The question of which technology is better – RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) or Barcode? – has been in discussion for years. Both technologies have their advantages and disadvantages, and selecting the one that best fits your business needs is essential when considering the right solution. In this article, we’ll discuss RFID vs Barcode, what sets these two technologies apart from each other and provide an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of each.


What Is RFID Technology?


RFID stands for radio frequency identification. This type of technology uses radio waves to transmit information from an RFID tag to an RFID reader.

RFID is a wireless technology that enables communication between tags and readers without the need for a line of sight. The data captured by the readers are then sent to a computer and stored in a database.

This technology tracks and manages the movement of products, assets, personnel and documents. RFID is used in many industries, such as retail, manufacturing, agriculture, and so much more.


What is an RFID tag?


An RFID Tag is a small device composed of a chip and antenna. The chip can be programmed to store information about the asset or product it’s attached to.


What is an RFID reader?


An RFID reader is a device that can read the information stored on an RFID tag. It’s used to collect data from multiple tags simultaneously and then transmit this information to a database.


What Is Barcode Technology?


Barcodes have been used since the 1970s and are still widely used today. They are mainly used for inventory management, tracking assets, managing documents, identifying products and much more.

Barcode technology makes use of a barcode and a barcode scanner. This technology uses a beam of light to read the black-and-white lines of a barcode. The information is then encoded into a digital form that computers can read.


What is a barcode?


A barcode is a machine-readable code composed of parallel black bars and white spaces with different widths. It’s read using a barcode scanner that can decode the information stored in the code.


What is a barcode scanner?


A barcode scanner reads the information stored in a barcode. It captures the data on the barcode and then transmits it into a database.


RFID vs Barcodes: The Advantages And Disadvantages


Given that RFID technology is relatively new, it is common for individuals to ask: “Is RFID better than using barcodes?” The answer to this question is: it depends on the application.

When it comes to barcodes vs RFID, each technology has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The advantages and disadvantages can give you an answer on which technology is more suitable for your application.

Let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of these two technologies.


Advantages of RFID:


  • Stores information
  • It doesn’t require a line of sight to read
  • Can read from a distance


Disadvantages of RFID:


  • More expensive than barcodes
  • Water and liquid can impact signal
  • Implementation can be difficult and time-consuming


Advantages of Barcodes:


  • Inexpensive compared to RFID
  • Easy to learn and implement
  • Accurate reading


Disadvantages of Barcodes:


  • Require a line of sight to read
  • Unable to store information 
  • Limited scan range


RFID vs Barcode – Which Is The Best For Me?


The answer to this question depends on the application. If you require an asset-tracking solution that needs to read from a distance, RFID might be the better option. However, if you just need an inexpensive solution to scan items in a retail store, barcodes would be more suitable.


Suppose you’re still unsure; contact Milestone today! We are experts in both RFID and barcode technologies, so we’ll be able to give you advice tailored to your needs. Our team can help you find the right solution for your business, no matter what type of application it is.