15 Different Types of QR Codes: What They Are And How They Work

Gunel Ismayilova

Nov 22, 2023

6 min read

Different Types of QR Code

QR code meaning Quick Response code is increasingly popular for transmitting information quickly and efficiently. They are two-dimensional (2D) barcodes that store a large amount of data. There are a variety of QR code forms, each with its own features and applications, despite their superficial similarity. The blog post covers the 15 different types of QR codes, along with their significance, characteristics, and applications.

Each type of QR code serves a specific purpose, from the original QR Code Model 1 to the enhanced Model 2, Micro QR codes, IQR codes, SQR codes, FrameQR codes, and High Capacity Color QR codes. Some are designed for compactness, others for data security, and some for aesthetic customization. Businesses and individuals are able to choose the most appropriate type of QR code for their requirements if they are aware of the various varieties of QR codes available.

Let's examine various forms of QR codes that are able to see on a regular basis in addition to the widely used ones, such as Wi-Fi QR codes, VCard QR codes, Social Media QR codes, and Location QR codes. There is a QR code variety that meets the needs, whether one wants to expedite Wi-Fi access, share contact information, advertise their social media presence, or improve event management.

Choosing the correct QR code for the business involves defining the objectives, identifying the target audience, and assessing the required functionality. One is able to leverage this powerful technology to enhance their business and engage with their audience more effectively by following instructions and understanding the different types of QR codes.


The Most Common Types of QR Codes

QR code full-form is a Quick Response code that is increasingly popular for transmitting information quickly and efficiently. QR codes are two-dimensional (2D) barcodes that store a large amount of data. QR codes look the same at first, but they are able to be put into groups based on their most common types. These include QR codes Model 1, Model 2, Micro QR codes, IQR codes, SQR codes, FrameQR codes, and High Capacity Colour QR codes. Each QR code has unique features and applications and serves a specific purpose, whether for data storage, compactness, security, aesthetics, or other requirements. QR codes' versatility and widespread use have made them integral to modern communication and information sharing.


1. QR Code Model 1

The QR code Model 1 was developed by Denso Wave, which is a subsidiary of Toyota in 1994 and stands as the original version of QR codes. The original version of the QR code consists of a square grid of black modules on a white background and allows for storing various data types. The Model 1 QR code is able to encode 1,167 numerals, 707 alphanumerics, and 299 Kanji characters, with a maximum version of 14 featuring a grid size of 73 by 73 modules.

The QR code Model 1 works by using patterns and spaces to represent data, which is able to be scanned and interpreted by QR code scanners or smartphone cameras.

Model 1 is historically significant as the pioneering version of QR code technology, laying the foundation for subsequent advancements. These simplest QR codes revolutionized how information is shared and retrieved, offering a convenient and efficient method of transferring data.

The QR code Model 1 is able to be used in product packaging, advertising, and business cards because it stores a moderate amount of information. The Model 1 QR code is still useful in situations where large data storage is not a necessity despite having a lesser capacity for data storage than subsequent QR code types. Still, quick and easy access to information is essential.

It is able to be used at cultural institutions as a Model 1 QR code example, enabling convenient and comprehensive access to contextual information and fostering a deeper appreciation for art, history, and culture.


2. QR Code Model 2

The QR code Model 2 is an enhanced version of the original QR codes designed to improve readability in various conditions, including when the code is printed on curved surfaces or when reading images are distorted due to the reading angle.

The QR code Model 2 offers an increased data capacity, encoding up to 7,089 numerals, 4,296 alphanumerics, 2,953 binary bytes, and 1,817 Kanji characters. It accommodates 177 by 177 modules with a maximum version of 40.

The importance of the QR code Model 2 lies in its ability to overcome the limitations of Model 1 and improve the scanning experience for users.

The second QR code model is widely used in various industries and sectors. It is commonly used in marketing and advertising, allowing businesses to easily share more detailed information, website links, PDFs, or promotional offers. Additionally, the QR code Model 2 is extensively utilized in ticketing systems, facilitating efficient access control at events or transportation hubs. It streamlines the ticket verification process and improves overall efficiency.

It is able to be used in a retail store as a Model 2 QR code example when scanned. It gives customers additional product information, reviews, or links to purchase the item online. It enhances the shopping experience and helps customers make informed decisions.


3. Micro QR Code

The Micro QR code is a compact variant of the QR code, offering unique features and advantages. It takes up less space than a standard QR Code since it only has one position-detecting pattern, which is situated at a single corner. The Micro QR code requires a narrower margin, only two modules wide, making it suitable for printing in smaller areas than the regular QR Code.

