RFID vs Barcode. What are the differences?

RFID and Barcode are two technologies used for resource identification and traceability. However, although their purpose is the same, their capabilities and the way they work differ significantly in some ways.

Below, you can find a list of their main differences:



Reading only Reading and writing of information
Reading through the visual contact which results in short reading range Reading without the visual necessity
Impossibility of a simultaneous reading of several codes Simultaneity of reading
Maximum amount of information that can be stored is 100 bytes Passive tags store 128 bytes to 8 Kbytes of information
Extremely sensitive to alteration, abrasions, and stains Insensitivity to dirt, stains, etc. Total hermeticity
Not contain any added information such as the shipping histories. They only contain data about the manufacturer and the product. Large data capabilities which can all be programmed to the tag such as product maintenance, shipping histories and expired date for products that need it
Lighter and usually cheaper More expensive

Everyone knows barcodes, while few are informed about RFID technology, even if it is used more and more, with great benefits, in all sectors. To get to know it better, let’s look at the advantages of this radio frequency technology.

The advantages of RFID 

  Improve efficiency and productivity

RFID technology allows you to execute business processes more quickly and easily,  involving greater flexibility of the employees, that in this way can focus themselves on other activities increasing productivity.

  Prevent error

Due to the automatic nature of radiofrequency technology, no human intervention is required to read the data. This results in a reduction of human errors that typically occur with the manual data recording.

  Improve quality

RFID enables processes and procedures to be measured better. In fact, until a process can be measured accurately it often can’t be improved. Decisions that are based on limited, inaccurate, out-of-date information are often poor decisions.

  Increase revenues

Companies using RFID can provide a service that creates competitive differentiation and consequently greater customer satisfaction with opportunities for higher sales and better margins.

So…Barcode or RFID? Which one is better?

To summarize, Barcodes are inexpensive, but in some cases, more complex to manage: you have to buy them and apply them to each article. The reading phase is slower as the scan has to be in a line of sight with each code.

RFID tags are more expensive, although over time their price is falling considerably. Costs can vary depending on the type of tag. The great advantage of this technology is that, with higher initial investment, it is highly likely to increase operational efficiency.

However, we cannot say that one technology is better than the other, because there are still environments where it is preferable to use barcodes only, and others, instead, where the implementation of an RFID system is required to ensure a certain productivity and efficiency.

Choosing the correct identification technology for your business will depend on the size and type of products inside the plant and the speed of the flows of goods.

If you are interested in implementing an RFID solution within your company, or just to deepen your knowledge of this technology, please feel free to contact us!





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