Wired vs Wireless Barcode Scanners: Which One Should You Choose?

corded vs cordless barcode scanners

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Barcode scanners have become increasingly important in business operations, allowing for a streamlined and organised approach to inventory management and sales. From fast-paced retail environments to the digitisation of medical records, barcode scanners have proven themselves to be indispensable tools. 

Barcode scanners come in various types to suit different needs and are primarily categorised into wired and wireless barcode scanners. Both barcode scanner categories have their own strengths and weaknesses, making it difficult for business owners to decide which one to choose.

In this blog post, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive overview of both wired and wireless barcode scanners. We will also delve into the key factors to consider when comparing wired and wireless barcode scanners to help you choose the right barcode scanner.

What are Wired Barcode Scanners?

What are corded barcode scanners?

Wired barcode scanners, also called corded barcode scanners, are handheld scanners that read and decode barcodes. These scanners are connected to a computer or other devices through a physical cable, typically USB or RS-232, allowing reliable and fast data transfer.

Wired barcode scanners employ an optical system, including a light source and lens, to capture the barcode image. The reflected light is converted into a digital signal, decoded by specialised software, and transferred to a computer or device through a physical cable connection.

Additionally, wired barcode scanners are known for their reliability, speed, and accuracy in reading and interpreting barcodes. They are commonly used in various industries, including retail, logistics, healthcare, and manufacturing.

At Triton, we are committed to providing our customers with the highest-quality wired barcode scanners available in the market. We take pride in offering a range of barcode scanners that are designed to meet the needs of various industries and applications. 

Our comprehensive selection of wired barcode scanners includes USB barcode scanners, general barcode scanners, rugged barcode scanners, 2D barcode scanners and presentation barcode scanners. Each scanner in our inventory is engineered to deliver outstanding reliability, accuracy, and ease of use. Our barcode scanners are ideal for retail stores, warehouses, healthcare facilities, and many other work settings.    

We believe that our customers deserve the best, so we offer competitive pricing without compromising on quality. Trust Triton to provide you with the right wired barcode scanner for any barcoding application.

What are Wireless Barcode Scanners?

what are cordless barcode scanners

Wireless barcode scanners read and decode barcodes without a physical connection to a computer or device. Wireless barcode scanners utilise Bluetooth and other radio technologies to establish a connection with a compatible device.

Wireless barcode scanners have two methods of communicating with host devices. 

The first method is direct connectivity. In direct connectivity, the scanners establish a direct connection with the host device, such as a computer or cash register, via a cable. 

The second method is indirect connectivity. In indirect connectivity, the scanner communicates with the host device via a charging dock or base station. 

Wireless scanners employ an optical system to capture the barcode image, just like their wired counterparts. Once the barcode is scanned, the visual system converts the image into digital data. 

Later, the digital data is encoded and transmitted wirelessly to the connected device using the established wireless protocol. The connected device receives the transmitted data and utilises software or applications to decode the barcode information. 

Wireless barcode scanners offer increased mobility and flexibility, enabling users to scan barcodes from a distance and in various environments, making them popular in retail, logistics, and healthcare industries.

Efficient barcode scanning is essential for many businesses, and Triton is here to make the experience as smooth and seamless as possible. We offer a range of wireless barcode scanners that are guaranteed to streamline your business operations, no matter the industry. 

Our collection includes a variety of scanners, including general barcode scanners, rugged barcode scanners, 2D barcode scanners and mobile terminals, all available at competitive prices.   

Shop with us and experience the difference our high-quality, extensive range of barcode scanners can make in your business.

What Wired and Wireless Barcode Scanners Have in Common?

List of five similarities between wired barcode scanners and wireless barcode scanners

Wired and wireless barcode scanners have several common features and functionalities contributing to their effectiveness in barcode scanning tasks. Here are some common aspects they share.

  • Optical System
  • Barcode Decoding
  • Barcode Compatibility
  • Application Integration
  • Industry Applications

Optical System

Both wired and wireless barcode scanners utilise an optical system to capture barcode images. The system comprises a light source, lens, and photosensitive element (such as a photodiode or CCD sensor). 

An optical system enables the scanner to capture the reflected light from the barcode and convert it into an electrical signal for further processing. It further allows the scanner to capture clear and accurate barcode images, regardless of the connection type.

Barcode Decoding

Both types of scanners employ software algorithms to decode the barcode information. The decoded data is typically in alphanumeric characters or other encoded information embedded within the barcode. 

