Types of Form Factors In Barcode Scanners – A Complete Guide

type of form factor in barcode scanner

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Barcode scanners are a vital piece of equipment for various industries such as retail, healthcare, logistics and more. Understanding the terminology associated with barcode scanners is essential for making an informed purchasing decision.

One such important term to be aware of is the barcode scanner’s form factor and its different types. But first, let us understand what exactly is a form factor of a barcode scanner.

A form factor in barcode scanners refers to the physical size, shape and design of the barcode scanner. Different form factors offer their unique advantages and disadvantages and are designed to suit different scanning needs and environments.

In this article, we will discuss the various types of form factors in barcode scanners and their respective advantages and disadvantages. Knowing about the different form factors of a barcode scanner will help you understand how suitable a particular model is for your specific industry and environment.

So put on your reading glasses and let us explore the different form factors of barcode scanners.

Types of Form Factors of a Barcode Scanner

Seven types of form factor

In terms of barcode scanners, form factors include.

  • Handheld scanners
  • Presentation scanners
  • Mobile computer scanners
  • In-counter scanners
  • Fixed mount scanners
  • Wearable scanners
  • Vehicle-mounted mobile computer

Each type of barcode reader has unique characteristics and is designed for specific applications. Let’s take a closer look at each one. 

Handheld Barcode Scanners

List of seven points on features of Handheld Scanners

Handheld scanners are the most popular type of barcode scanner as they are lightweight and easy to use. They come with an ergonomic design allowing users to scan items comfortably on their feet or while sitting down.

Handheld barcode scanners are also known as gun grip scanners. They are named so due to their design, which resembles a gun or pistol grip. The gun grip makes them easy to use and reduces the strain on the user’s wrist when using them for longer periods.

Handheld barcode scanners are designed for ease of use, requiring minimal effort to perform a scan. To scan a barcode, the operator simply needs to point the scanner at the code and press the trigger button. This straightforward operation eliminates the need for complicated training, allowing new users to become capable of scanning. 

Handheld barcode scanners have evolved in recent years, transitioning from a device that requires a wired connection to host devices to one that operates using wireless technologies. This shift has enabled greater mobility for handheld barcode scanner users, allowing them to move freely in their environment without being tethered by a wire.

Many modern handheld scanners come with flexible stands designed to allow them to be mounted on various surfaces, such as counters and tabletops. This feature transforms these devices into static scanners that can be used without having to hold them in one’s hands. This gives users a more convenient method of scanning documents quickly and accurately.

Handheld barcode scanners can be customised with a range of accessories and options. These include ruggedised casing, scanning distance adapters, and software integration.

A handheld scanner works best when scanning items such as groceries, retail items, and healthcare products.

Check out our range of general barcode scanners and rugged barcode scanners.

Presentation Barcode Scanner

Seven features of Presentation Scanners

Presentation barcode scanners are designed to be placed on top of a countertop or table. These stationary devices do not need triggers to read a barcode scan. They are constantly active and scan barcodes when they enter the scanner’s reading area.

Presentation scanners include advanced features such as automatic shutoff. This feature stops scanning activity after a specified period if no codes are scanned, resulting in energy conservation. Presentation barcode scanners have a broad scan area, allowing users to quickly scan multiple items simultaneously.

Presentation scanners are great for environments where accuracy and speed are essential. They are commonly used in supermarkets, retail and grocery stores to enhance checkout.

Mobile Computer Barcode Scanner

Fours points about Mobile Computers

Mobile computer barcode scanners are a more advanced variation of barcode scanners. They combine barcode scanning and computing capabilities in a single device.

Mobile computer barcode scanners come with various features, such as advanced data processing and capturing capabilities, internal storage, and touchscreens. These devices are built to be extremely durable and reliable, designed to withstand the toughest conditions while delivering superior performance.

Mobile computer scanners are equipped with various types of connectivity technologies such as Wi-Fi, WAN, Bluetooth and NFC. These technologies allow the device to establish a wireless connection with other devices to exchange data. 

