Most Common Barcode Types: Choose The Right Barcode

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You must be familiar with the most common barcode types if you work in the manufacturing or rental business. There are many questions raised by that piece of information. What do barcodes do? 

Which are the most common barcode types? How many different types of barcodes exist? In this article, we’ll address all of your inquiries.

A barcode is a printed set of parallel lines used to enter data into a computer system. Most store items have a label on their packaging. Lines and various numbers on this label are used to collect data about the product.

Barcodes come in a wide variety of forms, making it challenging to distinguish between them. Here is a detailed list of every form of a barcode. So, let’s explore it. 

Some Major Aspects of a Standard Barcode Type

Before knowing about different types of barcodes, you need to learn about some significant aspects. It makes perfect sense to use barcodes to manage your rental inventory

Not only does it cut down on your time spent in the stock room, but it also eliminates human mistakes and increases the dependability of your rental operations.

We frequently receive inquiries about the best sorts of barcodes as more and more rental companies begin to recognize their usefulness. There is no clear-cut response to this topic. 

There is no established format for barcodes. However, depending on how they are made, they do have unique qualities. In the following respects, several barcode types differ from one another:

  • Size
  • Capacity
  • Material used
  • Linearity
  • Requirement of checksum

It is the number to the barcode’s extreme right. To ensure accurate findings, scanners execute calculations on the checksum’s digits. You hear the scanner beep if the outcomes are accurate. 

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Moreover, you may choose the most appropriate barcode format for you by being aware of these variables, which vary depending on the type and usage of the barcode.

What Are the Most Common Barcode Types?

most common barcode type

Now, you have come to the core section of this article. In this section, you will learn about the most common barcode type. 

UPC (Universal Product Codes) is one of the most widely used barcode kinds. Retail products are labeled with the help of this barcode. Almost every sale item in the market and in every grocery store in the US has it. It is a 12-digit number with just numeric characters. 

Moreover, the first six digits of the barcode are unique numbers that GS1 assigns to each product. The following five digits are assigned by the product’s maker. Each product has a distinct UPC that is used by its producers to identify it. 

So, let’s examine the traits of the most common ones to help you understand how they operate in practice. 

Types of One-Dimensional Barcode

One-dimensional (or 1D) barcodes use different parallel line widths and spacings to consistently express data. In order to speed up workflows for inventory, 1D barcodes are frequently used in enterprise operations.

These include some of the oldest and most well-known kinds of barcodes, like the UPC and EAN codes. Linear barcodes are another name for 1D barcodes that are frequently used.

A one-dimensional barcode’s length is exactly proportional to the amount of data it can store. Users must therefore limit each code’s character count to between 8 and 15.

UPC Code  

Generally in the United States, but also in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and other nations, UPC (Universal Product Code) barcodes are used to label and scan consumer goods at points of sale. 

Twelve numerical digits are encoded by the UPC-A variant, but only six are encoded by the UPC-E variant. When a product is scanned at the register, the objective of this barcode in the context of retail is to make it simple for users to identify particular product qualities. 

UPC codes speed up inventory tracking in retailers and warehouses in addition to speeding up the checkout process. UPCs make it possible to track products accurately and effectively from production to distribution.

EAN-13 and EAN-8

European Article Numbers could seem quite familiar to people living outside of the United States. They are used primarily in Europe for consumer products that are scanned at a POS. 

The standard form factor is EAN-13, which has thirteen digits, while EAN-8 is used on products with a small amount of available space. Both models are convenient for scanning rental goods and don’t take up much room.

Every time you purchase food, clothing, or just about any other item, an EAN-13 or EAN-8 is almost certainly present.

Code 39

This barcode allows the use of digits and characters. Its name was derived from the fact that it could only encode around 39 characters. Code 39 barcodes, often known as Code 3 of 9, are frequently used by the U.S. Department of Defense and the automotive sector to label products across many different industries.

However, The low data density of Code 39 is one of its drawbacks. For that reason, the number has now increased to 43. It allows the use of both numerals and characters and got its name from the fact that it could only encode 39 characters although the character set has been expanded to 43 in the most recent version.

These barcodes are not appropriate for very small goods and assets tracking due to the size requirements. Code 39 is still a popular and useful option, though, in part because it does not need the creation of a check digit.

Code 128

This particular barcode is more recent. It has the ability to encrypt any character in the ASCII 128-character set. Ordering and distribution use Code 128 barcodes, which are high-density, compact codes used in the logistics and transportation sectors.

You can utilize a variety of characters because it can encode integers, letters, and pronunciation marks. Because of this, it is a strong barcode that can hold virtually any type of data.

Code 128’s high data density is its main benefit. These barcodes are perfect for identifying shipping or packaged containers and objects since they can hold substantial amounts of linear data in a small package.

They are designed for non-POS products, such as when supply chain applications serial ship container codes on units (SSCC). It is mostly used for the distribution of orders, transportation, and logistics.


This barcode was developed as a data carrier to make it easier for organizations to send information to one another. Retail establishments employ GS1 DataBar barcodes to identify customer coupons, produce, and perishables, as well as small goods in the healthcare sector. 

