Handheld POS Scanners Provide More Convenience for Customers

By Bethany Ramos


Clerk using a handheld scanner to read a QR code from a smart phone

Handheld POS scanners have come a long way, far beyond the cordless scanners commonly used at the grocery store.

New cordless scanning technologies are being introduced regularly to the market. Handheld scanners can be tailored to their environment to improve a business’s productivity: laser scanners read basic 1D linear barcodes, linear imager scanners scan damaged or illegible 1D barcodes, and cordless imagers analyze 2D images.

Handheld scanners equipped with 2D barcode scanning technology have the capability to scan more than just linear product codes. 2D imagers can capture driver’s licenses, email/text coupons, smartphone event ticket codes, and customer images for identification purposes.

Handheld point-of-sale scanner uses and technologies

While handheld scanners still uphold their basic functionality for convenient, remote scanning in a retail environment, modern handheld scanners are now integrated with iPad and iPad mini point-of-sale systems with Bluetooth support. These Bluetooth cordless scanners connect to tablets, notebooks, smartphones, and desktop computers with a wide range of traditional scanning features – including payment processing and inventory tracking.

For businesses that still use standard POS systems, a myriad of handheld scanners are available as hardware upgrades. New features and technologies include ergonomic design, wider working range, quick contact scanning, HD barcode capture, and wireless mobile computing.

Even basic handheld scanners are now built intuitively to benefit an entire POS system as a whole in an external hardware add-on. For example, a handheld scanner may come with an IQ Editing Pro feature that allows for easier integration into existing applications, eliminating the need to make costly POS software upgrades.

Where and when to use a handheld POS scanner

A handheld scanner may be available corded or cordless, although cordless is the more popular option by far. A handheld point-of-sale scanner may use a trigger to scan a 1D or 2D barcode.

Handheld mobile computers are also available with basic scanning capabilities and connected PC support. For more intensive handheld scanning in a warehouse or manufacturing environment, a mobile computer is recommended over a handheld scanner. A handheld mobile computer with scanning functions will remain connected via Wi-Fi and can be used for continuous inventory tracking and shipment management.

A handheld scanner may be beneficial in the following industries:

  • Retail
  • Grocery
  • Healthcare
  • Warehouse
  • Manufacturing
  • Education

Businesses in these industries rely on handheld scanners to take retail checkout and processing to the next level:

  • In a retail store or supermarket, a handheld 1D linear scanner can save time at the register.
  • In a warehouse or manufacturing plant, a handheld 1D imager scanner can increase efficiency with quicker and more accurate inventory tracking.
  • In a healthcare or educational facility, a handheld 2D scanner can cut down on costly mistakes by accurately scanning patient or student IDs for verification.

A cordless handheld scanner with 1D linear scanning may start as low as $105, up to $295 for 1D imager scanning. A 2D imager scanner with a USB cable may cost as much as $836. A Bluetooth handheld scanner may start at $260, not including the cost of compatible tablet or smartphone hardware components.