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Choosing the Right Barcode Scanner; Laser or CCD

Barcode scanners have been on the market for a number of years. You can pay as little as $50 for a scanner up to several thousand depending on durability, scan engine and whether it's laser or CCD. How do you choose what barcode scanner is right for you?

Laser scanners have typically always been more expensive than CCD scanners. Both have advantages and disadvantages. CCD scanners have no moving parts internal like laser scanners. A CCD can take a drop or resist shock more so than a laser scanner. Laser scanners have oscillating mirrors that are subject to wear and mechanical failure. CCD scanners use LED's for illumination and can last ten times as long as laser scanners. CCD scanners have come a long way. They used to only be able to cast a fixed width wide beam and the operator would have to hold the scanner within touching distance to the label to get the barcode to scan properly. Today, CCD's can scan up to 45 scans per second or faster (depending on the model) which is equiviltent to laser scanners.

Laser scanners are traditional better for long range scanning which isn't always a requirement for people scanning barcodes. I have used both CCD scanners and laser scanners over the years. I would much rather purchase a good CCD scanner knowing that it's going to last me longer and be less resistance to having to repair it from dropping it on my warehouse floor.

There are many manufacturers of barcode scanners on today's market. Some questions to ask yourself are: What type of environment will I be using this scanner (warehouse, office)? What size/symbology of barcode that I will be scanning? Is long range scanning a requirement in your application?

These questions will help determine what barcode scanner is right for you.

Brad Hole is President of Eversio Technologies; a distributor of hardware, software and supplies for bar coding and data collection.