Code 39 vs Code 128
Code 39 and Code 128 both are types of linear barcodes that provide several benefits by enhancing corporate operations and improved asset management. Both barcodes are best in their way and are used in different industries according to their specifications.
Difference between Code 39 and Code 128
The Code 39 barcode, commonly referred to as Code 3 of 9, Alpha39, Type 39, etc. is the low-density alpha-numeric barcode that needs large space to store data. It is invented by Dr. David Allais and Raymond Stevens in the year 1974.
In its original layout, each character had two wide bars and one wide space, making a total of 40 characters available. Code 39 got its name from the 39 characters that were left after setting aside one character as a start and stop sequence. Later, this character set expands to 43 characters.
In this barcode, there are nine components in each character. Six of them are narrow and three are wide. The width ratio between narrow and wide elements can be selected between 1:2 and 1:3. Code 39 is still a common and useful option because it does not require the creation of a check digit.
The Code 128 Barcode (also known as UCC/EAN-128) is a high-density alphanumeric barcode that is used in a variety of applications where it is necessary to encode a lot of data in a little amount of space. It is invented by Ted Williams in the year 1981. There are three different Code 128 code sets: Code 128 set A, Code 128 set B, and Code 128 set C.
ASCII characters (numerical digits (0-9), Uppercase letters (A-Z), and control codes), and special characters.
ASCII characters (Uppercase letters (A-Z), lowercase letters (a-z), numerical digits (0-9)), and special characters.
Only numerical digits (0-9) (encoded in pairs).
The start bar, data to be stored, check digit, and stop bar are all components of code 128. It provides verification protection by using byte parity checking and a checksum digit.
Advantages of Code 128 and Code 39 Barcodes
- This barcode is compatible with the majority of the barcode scanners.
- It is generally safer and less vulnerable to incorrect encoding and decoding.
- A single print error cannot cause the character to be misrepresented as another character because of self-checking.
- It has the capability to store almost all the types of special characters.
- It increases data security for encoded data and reduces the possibility of scanning errors.
- It is compact in size and can store a large amount of data in less space.
Limitations of Code 39 and Code 128 Barcodes
- Like any other linear barcode, the Code 39 barcode is vulnerable to damage and distortion.
- Due to the large width size, this barcode becomes harder to scan as compared to code 128 barcodes.
- It is not appropriate for the products that need to store a large amount of information.
- To scan these Code 128 barcodes, the most advanced scanners are required.
- It is very challenging to print these types of barcodes that contain four distinct width variants for each character.
- High-quality printers are required to print these code 128 barcodes.
Here, we discuss different parameters that differentiate code 39 from code 128. It is noted that these two types of barcodes are not suitable for the products sold in retail stores. (You can use EAN and UPC barcodes for retail products).