Here is our roundup of barcode reading and scanning apps for Android and iOS, as well as a fast walk-through of the process. When you scan a QR code with your smartphone, it will automatically launch the browser and open a corresponding website. Additionally, you can use your device to scan barcode and view product information, consumer reviews and even compare prices to find the best deals, or likewise, share contact information with the help of QR codes. The only challenge here is to find the right app, and that is a great challenge since only the lazy developers seem to have missed the barcode reading apps niche. As a result, there is a gazillion of apps, but we can conditionally divide them into consumer apps and apps for businesses. The latter tend to be paid and focus on employee or product tracking, delivery and product database tracking. Today, though, we shall focus on consumer app that are free, intuitive and proved to deliver results.
How to Scan QR Codes
Your first step would be to download an app that reads QR codes, and you can choose one of the apps on our list or handpick any other that answers your needs. Once you have the app, run it, and point your smartphone’s camera at the code. Depending on the app, you might have to tap a button, or the app might do the job for you. You can have the web page open inside the app, or in your browser, so make sure to set that preference in the app’s settings.
How to Scan Barcodes
Scanning a barcode will bring up useful information about a product, and, depending on the app you use, prices in different stores. All you have to do is choose the app you like, launch it, point your device’s camera at the barcode, tap the ‘scan’ button and let the app do the job presenting you with the list of ingredients, or best deals in nearest shops, or user reviews in Yelp style.
Now that we have the theory out of the way, let us get to the practical tools.
QR Code Reader [Android, iOS, Windows Phone, website]
By Scan, Inc.
It’s a very simple and straightforward app – launch it, point the camera at the QR code and voilà! It serves no ads, and its capability to recognize even blurry QR codes is unbeaten, and there is no need to take a photo because the app recognizes them automatically. The app keeps a history of past scans and lets you sync it across your devices. It can also scan QR codes from your gallery. If you want to make a QR code, go to the developer’s website and try your hand at creating and managing your own codes at no cost whatsoever.
QR Droid™[Android, direct download, website]
Available in many languages, QR Droid is one of the go-to QR utilities for Android devices, which lets you scan QR codes from your browser, camera, SD card, or saved image. No ads, no charges. It also keeps a history of your scanned QR codes, and you can sort and group them. It is also integrated with Zapper, so you can use it to pay at participating websites. It lets you create QR and XQR codes from bookmarks and contacts or maps and installed apps, share them with your friends, scan products and view reviews, or compare prices, and even buy via Zapper. Scanning coupons, vouchers and barcodes lets you harness some very rare deals and offers.
This one is a great solution for small businesses to cut the costs of event management because it lets you scan ticket barcodes to verify authenticity fast. It’s free and cross-platform solution that lets you cut the cost of administrative part of events. It lets you check in attendees at your event using multiple devices with the same account, validate ticket barcodes, and analyze attendance information after the event.
Calorie Counter – MyFitnessPal [iOS, Android]
FitnessPal is an awesome widget for anyone with a firm determination to lose weight or keep those calories count controlled. However, it does have a built-in, straightforward and simple to use barcode scanning utility. Allyou have to do is point the camera at a barcode and scan. FitnessPal then displays vital nutritional information about the product and automatically calculates how the product fits into your daily allowance. Its database of food products is 3.000.000 items and counting, and you can count calories consumed and burnt as you eat and exercise. As far as your diet is concerned, MyFitnessPal is your perfect digital assistant, trainer and a barcode scanner wrapped in a beautiful, functional and intuitive interface.
Smoopa Shopping [iOS, Android]
Smoopa Shopping is for shopaholics and savvy consumers who like to share their opinion and tap into the public pool to seek out the best deals. Its social sharing capabilities let users share information about the best products and deals, earning rewards for purchases. The app lets you scan barcodes to see prices, earn rewards or to shop when you are in the store. Via its social interactivity, you can search for the best deals and compare prices, and the community-driven database comprises millions of items. You can then organize your favorites into collections or wish lists and share them with the community, or follow other savvy shoppers, and set price alerts to be notified when the item you want drops in price. Smoopa Shopping works with many online retailers, including Walmart, Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Macy’s and JCPenney.
Consumr Reviews Product Barcode Scanner [iOS]
Consumr is a go-to app for iOS users, and combines a QR and barcode scanner and a shopping assistant with reviews, something in the Yelp style, but for goods and products. It lets you read consumer reviews, compare prices, find the best deals, submit your ratings and tap into a large community of dedicated shoppers. It’s a very handy and comprehensive shopping companion for iPhone users.
ScanLife Barcode & QR Code Reader with Prices, Deals, & Reviews [iOS, Android]
By Scanbuy Inc
ScanLife lets you quickly scan and read barcodes and QR codes, decode them and discover great products and deals, save some money while shopping and make an informed decision based on numerous consumer reviews. The app offers a fine selection of up-to-date discounts and deals from local and national retailers, such as Best Buy, Amazon, Target and others. Conveniently, it lets you scan barcodes and see nutritional information of food products or even find product availability in your neighborhood. The app lets you save your scanning history, share your favorite products info on your Facebook wall, earn rewards for scanning and redeem them for gift cards, and even create your own QR codes.
RedLaser Barcode & QR Scanner [Android, iOS]
No list for barcode scanners would be complete without this eBay app that lets you scan barcodes and QR codes on any device. Scan a product, read reviews, find places where you can buy it at the best price available. The app sports a clean and simple interface perfect for users who simply need fast results when they shop. It works with major retail barcodes, including UPC, UPC-E, EAN and EAN-8, as well as QR codes, and stores information about millions of goods from thousands of local and national retailers. It lets you buy from your phone and have products shipped to your home, or you can pick them up from select retailers. Besides reviews and prices, it displays nutritional information about products, create your own QR codes with your contact details, websites, location and more. Additionally, you can create and organize your shopping and wish lists, share them, or even archive books, CDs and DVDs. Moreover, when you don’t have a barcode handy, you can search the best deals through voice and keyword search.
ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner [iOS, Android]
ShopSavvy is similar to the above-mentioned RedLaser, and lets users look up product information, reviews, prices and best deals. It has a handy price alert feature that lets users receive notifications when the products of interest go down in prices. It taps into database of many retail stores and offers a comprehensive guide of goods and products. Users can create their shopping lists, or follow other shoppers and get your hands on the hottest deals.
NeoReader QR & Barcode Scanner App [iOS, Android]
NeoMedia Technologies, Inc.
This super-popular barcode scanning app lets users scan and share information about products they get from QR and barcodes, as well as allows users create their own QR codes. It works with 1D and 2D code types, including EAN, UPC, Aztec, QR, Data Matrix, and many more, automatically detecting the code type and scanning even vCard, WiFi, meCard, phone number and email codes. It works fast and does not require alignment or framing since its omni-directional live stream scanning allows it to scan codes easily. Users can create their own QR codes and share them on Facebook or Twitter. With NeoReader, you will have scans history, and will be able to scan codes using any of your device’s cameras.