1D and 2D Scanner Differences

Choose the right scanner for your application

There are two main types of barcodes that can be scanned: One Dimensional (1D) and Two Dimensional (2D).

1D, or linear, barcodes were the first type of barcode and are still common today. Made up of simple black lines, 1D barcodes hold a limited amount of information — up to 25 characters, depending on the specification. The most popular codes for 1D barcodes are Code 128 and Code 39.

2D barcodes contain both horizontal and vertical information, which allows them to hold up to 2,000 characters. Popular codes for 2D barcodes include QR Codes and PDF 417.

1D Laser Scanners

1D laser scanners are economical to purchase; however, they are somewhat limited in scan ability. The laser technology captures information by reflecting light. The process is quick, as long as the barcodes are not damaged.

1D Linear Imagers

1D linear imagers use CCD technology, similar to a digital camera, to capture an image of a barcode. An array of hundreds of light sensors capture and convert the image into data. Because of this, 1D imagers are better suited to read damaged barcodes than 1D scanners.

2D Barcode Scanners

2D Scanners, also called 2D Area Imagers, capture a more detailed and intelligent image than their 1D counterparts. They can capture a barcode in any orientation, reducing scanning labor. A 2D barcode scanner can also read barcodes off of a monitor or a phone screen. 2D Area Imagers can read any type of barcode, including 1D, stacked, 2D, popular QR codes and many more. The overall improved performance of these imagers make them an intelligent choice for long-term scanning.

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