The decoding process allows the scanners to extract meaningful information from the barcode for use in applications like inventory management or product identification.

Barcode Compatibility

Both corded and cordless scanners support a wide range of barcode symbologies, such as UPC, Code 39, Code 128, and QR codes, among others. Both scanners have the hardware and software to read and decode different barcode types. 

The versatility of barcode scanners allows businesses to utilise them with different products, labels, and barcode formats specific to their respective industries.

Application Integration

Wired and wireless barcode scanners are designed to integrate seamlessly with various systems and applications. The scanners can be connected to computers, point-of-sale (POS) systems, mobile devices, or other compatible devices. 

This integration enables the scanners to transmit the decoded barcode data directly to the connected device, allowing for real-time inventory management, product lookup, or data entry tasks. 

Industry Applications

Both corded and cordless devices find applications across various industries. They are commonly used in retail, logistics, manufacturing, and healthcare, offering various scanning modes. 

Both types of scanners help streamline processes such as inventory management, stock control, and product identification, improving operational efficiency and reducing errors.

Wireless vs Wired Barcode Scanners - The Difference

List of nine differences between wired barcode scanners and wireless barcode scanners

Now that we have discussed the similarities between wired and wireless barcode scanners let’s delve into their differences.

  • Connection
  • Reliability
  • Battery Operations
  • Interference
  • Mobility
  • Flexibility
  • In-built Memory
  • Connectivity
  • Maintenance and Durability
  • Cost


Corded scanners establish a direct connection to a computer or device using a cable, typically a USB connection, ensuring a reliable and stable relationship and eliminating the need for pairing or interference concerns.

On the other hand, cordless barcode scanners utilise technologies like Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to establish a connection with the computer or device. The scanners provide the convenience of freedom from cables, allowing users to move around while scanning.


When it comes to reliability, wired scanners have the upper hand. Their direct connection ensures a consistent and uninterrupted data transfer, guaranteeing precise and immediate scanning results. 

On the other hand, wireless scanners rely on a wireless connection, which, despite advancements in technology, can be susceptible to interference or signal drops.

Battery Operations

Wired scanners do not require batteries since they draw power directly from the connected device. The feature eliminates the need for battery replacements or recharging, ensuring uninterrupted scanning operations. 

Whereas wireless scanners are powered by built-in batteries, providing mobility flexibility. However, the batteries need regular recharging and replacement, which can disrupt workflow efficiency if not appropriately managed. 


Wired scanners have a distinct advantage in terms of interference. Operating through a physical connection, they are not susceptible to interference from other devices, ensuring consistent scanning performance without external disruptions. 

Wireless barcode scanners are more vulnerable to interference from other wireless devices operating on the same frequency range. This susceptibility to interference can disrupt the scanning process and lead to errors.


Wired scanners have limited mobility due to tethered connection. Users are confined to the range of the cable, which can be restrictive in specific applications or environments. 

In contrast, wireless scanners offer enhanced mobility, enabling users to move while scanning. The flexibility proves particularly advantageous in large warehouses, retail spaces, or any scenario requiring on-the-go scanning capabilities.


Wired scanners have limited flexibility compared to wireless scanners. Their physical connection restricts their range and movement, making them more suitable for stationary or close-proximity scanning tasks. 

On the other hand, wireless scanners offer greater flexibility as cables do not constrain them. The scanner also allows scanning at various distances and angles, easily accommodating different scanning requirements.

In-Built Memory

Wired barcode scanners typically lack built-in memory for storing scanned data. They depend on an immediate connection to a computer or device to transfer and process data in real time. 

In contrast, wireless scanners often come equipped with built-in memory. It enables them to store scanned data when a connection to the computer or device is temporarily unavailable. The stored data can be synced when the connection is restored, providing added convenience and flexibility in data management.


Wired scanners offer a straightforward and hassle-free connectivity process. They usually require a simple plug-and-play setup, where no additional configurations or pairing are necessary. 

On the other hand, wireless scanners require an initial pairing process to establish a connection with the computer via Bluetooth directly. Although the process is generally simple, it involves additional steps such as scanning a pairing barcode or entering a PIN. 

Maintenance and Durability

Wired scanners excel in terms of durability. They require minimal maintenance and are built to withstand harsh environments. Wired barcode scanners, with their cables, can experience breakdowns over time or with extensive usage. Hence, they need to be replaced on time.