Four variations of the Micro QR code, namely M1 to M4, each offering different data storage capabilities. The Micro QR code has a smaller data storage capacity, with a maximum of 35 numerals, 9 kanjis, 15 binary bytes, and 21 alphanumerics. The small QR code offers more efficient encoding. Micro QR codes, unlike standard QR codes, don't need to be dramatically expanded when data volumes rise.

It must be noted, however, that even the most advanced version, M4, has a smaller data capacity than the standard QR code. The micro QR code is often employed in the manufacture and inventorying of tiny products, such as the hardware of machines, because of its small and compact data modules.


4. IQR Code

The IQR code, short for "Intelligent Quick Response Code," is a 2D barcode that offers enhanced features and capabilities compared to standard QR codes. The IQR code is easily scanned regardless of the size or position of the code, making it highly versatile for various applications. IQR codes are able to be printed in multiple formats, including rectangular, turned-over, black-and-white inversion, and dot pattern, allowing for flexible usage in different fields.

The importance of IQR codes lies in their ability to store large amounts of data in a compact space. Storing large amounts of data makes IQR codes valuable for limited-space applications, such as small products or crowded surfaces.

The IQR code is used in many fields, including inventory management, payment processing, advertising, and access control.

IQR codes have several notable features, including the choice of shape (squares and rectangles), the high error correction level, and the ability to generate codes in a minimal size compared to traditional QR codes. These characteristics make IQR codes more flexible and improve their usage in a variety of applications.


5. SQR Code

The SQR code (Secret-function-equipped QR code) is a type of QR code that prioritizes data security and protection. SQRC is designed to prevent unauthorized access to the information it contains, making it suitable for applications where data privacy is crucial.

The SQRC enables the storage of both public and private data, with the private data accessible only through a dedicated reader that possesses the encryption key required to unlock the information.

Data security is critical in various industries, including finance, healthcare, ticketing, and government sectors. SQR codes address these concerns by offering a secure method of storing and transmitting sensitive information. SQR codes minimize the danger of unauthorized interception or manipulation by implementing encryption and access restrictions, providing peace of mind to users and organizations alike.

For instance, they are commonly used in banking and financial transactions to safeguard personal and financial details. SQR codes in healthcare secure patient records and ensure privacy compliance. Government agencies employ SQR codes for secure identification and authentication purposes.


6. FrameQR Code

The FrameQR is an innovative variation of the QR code that includes a customizable canvas area, allowing the insertion of texts, images, graphics, and other visual elements without compromising the code's functionality.

The FrameQR works similarly to regular QR codes in scanning and decoding. The shape of the canvas area is able to be chosen from existing patterns or defined according to specific requirements. The canvas's position, size, and angle is able to be adjusted.

The FrameQR offers a valuable solution for enhancing the visual appeal and usability of QR codes. Providing a canvas area for creative customization allows businesses and individuals to incorporate branding, promotional content, or additional information directly into the QR code. The versatility enhances user engagement and improves the overall user experience.

There are many applications for FrameQR codes, including marketing and advertising, product authentication, and interactive packaging and labels.


7. High Capacity Color QR Code

The High Capacity Color QR code is known as the High Capacity Colored Two Dimensional (HCC2D) code, which is an advanced variant of the standard QR code that utilizes color to increase data capacity and improve scanning accuracy. HCC2D code is designed to store more information while maintaining QR codes' reliability and ease of use.

The HCC2D code operates on the same fundamental principles as a regular QR code. A square grid of black and white modules is arranged in a pattern. However, the HCC2D code incorporates color in addition to the black and white modules, allowing for increased data density within the code.

The color modules in HCC2D codes are used to represent additional information or to enhance error correction capabilities. The HCC2D code is able to encode and store more data within the same physical space as a traditional QR code by incorporating colors, enabling it to carry larger amounts of text, URLs, or other types of information.

The HCC2D code finds applications in various industries and settings requiring increased data capacities and aesthetic presentation, such as art projects or brand promotions.


Other Types of QR Codes You May Come Across

There are other types of QR codes one is able to come across in daily life constantly, such as Wi-Fi QR codes, VCard QR codes, Social Media QR codes, Location QR codes, etc. Let's get to know them better:


8. Wi-Fi QR Code

The Wi-Fi QR code is a type of QR code that encodes wireless network information, including the network name (SSID) and password. Scanning the QR code with a smartphone instantly connects users to the Wi-Fi network, eliminating manual entry. Wi-Fi QR codes streamline Wi-Fi access sharing, providing convenience and security.

