Laser Scanners vs. Imagers

With all of the data capture solutions on the market today, choosing a barcode scanner may seem overwhelming. However, after analyzing all of your needs, making the right choice should come easily.

It’s important to analyze both the requirements of your business and what your budget allows. Firs and foremost, ask yourself, “what barcode symbology will I need to be scanning?” While laser scanners are a cost-effective option, they aren’t able to scan 2D barcodes (aside from the PDF-417, a 2D-like symbology), which digital imagers can. With the use of 2D barcodes on the rise, it may be wise to invest in a digital imager so that it will better accommodate future progressions in technology. However, there are many advantages to laser scanners, including:

  • Long distance decoding
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Scanning applications requiring motion tolerance

On the other hand, digital imagers can decode 2D barcodes, which can be encoded with a significantly greater amount of information than their 1D counterparts. In addition, imagers allow for omni-direction barcode reading, eliminating the need to accommodate the scanning device. Area imagers can even read Direct Part Marking (DPM), a method of permanently marking a product, allowing the product to be tracked throughout its life. Area imagers should be used in the following applications.

  • Decoding 1D and 2D barcodes
  • Reading DPM
  • Scanning critical tracking information
  • Capturing images for inventory management
  • Combining barcode reading, image capture, and signature capture into one device

For more information on laser scanners and digital imagers, you can learn more here.