USB vs. Bluetooth Barcode Scanner

USB Barcode Scanners

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Summary

A wired connection is ideal for small businesses that only need to scan items at the cash register. A wired connector ties employees to wherever they can plug the scanner in.

Pros

  • Setup - Simply plug the barcode scanner into the computer's USB port. The computer recognizes the device, and you can start scanning items right away.
  • Power - Powered by the USB. There are no batteries to replace.
  • USB Technology - Convenient, fast, secure and cheap.
  • Cost - USB technology is less expensive than Bluetooth.
  • Tethered Device - No hunting for a temporarily misplaced scanner while scanning.

Cons

  • Configuration - Issues may occur such as the scanner turning off randomly, not recognizing barcodes, requiring users to press Enter, etc.
  • Immobility - Scanned items must be brought to the reader. Scanning is limited to to roughly 1.5 Meters from connected device.
  • Port - Requires a USB port. Some computers and tablets (iPads) do not have a USB port.
  • Cables - Requires cables that can break/wear out and require changing TCO.

Bluetooth Barcode Scanners

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Summary

If scanning requirements involve traveling or large areas, a wireless barcode scanner is beneficial. With a Bluetooth barcode scanner, the employee is free to do business as far as 10 meters away from their device. If connected to a tablet or smartphone, they can go anywhere.

Pros

  • Freedom of Movement - Scanner is not tethered to a device and can scan up to 10 meters away from their connected device.
  • Scan Stationary Items - The ability to bring the reader to scan stationary or immobile items. 
  • Service On the Go - Ability to service the customer wherever they are. 
  • Setup - Barcode scanners require no drivers; simply pair with Bluetooth. The computer should recognize the device, and you should be able to start scanning right away.
  • Connection - Does not require an external port. Connects to any device that support Bluetooth Classic.

Cons

  • Power - Requires batteries, which limits usage duration.
  • Cost - Bluetooth technology is more expensive than USB.
  • Interference - Subject to outside interference (e.g. microwave oven, WiFi).