Scanner Styles
  2. Scanner Types
  3. Scanner Uses

Scanner Styles

There are two basic styles of handheld barcode scanners – corded and cordless.

#1 Corded

As you’d expect from the name, corded scanners are connected to a computer via a cord or cable, usually to a USB port.  They are easy to use and very cost effective.  Corded scanners automatically transfer data to the computer in real-time.

If you can bring the item to the scanner, a corded scanner can be the best option.  However, if you need to take the scanner to the item, a cordless scanner is what you need.

#2 Cordless

Cordless barcode scanners are battery powered, and send data back to a computer wirelessly, often via Bluetooth, but other options are available.  These scanners operate the same way as corded scanners, but without being tied to a computer with a cable.  Range is usually about 10 metres, with some models working up to 100 metres from a computer.

Some models of cordless scanners include memory so that they can store data in the scanner for later batch download.

Scanner Types

There are three basic types:

#1 Linear Imager Scanner

Linear Imager scanners are typically the lowest cost, and with no moving parts, can be more rugged than some other types of scanner.  These scanners effectively take a single-line picture of a barcode, sometimes as many as hundreds of times a second, to aggressively decode even damaged and blurred labels.  Linear imagers can even scan barcodes from a computer or mobile phone screen, unlike laser scanners.

Linear Imagers are limited to 1D barcodes, typical of the retail environment.

#2 Laser Scanner

Laser scanners used to be the “gold standard” in barcode scanning, using a red laser beam and a rotating or vibrating mirror to scan barcode labels.  Linear imagers can scan just as well as lasers today, except in the brightest light conditions or at extreme distance, where specialised laser scanner models excel.  Some distance laser scanners can read barcodes from up to 10 metres away.

A disadvantage of laser scanners is that they contain moving parts, and can therefore be a little less rugged than other types of scanner.

Like linear imagers, laser scanners are also limited to 1D barcodes.

#3 2D Area Imager

Area Imagers effectively work like a camera – they take a picture of the barcode rather than scan a single line, and are therefore able to read 2D barcodes as well as the more common 1D barcodes.

Taking a picture of a barcode also means than an area imager doesn’t have to be exactly aligned with the barcode like other types of scanners – area imagers can read from any orientation or direction, so you don’t have to aim these scanners as precisely, and they often read labels faster than other scanners.

Scanner Uses

Handheld scanners can be used for both industrial and general purposes as they have the capacity to meet a variety of scanning needs, including business applications and factory operations.  There are a broad range of models that perform well in different environmental conditions.

Industry specific handheld scanners usually cost more than general purpose barcode scanners.  A general purpose handheld scanner may resist multiple drops of up to a metre and a half, while a rugged industrial handheld scanner might withstand many more drops onto harder surfaces from a greater height.

Some of the best handheld barcode scanners available in the market are:

  • For General Purposes

We recommend:

  1. Corded linear imager – ASP Barcode Zapper, Datalogic QuickScan  QD2131,  Zebra LI2208 and Honeywell SG10T
  2. Cordless linear imager – ASP Zapper Tornado BT, Datalogic Gryphon  GM4130
  3. Corded laser scanner –Zebra LS2208, Datalogic QuickScan L QD2230, Honeywell Voyager 1200g
  4. Cordless laser scanner – Zebra CS3070 and Honeywell Voyager 1202g
  5. Corded 2D scanner – Honeywell Xenon 1900 and Datalogic Gryphon  GD4430
  6. Cordless 2D scanner – Honeywell Xenon 1902, Motorola Symbol DS9808 and Datalogic Gryphon GBT4400
  • For Industrial Purposes

We recommend:

  1. Corded linear imager – ASP Zapper Tornado, Datalogic PowerScan PM8300 and Zebra LS3578
  2. Cordless linear imager – ASP Zapper Tornado 2D BT Antimicrobial, Honeywell 3820i
  3. Corded laser scanner – Zebra LS3408 and Datalogic PowerScan  PD8340
  4. Cordless laser scanner – Datalogic PowerScan PM8300 and Zebra LS3578
  5. Corded 2D area scanner – Zebra DS3508 and Honeywell Granit 1910i
  6. Cordless 2D area scanner – Zebra DS3578


Explore the handheld barcode scanner market and choose the best models for your business needs. Let us, ASP Microcomputers, the No.1 Data Capture and Management company in Australia, help you.