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RFID Tags

Like anything, you get what you pay for in features, size, and functionality when you purchase RFID tags. Tag prices are also depend on quantity, especially on the lower-cost tags (such as wristband tabs or smart label tags).

When selecting tags, here are some considerations:

  • Tags are designed for different applications, environmental conditions, size requirements, intended readers, and read proximity. Passive tags almost always have to be read closely (such as passing a card a few inches from a reader.) On the high end, active tags imbedded in a pallet of television sets in a warehouse can be read by a ceiling mounted reader. You should pick the type of tag that fits your product and its method for reading and inventory tracking.
  • If you sell to large retailers, your tags may have to meet their specifications. For example, Wal-Mart has RFID requirements that you must satisfy if you ship to them product above a specific volume.
  • If you ship globally, your tag should be of the type and frequency range that is readable domestically and overseas. Standards from ISO, EPC, and especially EPCglobal(tm) promote tag formats which have the most success being encoded and read universally.
  • The type of tag encoder you have will dictate to some extent where you can get tags. Review your RFID encoder or encoder/printer manual to see what tag standards are supported. You may find that the only ones that will reliably work are from the manufacturer of the encoder or ones that they have tested.

The internet has sites that feature warehouses

full of all kinds of tags. Some carry the encoder/printers as well. Passive tags tend to cost between $1 apiece for most applications, but high quantities of inexpensive tags can be had for as little as 10 cents apiece. Discounts usually don't apply until you reach 10,000 tags in an order.
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