Choosing the Right Barcode Label


Choosing the Right Barcode Label

Whether this is your first time buying barcode labels for your business or you have a new project that requires something different, there are many components to consider when choosing the right barcode. Here are some of the most common questions we’re asked on how to choose the right barcode for your needs.

Choosing the Right Barcode Label

What Are the Different Types of Barcodes?

In the broadest sense, there are two types of barcode: 1 Dimensional (1D) and 2 Dimensional (2D).

1D barcodes are the standard ones that most people recognise, consisting of a black and white combination of bars and numbers arranged horizontally, i.e. one dimensionally.

2D barcodes are a more recent development. They’re usually square in shape using an arrangement of squares rather than lines, as their data is stacked vertically as well as horizontally, i.e. two dimensionally. 2D barcodes include QR codes, which are gaining recognition and are easily read by smartphone cameras.


What Information Does a Barcode Hold? 

Data held in a 1D barcode is fairly limited to a product identity, which then links to a business database where more information can be found.

2D barcodes hold a lot more data, including price, stock availability, location, web addresses and contact details.


What Barcodes are used in Retail?

GTIN stands for Global Trade Item Number and is a unique identifier for goods in retail and distribution supply chains. There are four types of GTIN barcodes:

GTIN-13 and GTIN-8 (also known as EAN13 and EAN8 respectively)  Are the most common format of barcodes outside America. As the code would suggest, the GTIN13  uses a 13-digit code and the GITN8 uses an 8-digit code. GTIN-8 codes are specified on small products where a standard GTIN-13 barcode will not physically fit on the packaging.

GTIN-12 (also known as UPC-A ) GTIN12 is more commonly used in America, although both GTIN12 and GTIN13 GTIN8 barcodes are accepted worldwide.

GTIN14 (also known as ITF14 ) are used for outer case packaging  and used to identify goods as they are booked in and traded in wholesale environments. The GTIN14 number is usually derived fom the item level  GTIN12 or GTIN13, number. For example a tin of beans will have 13 digit GTIN number,  the outer carton containing 24 tins of beans with be identified with a GTIN14 number made up of the 13 digit item number with an additional carachter at the beginning to denote pack level
A single  Tin of Beans would have the following GTIN 13 5060250620002
An outer case of 24 cans  of the same beans  may have the following GTIN14  05060250620002
Not the added zero at the beginning denotes it’s an outer pack containing multiple units.


How Many Barcode Combinations Are There?

The reason barcodes are so universally useful is that there are so many combinations. As long as your barcodes are printed within the GS1 standards, every single product code is unique.

It has been estimated that there are 1 trillion possible combinations of standard UPC barcodes and the more modern 2D codes can have many more combinations, so we don’t need to worry about our options running out any time soon!


How Do I Choose the Right Barcode? 

Your barcode needs will be unique to you and your business, so there’s no simple answer to the best barcode for you. You need to consider the size of the product, its packaging, the environment it will be in, and how you’ll be storing and delivering the goods.

If you know what you need, you can order your retail barcode labels with us online quickly and easily.

If you have any queries or would like to place an order, contact Tanto Labels. We’re more than happy to advise on the best barcode choice for your business.

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