Wi-Fi QR codes find applications in homes, businesses, public places, and events. They enhance convenience, simplify onboarding, and ensure secure connections. Customization options, such as branding and encryption, further improve functionality. Wi-Fi QR codes are a practical solution for effortless network connections.


9. VCard QR Code

The VCard QR code contains encoded contact information. Users are able to quickly import the contact details into their smartphone's address book when scanned. VCard QR codes streamline the sharing of contact information, making networking and information exchange more efficient.

VCard QR codes are commonly used in networking events, conferences, and professional settings. QR code scanning allows receivers to instantly add contact information such as name, phone number, and email address to their contacts. VCard QR codes simplify contact sharing and help maintain accurate and up-to-date information.


10. Social Media QR Code

The Social Media QR code provides seamless connectivity with various social media platforms. Users who scan it are sent to the person's social media profile, making it simple to follow or connect on several platforms. Social Media QR codes simplify connecting and engaging with others on social media platforms.

Social Media QR codes are widely used in networking events, conferences, business cards, and digital marketing. The URLs for major social networking sites, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, are shown on a website that visitors are routed to after scanning the QR code. Networking and online engagement are facilitated through a simple scan instead of manually searching for and adding friends or followers.


11. App Store QR Code

The App Store QR code facilitates easy access to mobile applications through QR codes. It directs users to a single page when scanned, where they download the specified app directly from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store, or Amazon. App Store QR codes simplify the app discovery and installation process, enhancing user convenience.

App Store QR codes are commonly used by developers, marketers, and businesses to promote mobile applications. Users are able to easily download apps by scanning the QR code, eliminating the need for manual searching and enabling quick and convenient downloads. App Store QR codes are instrumental in marketing campaigns, advertisements, or any situation where app installation is desired.


12. Logo QR Code

The Logo QR code is a type of QR code that incorporates a customized logo or design. The Logo QR code retains the functionality of a regular QR code while allowing businesses and individuals to maintain brand consistency and enhance visual appeal. Logo QR codes provide a unique and recognizable touch to standard QR codes, making them visually appealing and easily identifiable.

Logo QR codes are commonly used in marketing campaigns, product packaging, business cards, and promotional materials. Companies are able to reinforce their brand image and make a strong visual impact by embedding a logo or design within the QR code. Logo QR codes effectively merge functionality with aesthetics, capturing attention and increasing engagement with the encoded content.


13. Event QR Code

The Event QR code is a type of QR code specifically designed for events and conferences. The Event QR code serves multiple purposes related to event management and attendee engagement. Event QR codes are able to be scanned to validate tickets, check attendees into the event, provide event-related information, and offer special promotions or discounts.

Event organizers widely use event QR codes to simplify ticketing and registration processes. It verifies their tickets and grants them access to the event when attendees scan the QR code at the entrance. Additionally, Event QR codes are able to be used to share event schedules, maps, speaker bios, and exclusive offers or updates. These QR codes enhance the event experience by providing instant and convenient access to crucial information.

Event QR codes streamline event management by reducing manual check-ins, minimizing the risk of ticket fraud, and improving attendee engagement. They are an efficient tool for organizing and enhancing various events, including conferences, festivals, trade shows, and seminars.


14. Payment QR Code

The Payment QR code enables quick and secure digital payments. When scanned, it allows users to make payments directly from their smartphones using various digital payment platforms such as PayPal, Venmo, or mobile banking apps. Payment QR codes offer a contactless and streamlined payment experience.

Retail stores, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms increasingly use QR codes for payment. Customers are able to efficiently complete transactions without cash or physical credit cards by scanning the QR code. Payment QR codes eliminate the hassle of manual data entry, reduce errors, and enhance convenience for merchants and customers.

Payment QR codes are designed with security measures, ensuring that sensitive payment information is encrypted and protected. They provide a seamless and efficient alternative to traditional payment methods, offering speed, convenience, and a contactless payment experience.


15. Location QR Code

The Location QR code provides instant access to specific locations or addresses. It opens the user's preferred navigation application, such as Google Maps or Apple Maps, and provides directions to the designated location when scanned. Location QR codes make it easier for users to find their way without manual address entry.

Using location QR codes is beneficial in various settings, including businesses, events, social gatherings, and tourist attractions. The QR code for location lets users quickly get directions to a specific venue, office, restaurant, or any other place they desire. These QR codes enhance convenience, especially when precise location information needs to be shared efficiently.

