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Do You Need a Long-Range Barcode Scanner?

Post Series: Hardware

Barcode scanners are critical tools in data collection. These handheld devices capture and transmit data with near-flawless accuracy, providing real-time visibility and efficiency that many businesses depend on. If you’re looking to add or upgrade your barcode scanners, you have choices in the scanning distance—standard range and long or extended range. The question we often hear at Panatrack is, “Do I need the long-range scanning or will standard suffice?”

Barcode Scanners can be Standard or Long-Range

A standard range barcode scanner is designed to capture bar codes that are fairly close. They’re used in retail, healthcare, and offices, for example, where inventory is within reach. In turn, a long-range scanner is essential in environments where barcodes are harder to reach, like a warehouse, yard, or manufacturing facility. With a long-range barcode scanner, a worker can point to an item high on a shelf or even a pallet up on a forklift and capture the barcode with one trigger pull.

The term “long-range” doesn’t mean that this barcode scanner doesn’t also function efficiently from a close distance. Zebra extended range scanners are efficient from as close as a few inches away to as far as 70 feet. Picking a box by hand or scanning a bin label on the top rack, a long-range scanner can do both.

Making The Choice

Your choice of barcode scanner should be based on the scanning range as well as performance, ergonomics, and reliability. Workers should be able to easily use the scanner for rapid data collection. Some bar codes are difficult to read, they are scratched and smudged, behind shrink wrap or even covered with frost; situations like these call for purpose built scanners designed for the challenge.

Zebra’s line of rugged mobile computers such as the MC9200 series is ideal for these applications. Your scanner should be durable enough to withstand rugged environments but ergonomically designed to avoid discomfort or strain during use.  The MC92n0 can be seen in action in our Animix Case Study Video. While each device type has individual benefits, making the right choice is the first step in setting your implementation up for success.

Panatrack offers a broad selection of barcode scanners—standard range, long range, as well as high resolution and even purpose-built healthcare scanners. Contact us to discuss your scanning needs, so we can help you make the choice that fits you now, and in the future.

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