Barcode Scanner vs Verifier: Cost vs Value

 In Barcode Quality Training

Axicon Auto ID just re-released an excellent video, which first posted several years ago. It answers the very common, very important question, “What is the difference between a barcode scanner and a verifier.” The video correctly makes the case that there is a big difference, and explains the differences clearly and convincingly. I have an additional difference to add. Let’s start where most people end. Barcode scanners range in cost from about $100 to $1000. Off-line barcode verifiers range in cost from around $2000 to as much as $10,000. Inline verifiers start at around $25,000.

What is the difference between a barcode scanner and a verifier? The answer is “Thousands of dollars.” If that’s all you (think you) need to know, the day will come when you will re-think your belief that a verifier is too expensive.

Cost vs Valuebarcode blogs

The difference between a scanner and a verifier is indeed thousands of dollars. Many people will agree with that answer, and will interpret it to mean that a barcode verifier costs thousands of dollars more than a scanner. They are only half right. While the initial cost of a verifier could pay for approximately 10 times as many scanners, maybe even more, a verifier has a very significant value difference.

In the US, it is difficult to know actual cost of bad barcodes, but there are some insights. Automatic Identification Systems, Inc. claims that when a bad barcode stops an auto assembly line, it could cost $30,000 a minute. In a medical lab, a bad barcode on a sample costs over $700 to correct. This does not include patient safety or litigation costs.

RACO Industries, now Barcodes, Inc., claims that bad barcodes cost businesses millions of dollars in chargebacks and returned stock every year.


Did you know that chargebacks for bad barcodes cost about $5000 at the low end, and can cost as much as $40,000 and more? A barcode verifier will pay for itself many times over its service life. A barcode scanner will also earn its keep. But it will come incrementally over many years of use. And it will take many hundreds of scanners to accomplish any significant amount of revenue. One verifier, spot-checking the output from several printers or presses performs real risk management.

Is a high-speed fixed-mount verification system better than a manually operated offline verifier? Anybody in quality knows that one size never fits all. Select what is appropriate for your needs. But remember, automation costs more and takes longer to amortize.

If you have a sophisticated inline system, an ISO compliant off-line verifier does double duty in your QC arsenal.  It is critical backup and confirmation for your inline system, and provides the gold standard required when re-calibrating your inline system.

Esteban Lopez on Unsplash

Remember that time-worn saying, “It takes money to make money.” It takes many scanners to make money, but just one verifier to save a lot of money. And your reputation, and maybe your future.

Quality = Future

One final thought. The liability of a bad barcode is more than monetary. Bad barcodes break the supply chain, disappointing and inconveniencing trading partners and their customers. At the end of the day, the chargeback for a bad barcode, significant as it could be, pales compared to the intangible cost of losing the confidence of a loyal customer and loss of reputation in a competitive business. Over time, the verifier costs nothing.

Do you have questions about barcode quality? Do you need to have barcodes quality tested? Are you interested in a quote for a barcode verifier? We can help.

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