What is the Difference Between a Barcode and a QR Code?

Difference Between Barcode and QR Code

Barcodes and QR codes are two types of systems that can be used to store various types of data.

The primary distinction between a barcode and a QR code is that a barcode can only store data in one dimension, whereas a QR code is capable of storing data in two dimensions.

Although the two technologies have progressed over time, there are still some differences that make each one best suited for specific applications than others.

Here, we will first look at the difference between a barcode and a QR code, followed by a brief explanation of what a barcode and a QR code are.

What is a barcode?

A barcode is a square or rectangular image composed of parallel black lines and white spaces. This data representation can be read by machines. In stores, barcodes are extremely useful for processing purchases. They aid in the identification of products in seconds.

Also, these codes can be used to keep track of inventory in warehouses. In many shops and businesses, barcodes aid in the accounting process. There are different types of barcodes based on their application.

They provide several advantages in the sales process, including improved accuracy, immediate date availability, low-cost implications, and better inventory control.

Advantages of barcode

The following are the advantages or benefits of barcodes:

  • It enables accurate and rapid data collection in real-time using barcode readers.
  • It allows for faster data entry operations with fewer errors.
  • It is a mature and tested technology.
  • It is less costly.
  • It is lighter and smaller than RFID tags, and it is simple to use.

Recommended Read: Government Mandate About GST Compliant Dynamic QR Codes – How It Affects Your Business

Disadvantages of barcode

The following are some of the drawbacks of barcodes:

  • To decode a barcode, a special device called a barcode scanner is required, which emits light and accumulates reflected light.
  • A barcode scanner or reader is used in conjunction with computers or POS terminals.
  • Barcodes do not support read/write operations.
  • It necessitates scanning of the optical line of sight (LOS).
  • It is time-consuming because each item must be scanned individually.
  • It is less secure than RFID, which is easily forged.
  • It is vulnerable to environmental degradation.
  • Damaged or crinkled barcodes may cause scanning issues.

What is a QR code?

A quick response code, also known as a QR code, is a type of barcode that includes machine-readable details about the item to which it is attached. A QR code, unlike a standard barcode, is two-dimensional, containing information in both vertical and horizontal directions.

QR codes comprise a wealth of data. Everyone, from large corporations to the local grocery store, can generate their QR code and bind it to their products.

With the rise of smartphones, QR codes have grown in popularity in the last decade. Many QR code scanner smartphone apps are available for free download.

So, when you see a QR code, simply scan it with your phone’s app; the app usually uses the phone’s main camera to scan the code, and the preset action associated with the code is triggered, like launching a web page, sending a tweet, downloading an app, etc.

Advantages of QR code

The following are the advantages or benefits of QR codes:

  • QR codes can encode almost any type of data, including numeric, alphabetic, special, and binary data. They can be scanned using a camera in a smartphone or any phone that has scanning capability.
  • QR codes enable exceptionally fast scanning.
  • The QR code, like some other 2-d barcodes, has high fault tolerance. Even if some of the code is destroyed, information could still be extracted from it.
  • Unlike 1-d barcodes, it can store a large amount of information.

Disadvantages of QR code

The following are some of the drawbacks of QR codes:

  • Smartphones used for scanning QR codes are frequently more expensive than simpler phones.
  • As a comparatively new barcode type, users are unfamiliar with its application. To fully grasp the concept, training is required.
  • It is not very aesthetically pleasing; unlike 1-d barcodes, it includes random patterns of square boxes that may not look appealing on products.

Recommended Read: RBI’s PIDF to Support Setting Up of 2.5 Lakh POS Terminals & 55 Lakh QR Code Acceptance Points

Difference between barcode and QR code

The main differences between barcode and QR code are as follows:

S. No.DifferentiatorBarcodeQR Code
1Year of inception19521994
2DeveloperNorman JosephMasahiro Hara
3TypesThere are two types – 1D and 2DThere is only 1 type of a QR code
4Storing formatIt’s a method of storing numbers in a printed and computer-readable format.It is a 2D barcode or printed data representation capable of retrieving data when scanned.
5Use caseIt is used in stores to track all bought items, in hospitals to track patient records, in the rental car industry, and in the tracking of airline luggage, mail, and nuclear waste.It is used for transferring data such as videos, photos, contacts, and documents at supermarkets, hospitals, cinemas, and by individuals.
6Storage capacityMore than 100 bytes2 kilobytes
7How is the information stored?Information is stored horizontally.Information is stored both horizontally and vertically.
8AppearanceIt is a vertical grid of lines (as per the standard version).It is a pattern of square dots on square grids.

Barcode or QR code: the bottom line

There are many applications where there is no clear winner between barcodes and QR codes. When you only want to store a product identification number or attach information about a product or item in a database, barcodes are a good choice.

When it comes to storing large amounts of data and making that information accessible to other users who do not have access to the database where the extra information is stored, QR codes are a useful resource.

They are also a space-saving option when you need to provide quick access to the product specifications, procedures, or instruction manuals but don’t have enough room on the item for bigger labels and signage.

A thorough examination of your application requirements, the viability of including additional labels and signage for compliance, regulatory compliance concerns, and your barcode scanning technology (or capacity to upgrade to the necessary scanning technology) will assist you in choosing the best symbology for your needs.

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