Location QR codes simplify navigation and save time by eliminating the need for manual input of addresses or searching for locations manually. They provide a seamless way to guide users to their desired destinations, making them particularly valuable for businesses and events where accurate location information is crucial.


How to choose the correct QR Code for Business

Choosing the correct QR code for the business involves considering the specific goals, target audience, and desired functionality. Listed below are some steps to help in making an informed decision.


  1. Define the objectives. Determine the purpose of using QR codes in your business. Are you looking to drive website traffic, promote a specific product, share contact information, facilitate payments, or enhance customer engagement? Clarifying the goals helps one to choose the most relevant QR code type.
  2. Identify the target audience. Consider the demographics and preferences of the target audience. Are they tech-savvy and likely to use QR codes? Choosing the right type of QR code depends on the audience's familiarity.
  3. Determine the functionality requirements. Find out the specific functionality needed from the QR code. Is the code required to store contact information, redirect to a website, initiate a phone call, provide event details, or enable social media interactions? Different QR code types offer varying functionalities, so choose one that aligns with one’s needs.
  4. Consider branding and customization. Evaluate whether wanting to incorporate the company's logo or branding elements into the QR code. The QR code generator offers customization options, allowing one to personalize the design to maintain brand consistency and enhance recognition.
  5. Research QR code solutions. Familiarize oneself with the different types of QR codes available. Understand their features, applications, and benefits to determine which suits your business objectives.
  6. Test and analyze. Perform testing before implementing QR codes to ensure they work effectively. Monitor their performance, analyze the data to measure their impact, and determine if adjustments or optimizations are needed.
  7. Implement clear instructions. Provide clear instructions on how to scan and interact with the QR code to the audience once one has selected the appropriate QR code. Include brief, concise, and easy-to-follow instructions to encourage maximum engagement.

Remember, it's crucial to periodically review and update the Dynamic QR code strategy based on changing business needs, technological advancements, and evolving consumer preferences.


What type of QR code is best for a business card?

A VCard QR code type is the best for a business card. VCard QR code allows recipients to quickly import their contact information by scanning the QR code with their smartphone. It offers convenience, saves space on the card, and gives a professional impression.


What type of QR code is best for event promotion?

Event QR codes are the best QR code type for event promotion. Event QR code type gives attendees easy access to event details, schedules, and ticketing information. Event QR codes streamline attendee engagement and enhance event management. Display the QR code prominently and provide clear instructions for scanning to maximize engagement.


What type of QR code is best for making a payment?

The best type of QR code for making a payment is a Payment QR code. The Payment QR code is designed to facilitate secure and convenient digital transactions. Users are able to use various digital payment platforms, such as mobile banking applications, digital wallets, or payment gateways, to make payments when the QR code is scanned.


Note: With Bitcoin QR codes, you have the option to make crypto payments.


What type of QR code is best for sharing social media profiles?

A Social Media QR code type is the best for sharing social media profiles. The Social Media QR code is designed to connect users with social media platforms and profiles. It makes it simple for visitors to follow or interact with the person or company by directing them to the page where the URLs of the social media accounts are located when it is scanned.


Note: There are also QR code solutions for separate social media platforms, like Facebook QR codes, Twitter QR codes, LinkedIn QR codes, and YouTube QR codes.


What type of QR code is best for storing contact information?

VCard QR codes are the best QR code type for storing contact information. The VCard QR code allows one to encode the contact details, such as name, phone number, email address, webpage, and job title, into the QR code. The recipient's smartphone is able to automatically import the contact information by scanning the QR code.


How can businesses and people utilize different Types of QR Codes?

Businesses and individuals are able to utilize QR codes to enhance their operations, marketing efforts, and customer engagement. Listed below are some examples of how different types of QR codes are able to be utilized.


