Importance of Handheld Scanner for Inventory Management

Handheld Scanner

A handheld scanner is an electronic device that performs the task of scanning documents similarly to a flatbed scanner but is designed to be physically handheld. It is used for scanning physical documents and converting them electronically to be displayed, stored, edited, and transferred on computers or other devices. Handheld scanners are favored for their portability and space-saving capacity.

These scanners are extensively utilized in the digital printing of documents. Despite being considered lower quality compared to other types of scanners, their popularity stems from their compact size and affordability. The functionality of handheld scanners mirrors that of other scanners, scanning objects by moving across them and capturing data securely. Certain guidelines, such as careful handling during operation and maintaining a straight position for accurate scanning, are recommended.

Handheld scanners often come with added features like definitions, translations, and the ability to read printed texts, along with saving and transferring scanned data to a main computer or device.

Features of a Handheld Scanner

- Light in weight and comfortable to use.

- Equipped with a scanning engine for quick barcode and QR code reading.

- Capable of accurately and efficiently reading damaged barcodes, bubble bag barcodes, long-distance, and mobile phone screens.

- Intelligent recognition of repeated tags/codes.

- Supports real-time data transmission with multimedia, WiFi, and Bluetooth capabilities.

Types of Handheld Scanners

Barcode Scanner: These scanners are preferred for their ease of use and portability. Designed like a handgun, they emit light beams to scan codes. They can be corded or cordless and support various barcode dimensions. They are also compatible with Android or iOS devices.

RFID Scanner: Employed widely in organizations, mobile RFID scanners offer a good return on investment by enabling users to take technology to the shop floor or warehouse. They are efficient for asset tracking and other field applications without the need to move heavy objects for scanning.

Smartphone as a Handheld Scanner: Smartphones, with their shock-resistant design and scanning capabilities, serve as versatile devices supporting a broad range of applications for field employees. They facilitate constant communication and have revolutionized scanning flexibility and power.

Despite their many benefits, some businesses opt for dedicated scanning devices over smartphones due to reasons like the absence of BYOD requirements, better durability, functionality, and integration, and the avoidance of employee interference.

Pros and Cons of Using a Handheld Scanner


- Suitable for scanning bulky items without the need for lifting.

- Ideal for inventory management in stores or warehouses due to their lightweight design.

- Cost-effective and versatile for various operations.


- Limited effective scanning range, not suitable for items placed at significant heights.

- Requires a direct line of sight to the barcode for effective scanning.


Handheld scanners offer significant advantages for both business and personal use, simplifying document scanning and management, especially during travel. Their compact size and versatility make them invaluable in times of business or personal emergencies.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a handheld scanner used for?

A handheld scanner scans documents, images, and tags, converting physical documents electronically for digital storage, editing, transferring, and emailing.

Difference between a flatbed scanner and a handheld scanner?

Flatbed scanners have a flat surface for scanning documents in a single pass, while handheld scanners are portable, smaller, and less expensive.

Can a mobile phone be used as a scanner?

Yes, a smartphone camera can function as a scanner for documents or asset tags.

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