Best ID scanner for bars and nightclubs

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Last updated on March 19th, 2024 at 03:33 pm

The bar and nightclub industry is intoxicating, and ever-changing. In the post-Covid era, the industry is facing new challenges. Like most industries, bars, nightclubs, pubs, and entertainment venues have had to make many changes to ensure the health and safety of their patrons. This includes a transition to touchfree or contactless solutions; ensure your business eases into this transition seamlessly with the best ID scanner for bars and nightclubs.

For bars and clubs, this transition to new technology and processes starts at the door , when security checks the ID of every patron. Instead of manual handling, and visual inspection by a bouncer, the best ID scanner for bar will allow for limited physical contact, near-instant age verification, and some level of fake ID detection and ID authentication.

ID scanners and ID scanning solutions can help the bar and nightclub industry in a variety of ways:

  1. Mere presence of an ID scanner for nightclub can help deter troublesome patrons and scammers, and decrease crime by more than 50%
  2. ID scanners for bars help speed up lines and bar entry be reducing the time needed to examine each ID
  3. Faster lines and more accurate scanning lead to reduced labor costs, and less security staff
  4. Specialty hardware and software can detect fake IDs, helping keep minors out
  5. Keeping records of scanned IDs and nightly visitors can help you win chargeback disputes
  6. Many states offer affirmative defense for ID scanning. If you scan the guest’s ID, you are not liable for serving an underage patron, or any trouble they might get into because of alcohol served at your bar
  7. ID scanners for bars and nightclubs often come with an accompanying visitor management solution, that can help your management keep track of visitors, track loyal customers, and manage lists such as Banned and VIP
  8. ID readers require less interaction between your team and your guests. The ID can often be scanned in a contactless or minimal-contact manner, decreasing your team’s exposure to various pathogens

Below, we identify the best ID scanner for bars, depending on your bar or nightclub’s unique priorities. You can always contact our team to receive custom recommendations that meet your venue’s unique needs

Best ID scanner for bars who need a durable, handheld ID scanner

Panasonic FZ-N1 Toughbook handheld ID scanner

The Panasonic N1 Toughbook is the perfect choice for those establishments that have a high volumes of customers, especially if they need to perform line-busting. It is quick, powerful, and features an all-day battery life, as well as an optional battery booster. This solution is also handheld, so it is easy to take it wherever it is needed. It has a highly-durable design and is frequently used by military and law enforcement. That makes it one of the toughest scanners we offer.

The Panasonic N1 has both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities, so it is able to be used on or offline, making ideal for areas with poor internet connectivity. The mobile ID scanner also offers an 8-megapixel camera that is able to read MRZs (machine readable zone). When paired with VeriScan software, the Panasonic N1 can perform best-in-class 2D barcode security, making it one of the only handheld ID scanners that is capable of detecting some percentage of fake IDs, in addition to age verification.

The Downside: The Panasonic N1 ID scanner does not have UV/IR/white light scanning capabilities though, so it is not capable of ID authentication.

Best ID Scanner for bars who want to catch the vast majority of fake IDs

E-Seek M500 forensic document reader

The E-Seek M500 might look familiar if you’ve flown recently. It is the drivers’ license scanner of choice for the TSA. It is perfect for any establishment that needs ID authentication. It performs exceptionally fast UV/IR/white light scanning, 6-image examination of the ID, and has high-powered camera to check against hologram and watermark libraries. This ID scanner includes full-color ID scans with the built in 600 dpi camera and magstripe reader. When paired with ID authentication software, the M500 is capable of catching up to 95% of fake IDs, including sophisticated foreign fake IDs.

The M500 ID scanner has a motorized side-load design that automatically ingests the ID as soon as it is fed into the slot. Powered via cord, you never have to worry about this unit running out of battery life in the middle of peak hours. It is one of the most durable, hardy devices in our inventory and can withstand heavy, near-constantly use. Cleaning is easy and the manufacturer sells an affordable cleaning kit.

The Downside: The M500 is large, desktop-only scanner. It will require connection to a computer with appropriate processing power to perform to its full capabilities. The M500 is also only capable of scanning driver’s licenses and ID cards. It cannot scan passports.

Best ID scanner for bars that want to enable self check-in

IDWare Falcon countertop ID scanner

The IDWare Falcon countertop ID scanner is perfect for those establishments that truly want a touch-free solution for guests. This tablet-sized ID and passport scanner is not just a scanner, but has a forward-facing visitor management system. Bars can add waivers and sign-up forms to the check-in process, crucial for states such as Alabama or North Carolina, who require bars to gather membership information.

The IDWare Falcon ID Scanner can be mounted using the lightweight countertop stand, or used as a portable tablet for mobile ID scanning. When on the stand, patrons hold their ID under the auto-focus laser ID scanner for quick and easy ID verification. Like all of our handheld scanners, when paired with VeriScan, basic 2D barcode security checks will help catch some fake IDs with 2D barcode anomalies. This ID scanner can be used on or offline which makes it another great option for those with unreliable Wi-Fi. 

The IDWare Falcon has a whopping 8 LCD inch screen, and the built-in scanner is able to read 1D and 2D barcodes, PDF417, NFC and MRZs. This makes it especially good for those bars and nightclubs that get a lot of international visitors that may not have a United States driver’s license. 

The Downside: If you are using the IDWare Falcon as a handheld ID scanner, and require recharge, it recharges quite slowly. So don’t forget to plug it in before you leave your bar for the night!

Best ID scanner for bars who have a lot of international clientele

Thales AT10K ID & passport scanner

The Thales AT10K flatbed ID and passport scanner is an ideal choice for bars and nightclubs that want to perform ID authentication and catch 95%+ of fake IDs, but also need to scan passports as part of their business. It features a slim profile, and a flatbed scanner with no moving parts (which means it’s less likely to break!). The AT10K also includes RFID capabilities, which can be useful when scanning passports that contain RFID chips.

The Downside: The AT10K cannot scan both sides of the ID simultaneously. So if you’re looking for rapid scanning and/or image capture, it may not be the ideal ID scanner for your bar or club.

How to choose the right ID scanner for your bar or nightclub

We have recommended four great options for ID scanning at your bar or nightclub, but if none of those suit your needs, we have plenty of other ID scanners for you to choose from.

Be sure to talk with one of our industry experts so that they can help guide you to make the perfect decision. You can also read more in-depth guides on all of our ID scanners in our knowledgebase.