rugged mobile device barcode scanner

Running a successful organization requires you to manage such areas as onboarding, marketing, and asset allocation. However, you also need to provide your team members with proper equipment to allow them to work at full capacity. Apart from vehicles, tools, and protective gear, your employees need robust communication devices that can capture barcodes and endure harsh conditions. This is where a rugged mobile barcode scanner comes into play.

In this entry, we’ll cover the basics of rugged mobile computer scanners and explain why they’re indispensable in most work environments.

What Are Rugged Mobile Barcode Scanners?

barcode scanning with rugged mobile device

Rugged mobile barcode scanners are devices constructed with durable components and equipped with a protective casing. As a result, the electronics are shielded from the extreme conditions on industrial job sites.

The best rugged barcodes scanners add a ton of versatility to the workplace. For instance, the Sonim RS60 can capture both 1D and 2D items anywhere between two and 15 inches away. This allows your workers to work faster and be more productive.

Where are Rugged Mobile Barcode Scanners Used?

Owing to their robust design, rugged scanners are used in various environments:


Scanning phone with rugged mobile device

Manufacturing settings can be highly complex due to the intricate movement of raw and finished goods. For this reason, businesses use rugged barcode scanners to prevent costly errors and track the material flow throughout the production.

Rugged mobile scanners are ideal for manufacturing for several reasons:

  • Highly accurate – You can track inventory for precise recording of material statuses.
  • Increased efficiency and speed – Using barcode scanners helps you deliver information quickly, which is crucial in e-Commerce efforts.
  • Increased productivity – Some devices, like the Getac T800, feature high-capacity Warm-Swap batteries that can serve your team through multiple shifts.

Warehouse Management

using Sonim RS60 to scan Barcode

Warehouse managers implement numerous pieces of technology to improve efficiency, including rugged barcode scanners. They are a must-have in this setting since they can endure harsh warehouse environments. Plus, they can be incorporated into workflow applications.

These devices can facilitate warehouse management in many other ways:

  • Greater speed and lower chance of errors.
  • Excellent mobility – For example, the Honeywell CT60 can scan from over 6ft, allowing working to reach items with barcodes out-of-reach.
  • Cutting-edge Wi-Fi technology and 4G LTE – By keeping your team connected, information can flow uninterruptedly in real-time.
  • Effortless integration into warehouse management applications.

Transportation and Logistics

Truck driver using Rugged barcode scanner

Managing cargo transportation requires you to track crucial data about the load. Luckily, you can utilize barcode technology to keep track of key shipment data, like the point of origin, dimension, and shipping destination.

A built-in barcode scanner can significantly enhance your transportation and logistics efforts:

  • Simple integration into critical workflows.
  • Easy monitoring of goods throughout the transportation.
  • Confident operation in dangerous conditions using wet- and glove-touch modes.
  • 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity to maintain information flow.

Field Service

rugged mobile device scanning equipment

Your field service employees can gain a lot from rugged mobile barcode scanners. They can help your staff ensure operational efficiency and customer satisfaction in so many ways:

  • Loading and tracking inventory to equip field workers with the necessary knowledge.
  • Updating inventory in real-time.
  • Accurate equipment identification keeps your team efficient and productive.
  • Including logs of completion (lists of parts used and parts to be returned, invoices, and warranties).
  • Collecting data and feeding it to your system in real-time without leaving field operations.

Law Enforcement

Police rugged mobile device

Law enforcement officers appreciate rugged scanners since they increase accuracy and expedite data collection. But these devices have a lot more to offer:

  • Less time necessary for traffic stops – Scanning licenses automatically instead of entering data manually saves precious time that can enhance officers’ safety.
  • Avoiding errors – Manual data entry is susceptible to errors that can lead to incorrect information entered in records.
  • Improved inventory and evidence controls – Automated scanners help officers handle evidence properly, which is crucial for public safety.

Emergency Services

Firefighters Using Tablet

Rugged communication devices and barcode scanners are a must-have for emergency services workers. They provide tremendous benefits:

  • Tracking stock levels and inventory with ease.
  • Keeping track of expensive assets, such as emergency medical equipment and fire ladders.
  • Registering controlled substances and life-saving drugs.
  • Ensuring correct patient identification.

What Should You Look For in a Rugged Mobile Barcode Scanner?

There are several major features each rugged mobile barcode scanner must have:

Glove Usability

rugged mobile barcode scanner

Your mobile computers must function properly in various temperatures, including scorching heat in direct sunlight and refrigerated sections of facilities. However, your team must be able to complete their duties in such extreme conditions as well. Most warehouse workers wear gloves, which is why using a touchscreen device can be a challenge.

When purchasing mobile scanners for your warehouse and other similar settings, try to find features like enhanced touch to improve screen sensitivity. The Sonim RS80 fulfills this requirement to the fullest. Not only that, but the hi-tech rugged scanner also has pen accessories and tactile buttons. As a result, your workers get a comfortable experience even with gloves.

Long-Lasting, Removable Batteries

Logistics and warehouse shifts can be intense. Ensuring your employees can work without disruption requires high-capacity batteries.

Again, the Getac T800 is the perfect solution to this problem. With a double-battery that swaps out without shutting down the device, your team won’t have to worry about losing all of their work before saving it, or running out of power and terminating their operations due to battery concerns.

