​​​​How to pick the right RFID tags: 3 crucial factors to consider

With so many options on the market, choosing an ideal RFID tag for particular use requires some basic knowledge about conditions that influence the optimal use of RFID technology, as well as an overview of RFID technology in general. 

You’re at the first step of building an RFID system that should serve you for a long time.

In this article, we cover the 3 key factors to consider before making any purchases.

  1. Consider the maximum read-range of RFID tags and your budget

There are three broad categories of RFID tags on the market – 

  • active RFID tags, 
  • passive, and 
  • semi-passive tags.

Active RFID tags have an internal battery source, which means they emit radio waves towards the RFID reader. They allow for larger reading ranges (up to 100 m). However, they cost much more than passive and semi-passive tags. 

Their shelf life is around 5 years, until the battery drains. Because they emit long-range radio waves, their effectiveness is influenced by environmental materials.

Passive RFID tags are much more cost effective and not influenced by environmental conditions because of their low reading range (up to several inches at maximum). Since they don’t have an internal battery source (hence passive) they have a long shelf life. 

However, besides low reading range, they are powered by readers and require close reading.

Semi-passive RFID tags take the best out of both worlds. They have an internal power source and antennas like active tags, but a lower reading range, just a bit more than passive tags. They are also cost effective compared to the active RFID tags.

  1. The surfaces of tagged materials and environmental surfaces around the RFID tags

RFID tags operate in three frequency ranges – low frequency (LF), high frequency (HF) and ultra-high frequency (UHF).

  • LF tags are ideal for close reading and aren’t affected by surrounding materials.
  • HF tags can be read from a few inches. That makes them more flexible in placement compared to LF tags and still great to use in various environments.

If you’re choosing UHF RFID tags, bear in mind that metal and liquids can cause interference

Metallic surfaces deflect radio waves, while liquids absorb them. 

The ideal surfaces to place (UHF) RFID tags are wood, plastic, and cardboard. If you’re tagging metallic objects or in an area with water, consider opting in for LF or HF tags (if your particular case allows it).

SmaRF Solutions develops RFID systems that use passive UHF tags. If you need more consultation on UHF RFID tags (or tags in general), contact us today.

  1. Environmental conditions for RFID tags

Although we talk a lot about budget, material, and functions, we should pay attention to environmental conditions, too. When choosing the RFID equipment, consider the required durability. 

Are you going to use the tags in environments under high pressure, high temperatures, in explosive atmospheres, under harsh weather conditions or vibrations…?

These questions apply to the whole travel path of RFID tags. To ensure smooth operation, you have to pick the right type of mounting, the right adhesive, the right antenna… 

Do you need help in picking the right RFID equipment?

As you’ve seen so far, just picking the right type of RFID tags requires careful planning. Building a system that serves for many years takes even more time and expertise. 

If you need a helping hand, our company SmaRF Solutions specializes in RFID technology implementation. Thanks to our partner, Panos Inženjering, we’re able to procure all the equipment and provide consulting services, software and hardware development, and system planning.

Contact us today to learn more about our services.

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