What is a Barcode Scanner “Depth of Field”?
A barcode scanner’s “depth of field” means the distance a barcode scanner can read from a barcode. Generally, the further away a barcode scanner can read a barcode, the better the scanner’s scan engine is, but the price will also increase. Many retailers want a good performance barcode scanner that can read a standard UPC barcode up to 20 inches away so they can easily ready oversized/heavy items while still in the basket. Conversely, there are other retailers that don’t need this ability due to them selling smaller sized items. So it is up to the retailer to decide if he/she needs or wants a barcode scanner that can read a barcode successfully from a distance.
For retail handheld barcode scanners, there are essentially 3 “depth of field” categories: (1) Contact, (2) Mid-Range, (3) Extended Range:
1. Contact Barcode Scanner: scanners in this category tend to have entry level CCD scan engines. The term “contact” literally means that in order for the scanner to read a barcode it literally needs to be directly on top of or in “contact” with the barcode. These entry level barcode scanners are usually very economically priced.
A good entry "contact" barcode scanner is the Unitech AS10-U, very reasonably priced.
2. Mid-Range Barcode Scanner: this classification of barcode scanner is still in the entry level category but is a step up from a "contact" scanner’s performance. A mid-range scanner can generally read a standard UPC barcode from up to 6 inches away.
A great "mid-range" barcode scanner is the ID Tech ValueScan Series, a superior performance for the price.
3. Extended Range Barcode Scanner: these scanner types tend to cost more than the entry and mid-range barcode scanners. However, an extended range barcode scanner comes with a robust scan engine, durable build, better warranty and many other features not found in a lower priced barcode scanner. For a superior “depth of field” performance form a retail handheld barcode scanner, we recommend the Datalogic Gryphon. The Gryphon can read a standard UPC barcode from up to 19 inches away!