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Best Barcode Scanner in 2024: Top Picks for Business Inventories

Enhance your business' inventory with our top barcode scanners.
Last Updated on March 28, 2024
Best Barcode Scanner

It’s easy to overlook, but investing in the best barcode scanner for your business can make all the difference. In many retail, warehouse and service sectors, the scanner is in constant use: enabling businesses of any size to track stock and monitor sales. They are an essential aspect of many businesses, but knowing what the right product for your own venture can be challenging.

To help narrow down the selection, we’ve compiled a buyer’s guide of the best barcode scanners across a range of different brands and use cases. Different business structures require different scanners, so we’ve endeavored to find a diverse selection of scanners to suit different styles.

Products at a Glance

How We Picked the Best Barcode Scanner

As mentioned, there are a number of different barcode scanner types for different applications: retail units and points of sale generally utilize a classic wired barcode scanner, whilst warehouses and other inventory businesses utilize more portable wireless units. The overall technology is similar, but we’ve considered different units for different use cases – highlighting why with each one. We also factored in elements such as scanning speed and compatible connectivity. We considered products across a range of brands, all rated for their high performance.

We settled on five barcode scanners across a range of price points, to cater to businesses of any budget or size. We hope that you can find the right barcode scanner for your needs, whether you are a small business or a large wholesaler.

Our Recommended

Product Reviews

1
PROS
  • Fast scanning - the 1952G-HD's scanner is fast and reliable, and can scan torn or damaged codes with ease.
  • Versatile - with a 14-hour battery life and built-in memory, this unit is highly suited to warehouse and retail use alike.
CONS
  • Premium pricing - this high-quality unit is expensive to purchase and may not be suited to smaller use cases.

Our top pick for the best barcode scanner is the Honeywell Xenon XP 1952G-HD: a terrific scanning solution from Honeywell. With “Extreme Performance” and “High-Density” suffixes in the title, you can rest assured that this scanner can keep up with even the most hectic duty cycles with ease.

The 1952G-HD never fails to scan a code, regardless of tearing or damage, thanks to its on-board processing capabilities. Weighing just 220g, this ergonomically-designed scanner is easy to carry over long distances. The cordless scanner stores data internally, before transferring it to another device when returned to its docket, meaning that you can carry it across large spaces and check your entire inventory quickly. With fast processing speeds and a quick setup, there’s a lot to like about this barcode scanner.

One thing some may dislike, however, is the price tag: as a premium scanner, this may be out of the budget range of smaller businesses. It’s a surmountable issue, however, and we still recommend the 1952G-HD as our best barcode scanner!

2
PROS
  • Design for heavy use - with a long battery life and damage-resistant design, there's few things that can damage the DS3678.
  • Great range - with a physical scanning distance of 5ft and WiFi connectivity, scanning is easily done without additional strain.
CONS
  • Heavy - the DS3678 is cumbersome to carry, and can be tiring to use over long periods.

For a durable scanning solution, consider the Zebra DS3678. This heavy-duty wireless scanner made the cut as one of our best Zebra barcode scanners, and for good reason. Weather-sealed and boasting great processing power, this unit is a sterling choice for intensive duty cycles.

With the DS3678, you can scan barcodes from as far as 5ft away, with it able to scan omnidirectional with great accuracy. Relying on more steady WiFi rather than traditional Bluetooth, this wireless scanner is highly reliable even over long distances. The battery is just as dependable: rated for over 100,000 scans before needing recharging. It’s also double weather-sealed with IP65 and IP67 respective ratings, meaning it’s resistant to dust and moisture – along with the already extremely damage-resistant design.

However, weighing nearly 3lbs, the DS3678 is a heavy-duty carry, and can be a strain to use constantly. If you don’t mind a heavy scanner, then this is easily the best heavy-duty barcode scanner on the market.

3
PROS
  • Handsfree scanning - this compact and lightweight scanner works without physical input, allowing you to scan large quantities of items quickly.
  • Affordable - the low price point of this unit makes it a great value purchase for small businesses needing a scanning solution.
CONS
  • Poor build quality - the DS9308 is notably prone to dust, moisture and impact damage, meaning it's less suitable to heavy-duty environments.

As a budget barcode scanner, the Zebra DS9308 takes the design back to fundamentals. A handsfree scanner that’s just as easy to set up as it is to use, this unit is well worth it’s incredibly low retail price, and is highly suited to retail environments.

Compact and affordable, this budget barcode scanner is ideal for small points of service or businesses working with limited funds and space. Able to be connected via USB to a point of sale or computer, the DS9308 is able to process scans in fractions of a second. As an omnidirectional handsfree scanner, it can easily be left on a surface for barcodes to be passed in front of it in any condition or at any angle. Lightweight and easy to use, there’s few reasons to avoid buying the DS9308.

However, one factor that hamstrings its overall usability as a barcode scanner is its build quality: with only an IP52 rating, this unit is particularly vulnerable to dust and moisture, along with general wear-and-tear. For an affordable scanning solution, however, the DS9308 is still a worthwhile choice!

