QR codes are not a new thing. They have been around for a while, and unless you belong to the cult of the luddites, there is a good chance that you have used one recently. The 2-dimensional, mostly black and white barcode-like designs were invented by Denso Waves, a Japanese firm, to take stock of Toyota car inventory in 1995. Since then, the codes have been standardized for use in multiple industries. Today, the technology is no longer limited to East Asia; after Japan, China took the lead in its use, when the country’s two biggest tech retail firms, Alipay and Tencent, harnessed this technology to make contactless payments the norm in the country.
The QR code market has luxuriated in the last few years on the strength of its multifarious uses. It has been predicted that one billion smartphone users will use QR codes by 2022. However, since the market is saturated with several QR code generators, it becomes essential for businesses and individuals to find out which ones are the most competitive and can give you the most value for your money.
There are several factors that one needs to keep in mind while looking for the right kind of QR code generator, such as:
- Whether it allows to create different kinds of QR codes like for email, contact, Vcard, event, location, wedding, pdf, app download, etc
- Whether they are updatable once they are created, that is, whether they are dynamic
- Can they be customized with different colors, logos, frames, and resolution
- If they put limits on the number of scans
- Whether the generator provides the feature of mapping the analytics to gain insight about the number of scans, time of the scans, device, etc
- The accessibility of customer support
- And of course, value for money
Here are 10 QR generators that we sampled for the benefit of our readers.
It will not be an exaggeration to say that Beaconstac is one of the best QR code generators on this list. Their website has all the information one needs regarding the QR codes—from their history to how they can be used for different purposes. Beaconstac allows one to create free QR codes for linking URLs, text prompts, VCard (business card), and plain text. For the rest of the features, like linking of location on maps, app download, PDF, MP3, and image, one has to register with the website.
The website also offers a 14-day trial, after which you can choose any of the three plans it offers. While Beaconstac’s services don’t come cheaper than any of its rivals, but their higher-order services definitely mean that it gives the best bang for your buck.
- A sophisticated and intuitive generator with nearly extensive information and resources
- Reliable track record and an industry leader
- Simple and effortless process
- Limited features for free QR codes
The QR Code Generator offers free static QR codes and that’s pretty much about it. There are paltry few options available to users as they can only create QR codes for text, contact, phone, and URL linking. That the QR code generator doesn’t offer any paid service is also one of the reasons that it is bereft of the array of features that other generators have to offer. There is no tab on the site listing the contact details of the firm or its customer support.
So, if you want a quick and free QR code for personal usage, you might want to consider this; for all other purposes, we would recommend going for a more feature-rich option.
- A barebone website with a sole purpose to create static QR codes
- No-fuss regarding registration. One can create a simple QR code, though one with minimal features, with minimum details.
- Very limited in scope
- Hardly competitive for business purposes
QR Code Monkey is another competitive generator we found in the QR code landscape. The website is straightforward and contains all essential information. The homepage gives you the option to create your QR code complete with logo, colors, and a customized design for the black pattern in the code. You can create a static QR code for free for such information as text, email, SMS, VCard, location, and linking of social media accounts.
For the upgraded version, which allows the tracking of the number of scans and other analytics, one is asked to subscribe; although there is a 14-day trial period upon registration.
- Simple no-fuss website
- More customized features for free QR code than most other generators have on offer
- Some critical features are not included in the free version
- Though the site is simple enough, it can still use a chatbot for top-of-the-head queries
Scanova is another worthy QR code generator that offers simple and quick QR codes to users. The website’s design is rather sophisticated and clean, and allows users to obtain all necessary information without much navigation. Scanova offers a feature-rich QR code, which can be created using their software called Tool, available on their website.
Scanova allows you to create a static or dynamic QR code for a free trial period of 14 days, after which the codes will stop working. One of the best features of the generator is that it is one of the very few, which allows dynamic QR codes for free during the trial period. One can create QR codes for location, image, wedding card, VCard, event, and nearly everything during the period. When you create a dynamic QR code, the generator also allows you to customize the code with a short URL, password, or capture leads.
- Allows creating dynamic codes upon registration for during 14 days free trial
- Proactive customer support
- Limited design for QR codes during the free period
- Paid versions also contain Scanova branding
The generator’s website and interface is simple, but not as good as that of Beaconstac or Scanova, as we found a couple of glitches in the navigation while using it. One can create a static QR code for free without registration and a dynamic one with registration. The registration allows a user to avail of a 14 day trial period during which they can even keep track of the number of scans. The generator does have a dashboard where the number of times the code was scanned showed up, but how accurate the dashboard remains can only be said after a few days’ use.
The pricing of codes after the trial version comes to be almost the same as Scanova or Beaconstac, but none of the versions—there are three professional, advanced, and starter—give the option to create an unlimited number of QR codes.
