Differences Between Active and Passive RFID

There are several differences between active and passive RFID tags that must be considered when implementing RFID technology into your business to ensure you get the solution you need in the most cost-effective manner. So, what are the differences? And which one is right for your business?

1. Battery Use

Active RFID tags require a power source to work, and so typically use a battery to power them. Using a battery means that active RFID tags are able to continuously transmit data, which passive tags are not able to.

Unlike active tags, passive RFID tags do not use a battery, and instead, use electromagnetic waves from the reader. The waves generate power, which then allows the tag to transmit data back to the reader

2. Frequency Range

The frequency at which active and passive RFID tags operate is very different. Passive tags typically operate between 865-868MHz frequency, which is quite a small range, whereas active tags can operate between 433 MHz-2.45GHz.

3. Read Range

The read range of RFID tags differs greatly based on a wide range of variables such as if there are liquids or metals nearby or competing frequencies. However, another thing that will impact read range is the type of tag used. Passive RFID tags typically have a read range of up to 15 metres, whereas active RFID tags have much greater read range, usually being between 30 metres and 300 metres.

4. Continuous Transmission

Active RFID tags are able to continuously transmit data, which allows them to be used for different functions from passive tags, such as real-time tracking. This makes them beneficial for tracking high-value assets. Passive tags are not able to continuously transmit data as they have no battery.

5. Cost

Typically, active RFID tags are more expensive than passive RFID tags. A passive RFID tag is typically very cheap, costing usually between £0.10 for simple paper labels, to £5.00 for ultra-rugged long range passive tags for assets such as shipping containers. Active RFID tags on the other hand are significantly more expensive, typically £20.00 or more.

Clearly, there are quite a few differences between the two types of tag. Considering which is appropriate for your business is important, especially with the price difference between the two.

Typically, passive RFID tags are used for supply chain tracking, manufacturing, and asset tracking. As previously mentioned, for high-value items you may want to consider using an active RFID tag to allow for real-time location tracking. Active RFID tags on the other hand are typically used for vehicle tracking, auto manufacturing, mining, and construction.

Still not sure which tag is right for you? Contact us at TEC-RFID today and we will be able to assist in determining which type of tag is right for you and help you implement RFID into your business. TEC-RFID are RFID specialists, so get in touch and our friendly and knowledgeable team will be able to advise you further.

Differences Between Active and Passive RFID