QR Code vs Barcode: Analysis to Know the Best

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QR Code vs Barcode: Analysis to Know the Best

Most people are familiar with codes with black and white parallel lines of different thicknesses and spacing, called barcodes. However, QR codes have become more popular, recognized, and used in recent years.

Both types of codes store information about a product or itemin a machine-readable format. They can be scanned through a barcode scanner or an application that can be downloaded to a smartphone.

The barcode and the QR code are widely used today, although the second one is usually more versatile and has more advantages. A QR code is considered as the evolution of the barcode. It is a fast response optical tag for storing encrypted data. In addition, this type of code not only manages data but also executes orders instantly.

Next, we will talk about these two types of code and learn how to differentiate them correctly. We will also know in detail the aspects that allow QR codes to be increasingly popular.

What is a Barcode?

It is a one-dimensional code, also known as a 1D barcode, represented by black lines of different thicknesses separated by white spaces. It should be noted that barcodes can be accompanied by numbers used to enter them manually in case the code cannot be scanned.

Barcode example (QR Code vs Barcode: Analysis to Know the Best)
Barcode example (QR Code vs Barcode: Analysis to Know the Best)

These codes store information that allows us to quickly identify articles and products in a store to consult their characteristics and inventory them. They can indicate the type of product, manufacturer’s name, price, and more.

The information stored in barcodes can be readable by a scanner. However, the advancement of technology has allowed Smartphones also to carry out this work through apps.

Barcode Application

Barcode applications cover almost any type of human activity regardless of whether it is industrial, commercial, educational, medical, government, etc. Simply put, any business can benefit from this technology.

The point of sale, inventory management, and labeling of raw materials are the main applications that barcodes have. This technology was created to monitor any inventory without the existence of the human error.

Other applications are:

  • Replacement orders.
  • Shipments and receipts.
  • Production control.
  • Expert opinions.
  • Billing.
  • Management of fixed assets.
  • Warehouse control.
  • Libraries.
  • Electronic Data Interchange (EDI).
  • Hospitals and Health.
  • Baggage tracking (airlines).
  • Postal service and couriers.
  • Supermarkets.
Barcode use in postal service and couriers (QR Code vs Barcode: Analysis to Know the Best)
Barcode use in postal service and couriers (QR Code vs Barcode: Analysis to Know the Best)

Downsides of Barcode


The barcode label needs to be close enough to the scanner for it to function properly. It is most recommended that this distance be less than or equal to 15 feet.


If you want to use this technology, it is necessary to have a barcode reader, which is usually expensive. Therefore, it may not be a good option for small businesses.

Reading Problems

Barcode scanners cannot read labels in poor condition (dirty, wrinkled, or stained). In addition, these devices need a direct line of sight to the barcode to be able to read it correctly.

Physical Damages

As we have already said, barcode scanners are costly equipment. If they receive any physical damage, the repair or replacement costs will be high.

Limited Information

Barcode readers do not provide information about the date of manufacture or expiration of the product. They are only limited to the item and manufacturers.

What is a QR Code?

The quick response code, abbreviated as QR code, is an evolution of the barcode that also stores information.

Unlike the barcode, it is a two-dimensional code formed by a mixture of black and white squares and dots that can contain different types of data (more than the barcode). That’s because the QR code can store data vertically and horizontally.

QR code example (QR Code vs Barcode: Analysis to Know the Best)
QR code example (QR Code vs Barcode: Analysis to Know the Best)

The information that can be stored in a QR code includes names, products, emails, website URLs, geolocation data, cryptocurrency wallets, dates, plain text, etc.

Today, there are many innovative uses for QR codes. Also, anyone can create them.

QR Code Application

It is true that barcodes have multiple applications in different fields thanks to the information they can store. However, unlike QR codes, it has certain limitations.

QR codes can be used in a greater variety of situations that make life easier for human beings due to the diversity of data they can contain.

QR codes are used in different fields:

  • Medical: Prescriptions.
  • Traffic: Passenger control.
  • Business: Product selection, process management, inventory, and packaging.
  • Leisure: Admission control, mobile card.

