Barcode VS QR Code: What are The Differences, When and Where to Use

Ilaha Mammadova

Apr 23, 2024

8 min read

QR Code vs Barcode

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The 6 differences between QR codes and barcodes include storage capacity, scanner differences, resolution level, information diversity, scan directions, and appearance. The main difference between QR and barcodes is the ease of scanning QR codes with a phone camera, unlike barcodes. QR code is the best in inventory management. QR codes are preferred over barcodes because QR codes are easily scanned with a smartphone camera, store more data than barcodes, and have the ability to be scanned even when damaged. QR codes replace barcodes. QR codes have several advantages over barcodes, making the prospect of completely replacing barcodes with QR codes a relevant issue for the future.

A barcode and QR code store information within them, reflecting that information when scanned. However, QR codes have more features than traditional barcodes, and the use of QR codes is increasing daily. QR codes are considered one of the barcode types, and they are 2-dimensional codes. QR codes store more data than traditional barcodes and do not require specialized scanners for scanning. QR code stands out with its advantages, which is the best answer to the question of barcode or QR code in comparing QR code vs barcode.


QR Code vs. BarcodeThe differences between QR code and barcode

The 6 differences between QR codes and barcodes include storage capacity, scanner differences, resolution level, information diversity, scan directions, and appearance.

  • Storage capacity: QR codes have a greater information storage capacity. QR codes store alphanumeric characters, binary data, or even URLs. QR codes are used for a wider range of purposes. Conversely, barcodes have a limited data storage capacity, restricted to numerical or alphanumeric characters, resulting in narrower applications.
  • Scanner differences: QR and a barcode scanner are not the same. QR codes are scanned with a regular phone camera. Modern phone cameras often come with built-in scanners, allowing users to simply point the camera at a QR code to scan it. However, barcodes are not scanned with a phone camera and require special scanners for the purpose.
  • Resolution level: QR codes have an error correction level, enabling them to be read even when slightly damaged. However, barcodes are less resilient and lose the scanning capability if damaged.
  • Information diversity: QR codes include various types of information, making them versatile and applicable across different sectors. However, barcodes have limited information diversity, restricting use to specific applications.
  • Scan directions: QR codes are scanned from all directions. The phone camera easily scans QR codes regardless of the direction it approaches. Barcodes are typically scanned from left to right, reducing the convenience of scanning.
  • Appearance: QR codes are composed of squares, while barcodes consist of straight lines and spaces. QR codes and barcodes have distinct appearances, making them easily differentiated at first glance.


What is the Difference Between a QR Code and a Barcode?

The main difference between a QR code and a barcode is the ease of scanning QR codes with a phone camera, unlike barcodes. Phones are equipped with built-in scanners, allowing QR codes to be easily scanned. However, barcodes require special scanners for scanning. QR codes are more resilient than barcodes and still is scanned even in slightly damaged conditions. QR codes store numerical and binary data and various URLs, whereas barcodes have limited data storage capabilities and are not used in some sectors for that reason. QR codes are scanned from any direction, while barcodes are linear and are typically scanned from left to right. Finally, a QR code and a barcode have distinct appearances. Barcodes are straight lines, while QR codes consist of squares, aiding in easy visual differentiation.


What is a Barcode?

A barcode is a code that presents information in a machine-readable form. Barcode lines differ in dimensions and store numbers and characters. Barcodes are divided into 1-dimensional and 2-dimensional categories. A 1-dimensional barcode encodes information in one direction and stores less data. Barcodes are commonly referred to as linear barcodes. 2-dimensional barcodes encode information in horizontal and vertical orientations, storing more data. Special barcode scanners are used for scanning barcodes. The most well-known use of barcodes is in inventory management. Barcodes are widely used in retail, manufacturing, and healthcare, making them one of the most employed technologies.


What is a QR Code?

QR code is a 2-dimensional barcode consisting of black and white squares that encode information and, when scanned, transfer that information to the user's device. QR codes store more data than traditional codes and are easily scanned with a regular phone camera. The QR code typically opens a link on the screen or provides information when scanned. QR codes find applications in many sectors for different purposes due to the ability to store various types of information. QR codes are widely used in marketing, payment systems, inventory management, social media, product authentication, etc. QR codes are customized in terms of color and shape when created, allowing businesses and individuals to use them in marketing campaigns without deviating from the branding.



Is a QR Code a Barcode?

QR code is one of the types of barcodes. Barcodes are divided into 1-dimensional and 2-dimensional types, and QR codes belong to the 2-dimensional category. Barcode QR code encodes information in horizontal and vertical orientations, allowing them to be scanned from any direction as 2-dimensional barcodes. QR codes are easily scanned with a regular phone camera. QR codes have a higher data storage capacity, making them suitable for various sectors, unlike traditional barcodes.


Is a QR Code a 2D Barcode?

Yes, QR code is a 2-dimensional barcode. 2-dimensional barcodes encode information in both horizontal and vertical orientations, and it is a key feature of QR codes. QR codes store more information than 1D barcodes, expanding the range of applications to 2D barcodes. The QR code is one of seven types of 2D barcodes, but it is especially famous because it stores different types of information and is widely used.