4
PROS
  • Great range - with a 12-hour battery life and 10m range from the native device, the 1602G2D is a great choice for warehouses.
  • Easy to use - setup is quick and easy, and this scanner is incredibly easy to use despite its compact size.
CONS
  • Limited functionality - the barebones design means that this unit is not as versatile as other larger scanners.

For a pocket-sized portable scanning solution, look no further than the Honeywell 1602G2D. This fast and responsive omnidirectional barcode scanner is easy to use in any situation, thanks to its highly compact design and terrific range.

The 1602G2D can operate for as long as 12 hours on a single charge, and perform up to 2,250 scans. Bluetooth-operated, the sensors are powerful enough to maintain connection up to 10m away from the host device. Software-wise, the 1602g exceeded our expectations. As soon as it’s paired with another device, the setup is easy and fast, so you can operate it almost immediately out of the box. And surprisingly, for a compact scanner of its caliber, it’s capable of parsing damaged barcodes with ease. 

However, like the Zebra DS9308, the overall build quality leaves this unit vulnerable to damage, particularly due to it’s small size. Likewise, the design is quite rudimentary, and lacks the fine control that a larger scanner offers. For pocket-sized productivity, however, the 1602G2D is a tremendous barcode scanner.

5
PROS
  • Great battery life - quick to charge, the CS4070 battery lasts for 12 hours at a time - ideal for long scanning periods.
  • Built-in memory - the CS4070 stores scans to its internal memory before relaying it back to the native device.
CONS
  • Lacks omnidirectional scanning - the scanner lacks productivity functionality, and it can be cumbersome to align barcodes.

Weighing just 93g, it’s easy to carry the Zebra CS4070 wherever you go. Despite its small size, this portable Zebra scanner can easily and quickly scan a variety of barcodes using its speedy laser sensor, and it’s another terrific contender for the best barcode scanner.

The CS4070 charges fully in under 4 hours, and lasts for 12 hours in a standard duty cycle – and should you be working an extra-long shift, the battery can be replaced on the go. The 512MB built-in memory can house hundreds of thousands of barcodes, QR codes, and other formats. Durable and dependable, this scanner is a terrific option for large warehouses. In comparison to the Honeywell 1602G2D, this unit manages to add more functionality into its rudimentary design.

That said, it lacks a crucial feature, namely omnidirectional scanning. As mentioned, this is a huge value-add for barcode scanning productivity, and it’s a major design oversight not having this feature. The CS4070 still makes the cut for our best barcode scanners – though it loses points for functionality.

 

Features and Considerations

If you’re considering a product that doesn’t count among our top barcode scanners, here are some considerations to factor in before you purchase:

Compatibility

Though scanners are highly compatible with other devices, it may not be reciprocated by your point of sale. Wireless scanners, for example, may connect over WiFi or Bluetooth – which not all points will be compatible with. It’s a two-way street when it comes to scanner compatibility, so be sure you’ve got the right scanner for your POS.

Connectivity

Though “barcode scanner” is a catch-all term, there’s significant differences between a wireless barcode scanner and a wired one. The former are suited to inventory management, allowing you to easily register barcode across a warehouse or storage units, whereas wired barcode scanners are rooted to one location. Consider your business needs before purchasing, as you could inadvertently hamstring your productivity.

Range

Similarly to how far you can take your scanner, how far that scanner can then reach is important. If you struggle reaching certain product codes or don’t want to constantly retrieve products from high shelves, make sure you buy a scanner with better range. The best barcode scanners have ranges ranging from 10″ through to several feet, so different use cases will require different ranges.

Zebra vs Honeywell: Which is the Best Barcode Scanner Brand?

If you base your decision on sheer mathematics, we have more Zebra scanners than Honeywell scanners on today’s list – but that doesn’t mean that Honeywell are an unworthy brand. These two scanner manufacturers both make high-quality products for different use cases, though they cater to different ends of the market.

Zebra scanners are generally more budget-friendly, whilst still maintaining high standards of quality. Their scanners come in a variety of different price tiers, meaning that they are often the more affordable option. However, they often lack the functionality of Honeywell products. Honeywell scanners tend to be more complex units, with built-in memory units for advanced processing and sterling build quality – Honeywell even make scanners that are closer to tablets – with Android operating systems and various applications, alongside the built-in scanner. However, these tend to be more expensive products.

For smaller but more intensive business scanning, we recommend a Honeywell scanner. For larger operations that need robust yet affordable scanning solutions, we’d encourage you to invest in the appropriate Zebra product.

Can scanners read damaged barcodes?

Yes: the best barcode scanners are able to read damaged barcodes by parsing the available information and compositing the rest. However, this isn’t universal, and not all scanners have this capability.

What is omnidirectional scanning?

Omnidirectional scanning means that barcodes can be read from any angle – upside down or slanted. We highly recommend a scanner capable of it, as though they can be more expensive they compensate with boosted productivity and scanning speeds.

Our Verdict

We think that the Honeywell Xenon XP 1952G-HD is the best barcode scanner on the market – well worth the premium price tag. Ergonomically designed and efficiently run, this barcode scanner can help you supersize your productivity – regardless of the size of your business.

For more business tools to enhance productivity, be sure to check our professional guides on everything from office shredders all the way through to smart whiteboards.