Repetitive Workflow Shortcuts

scanning box in warehouse with mobile device

Many day-to-day tasks, such as picking orders, are performed frequently. Therefore, scanning devices should be designed to facilitate the completion of these assignments throughout the shift.

To that end, find a device like the Honeywell RT10A, equipped with programmable buttons (the RT10A has three!) you can configure to instantly launch apps. This provides a shortcut of repetitive workflows so your employees can move on to other activities much quicker.

Push-to-Talk Functionality

Working quickly and efficiently requires constant communication throughout the whole team. If you want to replace your warehouse radios, make sure to get a rugged scanner with push-to-talk (PTT) capabilities.

Team members who are already familiar with two-way radios appreciate the ease of use of tactile PTT buttons. They instantly initiate voice communication with the entire group to report and resolve issues or coordinate various activities. In addition, cloud-based PTT platforms don’t require integration with private branch exchanges (PBXs).

Wi-Fi Enhancements

Since your workers will be connecting their devices to Wi-Fi most of the time, they need a device that supports a stable link. The best option is to go for a dual-band Wi-Fi network that works with 2.4GHz and five GHz channels. This allows your mobile computer to process much more data.

Also, try to get a rugged scanner with a number of network enhancements:

  • Global roaming
  • Interference elimination
  • Network optimization
  • Power savings
  • Greater security
  • Infrastructure protection
scanning electric equipment with rugged mobile device

Manageability and Security

Organizations must protect their network from unauthorized access. Endpoint mobile computers are usually most vulnerable, which is why you require robust security. The RS60 and SonimWare provide just that.

Not only can you manage other devices from a single point, but you can also determine the apps your employees can access. By disabling non-work-related platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, you’ll prevent any distractions while your team is working in hazardous environments. Consequently, you can make sure your team remains fully locked in and avoid safety concerns.

Top-Notch Scanning Properties

sonim RS60 rugged mobile barcode scanner

The built-in scanner itself should be a powerful piece as well. The Sonim RS60 delivers the best results due to the following features:

  • Multiple data transmission methods – Your barcode scanner should let you enter your barcode into any text field, application or broadcast it for deeper integration with workforce apps.
  • Red, yellow, and PTT buttons – Start scanning by striking a single button or floating widget, even when wearing gloves.
  • Continuous scanning – The Honeywell CT60 lets you capture many barcodes successively.

High-Quality CPU

There are many reasons why your rugged scanner needs a reliable chipset. First, it enables the entire mobile computer to perform better so that your workers can complete their scanning in double-quick time. Second, it allows for seamless multitasking, a critical component when facing tight deadlines. Plus, a fast processor lets your team fire up their scanner much sooner and capture barcodes without a hitch.

Finding the right item can be challenging, but your best bet may be a device with a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. This chipset comes with eight cores and operates at 2.2GHz to expedite your applications and allow your team to work in a fast-paced environment.

Great Memory Capabilities

Finding a model with enough RAM is paramount if you want to ensure a seamless performance. To that end, you should go with 4 GB of RAM. This amount is perfect for multitasking and can cope with a large number of demanding apps. Plus, this much RAM can help you save some battery life.

Moreover, having capacious storage is of immense benefit. The optimal solution is 64 GB, which is enough space to fit all your documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and other essential files. Your device gets bonus points if it supports memory extensions of at least 256 additional GB.

Exceptional Build Quality

Sonim RS80 barcode scanner construction site

Since you’re looking for a rugged mobile barcode scanner, you need a device that can take quite a beating. More often than not, your staff has to work from scaffoldings and similar elevated positions. Falls from these areas could prove lethal to your mobile computer if it’s not adequately protected.

Therefore, find a device that’s passed rigorous testing. For example, the Getac T800 went through rigorous drop testing to ensure that no point is susceptible to impact damage.

You should also find adequate protection for the screen. The best option is to get a scanner with Gorilla Glass since its strength and shock resistance are unmatched. This makes the display shielded by the glass nearly impervious to scratches and drops.

Water, Chemical, and Dust Resistance

If your team works near water and harsh chemicals, your device should also have the ability to withstand these substances. Here are just some chemicals your device should be able to handle:

  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Bleach
  • Detergent
  • Benzalkonium
  • Acetone
  • Glass cleaner
  • Gasoline
Rugged Device Sonim RS60 Mobile Computer at Construction Site

A Wide Array of Accessories

Accessories go a long way in facilitating fieldwork. They help your employees use their barcode scanners with ease, providing higher productivity. Here are some additional items your rugged mobile computer should be compatible with:

  • Desktop charger
  • In-Vehicle holder
  • Hand strap
  • USB-C headset
  • Capacitive touch stylus
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Bluetooth printer and RSM

Find the Right Rugged Mobile Barcode Scanner for Your Business

scanning barcode with Sonim RS60

A rugged mobile barcode scanner is an incredibly versatile and handy device. They are ideal for nearly any setting and come with all the features you need to get a more productive workforce. While there are numerous options on the market, the Honeywell CT60, the Getac T800 and the Honeywell RT10A stand out with a fantastic combination of durable components and streamlined functions.

For help choosing the best rugged mobile barcode scanner to suite your business needs, reach out to Energy Electronics for a tailored recommendation and a bulk quote.

To get a free quote on any device within one business hour, fill in this form: