Generally speaking, there are usually two types of hardware systems that are used for barcode scanning: rugged physical devices and smartphones.
Rugged devices are portable, hand-held computers designed to perform specific tasks and are durable enough to withstand general handling, harsh environments, vibrations, extreme weather conditions, water, and dust. They often possess an increased battery life and may include extendable battery packs to support longer durations field work. Combining customized hardware and software, these devices are generally more expensive than smartphones, but are still popular options for many organizations. This is due, in part, to the advantages of faster scanning, durability, improved security, and streamlined operation when compared to the numerous variations and potential issues with using consumer devices.
Compared to rugged, specialized devices, smartphones are much more accessible. In many cases, warehouse and other tracking personnel will already have their own devices on which relevant software applications may be loaded. Smartphone scanning also tends to be cheaper, lighter, easier to display, and they are usually preferred by those who use the devices.