The Ultimate Guide to RFID Tags

Table of Contents

Introduction to RFID Tags

What are RFID tags?

rfid tags

The RFID tag is made up of a chip and a corresponding antenna. It uses radio waves to communicate with an RFID reader. When the reader sends a signal, the RFID tag receives it through an antenna and processes the information with its chip to communicate.

History of RFID

The origins of RFID can be traced back to the World War II era, where it was used for military purposes. Through continuous exploration and development, RFID technology began to gain prominence in the 1980s, and saw further advancements and applications in the 1990s. 

As we entered the 21st century, RFID became widely used and, with the rise of the Internet of Things, it has become a mature and versatile technology applicable to various industries.

Components of RFID System

A complete RFID system consists of RFID tags, RFID readers, and software capable of functioning. An RFID tag is composed of a chip, a matching coil, and a substrate.

rfid technology

How Do RFID Tags Work

When the RFID reader emits a signal, RFID tags matching its frequency enter the magnetic field and transmit data through the antenna. The tag’s internal chip processes the data and returns its signal to the reader using induced current. The reader decodes this information and presents the desired data to the user.

Types of RFID Tags

RFID tags can be categorized into different types based on various dimensions.

From a material perspective:

  • Hard RFID tags: Also known as special tags, commonly made of durable materials such as ABS, PPS, PVC, silicone, ceramics, rubber, and TPU.
  • RFID labels or stickers: Can be made of materials such as paper, PVC, PET, or composite materials, available in blank or pre-printed formats.
  • RFID cards: Offer the option of standard cards in credit card size, or customizable die-cut. Materials typically include solid PVC and transparent PVC, and alternatively, wooden or metal materials can be chosen. 

Classification based on working environment:

  • Waterproof RFID tags: Suitable for outdoor and humid environments, capable of being waterproof, moisture-proof, and oil-resistant.
  • High-temperature resistant RFID tags: Made of special materials, containing an RFID chip, capable of withstanding temperatures of 100-300°C, commonly used in metal painting, smelting, and the chemical industry.
  • Chemical-resistant RFID tags: Made of materials resistant to acids, alkalis, and corrosion, commonly used for managing items in washing and disinfection processes.
  • Anti-metal RFID tags: Designed for use on metal surfaces. Conventional tags are often affected by metal signal interference, rendering them unusable. However, by adding a layer of anti-metal material to the back of the RFID tag, the interference can be eliminated, allowing for normal usage. 

According to the working frequency of RFID tags:

  • Low frequency: Refers to a working frequency range of 120-150KHz, with a relatively slow transmission speed, suitable for close-range reading, and requiring a coiled structure.
    The reading and writing distance is typically around 0-12cm, depending on the size and power. This frequency is commonly used for animal tracking and identification.
  • High frequency: Refers to a working frequency of 13.56MHz, with a reading distance of 0-1m depending on the size of the RFID coil and the power of the reader.
    High-frequency coils are not limited to coiled structures and can also use etched antennas. This frequency is commonly used for electronic tickets, contactless payment applications, and more.
  • Ultra-high frequency: Refers to a working frequency range of 860-960MHz, with a reading distance of several meters to around 10 meters, primarily achieved through capacitive coupling.
    It offers fast reading and writing speeds and can simultaneously read multiple tags. This frequency is commonly used for asset management and tracking.

Divided according to the modulation method:

  • Active: The tag is self-powered with a battery and can continuously transmit signals. The reading distance can reach up to one hundred meters, with a large capacity for storing and processing data.
    These tags are typically larger, with sturdy and durable housing, resulting in a relatively higher price. Active tags are commonly used in ETC systems and for real-time tracking of items.
  • Passive: These tags cannot send signals on their own and only respond to signals emitted by a reader. They have smaller memory capacity, are relatively smaller in size, and are more cost-effective.

RFID Tags Applications

List of Various Industry RFID Tag Applications: What are RFID Tags Used for?

1. Retail: RFID tags play a crucial role in the retail industry, significantly enhancing work efficiency, saving time, and reducing labor costs by effectively tracking and managing products.

2. Healthcare: RFID tags are commonly used for managing medical equipment, surgical tools, patient and infant identification, as well as tracking medications, contributing to streamlined healthcare operations.

3. Pets: For pet management, RFID pet tags help record vaccination history and owner contact information, ensuring better chances of reuniting lost pets with their owners.

4. Manufacturing: RFID tags exhibit high efficiency in production line management, swiftly completing product certification, quality control, and inventory counting, thus minimizing manual labor and counting errors.

5. Logistics and Transportation: RFID tags are utilized in logistics and transportation to significantly enhance cargo security and privacy, ensuring the integrity of goods during transit by detecting any unauthorized handling or tampering.

6. Agriculture: In the agricultural industry, RFID tags play a pivotal role in vegetation management, aiding in better crop selection and achieving superior agricultural outcomes.

7. Security and Access Control: RFID tags are an indispensable component of the security industry, facilitating efficient personnel access management and recording, thereby enhancing safety in both personal and professional environments.

