What type of barcodes do you need for the UK?

At UKbarcode.com we have information and advice about what type of barcode you need for the UK, how to get it, and how to use it. 

The main type of retail barcode used in the UK is the EAN-13 barcode which is a 13 digit globally unique number. There are many other types of barcodes used in the UK as well – different types of barcodes are needed for books, magazines, membership cards, logistics, and shipping cartons. Read on to find out about the different types of barcodes used in the UK and the specific barcode requirements that you need to be aware of if you’re using barcodes in the UK. 

Barcodes for Retail Products (EAN-13 or UPC-A)

In the UK, the most common type of barcode used on retail products is the EAN-13 barcode. EAN-13 barcodes are 13 digit long globally unique numbers. A different EAN-13 barcode is needed for each different type of product, and also for each different product variation (including different sizes and colours). EAN-13 barcodes are also known as GTIN-13 barcodes. 

In the USA or Canada, the 12 digit UPC-A barcode is more common for retail products. However both types of barcode (EAN or UPC) can be used internationally. 

If you are selling your product in the UK only, or internationally, then we recommend you get EAN-13 barcodes. If you are selling your product only (or primarily) in North America then we recommend you get a UPC barcode.

Retail barcodes only encode the barcode number itself – they don’t contain any information about the actual product (or price). In general, the only link between the barcode number and a product is within the retail store’s own inventory system. If the product details or price change, the retailer needs to update the details connected to that barcode number within their own inventory system. 

You can you buy globally unique GS1 origin EAN-13 barcodes for the UK from https://buybarcodes.co.uk/ or http://barcode1.co.uk/ – these sites provide instant delivery of barcode numbers and images, as well as barcode registration and an authenticity certificate. 

Barcodes for Assets, Library Books or Membership Cards (Code 128)

Code 128 and Code 39 barcodes are sequential barcodes that can be used for asset tracking, library books, or membership cards.  

These can be ordered from https://buybarcodes.co.uk/code-128-and-code-39-barcodes/ and the barcode images will be emailed through to you. 

Alternatively you can order a roll of adhesive sequential labels here: https://buybarcodes.co.uk/sequential-labels/

QR Codes

QR Codes are square-shaped barcodes that can encode a variety of different things. Usually they are used to encode a URL, however sometimes they are used to encode contact information or invitation/event information.

QR Codes are often used to direct visitors to a website for more information. 

There are two different types of QR Code – Static QR Codes (where the URL is permanently encoded into the QR code), and Dynamic QR Codes (where the target URL to be changed repeatedly in the future if required). 

You can purchase either type of QR code from https://buybarcodes.co.uk/product/qr-code-1/ (their service is automated, so your QR code images will be emailed to you straight away). 

Book Barcodes (ISBN)

Books in the UK require an ISBN number. ISBN numbers are 13 digit long numbers that are globally unique and belong only to your particular publication. They are encoded as a barcode using the EAN-13 symbology. 

ISBN numbers can be obtained from either the UK ISBN Agency (https://nielsenbook.co.uk/isbn-agency/) or from the Independent Publishing Network (https://bookisbn.org.uk/).

If you already have an ISBN number, you can get the barcode images for it here: https://buybarcodes.co.uk/isbn-barcodes/

Magazine Barcodes (ISSN)

Magazines (and journals and other serial publications) in the UK require an ISSN number, which then gets turned into a barcode using EAN-13 symbology. 

ISSN numbers are issued (free of charge) by the British Library.

ISSN Barcode images can be purchased from https://buybarcodes.co.uk/magazine-barcodes/


Where to Buy Barcodes in the UK

Buy Barcodes UK – buybarcodes.co.uk

Barcode1 UK – barcode1.co.uk

Where to Buy Barcodes Internationally

Germany – barcodedeutschland.de
Thailand – barcodesthailand.com
India – indiabarcodes.com
France – codesabarres.fr
Austria – barcodeoesterreich.at
Czech – barcodes.cz
Philippines – barcodes.ph 
Ghana – barcodesghana.com
Luxembourg – codesabarres.lu
Zambia – barcodeszambia.com
Malaysia – barcodesmalaysia.com
Belgium – codesabarres.be
Switzerland – barcodeschweiz.ch
Uganda – barcodesuganda.com
Sudan – sudanbarcodes.com
Yemen – yemenbarcodes.com