1D and 2D scanners

1D Barcodes

1 Dimensional (1D) barcodes are represented by parallel black bars and numbers. 1D barcodes are what you typically think of when you hear the word barcode. George Laurer’s UPC codes, which are typically found in retail stores, are the most common type of a 1D barcode. 1D barcodes contain a small amount of data or information that can be extracted with the use of a barcode scanner. To be exact, according to Barcodes Inc, 1D barcodes can only hold between 20-25 characters of data.

The main benefit of 1D barcodes is that the scanners for 1D barcodes are less expensive than the alternative 2D barcode scanners. The reason for this is 2D barcode scanning technology is newer and therefore more expensive. If your organization does not need to hold a large amount of information within your barcodes, 1D barcodes are the most money-wise option. Another advantage is the overall performance of the 1D barcode scanner, as it generally performs faster, has a longer scanning range, and can scan without being affected by lighting.

2D Barcodes

2 Dimensional (2D) are barcodes that represent data in a matrix of contrasting cells. The most common 2D barcode is the QR code, which is heavily used for advertising and marketing purposes. However, 2D barcodes are used for much more than advertising. Unlike 1D barcodes, 2D barcodes can contain data vertically and horizontally, which allows the barcode to contain much more information than its processor. According to Barcodes Inc, 2D barcodes can contain 2000 characters or more. They are also able to link to websites, can be used for product tracking, product identification, and more.

One of the 2D barcode include being able to scan the barcode from any direction. This makes scanning quicker and more efficient. Another benefit is only needing to scan the barcode once to collect all information. With 2D barcodes, multiple fields in your inventory system can be populated at once, versus making multiple scans with 1D barcodes. This is especially beneficial for working within a warehouse, where hundreds of scans are made a day. Another benefit is that 2D scanners have the ability to reduce the use of counterfeit items, by improving tracking of items through the supply chain. 2D barcodes can carry much more information than the 1D barcode, making products more difficult to counterfeit.

Main Differences Between 1D and 2D Barcodes

Feature1D Barcode2D Barcode
Amount of data stored8-15 Characters2000+ Characters
Scan PositionUprightAny
Read dataHorizontallyVertically and Horizontally
Popular IndustriesRetail, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Supply Chain, Logistics, TransportationMarketing, Advertising, Food Services, Electronics, Automotive, Engineering, Healthcare, Manufacturing, Warehousing, Aerospace, Telecommunications

Things to Consider When Purchasing a Barcode Scanner

There are many different types of barcode scanners on the market today, and choosing the most suitable types important for the productivity of your business. Barcode scanners are used in industrial settings, retail stores, healthcare facilities, logistics, and warehousing. Some barcode scanners are built for specific work environments, such as extreme weather or to endure rougher conditions, while others are designed for less extreme environments and and process data at a much quicker speed. This is why, in order to maximize your organization’s efficiency, it is important to know the features and functions of various barcode scanners.

Barcode Reader

Are you scanning 1D or 2D barcodes? 1D barcode scanners are linear or one dimensional barcodes which represent data with parallel black bars and numbers. The most common type of 1D barcode that exists is a Universal Product Code (UPC) barcode, which is found on most product packaging.

2D barcodes, on the other hand, have vertical and horizontal data. A common 2D barcode is a QR code, which has become popular in marketing and social media. The main difference between these two barcodes is the amount of data they can contain; A 1D barcode can only contain 20-25 characters, while a 2D barcode can contain up to 2,000 characters.

Wireless Connection

When purchasing a barcode scanner you want to ensure that the scanner you pick has appropriate wireless connections for your work environment. This usually depends on how you want your data collected and inputted into your inventory system. Does your organization collect data in real-time and use a cloud-based inventory system? If it does, then you will need a wireless connection to the internet through WiFi or through a Mobile Broadband connection.

Scanners that transmit data through a WiFi connection are advantageous when your employees conduct all of their scans within a central location. For example, a WiFi connection is beneficial when employees are using barcode scanners within a warehouse. If your employees are in the field or on the road, having a mobile broadband connection is more beneficial. With a mobile broadband connection your employees in the field can transmit data wherever they go.

