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Barcode Scanners / Barcode Readers

Handheld barcode scanners are available in three basic types.  These are CONTACT WANDS, NON-CONTACT SCANNERS (active and passive) and IMAGERS.  RVB Systems Group sells a wide range of all three types of barcode scanners, including economical general purpose corded barcode scanners, industrial rugged barcode scanners, multi-line (omni-directional) barcode scanners, bluetooth wireless barcode scanners, fixed mount barcode scanners, and portable barcode scanners (mobile computers).  Not sure which barcode scanner is best for you???  CALL TODAY to discuss your project and let us recommend the barcode scanner that is best suited for your barcode scanning needs.

Click on any of the following manufacturer links for information.  We can provide you with any of the products from these manufacturers at deep discounts. RVB Systems Group is available for on-site installation, training and system development involving any of these products.

barcode scanners

barcode scanners

barcode scanners
Barcode scanners from Unitech Barcode scanners from Motorola Barcode scanners from Honeywell

How does a barcode scanner work?

Barcode scanners use light to "read" barcodes.  They emit light which is absorbed by a barcode's bars and reflected back from a barcode's spaces.  The greater the contrast between the bars and spaces, the better the scanner works.  Some barcodes contain 'check digits' which are used to help insure a successful read.  A check digit is defined as a character included within a barcode symbol whose value is mathematically based on the other characters within the barcode.  If any of the characters within the barcode are misread by the barcode scanner (poor print quality, un-even scan speed of contact wand, etc.) then the final calculated check digit will not equal the actual check digit and the barcode will not scan.

What are the different types of barcode scanners?

  • Contact wand bar code scanners - These are the least expensive type of barcode scanners.  They require the operator to locate the barcode and move the wand smoothly and slowly over the barcode.  The operator must start scanning the barcode in the leading "quiet zone" (clear area approx 1/4 inch on both sides of a barcode) and not stop until reaching the trailing quiet zone.  Operators typically must scan a barcode several times to get a successful read due to un-even wand movement and/or skipping the quiet zones.  Due to these problems, wands are not recommended for most applications.

  • Non-contact passive bar code scanners (CCD) - These are low-priced scanners and are often called CCD scanners.  They contain no moving parts making them very durable.  These type of scanners typically must be held 2 to 3 inches away from a barcode for a successful read.  The field of view of this type of scanner is limited and therefore they cannot be used for long barcodes (typically barcodes over 4 to 5 inches long - check individual manufacturer specifications).

  • Non-contact active bar code scanners (LASER) - This type of barcode scanner has a moving beam that actually scans a barcode hundreds of times a second.  This creates an excellent first pass read rate.  This type of scanner can read barcodes at a greater distance than a CCD barcode reader.  Scan distances 20 feet and beyond can be achieved with the properly matched scanner, barcode size and label material.  These scanners are available in single line versions or multi-line versions (omni-directional).

  • Imagers are the newest breed of barcode scanners and act just like a camera.  These devices are able to capture complex two dimensional barcodes, signatures, or anything or image.  These are the most costly type of hand-held barcode scanner on the market.

  • Hand-held bar code scanners are available with and without cables.  These type of barcode scanners generally use a base station which is connected to a PC.  Some wireless scanner manufacturers provide models which allow multiple scanners to be connected to a single base station.  Ranges vary, so carefully check the manufacturer's product specification sheet.

How do I connect my barcode scanner to my PC?

  • Barcode scanners are available in a wide variety of communication interfaces.  Keyboard wedge connections allow the barcode scanner to act just like a keyboard - that is any active field on a PC will be populated with the scanned information just as if typed on a keyboard.  The bar code readers with a keyboard wedge output plug directly into the keyboard port on your PC and they also provide a pigtail connector so that you can plug in your keyboard at the same time. When you scan a bar code with the keyboard wedge bar code reader, the data goes into the computer just as if it were typed in on the keyboard.

  • USB - Merely insert the scanner's USB cable into any of your PC's USB ports and start scanning!!!

  • A RS-232 (serial port) cable allows for more control over the data from the barcode scanner.  You can use software known as a "serial wedge" to write barcode data to any application.

  • Cordess bar code scanners (NOT portable data collectors) are merely corded barcode scanners without a cord.  They require a base station connected to a PC by either a keyboard wedge, USB, bluetooth or serial interface.  Some manufacturers provide cordless scanners which allow for multiple scanners connected to the same base station while other models are limited to a standard one-to-one connection.

Still not sure which type of barcode scanner or bar code reader is best for you???  CALL TODAY to discuss your project and let us recommend the barcode scanner that is best suited for your data collection requirements.


Need to track inventory or fixed assets.  Click HERE to learn more about Track'Em, an Inventory and Fixed Asset tracking application that can be used with any of the barcode scanners available from RVB Systems Group.