Scan a barcode - Smart Phone with CameraIf you have a smart phone with a built in camera you can download an app that will enable you to scan a barcode, decode it and show what it contains. Normally this is very boring numbers that are used a unique part number. Many of these apps will go a step further and lookup product and price information if it is a UPC barcode. I use a little product called Quick Mark, www.quickmark.com.tw to scan and review barcode data for content. There are many available.
Scan a barcode - Business & CommercialIf you are going to use existing computer equipment and just want to read in barcodes then you might consider a wedge type solution. Wedge refers to the method in which the data is delivered to the device. It often looks like keyboard data to the device because the wedge emulates the keyboard interface. Some will plug in to the pc with the keyboard while others will plug in via USB or wireless technologies and then wedge into the keyboard via software.
If you know a little more about your barcode needs it makes it much easier to wade through all the equipment available. I often recommend simple Bluetooth scanning devices to quickly scan a barcode into a windows mobile device or pc where the data is expected and then the device carries out an action such as product look up.