Barcode, QR Codes, or RFID Tags?
Barcodes, QR Codes, or RFID Tags?

Among this three auto-id are advantages and disadvantages inherent in their designs. You may be wondering which technology suits you best, so we’ll go over these technologies to help you decide.

As a type of barcode, QR codes are essentially a 2D barcode. Although barcodes can either be 1D or 2D, the barcode category that we will be discussing will be referring to 1D barcodes only. With that said, barcodes and QR codes have similar qualities in ways that they both have to be within a certain range of a scanner in order to be read. These two technologies also only have read-only capabilities, which suggests that information is encoded once, can only be read, and cannot be edited. Furthermore, both QR codes and barcodes are extremely inexpensive to produce.

Despite the similarities, there are still differences between QR codes and barcodes. Since barcodes have a 1D design, this limits their data capacity to alphanumeric characters only. On the other hand, QR codes have a 2D design, which increases their data capacity by hundreds of times more. Another feature that sets them apart is the fact that QR codes will still work despite being damaged or unclear, as it possesses an error-correcting feature. Lastly, QR codes and barcodes differ in the way they are commonly utilized. With limited data capacity, barcodes are often used for inventory control for retail or wholesale businesses, as not much information is required to be encoded per item. As for QR codes, they are most frequently used for marketing purposes.

With QR codes and barcodes covered, this leaves us with RFID technology. Unlike how both QR codes and barcodes must be visible in line of sight for scanners, RFID operates by transmitting information through radio waves and do not need to be in front of a scanner to work; hence, RFIDs allow several items to be scanned at once and through different types of surfaces.

Aside from this, RFID tags also have the option of being either read-only tags or read/write tags. As read-only tags, information is written once on the tag, can only be read, and relies on an external database to retrieve information. With read/write RFID tags, information is stored in the tag itself and can be edited again later. Since read/write tags store information, this means that this RFID tag would not require an external database to operate. In addition to read/write and read-only options, RFID tags can also come as active or passive tags. Active tags are powered by batteries and offer a greater reading range than passive tags. Additionally, active tags also continuously transmit information, so information update will naturally be faster. However, these active tags are also larger by size since they hold their own batteries, and are typically less durable than passive tags. In contrast to active tags, passive RFID tags depend on energy from an RFID reader in order to work. Since they do not have their own batteries, passive tags are more durable as smaller and flexible RFID tags.