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HF or UHF --- Which RFID Frequency to Use?

Keywords: RFID, HF, UHF, Frequency, RFID Tags, RFID Readers

Summary: How to choose the right RFID Frequency for your applications.


From those who are new to the world of RFID and rugged handheld computing, one of the most common questions we hear is Which RFID frequency should I use: HF or UHF? In this post, wed like to help make this decision process a little bit easier. There are lots of different applications that use both HF (high frequency) and UHF (ultra-high frequency) RFID. And, like most options we have to choose between, each frequency has different pros and cons, so it really depends on whats important for your specific application.

Below, weve provided a kind of assessment that will hopefully help you decide which RFID frequency is most beneficial to your organization. Asking yourself these questions will help give you a better idea of which direction you might want to take. If you are trying to choose between HF and UHF, we would definitely recommend doing some extra research on this topic, but this is a great starting point that will help you quickly understand some of the differences between HF and UHF RFID technology. So here you go.

1) Do you need the ability to read and write data over a distance greater than ~50 cm?

Yes UHF might be a better option, allowing you to transfer data over several meters, while HF can only transfer data up to about 50 cm.

No HF might be better for you because its range is shorter, making it more reliable.

2) Will your RFID tags be placed near liquids, metals, carbon substances, or other dielectric and conducting objects?

Yes HF would probably work better because it is less vulnerable to interferences from surroundings. However, there are some manufacturers that have designed UHF tags that will work in these environments as well.

No HF and UHF would both work well.

3) Do you need to store more than ~110 bytes of data on your RFID tags?

Yes HF would probably be better because these tags can store between 64 bytes and 8 kilobytes of data, while UHF tags can only store 24-110 bytes of data.

No Both HF and UHF would workat this point youd probably want to choose the most cost-effective option.

4) Do you need to read more than 20 RFID tags at one time?

Yes UHF might be better for you since it can read up to 200 tags at a time, whereas HF can only read up to 20 tags at a time.

No Both HF and UHF would work. However, if youre planning to narrow down on one tag at a time, HF would probably be better since UHF might pick up multiple readings.

5) Will your tags be located in an area with a high amount of Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)? EMI is emitted by motors, robots on assembly lines, conveyors with nylon belts, etc.

Yes HF would probably be best because it is less susceptible to inaccuracies due to EMI.

No HF and UHF would both work.

6) Does your application require faster data transfer?

Yes UHF would probably be better because it transfers data faster than HF.

No HF and UHF would both work.

7) Is power usage an important consideration for your application?

Yes UHF might be better because it uses less power than HF.

No HF and UHF would both work.

Also, another FYI: some RFID readers dont support certain frequencies, so be sure to consider that as well. Hopefully this helped! You may have heard that we carry RFID readers, reader-modules and tags, which operate at UHF. Feel free to contact us to find out more.

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