Wired scanners are generally more cost-effective compared to wireless scanners. Their simpler design and lack of other wireless technologies contribute to their affordability. 

In contrast, wireless scanners tend to be pricier due to the inclusion of wireless connectivity features. Additionally, the cost may include batteries and charging accessories, adding to the overall expense. 

Therefore, budget-conscious users will find wired scanners a more economical choice.

Key Considerations in Choosing Between Corded and Cordless Barcode Scanners

  • When deciding between corded and cordless scanners, the primary consideration is their intended use. A corded scanner is efficient for fixed points like a POS or the final stage of manufacturing or packaging. On the other hand, if you frequently need to move the scanner to different locations, a cordless scanner is the more suitable option.
  • When multiple employees need to use a scanner in different locations, a cordless scanner becomes ideal as it allows for seamless sharing without the constraints of cords or wires. However, a corded scanner will be sufficient if all employees use the scanner for the same task in the same place.
  • The scanner you choose will depend on your budget. While cordless scanners are typically more expensive than corded ones, it’s crucial to consider affordability when deciding. 

Advantages of Wired Barcode Scanners Over Wireless Barcode Scanners

List of six advantages of wired scanners over wireless scanners

Here are some advantages of wired scanners over wireless scanners. 

  • Reliability
  • Speed
  • Security
  • No Battery Concerns
  • Lower Cost
  • Reduced Maintenance


Wired barcode scanners are known for their consistent and reliable performance. They establish a direct connection to the computer or point-of-sale (POS) system, eliminating the potential for signal interference or repeated drops that can occur with wireless scanners.


Wired barcode scanners offer faster data transfer rates compared to wireless scanners. The wired connection allows for the immediate transmission of scanned information, resulting in quicker processing times and increased productivity.


Wired barcode scanners provide a higher level of security. Since they operate through a physical connection, there is a reduced risk of unauthorised access or interception of sensitive data during transmission, making them ideal for applications that involve confidential information.

No Battery Concerns

Wired scanners do not require batteries or frequent recharging. They draw power directly from the connected device, ensuring uninterrupted scanning operations and eliminating the need for downtime due to low battery levels or recharging requirements.

Lower Cost

Wired barcode scanners are more affordable compared to their wireless counterparts. They have a more straightforward design and do not require additional components like batteries or wireless transmitters, making them a cost-effective option for businesses with budget constraints.

Reduced Maintenance

Wired scanners have fewer components, reducing maintenance requirements. There are no wireless signal issues to troubleshoot, and there is less chance of damage or loss of small parts, leading to lower maintenance costs in the long run.

Advantages of Wireless Barcode Scanners Over Wired Barcode Scanners

Five points on benefits of wireless scanners over wired scanners

Here are some advantages of wireless scanners over wired scanners. 

  • Mobility
  • Convenience
  • Ease of Integration
  • Increased Efficiency
  • Scalability


Wireless barcode scanners provide greater freedom of movement and flexibility. They allow users to scan barcodes without being tethered to a computer or POS system, enabling efficient scanning in large or crowded spaces.


With wireless scanners, there are no cables to manage or restrict movement. Users can quickly scan barcodes from various angles or positions, making them well-suited for applications where the barcode may be located in hard-to-reach or awkward positions.

Ease of Integration

Wireless scanners typically use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology to connect with devices, making them compatible with a wide range of devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and POS systems. They can be quickly paired with the desired device with the initial pairing process.

Increased Efficiency

Wireless barcode scanners enhance productivity by enabling real-time data transmission. The scanned information is immediately sent to the connected device, allowing faster processing, inventory updates, and streamlined workflows. 


Wireless barcode scanning systems can be easily scaled up or expanded. Additional scanners can be added to the network without complex wiring or infrastructure modifications, making them a flexible option for growing businesses or those with changing scanning requirements.

The Final Verdict

The choice between wired and wireless barcode scanners ultimately depends on your business’s needs and priorities.

Wired scanners offer reliability, speed, and security, making them ideal for applications that require a stable and consistent scanning experience. On the other hand, wireless scanners provide mobility, convenience, and versatility, allowing users to move freely and scan barcodes from various angles.

Ultimately, the right choice depends on your needs, budget, and working environment. Whether you opt for wired or wireless barcode scanners, selecting the right scanning solution is crucial to optimise your business operations and achieving maximum barcode scanning efficiency.

Thanks for reading! 

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