Barcode Vs. QR Code: What’s the Difference?

Barcode Vs. QR Code: What’s the Difference?

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What is a Barcode?
  3. Barcode components
  4. Types of Barcodes
  5. Advantages of Barcodes
  6. Disadvantages of Barcodes
  7. What is a QR Code?
  8. Advantages of QR Code
  9. Disadvantages of QR Code
  10. Factors to consider for choosing between QR code and Bar code
  11. Conclusion


Businesses nowadays are aligning with the fast-moving world, so they are integrating technology into their workflow. They use QR codes and Bar codes for efficient data collection to achieve the most in their business operations.

It can also improve overall productivity throughout their workflow and elevate customer satisfaction by providing them with a hassle-free experience while they shop and checkout.

This blog is all about the usage and differences between Bar codes and QR codes which eventually will provide you an overview of what you can consider for enhancing your business flow.

2. What is a Barcode?


Barcode is a technology developed by Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver in 1951. They have a storage capacity of fewer than 100 characters and are used by businesses to enhance their daily business flow.
Barcodes are for capturing data on a large scale in significantly less time. They are a series of black and white bars of different sizes, spacing, and distances.
Barcodes are placed on a square or rectangular Barcode Label frame, data is stored in the spaces between the bars. Later, the barcode scanner will scan the barcode and decode the data stored.

3. Barcode Components

Barcode components

A barcode consists of several components such as:

  • Start/Stop Character:
    These are the characters on the barcode that represent the beginning and end of the barcode data, it can be different depending on the type of barcode used.
  • Quiet Zone:
    They are the empty spaces at either side of the barcode symbol.
  • Data Characters:
    These are the pattern of bars that encode data.
  • Check Digit: :
    This confirms that the data stored in the bar code is accurate.

4. Types Of Bar Codes

Two types of bar codes are used extensively across businesses such as 1 Dimensional and 2 Dimensional bar codes.

  1. 1-Dimensional Bar codes
    One-dimensional or 1D bar codes are also known as liner codes that can store data horizontally in the spaces between the black and white bars. To know more about the types of barcode labels, refer to our guide: Cracking the Code: Decoding the magic of barcode labels in supply chain efficiency.

  2. 2-Dimensional Bar Codes
    Two-dimensional or 2-D barcodes are also known as matrix barcodes. They are where the data is stored in both horizontal and vertical configurations. This uses graphics such as dots, squares, etc. for storing data.

5. Advantages of Barcode

The advantages of barcodes that can enhance the overall business flow are:
  • Easy to Create: Bar codes are easy to create and print from Barcode Label Printers and consist of individual passenger information, airline services, product info in the inventory, bank details, etc.
  • Easy Placement: Barcodes are placed on square or rectangle Barcode Labels and they can also work swiftly.
  • Accepted: The bar code is universally accepted across all business domains and makes all the processes swift and within a fraction of a second it can perform duties.
  • Ease of Access: Bar codes can be scanned from the barcode scanners easily and can read the information quickly.

6. Disadvantages of Barcode

Apart from advantages, there are a few disadvantages of using bar codes on a large scale, keep a check on it:

  • Data restriction:
    Bar codes can store a limited amount of data due to their configuration.
  • Scanning:
    Bar codes can only be scanned horizontally which can hinder the productivity in fixing the sides before scanning.
  • Less Tech Support:
    Bar codes can’t be scanned by mobile devices, they need special scanners for encoding stored information.

7. What is a QR Code?

QR code

QR codes are also known as Quick Response Codes which can help store more data as compared to the barcode labels.  These new age codes were developed by the Japanese automotive company in 1994 called Denso Wave to improve the efficiency of QR scanning systems.

They have data in both horizontal and vertical directions, the more data the QR code has, the more busy it will appear. These are two-dimensional bar codes which be designed in grid form containing black and white squares, dots, etc.

Along with this, QR Codes can contain ample information from images, videos, and other files that need to be secured.

8. Advantages of QR Code

There are a few advantages of QR codes as they are widely accepted, they are listed below:
  • Storage: QR codes can store a maximum amount of data which can contain a wide variety of files and other configured files required.
  • Ease of Access: QR Codes can be scanned from mobile devices and any angle or placement.
  • Durability: QR Codes are highly durable and can scan successfully even if they are damaged or distorted due to their design.
  • Secured: QR codes appear to be encryption, so the user can store private files and can also be scanned in a suitable environment.

9. Disadvantages of QR Codes

  • Lack of Support: QR Codes are a fairly new technology that can be scanned and stored in the latest devices.

  • Placement: The QR code should be placed at a stationary position for a suitable scanning experience.
  • Untraceable: The security standards used in developing QR codes make it difficult to track the user journey, as a result, third-party applications can’t hinder the past usage of one QR code.

10. Factors to consider for choosing between Bar codes and QR codes

Factors to consider for choosing between Bar codes and QR codes

Several factors should be observed before trying out the swift scanning options such as bar codes and QR codes

  • Data Capacity:
    Bar codes usually can store limited data such as 50 characters per code, while QR codes can store more than 4000 characters.
    If your business needs to encode more information, like URLs, etc. QR codes are for you, otherwise, Bar codes are widely accepted.

  • Scanning Technology:
    Traditional barcode scanners can only scan bar codes whereas QR codes can be scanned by the mobile devices themselves.

  • Error Correction:
    QR codes are designed to have built-in error correction technology, they can scan if QR codes are damaged.
    On the other hand, Bar codes are more susceptible to scanning errors if damaged. So, you can check manually while scanning.

  • Target Audience:
    Considering the audience the business caters to or the customers you interact with, individual scannings such as in inventory or retail store bar codes can be helpful.
    If your customers carry smartphones, then QR codes are good to go for a hassle-free experience.

  • Space Restrictions:
    Barcodes generally take up less space when placed on a package, they are space-efficient.
    If your retail packages are small, so bar codes can be a perfect fit for storing order information and packaging details.

QR codes and Bar Codes are both used for storing data as per the requirements of the business such as in inventory, retail store, or customer-facing airline services, etc.
The vast usage of these modern scanning technologies can enhance the overall business flow and elevate customer satisfaction.

If you are the inventory supplier or want to improve the custom checkout experience from your retail store, you can visit our collection Labeling Solutions, we are the leading barcode printer supplier and have a wide variety of barcode labels that can align with your need to elevate the overall business processes.


One-dimensional (1D) barcodes, such as UPC and EAN codes, can only store a limited amount of data horizontally. In contrast, two-dimensional (2D) barcodes, like QR codes and Data Matrix codes, can store much more information both horizontally and vertically, making them more versatile for various applications.

Most modern barcode scanners are capable of reading both linear (1D) barcodes and two-dimensional (2D) codes like QR codes. However, dedicated QR codes or smartphone apps may provide better performance and reliability when scanning QR codes, especially in challenging environments or with low-quality codes.

QR codes can be a secure method of storing and sharing data for businesses, but proper precautions must be taken. It’s important to validate the source of QR codes and implement security measures to prevent malicious attacks, such as phishing or the spread of malware. Additionally, sensitive information should be encrypted before encoding it into a QR code.

When choosing between a handheld or fixed-mount barcode scanner, consider factors such as the scanning environment, the distance required for scanning, the mobility needs of your workers, and the volume of items that need to be scanned. Handheld scanners offer flexibility and mobility, while fixed-mount scanners are ideal for high-volume scanning operations at specific locations like checkout counters or conveyor belts.

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