Choosing The Right Barcode: Code 39

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1D Barcode Type: Code 39

If you didn’t know, there are various types of barcodes being used today to fit different barcode inventory system needs. This week the spotlight is on Code 39, as we uncover its strengths, weaknesses, and common uses. Code 39, the first alpha-numeric barcode symbology, is still very popular today because it allows you to use 43 upper case characters and digits (e.g. 01234567890ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ.,%$-/ and the space character). Originally, as its name suggests, its definable characters were limited to 39.

Distinguishing factors:

  • Easily integrates with existing printing systems
  • Does not require checksum (it is self-checking)
  • For internal or in-house solutions
  • Low data density (it requires more space to encode data)
  • Decoded by all barcode readers


Used in:

  • Automotive Industry
  • US Department of Defense
  • Healthcare Industry
  • ID Badges