- Dynamic QR codes during the trial period
- Ample information and resources on the website to help
- The website navigation has a few glitches, which make the process a little frustrating
- No option of unlimited QR codes in any of the paid plans
One of the lightweights in the QR code business, the firm can hardly be called a leader in the QR code manufacturing. It offers QR codes only as a side feature to its core e-commerce business. The site allows one to create a static QR code for free for very limited uses – phone, text, email, URL.
Nowhere does it give the option to upgrade for more features. QR codes generated with the site cannot be analyzed for tracking and other insights. Unless you have exhausted all your options, Shopify has very little to offer in creating QR codes, as compared to its competitors.
- Free and easy to make QR codes
- Just requires an email to get started
- No option for upgrading
- Severely limited features and only static codes
The Go QR website design is not very convincing, contains many blocks of text, and the focus inadvertently goes on the products and merchandise carrying QR codes. There is a very limited range for free QR codes, and without registration you cannot add your logo or image.
If you want to embed your logo or an image you created, you have to send them to the website along with the payment (bank transfer/Paypal) information. This is obviously a big challenge and not many would want to follow this process. You should use this if you’ve exhausted all other options, or have some coupon to redeem.
- Free static and non-customizable QR code without registration (that’s all there is!)
- Limited features and no free trial
- Minimal information on the website about the services
- Complicated process to create a dynamic and customized QR code
Like many other generators on this list, you can create and print static QR codes pretty much right away using QR Stuff. However, for dynamic codes and those that allow data collection and analytics, one has to sign up. The site is reasonably easy-to-use, and one doesn’t have to look too much to understand how a QR code is created.
We found QR Stuff to be one of the cheaper generators with a subscription rate of $11.95 a month and $7.50 for a year. There is an offer of special discounts too on the site for educational and not-for-profit purposes, but you will have to test that yourself.
- A wide range of QR codes for free, although only static
- Lower rates than other leading generators
- No free trial period. One has to pay upfront while registering for accessing premium features
- No testimonials on the site from other businesses using their services.
Unitag is another option for those looking to create free QR codes, but it is also one of the most expensive that we came across. The site charges 800 Euros a year for business account subscriptions and the price for the basic subscription is 100 Euros.
The good thing however is that one can create as many static QR codes with a variety of features for free using the site. It allows users to create code for business cards, geo-location, invitation, text, email, and wifi with features of color, logo, and eyes to customize them with. Unitag is a helpful QR code generator for someone who is looking only for static codes, as it allows unlimited codes with lifetime scans as well.
- Unlimited free static QR codes with lifetime scans
- Several customizing features for free QR codes
- Expensive plans to avail premium features
- Not a very user-friendly website
The uQR website claims to offer the lowest-priced services in the market, and also offers another 30 percent discount across its range of plans. But frankly speaking, we didn’t see much difference between the prices offered by this site and most others after the discount.
The site allows you to create free QR codes for a free trial period of 14 days; after that, the codes that you have created expire. The premium features can be used by paying $27.95 a month for a professional subscription, which is one of the four ranges of plans that the generator offers.
- Happens to be one of the older generators. Started in 2010
- Lets you create several types of QR codes for free: social media, Whatsapp chat, link to app stores, Paypal, Covid-19 declaration form, coupon, mobile landing page, etc
- The free codes expire after a trial period of 14 days, somewhat binding the user to go for the paid membership if he or she wants to continue with the existing campaigns
- The website can be made more user-friendly, though it has a chatbot.
Things to remember while choosing a QR code generator
A QR code undoubtedly, redirects users and audiences to the desired destination instantly. Thus, it can be used in stores, on books, in advertising visuals, promotional material, receipts, and packaging. No matter if you need a single QR code for personal purposes, or need to generate them in bulk for your business or an upcoming event, it’s essential to pick one that offers the functionality and support you need. The QR code generators listed above have unique strengths and weaknesses, but depending on your requirement, you must check if they can be updated, how long they will remain active, if you can customize them, how many times they can be scanned, if you will have access to the scanning data, how accessible is customer support, and what sort of value you are getting if you are paying for premium features. These were our guiding principles while reviewing the generators that made it to our list.
Though the market is awash with QR code generators, there are few that emerge as genuinely reliable. While you can get free static QR codes from a number of places, Beaconstac and, to a great extent, Scanova, are two of the more robust generators, if you are looking to invest in a quality QR code generator with multiple features.
Author: Tanishq Agarwal
Bio: Tanishq Agarwal is a marketing analyst at MobStac. Extremely inquisitive about the contemporary developments in marketing tech, he aspires to bring the most pragmatic ones to the forefront.