8. Entertainment and Events: RFID tags have widespread applications in the entertainment and events sector, with wearable RFID tags enhancing the event experience and contactless payment options avoiding the inconvenience of forgetting one’s wallet.

Advantages & Disadvantages of RFID Tags


  1. High Efficiency: RFID tags can quickly read information, thereby improving operational efficiency.
  2. Security: RFID systems can provide a high level of security, effectively protecting data from unauthorized access.
  3. Improved Inventory Management Accuracy: Through automated tracking and management, RFID technology enhances the accuracy of inventory management, avoiding human errors.
  4. Enhanced Customer Experience: RFID technology can improve customer experience, for example, through rapid checkout and personalized recommendations.
  5. Traceability: RFID tags can be used for product traceability, aiding in tracking the production and distribution of products.
  6. Cost and Time Savings: Due to its automation, RFID technology can save on labor and time costs, improving operational efficiency.  


  1. Material Sensitivity: Liquid or metal materials can interfere with the signal transmission of RFID tags, reducing their reliability.
  2. Potential for Missed Reads in Bulk Reading: When reading a large number of tags simultaneously, there is a possibility of missed reads, impacting data accuracy.
  3. High Cost: Compared to barcode labels, RFID tags are more expensive, requiring a higher investment cost.
  4. Complexity in Equipment and Software: RFID reading and writing equipment, as well as associated software, entail high costs and customization. Installation and maintenance are also complex, requiring specialized knowledge and support.

How to Select Suitable RFID Tags for Your Project?

To select the appropriate RFID tags for your project, consider the following factors:

Functional Requirements: Firstly, determine the functionalities you need to achieve and select the corresponding chip. The chip is associated with the reading range and data storage.

Tag Characteristics: Consider the size, shape, and material of the RFID tags, as well as any size limitations for their placement.

Work Environment: Consider the working environment and determine if you need tags that are resistant to metal, waterproof, or capable of withstanding high temperatures.

Testing: Testing the selected tags is a crucial step to ensure their optimal performance in the designated work environment.

Comparing Technologies



– RFID: Radio-Frequency Identification

– NFC: Near Field Communication

– Barcode: Series of black bars and spaces encoding data


– RFID: Asset management and tracking

– NFC: Access control, payment, data exchange

– Barcode: Product coding, ticketing

Reading Distance:

– RFID: Several meters to hundreds of meters

– NFC: 0-10cm

– Barcode: 0-5cm


– RFID: Expensive

– NFC: Moderately expensive

– Barcode: Inexpensive

The Future of RFID Tags

The development trend of RFID tags is influenced by several factors. With the advancement of the Internet and the increasing demand for contactless solutions, particularly in the post-pandemic era, there is a growing emphasis on the safety and traceability of food and pharmaceuticals. Consequently, the demand for RFID tags is expected to surge to meet these requirements.

Additionally, the rising costs of manual labor are prompting managers to consider using RFID tags to automate certain processes, thereby reducing costs and increasing efficiency.

Furthermore, various industries such as logistics, retail, manufacturing, healthcare, anti-counterfeiting, asset management, and agriculture and forestry are expected to intensify the use of RFID tags due to their proven benefits in enhancing operational visibility, security, and traceability.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, RFID tags can be tracked by matched readers.

Yes, RFID tags can be considered secure when used with proper encryption and security protocols.

Yes. If RFID tags are simply encrypted or not encrypted, they may be easily tampered with.

Yes, RFID tags, particularly LF (Low Frequency) and UHF (Ultra High Frequency) tags, can be encoded with numbers. NFC (Near Field Communication) tags can be encoded with various types of data such as URLs, text, numbers, and even pictures.

RFID tags with read-only chips cannot be encrypted. However, chips that are read-write capable can be encrypted.

Yes, the UID (Unique Identifier) number of RFID tags can be printed using methods such as DOD printing, inkjet printing, or laser printing.

Yes, logos can be printed on RFID tags using methods such as screen printing or laser printing.

The lifespan of RFID tags is typically estimated at around 10 years for data storage, but this can vary based on the specific working environment in which the tags are deployed. Factors such as temperature, humidity, exposure to chemicals, and physical wear and tear can all influence the longevity of RFID tags.

EPC Global, IEC, ISO/IEC 14443, ISO 15693, ISO 18000-6C

– LF (Low Frequency): T5577 and EM4305 typically have a memory size of 363 bits or 512 bits.

– HF (High Frequency): Ntag213, Ntag215, and Ntag216 have memory sizes of 144 bytes, 504 bytes, and 888 bytes, respectively. The 1K tag has a memory size of 1 kilobyte (1024 bytes).

– UHF (Ultra High Frequency): U8, U9, and M3 tags commonly have memory sizes ranging from 96 bits to 128 kilobytes.

Passive RFID tags, depending on the types and quantity, typically range in price from USD 0.1 to 3 per unit.

Active RFID tags generally range in price from USD 1 to 10 per unit. These prices can vary based on specific requirements, technologies, and quantities

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