How to distinguish and select barcode and RFID device?

RFID and barcodes are both data-carrying technologies that store product information on labels, but they are different. So how to distinguish and choose these two kinds of labels and scanning equipment?

First of all, what is the difference between RFID and barcode?

1. Different functions
Barcode is a machine-readable code that arranges multiple black bars and blanks of varying widths according to certain coding rules to express a graphic identifier for a set of information. The common barcode is a pattern of parallel lines formed by black bars (referred to as bars) and white bars (referred to as spaces) with greatly different reflectivities. When a barcode reader, smartphone or even a desktop printer scans the barcode, the information about the item can be identified. These barcodes can be made into various shapes and sizes, and the recognized content will not be affected by the shape and size of the barcode.
RFID is a radio frequency identification technology that enables non-contact data communication between rfid readers and tags to identify targets. Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags consist of microchips and radio antennas that store unique data and transmit it to an RFID reader. They use electromagnetic fields to identify and track objects. RFID tags come in two forms, active and passive. Active tags have their own power source to transmit their data. Unlike active tags, passive tags require nearby readers to emit electromagnetic waves and receive the energy of the electromagnetic waves to activate the passive tags, and then the passive tags can transmit the stored information to reader.

2. Different applications
The application of RFID is very extensive. At present, typical applications include animal chips, car chip anti-theft devices, access control, parking lot control, production line automation, material management, and cargo marking.
Barcodes can mark the country of origin, manufacturer, commodity name, production date, book classification number, category, date and many other information, so it is widely used in many fields such as commodity circulation, book management, logistics management, banking system etc.

3. Different working principles
Radio frequency identification technology does not contact fast information exchange and storage technology through radio waves, it combine data access technology through wireless communication, and then connects to the database system to achieve non-contact two-way communication, thereby achieving the purpose of identification for data exchange, and a very complex system is connected in series. In the identification system, the reading, writing and communication of electronic tags are realized through electromagnetic waves.
Barcode technology was born with the development and application of computer and information technology. It is a new technology that integrates coding, printing, identification, data collection and processing.

In daily life, we can often see barcodes and RFID tags in various product packaging, and offen see 1D/2D barcode in supermarkets, convenience stores, and daily necessities, but see RFID tags clothing, shoes and bags. Why?  Let’s talk about the advantages and disadvantages of barcode and RFID tags and corresponding  reading & writing equipment.

Advantages and disadvantages of barcodes
1. Barcodes are universal and easy to use, the stores with barcode readers can handle barcodes from elsewhere.
2. Barcode labels and barcode readers are cheaper than RFID labels and readers.
3. Barcode labels are smaller and lighter than RFID labels
1. The barcode reader has a short recognition distance and must be close to the label
2. Barcodes are mostly paper labels, which are directly exposed to the air, are easily worn, and are easily damaged by liquids such as water. After the destruction, the function of the barcode will fail.
3. barcode tags can only store less data
4. The barcode reader must read barcode information separately, group reading is not supported, and the reading efficiency is low
5. The label is easy to be counterfeited, and the counterfeiting cost is low

Advantages and disadvantages of RFID
1. RFID tags and readers have a long reading distance
2. Multiple tags can be read at one time, and the data reading speed is fast
3. High data security, the information can be encrypted and updated
4. RFID tags can ensure the authenticity of products and have the function of anti-counterfeiting and traceability.
5. RFID electronic tags generally have the characteristics of waterproof, anti-magnetic, high temperature resistance, etc., to ensure the stability of the application of RFID tag.
6. RFID technology stores information according to computers, etc., up to several megabytes, and can store a large amount of information to ensure the smooth progress of the work.
1. RFID tags and reader devices are more expensive than barcodes
2. RFID tags and readers need to be selected according to reading frequency, distance and environment, and more RFID experience and technical knowledge are required to ensure the desired read rate

It can be seen from the above that the performance characteristics of barcodes, RFID tags and correspinding reading and writing equipment are different, so customers need to choose suitable products according to their actual use needs. Handheld-wireless have been deeply involved in RFID and barcode related equipment for many years, and are committed to providing various customized labels and handhelds to global customers.

Post time: Sep-23-2022