Wired Connections

Wired connections are extremely important if your organization is going to be collecting data with wired barcode scanners or uses a locally installed inventory system. Your organization will need to ensure the wired barcode scanners you choose are compatible with the computers installed with your inventory system. Scanners using wireless data transmission will also have wired data connections, so it is beneficial to check for these before making your purchase.


Not all barcode scanners are equipped with a display or touch screen. When deciding on a barcode scanner it is important to determine if it is beneficial or not for your barcode scanner to have a screen, and consider the complexity of what that screen can display. It can be beneficial to have a screen on your scanner device in order for your employees to receive transaction feedback. Transaction feedback notifies your employees whether or not there were any errors with the items they scan.
With a screen, scanners can have much more depth to their capabilities. For example, a Mobile Computer barcode scanner can push and pull information to and from your inventory system with a mobile application. Some mobile computers can even act as a both a cell phone and a barcode scanner.

Portability and Ideal Environment

Portability is a huge factor when selecting a barcode scanner – he environment the scanner will be working in will help determine what kind of scanner you need. If the scanner is going to be traveling and going out into the field, you will need a scanner that is durable, water resistant, can be used in extreme temperatures, and is extremely portable. If the scanner is being used in a retail environment, the scanner may not need to be portable and does not need to endure extreme weather conditions. Barcode scanners are built for various working conditions, and it is important to consider what kind of work environment you need a barcode scanner to operate in.

Mobile Computers

Mobile computers are fully independent computers that integrate all the necessary peripherals and interfaces needed for collecting, managing, and storing the data gathered via barcodes. Mobile computer integrates, in a small form factor, all the necessary components of a computer, such as a display, a Wi-Fi system, an operating system (Windows® or Android™), a keyboard (virtual or physical), a battery and a professional scan engine.

Mobile devices are the daily companion in activities like inventory, price check, pick and drop, assisted sales, delivery, quality control, curb-side pick-up, etc. From printed 1D and 2D barcodes, to Direct Part Marking (DPM), to Digimarc© packaging, Datalogic offers a solution for nearly every barcode reading application.

Mobile computers support enterprises to improve efficiency and reliability on all their tracking activities in every area of the company. In retail companies, they can be used on the store floor for activities such as price check, inventory, or assisted sales. In the back room, mobile devices are used for any inventory or stock rotation activities.  From the docking locations where goods are unloaded, through the warehouse and other areas of the facilities, up to the point of delivery, operators use mobile computers for every bit of the process. In the manufacturing segment, they allow workers to track all the assets used for assembly or for building, and to check inventory in the warehouse. In the healthcare segment, mobile computers are becoming the trusted work companion of nurses and other operators for the bed-side point of care activities. Once the patient barcode is read, hospital staff can see all the information related to that patient.

Mobile Computers Common Applications and Benefits

Shipping and Receiving

Any warehouse has goods coming in and goods coming out, an efficient mobile computer allows warehouse personnel to scan these items, load them into the WMS (Warehouse Management System) database, and then, once they are processed, they can be shipped out using the same device.


Any enterprise that processes goods or sells goods needs to maintain a warehouse, either small or large, of whatever kind. A mobile computer allows you to scan items, add quantity, location, other relevant information, and update and track them in real time into the database.

WIP Traceability

From raw material to finished goods, WIP traceability allows you to track each unit throughout the manufacturing process. Track accuracy, output, and other viable production metrics in real time.

Assisted Sales

With a mobile computer, store associates can assist store customers, providing them information about the product they are looking for and checking its availability. In addition, if a customer wants to buy the product, mobile devices allow them to pay immediately using online card payments.

Price Check

Retail stores need to have accurate prices displayed. With the help of a mobile computer, store personnel can check every price by reading the barcode and ensuring that what is displayed is the correct database price.


Eliminate human error and prevent unnecessary waste of resources.

Data Management

Use the output data to enhance your processes in virtually any field-bus communication protocol, removing the need for manual data entry.


Track every unit and every step up to final delivery. It ensures that no steps are missed in the manufacturing or distribution processes, permitting you to make real-time decisions, when needed, to prevent any possible negative impact.


Increase the quality of your product/service using mobile barcode readers to control manufacturing and distribution processes and inspect to guarantee the best possible performance and outcome.