Cheap RFID Tags (and why they may not be as cheap as you think)

Cheap RFID Tags (and why they may not be as cheap as you think)

Everyone wants a cheap solution to their RFID tracking application. They often think a good way to cut costs is on the consumables, the RFID tag. Understandable, but too often those cheap RFID tags come up short of meeting expectations.

What are cheap RFID Tags?

The most obvious answer to this question is that cheap RFID tags are tags that don’t cost very much.What Are Cheap RFID Tags?

Paper RFID tags (or labels) are typically low-cost RFID tags that can be attached to items using adhesive backing. They are commonly used for applications like asset tracking, inventory management and access control.

Paper RFID labels are not going to work in an application that has repeated usage; rather, they are better suited to one-time applications. In addition, paper RFID labels really should only be used in very mild applications, as they are not constructed to survive a more demanding environment. 

Cheap RFID tags could also mean the type of RFID tag you are looking to use - active or passive RFID tags. When looking for cheap RFID tags, you might consider passive tags as they tend to be less expensive compared to active tags. Passive RFID tags do not have their own power source and rely on energy from the RFID reader to operate.

How cheap are RFID Tags?

"Cheap" is a relative term when it comes to looking for the right RFID label to work in your application. Yes, in significant volumes one can find RFID tags under $0.10, but do they come preprinted? What about programming? Will the construction of the cheap RFID tag be able to survive the environment in which it is expected to perform? How does the cheap RFID label react to chemicals and high heat? Will the adhesive work on the surface on which it will be applied? Is it a metal surface? Is it a hard-to-adhere-to surface? A cheap RFID tag doesn't save anyone any money if the tag falls off the asset it is supposed to be tracking. A cheap RFID label can't track anything laying on the ground.

How Cheap are RFID Tags?
Our Universal RFID Hard Tag is protected from caustics/acids.

Not Cheap RFID Tags – rather an economical RFID solution

People looking for cheap RFID tags doesn't really want a cheap tag. Rather, they want an economical solution for their RFID application. They want to see that using the right RFID tag may end up saving time and increasing productivity because it survives the application. Cheap RFID labels may end up costing more than you expect if they do not work in the application, forcing users to purchase another set of tags and go through the application process again - wasting both time and money.

If you are interested in finding the right RFID tag for your application, please contact us for an RFID consultation and to receive free samples. 

Aaron Hobert - RFID Technical Specialist   

About the Author: Aaron Hobert

Aaron Hobert is our RFID Technical Specialist. Hobert joined Metalcraft in September of 1994 as a Litho Press Operator, became the Autograph Team Lead in 1998 and in April 2005 he became the RFID Sales Support Rep. He was named our RFID Technical Specialist in 2008. Aaron lives outside Charles City with his wife Diane.

Mobile Phone: 641-330-2660

Email: [email protected]

Office: 3360 9th St. SW, Mason City, IA 50401

Office Phone: 641-423-9460

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