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Barcodes Vs QR Codes — Issues, Practices, And Recommendations

Barcodes Vs QR Codes — Issues, Practices, And Recommendations

We regularly receive queries from clients confused about whether to use a Barcode or QR Code for Asset labels, their trade-offs, and best practices. This blog post will help answer some of the most common issues. For information on how to set up a barcode scanner, click here.

We’ll start with an introduction of the two and their respective virtues.

1. Barcodes

  • Widely used for a long time
  • Contain an alpha-numeric sequence
  • Most Assets come with manufacturer-issued barcodes

2. QR Codes

  • Modern successors, becoming popular very quickly
  • Greater data storage capacity and support for multiple data types
  • Fast and reliable scanning for camera-based devices e.g. smartphones and tablets

AssetSonar recommends using QR Codes and through our Label Designer, we provide the functionality to generate and print QR Code-based labels. These QR Codes contain a secure URL, allowing any mobile scanning app to scan and use the secure URL to take you to the relevant Asset Details page.

Although we support Barcodes, both pre-existing and those generated by our Label Designer, we believe QR Codes offer a richer and more flexible solution. To set up your system with Barcodes instead of QR Codes, you need to enter the Barcode’s sequence into an Asset’s Asset Identification Number (AIN) field.

A slight drawback of using Barcodes is that Asset lookup (via scanning) will only work when done using AssetSonar’s mobile apps. For QRCodes, you can download any QR Code scanning software for your mobile platform and it’ll integrate perfectly with our cloud-based offering. The difference in usability is because, unlike a QR Code, which contains a complete URL to the Asset, a Barcode is just an alpha-numeric sequence and hence cannot be used to do a lookup by a third-party mobile app.

Using Barcodes & QR Codes: Best practices and recommendations*

  • Barcode of at least 1.5-inch x 0.5-inch size should work but make sure it works well with the smartphones you plan on using as its readability is dependent more on the capability of a device than of the app. As a guideline, the taller (height) the barcode, the easier it is to read, followed by its length.
  • QRCode minimum size 1×1 inch.
  • Get high print quality (more DPI the better). Most laser printers qualify.
  • Color — black on white recommended.
  • Use weatherproof materials for Assets used outdoors or in tough conditions. You’ll need to go commercial here and we can assist with vendor coordination for printing formats.
  • When using QR Codes, we recommend that you put your choice of Asset ID (Asset # or AIN) on the label. Just like Barcodes have the respective sequence printed under them, and can be used in case the Barcode is not scannable (Happens all the time at my neighborhood Walmart!).

Here’s a list of recommended hardware integrations you can use for Barcode and QR code scanning of item labels.

This section enlists the practices and recommendations which work for most of our customers and if there is an issue pertaining to a specific situation or something we can help you with the QR Code IT asset management solution, please write to us at

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