October 21, 2014

11 Barcode Generators for Managing Inventory – And for Marketing

Wasp barcode generator

Keeping track of your products and assets manually is a chore. Why not barcode them? The technology to create them is accessible via the Web and there are tons of free apps for smartphone users that can serve as scanners.

For the business owner who needs to get inventory organized and barcoded, this list of barcode generators is for you. Below are eleven free and low-cost tools to create either barcodes or QR codes.

QR codes are more of a marketing tactic. You have probably seen these codes in direct mail packages, in emails or on storefront windows and doors.  A QR code can suffice for certain types of inventory control, but most companies prefer barcodes for inventory management.

All of these barcode generators are free unless otherwise noted. Plus there is a useful book listed at the end of the article.

11 Barcode Generators

barcode generators

Barcode Generator

One of the easiest online barcode creators that I found. As you can see above, you just select the style you need or want and the software creates it.

OnlineLabels.com

OnlineLabels has both a barcode and a QR code creator. They also have a nifty Nutrition Label creator. I’m thinking of making my own low-fat potato chip label so I won’t feel guilty anymore…

Monrovia

They have a simple online tool, but also sell the fonts in their downloadable software package.

Barcodes Inc

They sell a range of barcoding equipment and label makers, but also offer barcode and QR code generators online.

TEC-IT

TEC-IT lets you download its online tool code snippet to place on your own website. They also sell a full barcode software suite for Windows, Mac, and SAP.

Wasp Barcode Generator

Wasp Barcode (above) offers a free online barcode generator, in addition to a full arsenal of  barcode technology, to help you create codes. They even email them to you after you fill out the form.

Zint Barcode Generator

The generator is hosted at SourceForge and is highly rated and only available as downloaded software. No online tool.

Barcode Generator and Overprinter

Well-rated on CNET as a top download. They have a 15-day free trial, but it is $60 to purchase a one-time license.

Smartphone Ready QR Codes for Marketing

For those who want to create smartphone-ready QR codes for marketing and sales purposes, the three online generators below are solid.

Kaywa

Kaywa is a free online QR code generator. However, they also have a robust paid plan because it has deeper analytics that it can perform.

QR Code Generator from the ZXing Project

ZXing Project is one of my favorites because they let you put all sorts of custom data into the QR code.

barcode generators

QR Stuff

QR Stuff is a rich site with all sorts of options to make customizing your QR code painless. As you can see above, lots of options.

Bonus: A Book on Barcodes

Matt Kostanecki, marketing guy at inFlow Inventory software, wrote an excellent, detailed book on the topic of barcodes. If you need to create a barcode system, you’ll want to check out this affordable barcode book for small businesses.  For Amazon Prime members, it’s currently free on Amazon.

With all of these free and low-cost barcode generators, there is no reason to keep doing it manually. Even if you don’t use them at the point of sale, it will help you during annual and quarterly inventory counts.

If you are considering a barcode solution, are you planning to use a smartphone as the scanner or will you purchase a stand-alone scanner?

14 Comments ▼

TJ McCue - Product Editor


TJ McCue TJ McCue served as Technology/Product Review Editor for Small Business Trends for many years and now contributes on 3D technologies. He is currently traveling the USA on the 3DRV roadtrip and writes at the Refine Digital blog.

14 Reactions

  1. TJ,

    For QR codes (or any barcodes), I prefer to read them using my smartphone. It’s practical and using a mobile apps mean I carry 1 less gadget (a stand-alone scanner.)

    By the way, have you ever heard of Visualead ( http://wp.me/p2WnST-cw )? The visual QR code generator can create visually stunning and readable QR codes. You can practically create QR codes using any images you can think of.

  2. For any smallbiztrends readers who don’t have Amazon prime, send a quick email to matt @ inflowinventory.com and I’ll be able to send you a PDF copy of the book!

    Hope this helps!

  3. Thanks TJ, I always enjoy your reviews! Great overview of these free online barcode generators.

    We know the small business customers we serve at Wasp Barcode get confused about what barcodes are and how they can be used. We even created a simple video to help explain what barcodes are (http://youtu.be/MXCiGNSvqdw, so that may be helpful.

    Now with your list, folks can try and see for themselves. And if they need more capabilities or have a need to create barcode shipping labels, they can always purchase barcode labeling software.

    Anyway, love to see this information on barcodes being shared. It’s a 60 year old technology that can really help small business gain efficiency!

  4. Hey thanks for sharing. We use barcode scanning a lot.
    I have used OCR for barcode scanners, they even have wireless barcode scanning capabilities. Overall great quality, and based in Canada where I am from.
    Cheers,
    Ron

  5. i’d also like to share one of the best inventory management barcode generator. it genereates for me pretty well. http://www.rasteredge.com/how-to/csharp-imaging/barcode-generating/
    more info on QR codes generating: http://www.rasteredge.com/how-to/csharp-imaging/barcode-generating-qrcode/

  6. It’s great to see a good online resource of barcode generation tools and this can indeed help with increasing efficiency within a small business, however the true increase in performance comes with how you manage all that information.

  7. I use Mac Barcode Generator and it supports all the popular types of barcodes including UPC-A, UPC-E, EAN-13, EAN-8, ISSN, ISBN, Code 39, Code 128, Code 93, Interleaved 2 of 5 etc, I like very much.

  8. The barcode generator is definitely convenient for people who have business enterprises. Add to that it can be done online is a bonus. Thanks for this great article.

  9. Since I have not used or scanned a QR code before, I don’t know if it is that useful. Correct me if I’m wrong. Is this exclusive for some phone models? While this is a great opportunity to offer discounts and freebies, I think that it still an extra step in a used-to-be-simple money transaction.

  10. Hi Aira

    QR codes can be scanned by any smartphone (typically Andriod/iOS/Windows).

    They are mainly used for marketing purposes to have someone quickly take an action by scanning. The most common use is to send someone to a link after it’s scanned. You can see some other options on http://www.qrstuff.com.

    However, the use of them seems to be declining..

    There’s a book coming out that’s entitled “QR Codes Kill Kittens: How to Alienate Customers, Dishearten Employees, and Drive Your Business into the Ground” And, you know it’s bound to be good (it’s by Scott Stratten of http://www.unmarketing.com)

  11. If you’re on Mac OS X then you might alway want to take a look at Barcode Basics (ww.barcode-basics.com) for EAN, UPC ITF etc. There may be free online solutions but many are font based or bitmap images. Barcode Basics is vector artwork (eps) and although it’s not free, its about as cheap as they get.

  12. I have small store sells some packed items in boxes, I always stick small sticker like $1.99 $2.99 and etc., I am computer geek, can I generate barcodes, can I use Iphone or android phone to scan and tell customer howmuch total cost, any lowcost barcode tech I can use?

    If I can generate barcodes f0r $.99, $1.99, $2.99, $3.99 and etc., using iPhone can I scan each order, one customer brings 10 items, I should clear my iPhone , scan all 10 items, tell customer total price is?. sameway for next customer and etc.,

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