A third type of barcode reader, no longer very popular, is the pen or wand. This device is much like a large pen that is pressed to the bar code label and then dragged across. The wand can read in either direction. Wands can only read 1 dimensional barcodes like Code 39, or UPC A. These can be useful in offices where the bar codes are generally printed on paper documents. Wands are the least expensive and take up little space. As a rule, it is difficult to use a wand on a curved surface. The technology used in wands may work well with black and white barcode labels, but not with color labels.
Here is an example of a 1 dimensional barcode.
The type of barcode reader you choose will depend upon a number of factors including;
- The type of computer or terminal the reader will have to be attached to (compatibility)
- The size of your retail counter and the need for speed or efficiency, or whether the bar code reader will be used in an office. Barcode readers that will be used outside will also have special features including the ability to read barcodes in direct sunlight (think about glare), and weatherproofing.
- The type of products you sell ( whether they are all small enough to be put on a counter, or maybe too big or too heavy to be put on the counter by a shopper). Also the color of the printed barcode labels. Certain technologies do not read brown or red labels well.
- The nature of your business, meaning the extent to which it is retail or service oriented.
For advice on the selection and installation of a barcode reader we recommend consulting with a local Value Added Reseller (VAR).
YouTube Video's that illustrate how to make labels and bar codes:
Written by Craig Aberle
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