After lots of researching, experimenting, and price-checking, I think I’ve found the best Bluetooth barcode scanner for booksellers.
The most important quality in a Bluetooth scanner is reliability. You need your scanner to turn on when you need it to, and you need it to hold enough battery power to last for an entire day’s worth of sourcing.
The second most important quality is effectiveness. Some barcode scanners have a surprisingly difficult time scanning barcodes. You need your scanner to scan a barcode instantly. After all, that’s why you’re using a barcode scanner ‒ to drastically increase your sourcing speed.
The Bluetooth Barcode Scanner I Personally Recommend
After lots of testing, buying (and returning) subpar models, and experimenting with just about every reasonably priced Bluetooth barcode scanner on the market, I finally have a good recommendation. The Bluetooth Barcode Scanner that I recommend for most booksellers, and the one that I personally use, is the KDC200i 1D Bluetooth barcode scanner (available on Amazon.com).
I like the KDC200i for a few reasons:
- The battery lasts all day (and then some)
- It maintains a constant Bluetooth connection
- It instantly scans almost every barcode I put in front of it
- It’s highly customizable with a suite of internal settings
- It works seamlessly with both iPhone and Android devices
- It comes with a protective rubber case (great for protecting the scanner when you inevitably drop it)
- It’s small enough to comfortably velcro to the back of your phone
The battery lasts all day
When you’re in the middle of an intense, all-day book sourcing trip, the last thing you want is a dead barcode scanner. I’ve found that as long as you charge it up during the night, the KDC200i will last for an entire day’s worth of sourcing, with some a bit of extra battery power left over. When I say “day,” I’m talking 6-8 hours of constant scanning and maintaining a Bluetooth connection.
That’s probably plenty of juice for the vast majority of booksellers. If it isn’t, and you find yourself scanning more than that, I advise buying a portable USB charger to extend your battery’s life indefinitely.
It maintains a constant Bluetooth connection
One of the biggest issues had with the other scanners I tested (especially the Opticon) was their inability to maintain a constant Bluetooth connection.
I haven’t experienced this issue with the KDC200i. It stays connected to my phone throughout the entirety of my long sourcing trips, ensuring I have zero interruptions in my sourcing workflow.
It instantly scans most barcodes
Having the ability to instantly scan most barcodes is an essential feature in your barcode scanner, and it’s a task the KDC200i performs exceptionally well.
The only issues I encountered were with barcodes that any scanner would have trouble reading: like barcodes on counterfeit books, or blurry barcodes with extremely poor print quality.
It’s highly customizable
The KDC200i’s settings menu goes above and beyond what I found in the competition.
Here are a few of more useful the settings the KDC200i allows you to change right from the LED screen:
- Auto-delete scan history: your scanner’s memory will never max out and prevent you from scanning
- Auto trigger mode: the laser stays on permanently, so you don’t have to manually trigger it with a button press
- Toggle scanning sound on or off: useful if you want to be notified every time the scanner registers a barcode
- And many more… though I admit, most of the other options are pretty irrelevant for scanning books.
It works seamlessly with iPhone and Android devices
Though I now use an Android to source books, I used to use an iPhone. I found it easy to connect and maintain a Bluetooth connection on both my Android and my iPhone. This means you can switch from iPhone to Android (or vice versa) and not have to buy a new scanner.
It comes with a protective rubber case
This might seem like a minor detail, but I’ve found it extremely useful on a few occasions.
The most important (and fragile) part of the scanner is the glass that separates the laser from the rest of the world.
The plastic ridge separating the glass from the ground in the event of a fall is pretty thin. If you drop the scanner on some rocky ground, you stand a pretty good chance of cracking that glass
The rubber case that comes with the KDC200i adds an additional layer of protection between the glass and the ground. On top of that, the case can protect the exterior from scratches, which can help if you ever resell the scanner.
It’s not a huge deal, but you’ve got to take every advantage into account when you’re comparing products as similar as bluetooth barcode scanners.
It’s small enough to both comfortably hold it and velcro it to the back of your phone
If you source books for long enough, you’re going to notice an unspoken divide between booksellers: some velcro their scanners to their phones, and some place their phones in an armband and only palm the scanner.
Depending on how much you source, you could be using this scanner for multiple hours a day. It’s got to feel comfortable no matter how you hold it, and the KDC200i delivers in this regard.
If you need a Bluetooth barcode scanner to greatly increase the number of books you can scan per hour, the KDC200i is your best bet. It’s reliable, relatively affordable, and comes with customizable settings and neat features that other scanners lack.