It comes with a collection of application identifiers that allow it to describe the meaning of the data as well as encode it. Compared to ordinary barcodes used by consumers, they are smaller. Since its debut in 2001, GS1 DataBar has been required for all retail coupons in the United States.

GS1 DataBar codes have a lot of potential advantages. Additionally, GS1 codes help customers at self-checkout kiosks have quicker and more pleasant checkout experiences. These codes facilitate scanning workflows that are quicker and more effective in patient care settings. 

ITF-14 (Interleaved 2 OF 5) 

This particular barcode is a hybrid of logistical and point-of-sale barcodes. It is capable of handling high printing tolerances and employs a 14-digit number. 

All across the world, packing materials are marked with ITF (or Interleaved 2 of 5) barcodes. They are perfect for printing on corrugated cardboard since they can handle high printing tolerances. 

ITF barcodes utilize the entire ASCII character set and encrypt 14 numeric digits. This is very helpful if you need to print barcodes on cardboard. This barcode is typically used for transactions involving non-POS (point of sale) products.

This self-checking code is a strong tool for encoding information on product packaging as a result. The Interleaved 2 of 5 barcode does not need a check digit, but it can only encode numbers, not letters.


The Codabar barcodes are utilized by logistical and medical professionals, including FedEx, picture shops, libraries, and American blood banks. Their key advantage is that they can be created by any impact-style printer, even a typewriter, and are simple to print. 

As a result, people can generate several Codabar codes by employing a series of consecutive integers without a computer. With an additional four start/stop characters, Codabar is a discrete, self-checking symbology that can encode up to 16 separate characters.

Codabar barcodes have the benefits of being simple to scan and self-checking, which minimizes code entry mistakes. But newer coding formats, which enable more data to be stored in a much smaller size, are gradually replacing Codabar codes. 

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Nevertheless, Codabar is still widely utilized in the logistics industry, the medical field, and even in schools where the code is printed on the backs of library books. 

MSI Plessey

MSI Plessey (Modified Plessey) barcodes are used to label supermarket shelves and control inventory in retail settings. 

In order to facilitate precise inventory checking, they are also utilized throughout warehouses and other storage facilities. MSI Plessey codes can be generated at any length and can only encode integers. 

Therefore, they can encode almost any quantity of data. Additionally, compared to newer, more affordable barcodes, its binary format is less trustworthy and effective.

Types of 2d barcodes

Two-dimensional or 2D, barcodes use two-dimensional shapes and symbols to systematically express data. They resemble a linear 1D barcode but may hold more data in a smaller space.

Some more recent barcode forms, including the QR Code and PDF417, are 2D barcodes. The error-protection formulae included in 2D barcodes are another significant benefit. 

These codes are intended to maintain data integrity and scannability even after it has been torn, scratched, or otherwise damaged. Due to this characteristic, 2D barcodes are ideally suited to more demanding, rapid scanning applications.

QR Code

Advertising, magazines, and business cards are some of the media where QR codes are most frequently utilized for tracking and marketing purposes. 

Despite not being readable by a laser scanner, they can be read quickly, have a flexible size, and have high fault tolerance. QR codes are incredibly versatile. They can encode practically any type of data and can be scanned on almost any device with scanning capability, even low-cost smartphones

Four different data formats are supported by QR codes: numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, and even Kanji. They are in the public domain and are open for use. Additionally, QR codes have outstanding fault tolerance, which enables users to decode data even if a section of the code is broken.

Data matrix bar code

Datamatrix codes have high fault tolerance, just like many other 2D barcodes. Typically, Data Matrix codes are used to mark small objects, products, and documents. They are perfect for little products in logistics and operations because of their compact footprint. 

In fact, they are advised to be used to label small electronic components by the U.S. Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA). They have high fault tolerance and quick readability, just like QR codes.

Since Data Matrix codes have a high data density, they are less invasive on goods and resources. Additionally, they are made to be viewable at low resolution and in less-than-optimal scanning positions. 

AZTEC Barcode

The transportation sector frequently uses Aztec codes, especially for tickets and boarding cards. When tickets are printed incorrectly or displayed on a phone, the barcodes can still be read even if they have poor resolution. 

In contrast to certain other 2D barcode kinds, they can also be smaller because they don’t need a blank quiet zone around them. Aztec barcodes use very little space. They have good error correction to avoid scanning errors and can store enormous amounts of data while still being relatively tiny. 

These codes are nevertheless an effective tool for transportation, healthcare, and other industries even though they don’t support the same number of characters as QR codes.


Applications that need to store enormous volumes of data, such as photos, fingerprints, and signatures, use PDF417 codes. They are significantly more effective than other 2D barcodes since they can store more than 1.1 kilobytes of machine-readable data. 

Similar to QR codes, PDF417 barcodes are free to use and in the public domain. Paper boarding passes and state-issued identification cards can both be made using these barcodes. 

PDF417 codes are suitable for a wide range of applications, including transportation and inventory management, because of their data efficiency.


Your decision over whether to use barcode scanning to manage your rental inventory will be influenced by a number of elements, including the product’s accessible surface area, the scanning environment, and the most common barcode type and quantity of data that must be stored.

Whichever model you choose, all of them will help you reach your goals of boosting productivity and lowering human error. You can connect with rental management software to get the most exclusive features of the barcode scanning system.


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