Retail Dogma


Best Barcode Scanner for Retail Stores

A Barcode scanner is used at retail stores to capture information about the product related to its price, availability or any SKU related information recorded on the system and available upon scanning the specific barcode.

When items are received at the warehouse, they are assigned specific barcodes that are connected to their unique SKUs, in order to facilitate the organization of information on the retail merchandising system, and allow for easy management of inventory and recording of sales transactions on the cash register. These barcodes are then printed using a barcode printer and attached to each product.

In this guide, we will explain the different types of barcode scanners and how to choose the best one for your retail store.

Jump to our top picks for best barcode scanner for retail stores

Choosing The Right Barcode Scanner

The best scanner for your business will depend on the functions you want to perform with it.

Here we list specific differentiations that you will need to choose from, in order to determine which barcode scanner will be the best for you.

1D vs. 2D Barcodes

Barcodes come in different types and forms. There are the simple 1 D barcodes that are widely used at most stores, and then there are the 2D barcodes, like QR codes and PDF 417.

When you buy your scanner, make sure to determine the types of barcodes your are going to be scanning regularly and choose accordingly.

Usually a 2D scanner also supports 1D barcodes, but read our note on long barcodes below.


Examples of 1D barcodes : UPC, EAN, , Code128, Code39, Code 39 Full ASCII, Code 11,Code 93, Codebar, MSI, GS1, Matrix 25, Interleaved 25, Industrial 25, Standard 25.

Examples of 2D barcodes: QR Code, PDF 417, Data Matrix, Aztec code, Maxi Code

Wired vs. Wireless Barcode Scanner

Barcode scanners come in two types: Wired and wireless barcode scanners.

Wireless barcode scanners transmit the scanned data back to the computer using bluetooth or other wireless connectivity, which allows it to scan from a distance, and then either store the data for later upload or transmit it directly to the computer.

Wireless scanners are practical and can be moved around the store without restrictions of being close to the cash till or the computer.


If you are willing to make the investment, this might be a good option for you to choose.


Scanner to Read Long Barcodes (Like UPS & Fedex)

Some 2D barcode scanners are not good at scanning long 1D barcodes like the ones from UPS or Fedex.

If you are going to scan such barcodes, It is important before you buy to ensure the model you choose supports these barcodes.

System & POS Compatibility

You might choose a barcode scanner that is the best in the market, but find out later that it is not supported by your POS or operating system.

All the scanners indicate in their specifications their compatibility with different systems, so make sure your system is supported.

Our Top Picks

Best Wireless Barcode Scanner


NADAMO Wireless Barcode Scanner

Best Wired Barcode Scanner


WoneNice USB Laser Scanner

Best 2D Barcode Scanner (Wired & Wireless)


NETUM 2D Scanner

How to Connect a Barcode Scanner to The Computer?

Steps To Connect a Barcode Scanner to The Computer

  1. Connect the USB port to the computer
  2. The computer will detect the scanner
  3. The light sensor will be turned on
  4. Open a notepad or word document and start scanning

How Many Barcode Scanners Will I Need For My Store?

You typically need one scanner for each point of sale you have. If your store only has one till, you will need one scanner.

Can I Use These Barcode Scanners to Manage Inventory?

The barcode scanner is an input device, just like a keyboard. 

If you connect it to your inventory management software or back of house system on your computer, you can use it to enter barcodes.

However, retailers typically use PDT scanners to perform inventory management tasks, such as stock counts, stock transfers and write off transactions. They can also be used to check price and inventory levels.

This is because Portable Data Terminals (PDT scanners) are stand alone computer devices and can be programmed with your applications to perform the entire transaction from the scanner itself.

Retailer &  Founder of Retail Dogma, Inc.

Rasha has 14 years of retail & ecommerce experience. She has started an ecommerce business in 2008, and later worked at H&M, Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret and Landmark Group. She’s lived in 4 different countries, speaks 3 different languages and holds a BSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences and an MBA in Strategic Management & Marketing.