Choosing the kind of code to use on your barcode and UID plates can be somewhat daunting if you are unsure of the kind of code that best suits your particular needs. There are so many, after all, for you to choose from. Which of these codes are best for your particular needs and which ones do most people choose to use for their own businesses? What are the differences between 2D codes and linear ones and which type is best for you?
Let us first understand what 2D codes are and what linear codes are. Linear codes are those codes you see with lines that run parallel to each other, some with numbers at the bottom, and some without 2D codes are those that come in the shape of squares, diamonds, and other shapes, and are composed of small squares, dots, or combinations of shapes. The difference between these two is in the amount of data each type carries, with 2D types capable of carrying more data in them than linear types.
Linear barcodes come in many different variants, which include Code128, Code93, Code39, EAN, Code11, Code25 (which include interleaved and non-interleaved 2 of 5), and so on. 2D codes, on the other hand, come in variants that include Aztec code, Data Matrix, EZ Code, and Maxi Code, among many others. These variants vary from one to the other, with specific companies opting for specific types for their needs. For instance, glove makers choose to use the 2D code D-Touch primarily because even when the gloves are stretched and the codes are distorted, these can still be scanned and read effectively.
When it comes to the more popularly used codes, here are some examples for linear and 2D formats:
Code 39 – this linear barcode is one of the more popular types used for many purposes, but is more prevalently used by the US Department of Defense and the automotive industry. This code allows users to encode 39 characters when the bars are being scanned.
Code 128 – while the Code 39 barcode can encode 39 characters, the 128 in this code does not mean that it can hold 128 characters, but rather the linear barcode can hold any of the 128 ASCII characters. This is often used with logistics, transportation, and ordering. Rarely used with POS products.
EAN 8 and EAN 13 – this is what you commonly see on products that you buy, and are scanned when you buy the item. Smaller items usually utilize the EAN 8 and bigger ones can use the EAN 13, as per the available space for each, with the former carrying only 8 digits and the latter carrying 13 digits.
Data Matrix – this 2D code is probably the one you see most often, and this comes in a square shape with square dots that can carry information in them. These are often used by healthcare companies and electronics manufacturers due to the fact that despite its minuscule size, it can carry a huge amount of data in it.
QR Codes – QR stands for Quick Response, and is a code that is often used for online marketing and for use with smartphones. Simply scan the code with your smartphone and you will find yourself going to a website via the link embedded in the code. This was also used by BlackBerry for adding Blackberry Messenger contacts with.