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How to Do a UPC Code Search

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 1/25/2011

What information does a UPC code provide, and how can you obtain that info? Find out in this guide to performing a UPC code search.

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    What is a UPC Code?

    A Universal Product Code, more commonly referred to as a UPC code is a 12-digit barcode that provides information on the product to which it is assigned. Scanners, such as those used with cash registers, read the varying black lines of the barcode that correspond with the numbers and obtain information about the item.

    A non-profit organization assigns the first six to nine digits of each UPC code. These digits are the company prefix and identify a brand. A company must obtain the remainder of the UPC code from the Uniform Code Council, which is the governing agency that assigns the codes, for each product they sell. Even the exact same item in another size, scent or flavor will have a different UPC code than the original product.

    One factor that is not encoded into the UPC is the product's price. Since prices vary between retailers, this aspect is part of a store's Point of Sale (POS) system. When they UPC code is scanned, the POS retrieves the product information and returns the retailer's current price.

    If you want to obtain product information on a specific item and you have the UPC code, you can utilize one or several of the following search UPC code search engines.

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    Check UPC

    UPC Code Search: Check UPC 

    Check UPC is a basic, easy to use UPC code search engine. You can type the UPC code into the search box and find out information instantly. You can also search products by name. The site provides data on nearly 1.5 million products from almost 84,000 manufacturers. Some of the information returned may include an image of the product, its size and manufacturer, and a link to other products made by the same manufacturer.

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    UPC Machine

    UPC Code Search: UPC Machine 

    Whether you want to perform a search for a product with a U.S. or a Canadian UPC code, you can use the UPC Machine search engine. All you have to do is type in the UPC code, select U.S. or Canada and click Go. If the product is found, the results will provide you with basic details such as the product name, the manufacturer and the size of the item.

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    UPC Database

    UPC Code Search: UPC Database 

    Probably the most widely used UPC code search engine is UPC Database. Looking up a UPC code will provide you with the actual barcode and the EAN barcode, which is the European Article Number. It also gives you the product description, size or weight, issuing country, date last modified and number of pending requests. You can register with this site, although you do not need to in order to perform a search. If you do register, you are able to search by product description and submit updates.

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    Google

    UPC Code Search: Google 

    Still searching? You can always head over to Google. Yes, you can even perform a UPC search on Google. Simply type the UPC code into the search bar and press Enter. Google presents links to sites that sell the product along with a link to the product details on the aforementioned UPC Database.