You may be surprised to know any black & white printer can become a barcode printer. All you need are some barcode labels and barcode software to print barcodes. It is best to use a laser printer for this type of print job because it requires barcode print accuracy in order for the barcode scanner to read correctly.
However, it does require some technical knowledge to set up. Also, it is not suitable for large barcode printing jobs. If you do not want the fuss with setting up and testing barcodes, I would suggest getting a standalone, dedicated barcode printer. All the necessary software and hardware are in place and is designed to print barcodes right out of the box.
There are mainly three categories of barcode printers currently available on the market.
1) Small Office/SOHO barcode printers
These types of printers are cheap but do not have large barcode printing capability. It is mostly useful if you need to print barcodes occasionally.
2) Large Batch Printing Barcode Printers
These type of printers are dedicated barcode printing powerhouses. They are expensive but able to print large amounts of barcode very quickly. It is mostly used in factories, large retail outlets and hospitals where speed and reliability is important.
3) Portable Barcode Printers
Most portable barcode printers cannot print in large quantities. They are usually used to print receipts, forms at the spot as required. Most portable barcode printers uses wireless or bluetooth for communications
I would recommend getting a dedicated barcode printer as cost wise it is more effective than trying to cobble together a barcode printing system using your existing document printer.
Ricky Lim runs a barcode scanners reviews site. Visit his site for reviews of POS barcode scanners , wireless barcode scanners etc.