1D Vs 2D Barcode Scanner: Which Is Better?

December 19 , 2023

Barcodes have become an integral part of modern business operations, facilitating efficient inventory management, product tracking, and overall workflow optimization. When it comes to barcode scanners, businesses are frequently forced to choose between 1D and 2D scanners. Each type has its own set of advantages and applications, and choosing the right one depends on the specific requirements of your business. In this article, we will explore the differences between 1D and 2D barcode scanners and provide insights to help you make an informed decision.

1D Barcode Scanners

1D, or one-dimensional barcodes, are the traditional linear barcodes that consist of parallel lines and spaces. These barcodes, which are typically found on product packaging, are scanned with a 1D barcode scanner. Here are some key features and considerations for 1D barcode scanners:

Limited Data Capacity

One of the distinguishing aspects of 1D barcodes is their low data capacity. These barcodes are intended for simple identification, often encoding a product or item number. If your business primarily involves basic inventory management and point-of-sale transactions without the need for extensive data storage within the barcode, a 1D scanner can be a cost-effective solution.


Handfree 2D Desktop Barcode Scanner for Retail Store


Businesses operating on a budget may find 1D barcode scanners to be a practical choice. These scanners are generally more affordable than their 2D counterparts, making them an attractive option for small businesses or those with straightforward barcode scanning needs. A 1D scanner can provide a dependable and cost-effective solution for basic inventory tracking and item identification.

Widespread Use

Despite the emergence of 2D barcodes, 1D barcodes remain prevalent in various industries, particularly in retail and logistics. Many existing systems and applications are optimized for 1D barcodes, making them a practical choice for businesses that require compatibility with established barcode standards. If your activities are in industries where 1D barcodes are extensively utilized, a 1D scanner may be ideal for you.

2D Barcode Scanners

High Data Capacity

One of the most significant advantages of 2D barcodes is their ability to store a substantially larger amount of data compared to 1D barcodes. The matrix of dots and squares enables the encoding of not only product identification but also product data, expiration dates, and batch numbers. This high data capacity makes 2D barcodes suitable for applications requiring more extensive information storage.


2D barcode scanners offer a higher level of versatility as they can read both 1D and 2D barcodes. Because of their adaptability, they are appropriate for a wider range of applications, ranging from standard inventory management and point-of-sale transactions to more sophisticated uses such as mobile ticketing and marketing. If your business operations require adaptability and the ability to handle various barcode formats, a 2D scanner is a more versatile solution.

Best Handheld Barcode Scanner For Supermarkets

Best Handheld Barcode Scanner for Supermarkets

Enhanced Security

For businesses dealing with sensitive information, the enhanced security features of 2D barcodes can be a crucial factor. The ability to encrypt data within the barcode offers an additional degree of security, making 2D barcodes suited for applications where data security and integrity are critical. If your business involves handling confidential or proprietary information, a 2D scanner can contribute to a more secure and reliable scanning solution.

Choosing The Right Scanner For Your Business

Here are some tips:

Consider Your Application

The choice between a 1D and 2D barcode scanner ultimately depends on the specific needs of your business. Consider the nature of your applications, the sort of data you need to encode, and the extent to which you want to integrate barcode technology into your operations.

Evaluate Cost

While 1D scanners are often less expensive in the short term, it is critical to compare the initial investment against the long-term advantages and possible savings provided by a 2D scanner. Factor in the total cost of ownership, considering the evolving needs of your business.

Stock Taking Handheld Terminal Barcode Scanner

Stock Taking Handheld Terminal Barcode Scanner


Investing in a barcode scanning solution that aligns with emerging technologies and industry standards is crucial for future-proofing your operations. A 2D scanner's adaptability and compatibility with new technologies make it a forward-thinking solution, guaranteeing your company can adapt to changes in the barcode landscape.


Choosing between a 1D and 2D barcode scanner is a decision that depends on your business's unique requirements. Whether you choose a 1D scanner for its simplicity or a 2D scanner for its versatility, both serve critical roles in reducing company operations and increasing overall efficiency.


1. What are the main differences between 1D and 2D barcodes?

1D barcodes are linear and consist of parallel lines, whereas 2D barcodes use a matrix of dots or squares. The primary distinction lies in data capacity, with 2D barcodes capable of storing significantly more information than 1D barcodes.

2. In what industries are 1D barcode scanners commonly used?

1D barcode scanners are commonly used in retail, logistics, and manufacturing industries where the primary need is for basic product identification and inventory tracking. Their simplicity and cost-effectiveness make them suitable for applications where extensive data storage within the barcode is not a requirement.

3. What advantages do 2D barcode scanners offer over 1D scanners?

2D barcode scanners provide higher data capacity, allowing them to store more information. They also offer versatility by being able to read both 1D and 2D barcodes, making them suitable for a broader range of applications, including mobile ticketing, marketing, and advanced inventory management.

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