There is a wide range of barcode scanners to choose from and they have many styles and options :
- PDA with Alpha or numeric keyboard
- PDA touchscreen
- Glove and Finger scanners linked to a phone
- Pistol grip or mobile style
- Short or long range scanners
- Wireless and tethered guns
- Barcode or RFID
- Integrated camera
Barcode scanners vary in price from around £150 for a simple gun to £1500 for an RFID scanner. There are many models to choose from and our hardware reseller specialists will advise you the best options. Some of the main brands of PDA are Honeywell, Zebra, Datalogic, Newland, Unitech and many lesser know high quality Chinese brands. They all do similar jobs and you can select by price for the simplest applications or by functionality. For example you may prefer models with a pistol grip rather than the standard phone type. Most of them have cameras so there is no need to buy a separate signature pad but they do cost more than wireless guns and signature pads combined price. Some companies will offer service contracts within the warranty like Zebra and Datalogic .
Questions to consider
- Do i need to do the scans away from the PC?
- Do I need Wireless or GPS connectivity and is my signal good enough where it will be used?
- Do I need to scan peoples RFID badges (RFID tags are like the chip on a credit card) ?
- If the usage is going to be very low can I make do with a phone and connected bluetooth scanner?
- Do I need a long range scanner to read barcodes at a distance?
- Do i prefer the gun style or the phone style?
- Assuming it will do a full shift do I need extra units for the night shift while the other ones recharge?
- How many do I need for the application and what is my budget?
Android vs Windows
Android PDAs have now replaced Window PDAs and we have developed a specific communication software module to ensure fast transmission and update to the PASS applications. You can use your Android phone linked by Bluetooth to a small wearable scanner such as the proglove which fits neatly round the hand and is very rugged.
Tethered vs Portable
If you do not need portability and can scan everything at or near your PC then you can consider a tethered or wireless scanner for some operations. In instances where all you are doing is issuing or receiving items at the PC then these scanners are a lot less expensive. They are not suitable for asset auditing or stock taking where you need to go to the location of the item to be scanned.
Keyboard vs Touchscreen
This choice depends on how easy it is for operators to use a touch screen. If gloves are necessary then a touchscreen is impossible. However they are easier to use without gloves as they are identical to a mobile phone format.
Wireless vs batch
If your warehouse does not have good reception then you will need to transfer the data in batch mode. This means collecting the scans and data and then taking the PDA to a docking station to upload all the data in a batch. All PDAs can store a large amount of scans and keyboard input and hold it in memory until transferred.