By combining scanning capabilities with data processing, mobile computer scanner devices allow users to perform data entry tasks quickly and accurately.

Check out our range of mobile barcode scanners.

In-Counter Barcode Scanner

Seven features of In-Counter Scanners

In-counter barcode scanners are a great tool for checkout processes in retail and other customer-facing businesses. In-counter scanners are installed inside counters or tables of checkout counters. 

In-counter barcode scanners are quite similar to presentation barcode scanners. The main difference between In-counter and presentation barcode scanners is that in-counter scanners are installed inside counters, while presentation scanners are placed on top of countertops.

However, unlike presentation scanners, in-counter scanners have permanent installation locations. 

In-counter barcode scanners come in different shapes, sizes and designs depending on their use. While some may be designed for large retail stores with multiple checkout points, others may be small enough for one-person operations like convenience stores or food trucks. 

Fixed Mount Barcode Scanners

List of six points on features of Fixed Mount Scanners

Fixed-mount barcode scanners are designed to remain stationary in a single spot, such as on an industrial production line or conveyor system.

Fixed-mount scanners are integrated with superior automated systems and play a major part in the functioning of mall conveyor lines and self-service machines. Fixed-mount scanners don’t have trigger buttons. Instead, they have automated trigger sensors that include motion sensors and controllers.

Fixed-mount scanners are good for situations that deal with multiple fast-moving items. This is why fixed-mount scanners are used with conveyors and kiosks.

Triton offers a wide range of fixed barcode imaging scanners and sensors for various applications, including manufacturing conveyor systems, high speed assembly lines and barcode label verification. To learn more, visit our fixed barcode scanner page.

Wearable Barcode Scanners

Three points about Wearable Scanners and its types

Wearable barcode scanners can be considered modified versions of handheld scanners. These scanners are similar to handheld scanners, but users wear them on their body parts, such as hands or fingers, instead of holding them. Some wearable barcode scanners also come integrated into gloves, allowing for added convenience. 

Wearable barcode scanners come in two main types: back-of-hand scanners and ring scanners.

Back-of-hand scanners are attached to a strap that can be tied around the user’s hand or wrist like a wristwatch.

Ring scanners are attached to a finger loop (one or two fingers mostly) and are worn on the user’s fingers.

Wearable barcode scanners offer an added advantage of portability, allowing users to move the device around as they scan barcodes easily. This is a much more comfortable alternative than holding the device in place for an extended period. 

Wearable barcode scanners also enable employees to work more safely by decreasing the risk of repetitive strain injuries (RSIs) associated with using handheld devices over long periods.

Vehicle-Mounted Mobile Computer Barcode Scanners

List of four points about Vehicle-Mounted Mobile Computer

Vehicle-mounted mobile computer barcode scanners are small, handheld devices that can be integrated into vehicles to equip them with barcode scanning capabilities.

Vehicle-mounted scanners are equipped with touchscreens, inbuilt keyboards, and an embedded barcode scanner. Their most common use is in lifts and fork trucks for warehouse scanning operations.

The integrated barcode scanner allows real-time scanning, which can cut down on time spent manually data entry or manually searching for items in a warehouse setting. This is good for tracking inventory and will save time spent on manual rechecking.

Vehicle-mounted mobile computers can also be programmed for specific tasks such as managing personnel, tracking shipments and locating items. This makes them quite versatile and an ideal tool for warehouse management.


Form factors play an important role in choosing a barcode scanner for your business needs. Whether you need a lightweight handheld wireless barcode scanner or a more powerful fixed-position scanner, understanding what each form factor has to offer will ensure you make the right choice for your application.

With the right knowledge provided in this article, you can now make the best choice for your business and equip your workforce with the right barcode scanner technology.

As barcoding technology evolves, it is important to understand the different types of barcode scanners available. Our article on types of barcode scanners delves deeper into the details of this technology, exploring the various types of scanners, their functions and capabilities. 

Thanks for reading!

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