What is an industrial barcode scanner?

A barcode reader or barcode scanner is an input device that captures and reads the information contained in a barcode. Barcodes come in a range of 1D or 2D symbologies and are used to track almost every item in industry and commerce. Barcode readers decipher the encoded data to trace parts or shipments, manage inventory, verify product authenticity, and other uses. 

Barcode readers acquire and report vast amounts of information quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively. They are the backbone of industrial connectivity, from factory automation to point of sale (POS) at retail stores.  

Laser barcode scanners, like RF guns or raster laser scanners, are still used in retail. However, manufacturing and logistics companies have switched to image-based barcode readers for their robustness, reliability, and ability to read 2D codes. Image-based barcode readers consist of a light, an optical lens, a high-definition sensor, image-processing algorithms, and a network connection that communicates with industrial protocols.  

Any business that handles inventory, sells products, manufactures parts, tracks and manages shipping, has products with expiration dates, generates reports for regulators, or wants to improve and expand operations must base its information system on barcodes and industrial barcode readers.

Benefits of Cognex Barcode Scanners

Cognex’s extensive line of industrial barcode readers are durable, reliable, and deliver industry-leading read rates. Our barcode readers decode all types of 1D and 2D codes and marking methods, from printed labels to the hardest to read direct part mark (DPM) codes, even for codes with limited contrast, significant damage, or missing elements.

Cognex is the brand of choice thanks to advanced technology, modular options, rugged design, and intuitive set up. Plus, Cognex barcode readers contain no moving parts that can wear out or fail, making them ideal for industrial settings.


No matter the application, Cognex barcode sensors help you reduce costs, optimize performance, increase throughput, and control traceability. Cognex offers fixed-mount, handheld, verifiers, and ESD-safe scanners.


Fixed-Mount Barcode Scanners

Stationary barcode readers offer the necessary speed and accuracy for high-speed, high-volume scanning in distribution centers, warehouses, and manufacturing lines. These hands-free barcode scanners are rugged, space efficient, and easily integrated with conveyor systems.

Handheld Barcode Scanners

Handheld corded or wireless barcode readers are ideal for retail environments, smaller operations, or for moving around the warehouse. Mobile barcode scanners are ergonomically designed, easy to use, cost-effective, and can be quickly deployed without complex integration.

Barcode Verifiers

Barcode verification scanners are calibrated devices that grade the quality of 1D and 2D codes according to ISO or ANSI standards and are essential to barcode tracking systems. High quality optics, advanced algorithms, and easy to use software ensure compliance with industry standard guidelines.

ESD-Safe cover

ESD-Safe Barcode Scanners

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) can damage or destroy components in electronics manufacturing, start fires, and cause data loss. An ESD-safe barcode reader combines ESD-safe plastics for all enclosure parts with an antistatic coating for all optical parts to prevent electrostatic discharge.


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