First things first, what is a QR code? If you’re new to these little pixel-y squares, then check out our article to get the lowdown on QR codes.
So why are there loads of different QR code reader apps? Don’t they all just do the same thing – scan?
The quick answer is, well, no. A good QR code scanner will be reliable, will scan most codes, won’t throw too many pesky ads in your face, and will offer you some sort of security (for example, it won’t just open up any old website or image).
All you need to do is pick the app that suits you the most. Here are our top five:
It’s not free, but you get what you pay for. This one is top of the list because it scans quickly and it scans well. And that’s basically what you want from a scanning app, right? You’ll get simple-to-follow prompts to save or call phone numbers, open links and download documents.
Bar-Code - iPhone (free)
Okay, you may have to put up with a few ads, but interference is pretty minimal. The main reason this app makes the top five is because it keeps track of the codes you’ve scanned, as well as the photos. This is a pretty handy feature that’s missing in most other QR apps.
ShopSavvy - Android (free)
If you’re after some retail therapy and you want to get the best deals from your favourite stores, this is the app for you.
Want to be able to get price comparisons on-the-go? Easy. It’s specially designed for shoppers who want to compare prices and save both time and money. Just scan the products barcode while you’re in a shop.
It’s also got a great search function that allows you to identify what you’re after and see all the related offers in one place, no matter what store you’re in.
RedLaser is pretty similar to ShopSavvy. It’s got some other nice touches, like the fact it works with your loyalty cards. Reviews suggest it scans better that ShopSavvy, but the app is sometimes a bit too keen to get you to rate various experiences. If you can put up with that, you’re onto a winner.
QR Reader for iPhone - iPhone (free)
This app is super simple and easy to use. It scans well, and there are no ads to interrupt your experience. It keeps a history of your past scans – plus, it’ll allow you to access a switch that turns on your device’s light if you’re scanning after dark. The only downside to this app is that it can sometimes be quite slow to operate.
And what if you want to create your own QR code?
Then check out the QR Code Maker. It’s not the most imaginative of names, but it’s free and it does exactly what it says on the tin.
Use it to make a QR code of anything you see around you and then share them with your friends.