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Decoding Zebra Barcode Scanners

As we have talked about a lot in the past, a barcode scanner is a device that is used to capture and read the information that is encoded within a barcode. Before looking exclusively at Zebra barcode scanners  we are going to go back to basics and learn about the three types of scanning.

It is so important to understand the three types of scanning to ensure you purchase the correct scanner for your application.

Laser Scanner

The main and only function of a laser scanner is to read 1D printed barcodes. Typically, it does not have the capability to read 1D mobile barcodes, nor does it have the functionality to read 2D barcodes, or capture images.

A laser scanner, will however preform well on barcodes of poor quality and there are omni-directional 1D scanners available in hands-free models. They are a decent, affordable option for standard, good quality 1D printed barcodes.

Linear Imager

A linear imager reads 1D printed barcodes, as well as 1D mobile barcodes. Although it will not scan 2D barcodes not will it capture images.

A linear imager is the perfect solution for high density codes, and they also have the capabilities to scan and read poor quality barcodes. It is important to bear in mind though that linear imagers are not omni-directional.

Digital Scanners/Array Imager

An array imager reads 1D and 2D printed barcodes and mobile barcodes. The majority of them also have the functionality to capture images.

They also perform well on poor quality or high density barcodes, and offer omni-directional scanning.

It is worth noting that array imagers can be optimised to support signature data capture, OCR, direct part marks and document capture.


So now that we have the basics down, onto the more complicated bit. When you are looking at Zebra barcode scanners they typically have a sequence of letters before and after the model number. For example there is the Zebra DS3578-ER. This terminology can be quite intimidating if you don’t have any idea what it means.  So we are going to decode this for you.


The prefixes are the two letters that come before the model number. On Zebra scanners they are:

  • LS – Laser Scanner
  • LI – Linear Imager
  • DS – Digital Scanner/Array Imager


The suffixes are the two letters that come after the model number. On Zebra scanners they stand for:

  • FZ – Fuzzy Logic technology allows the barcode scanner to read poor and damaged barcodes quite easily.
  • EAS – This means that the scanner is Integrated into a work station. 
  • eas – This means that the barcode scanner has the Option to Integrate into a work station.
  • HD – This scanner reads High Density barcodes.
  • HP – High Performance barcode scanners read barcodes with uncompromising speed, accuracy and data integrity.
  • XD – Extreme Density barcode scanners perform great on tiny compact barcodes.
  • DC – This feature allows the scanner to perform a Document Capture.
  • HC – Scanner is recommended for the Healthcare Industry.
  • DP – Direct Part Marking scanners are equipped with the technology to read barcodes etched directly on materials such as plastic or metal.
  • PD – PDF417 scanners can read stacked barcodes.
  • DL – Driver License scanners can read and decode the information on a driver license.
  • HL- High Density with DL Parsing means that the scanner can not only read high density barcodes but it can also split the data and manipulate the data in some way.


The codes for ranges is typically found after the model numbers. On Zebra scanners they stand for:

  • CR – Scans at a Close Range
  • SR – Scans at a Standard Range
  • MR – Scans at a Mid Range
  • ER – Scans at an Extended Range

ADC Barcode is involved in the supply of  barcode scannersbarcode label printersbarcode verifiers and label applicators. We also provide custom softwareEPOS systems & hardwareRFID and wireless networking technology amongst other professional services. Get in touch now and obtain more information.

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