  • Website QR Codes: Businesses use Website QR codes to direct customers to specific web pages, promotional offers, product information, or online forms. Individuals share personal websites, portfolios, or blogs using URL QR codes.
  • Email QR Codes: They use Email QR codes to simplify sending emails. Users automatically compose an email with pre-filled recipient addresses, subject lines, or even a predefined message template by scanning the QR code, making it easy for recipients to reach out or inquire about goods or services.
  • Rating QR Codes: Businesses incorporate Rating QR codes on receipts, packaging, or customer feedback forms to collect reviews and ratings. Customers scan the QR code to provide feedback, rate their experience, or leave reviews, enabling businesses to gather valuable insights and improve their products or services.
  • PDF QR Codes: Using PDF QR codes, organizations are able to link to digital documents such as brochures, catalogs, user manuals, or event programs. Scanning the QR code allows users to download or view the PDF document directly, enhancing information sharing and reducing the need for physical copies.
  • VCard QR Codes: Professionals and businesses are able to include VCard QR codes on business cards, emails, or marketing materials to share contact information easily.
  • Social Media QR Codes: Using Social Media QR codes on marketing materials, packaging, and storefronts help businesses promote their social media profiles. Individuals share their social media profiles for networking purposes or personal branding.
  • Event QR Codes: Event organizers utilize Event QR codes for ticketing, attendee registration, and providing event-related information. Scanning the QR code enables access to event schedules, speaker details, venue maps, and more.
  • Payment QR Codes: Businesses are able to accept digital payments by displaying Payment QR codes at checkout counters or on invoices. Customers are able to scan the QR code to initiate secure digital transactions using their preferred payment method.
  • Location QR Codes: Businesses are able to use Location QR codes to provide directions to their physical locations. These QR codes are able to be included on advertisements, business cards, or websites to help customers find the nearest store or office.
  • Coupon QR Codes: Coupon QR codes are able to be created by businesses to offer discounts, special promotions, or exclusive deals. Scanning the QR code allows customers to redeem the coupon or access the discount directly, encouraging repeat purchases.

How to Generate a QR Code

To generate a QR code, follow the provided steps. 

  1. Determine the content. Decide what information or action one wants the QR code to represent. It is able to be a website URL, contact information, social media profiles, or other relevant content.
  2. Choose a QR code generator. QR Code Creator allows one to create different types of QR codes one desires.
  3. Select the QR code type. Choose the appropriate QR code type depending on the desired functionality. For example, select the Wi-Fi solution to generate a Wi-Fi QR code.
  4. Enter the QR code content. Enter the relevant information or content that one likes to encode.
  5. Customize the design (optional). QR Code Creator offers customization options to add colors, logos, stickers, or design elements to the QR code. The step is optional but is able to be useful for branding or aesthetic purposes.
  6. Generate and Download the QR code. Click the "Finish" button to generate the QR code. The QR code is able to be downloaded in a suitable format, such as PNG, EPS, SVG, or JPG, once it has been generated. Save the QR code to the device or computer.
  7. Test the QR code. Test the QR code using various QR code scanning applications or devices before including it in the documents or sharing it to make sure it functions properly and points people to the desired information.

Can QR Code Generator generate different types of QR Codes?

Yes, QR code generators generate different types of QR codes based on the content or action one wants to encode. QR code generator tools usually offer various QR code types depending on the needs. Different QR code types are able to be generated using QR code generator such as Text QR codes, URL QR codes, Wi-Fi QR codes, Image QR codes, and more.

The QR code generator provides a user-friendly interface where one is able to select the desired QR code solution and input the relevant information. It as well offers customization options to make the QR code more attractive.


What is the difference between QR codes and Barcodes?

QR codes and barcodes are both types of machine-readable codes used for storing and retrieving information. Still, they have some key differences, including appearance, storage capacity, error correction, scanning technology, and applications.

Appearance is one of the most essential differences between QR codes and Barcodes. Barcodes are one-dimensional (1D) codes represented by parallel lines of varying thicknesses. On the other hand, QR codes are two-dimensional (2D) codes consisting of a grid of black squares on a white background.

The storage capacity of QR codes and barcodes varies. QR codes have a character limit of hundreds of times more information than barcodes, which have only 85 characters. QR codes are able to encode text, URLs, images, audio, and video, while barcodes are typically limited to a series of numbers or alphanumeric characters.

QR codes and barcodes differ in their error correction capabilities. QR codes can resist up to 30% damage, allowing the QR code scanner to read damaged or distorted codes. In contrast, barcodes lack error correction and are more susceptible to distortion, as any alteration or distortion of the code can result in decoding failures.

Scanning QR codes and barcodes require different scanners. Barcodes are commonly scanned using laser or optical scanners that read the variations in line thickness. QR codes, however, require an image-based scanner or a smartphone camera capable of scanning QR codes. These scanners capture and interpret the pattern of black and white squares in the QR code.

Barcodes have been traditionally used for inventory management, product identification, and point-of-sale systems. They are commonly found on retail products, library books, and shipping labels. QR codes have a broader range of applications due to their larger data capacity. They are used for marketing campaigns, ticketing, mobile payments, website URLs, and contact information.

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