Are Laser Barcode Scanners better than CCD Barcode Scanners?

Under normal room conditions, Yes, laser barcode scanners can perform much better than CCD Barcode Scanners. When we compare Laser to CCD barcode scanners, the higher technical specifications that laser scanners own makes them the obvious choice for consumers. Their high scan rate of 50 scans per second makes them a powerful alternative to CCD barcode scanners. Laser barcode scanners are also able to scan with much higher accuracy than its CCD counterparts. Just looking at the technical specs makes it a no-brainer which is the better scanner for purchase.

How do they work?

To truly understand the benefits of both, we need to understand how both scanners work. The main difference between Laser Barcode Scanners is the way they function and how they serve different scenarios. Laser barcode scanners use an in-built mirror that helps refract a laser into a linear beam of sine waves. CCD scanners, on the other hand, uses imaging technology, just like a camera, to read and decode barcodes. Laser Scanners are mainly used for single dimension 1-D Barcodes whereas a CCD or CMOS Scanner is able to scan both barcode and QR Codes.

This is a video of how the interior of a laser barcode scanner works:

CCD Scanners in Real-life scenarios

Despite their speed, there are certain benefits that CCD or CMOS linear imaging Scanner have over their laser counterparts. One major benefit is that a CCD scanner is able to read and decode barcodes on an electronic screen. Laser scanners are programmed to only read and decode the reflected light emitted from their lasers. CCD scanners, on the other hand, read and decode reflected lighting from ambient light as well. Think of a CCD scanner as an image scanner which takes a photo for decoding instead of reading binary data based on reflected frequencies of its own light.

Because of the way they work, laser scanners are also unable to sustain in harsh conditions and the outdoors. Sunlight emits the same red light as the beam from a laser scanner. This making it impossible for the laser to reflect its beam where the sunlight is strong. CCD scanners do not have this issue since ambient lighting makes up part of their scanning technology.

The ability to differentiate minute differences in barcodes make CCD a highly preferred choice than their laser counterparts. Laser scanners normally have a minimum beam thickness that makes it hard for it to differentiate really small barcodes. The beam of the laser scanner will have a thickness larger than each binary stripe of a barcode. Barcodes and QR Codes from small devices such as an optical module can only be scanned by an optical imaging device such as a CCD barcode scanner.

scanner scans optical module labels
SYMCODE CCD BARCODE SCANNER scanning optical module labels

Summary

Of course, at the end of the day, it really depends on an individual’s need for a barcode scanner. When we compare laser to CCD barcode scanners, a laser barcode scanner out-wins a CCD scanner in many areas of its technical specifications. However, a CCD scanner is a much realistic option for those seeking for more intricate scenarios where a laser scanner can never fulfill.

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