They can also be used to transmit operational instructions, document schematics, submit maintenance service requests, detect cryptocurrency wallets, and more.

QR code use for payment (QR Code vs Barcode: Analysis to Know the Best)
QR code use for payment (QR Code vs Barcode: Analysis to Know the Best)

Benefits of QR Code Over Barcode

Both types of codes are great for storing data, but the QR code usually has some extra benefits over the barcode:

Greater Diversity of Information

QR codes are capable of containing more information than barcodes because they can store data vertically and horizontally. That allows QR codes to include other types of information such as email, products, URLs, etc.

Easy to Read

QR codes can be read from any angle and quickly. Unlike a barcode, you won’t have to perfectly point the scanner every time you want to get the information. Similarly, there is a higher probability of reading QR codes despite being incomplete, dirty, or damaged.

Smaller Size

One of the best advantages is that QR codestake up less space and still remain fully legible. That will allow you to print smaller code labels that contain large amounts of information.

If you need more information about the advantages and characteristics of the QR code, we invite you to access our other blog post.

QR code vs Barcode: A comparison

Generally, both the QR code and the barcode are used to store information about a product, organization, etc. However, there are certain important aspects that allow one to stand out from the other.

Therefore, it is essential to know the difference between barcode and QR code.


Both codes are different in appearance and can be easily recognized. Appearance is the big difference between the two.

On the one hand, the QR code is shaped like a square. It is a two-dimensional code formed by a mixture of black and white squares and dots. The graphic representation of this code is similar to Tetris modules.

On the other hand, the barcode contains vertical and parallel black lines of different thicknesses separated by white spaces. In addition, they are accompanied by serial numbers. It should be noted that these codes are rectangular in shape.

Data Storage

It is directly related to the appearance of the codes.

As we have said, QR codes are two-dimensional, allowing information to be stored and read vertically and horizontally. QR codes can be up to 7089 characters, approximately 150 times more than barcodes. For that reason, they have a more significant potential to store more data in a smaller size.

Barcodes are one-dimensional and are made up of vertical, parallel black lines separated by white spaces. That means that they can only be read horizontally, so their storage capacity will be much less than that of a QR code. These codes can represent up to 48 characters.

QR code vs barcode (QR Code vs Barcode: Analysis to Know the Best)
QR code vs barcode (QR Code vs Barcode: Analysis to Know the Best)

Reading Problems

That is one of the most significant differences between the two. Reading problems occur more in barcodes than in QR codes.

QR codes have a high margin for error correction. In fact, they usually have an error rate that varies between 7% and 30%. That means there is a greater chance that the QR code will be readable despite being damaged, dirty, or wrinkled. In addition, it should be noted that this type of code can be scanned from any angle, which makes its detection even easier.

Barcodes need to be directly in front of the scanner so that they can be read correctly. These codes do not work when dirty, stained, or wrinkled.

Unique Identification

QR codes allow you to give a unique identity to a product to be easily tracked.

The opposite occurs in barcodes. If we have several products of the same type, they will have the same barcode, making it challenging to track a specific item.


The QR codes can be modified according to the new data that you need to incorporate. The barcode is more limited and usually static, so it is impossible to edit its information.


For many years, the invention of the barcode has meant a revolution in acquiring or accessing information generated in the industrial or commercial field, intending to reduce human error. However, the QR code appeared to improve many people’s lives thanks to all the benefits it offers.

Which is Better?

Both codes have been widely used over the years, but QR codes provide greater flexibility and better tracking options. They are better for businesses as they can track products, tools, or equipment in a unique way. In addition, we should not forget the large amount and diversity of data that they can store, which is something we must appreciate.

QR codes have their advantages and disadvantages, but even so, it is a potent technology that we can use and scan from anywhere with an app on our smartphone.

If you want to generate a wide variety of custom QR codes (URLs, text, vCard, etc.), you can use our free QR code generator without being a design expert. Enter your information, customize the design if you want to and download your QR code. That’s it.


Credits for images use in this article ‘QR Code vs Barcode: Analysis to Know the Best’.

Background vector created by freepik – www.freepik.com

Business photo created by jcomp – www.freepik.com

Technology photo created by gpointstudio – www.freepik.com

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