QR Code VS Barcode for Inventory: Which is Best?

QR code is the best for inventory management. Comparing barcodes vs QR codes shows that QR codes are more versatile and easier to use in inventory management. QR codes store more data than barcodes, making them an ideal choice for easily recording many products' details, batch numbers, and expiration dates. However, barcodes become challenging when dealing with a large amount of information. QR codes have an error correction level, meaning that even if the code is damaged, especially during inventory management, it does not affect its scanning capability, and QR codes are easily scanned. Barcodes are not scanned when damaged, complicating processes during inventory management in contrast. QR codes are scanned with a regular smartphone camera, simplifying the use in inventory management. Barcodes are only scanned by specialized barcode scanners.


Why a QR Code Instead of a Barcode?

QR code is preferred instead of a barcode because QR codes are easily scanned with a smartphone camera, store more data than barcodes, and have the ability to be scanned even when damaged. QR codes are favored during usage because they store numeric, alphanumeric, binary, and URLs, making them superior to barcodes. The error correction function is exclusive to QR codes, preventing any barrier to scanning even if damage occurs. Therefore, QR codes are preferred during usage. Barcodes have been replaced with QR codes due to their ease of smartphone scanning. QR codes are easily scanned by smartphones with built-in scanners unlike barcodes that require a special scanner.


What are the Advantages of QR Codes Over Barcodes?The Advantages of QR Codes Over BarCodes

The 5 advantages of QR codes over barcodes are listed below.

  • High data capacity: QR codes stand out from barcodes due to the high data capacity. QR codes store various information, including URLs, and the amount of information they hold is many times greater than barcodes.
  • Different uses: QR codes are used for various purposes, while barcodes are used in a limited manner and by a few sectors. QR codes are utilized for purposes ranging from marketing to payments due to the ability to store a wide range of information.
  • Fast scanning: QR codes are scanned with the mobile phones people use daily, whereas barcodes require a special scanner for scanning. The user simply needs to open the camera and point it at the QR code to scan a QR code.
  • Changeable content: QR codes are the best technology for changeable content. The information embedded within a Dynamic QR code is changed at any time. Users seamlessly transition to new information upon rescanning by accessing a dashboard and modifying the QR code.
  • Customized design: QR codes are uniquely designed. QR Code Creator allows users to choose different colors and shapes and even insert logos in contrast to barcodes. The feature enables companies and individuals to design QR codes that align with branding and preferences.


Can QR Code Replace Barcode?

Yes, QR codes can replace barcodes. QR codes have several advantages over barcodes, making the prospect of completely replacing barcodes with QR codes a relevant issue for the future. The transition from QR code to barcode is no longer realistic nowadays because QR code has more features than barcode. The ability of QR codes to store more data, resilience to damage, quick scanning, and the convenience of scanning with a regular smartphone camera make them superior to barcodes. However, barcode usage is currently widespread globally, and transitioning entirely to QR codes takes some time. Consequently, QR codes are ready to replace barcodes effortlessly with unique advantages and opportunities, and the transition from barcode to QR code is real.


Can I Use QR Codes for Inventory?

Yes, you can use QR codes for inventory. QR codes have more features than barcodes, making them particularly advantageous for inventory purposes. The traditional nature of barcode scanners, which often require a direct connection to a computer, complicates processes. QR codes are easily scanned with a regular smartphone camera, enabling the rapid and efficient retrieval of information in contrast. One of the crucial features of QR codes, especially relevant for tracking inventory management, is the ability to provide detailed tracking information. It records the time, location, and device when scanning a QR code. The tracking capability aids in the inventory management tracking process.

It is known that QR codes store a greater amount of data, allowing for comprehensive product information to be included within the QR code in the comparison of QR code vs barcode. Barcodes often face limitations on data storage, which is problematic in certain situations. There is no requirement to create a new QR code when there is a need to update the data of a product in inventory management. The screen displays the newly updated information by simply accessing the dashboard, updating the existing data, and rescanning. All factors demonstrate that QR codes are an effective technology for inventory management.


A QR (Quick Response) Code Offers a Smaller Storage Capacity Compared to Standard UPC Barcodes?

No, a QR code does not offer a smaller storage capacity compared to Standard UPC barcodes. QR codes are 2-dimensional codes and have the ability to store more data. Standard UPC barcodes are 1-dimensional codes and store less data. Therefore, the applications are different. Standard UPC barcodes are used to label consumer goods and track products in stores and warehouses from production to distribution due to storing less data. QR codes are used in marketing, payment, and other activities because QR codes store more data than standard UPC barcodes.


Can a Barcode Scanner Read QR Codes?

No, a barcode scanner can not read QR codes. A barcode and a QR code scanner are different from each other. Barcode scanners are designed to read linear barcodes. QR codes are 2-dimensional codes made up of squares instead of lines. Traditional barcode scanners do not read QR codes because the appearances and structures differ. QR codes are easily scanned and read using a phone camera or the camera of another device, providing convenience.

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