1. Buying Advice
  2. Tag Selection

Tag Selection

29 April 2020   |   Buying Advice

Choosing the right NFC Tag can seem a little confusing. If you aren't sure, then talk to us. We've worked on hundreds of projects and have supplied tags to thousands - we are always happy to help.

NFC Chip or NFC Tag ?

First, let's make sure we are clear on the chip and the tag. Each NFC tag contains a microchip, an antenna (coil of wire) and something to hold it together.

The chip, such as an NTAG213 or ST25TN01K defines the memory capacity and features (such as scan counter or password protection).

The tag defines the physical shape/format of the tag. For example, a white sticker, clear sticker or disc.

Choosing which NFC tag

We will split this into two areas - tag format and tag size.

Note that there is one additional factor to consider if you are placing your tags on metal. Normal tags don't work on metal surfaces so you need to choose an 'on-metal' NFC tag which can work on both metal and non-metal surfaces.

Tag Format

Seritag sell a wide range of tags but most customers use one of two main tag formats - stickers and/or disc tags. Within stickers, there are white, clear, pre-printed (we've already printed these so you can quickly and/or easily use them) or custom print (you can have NFC stickers made with your own design). The format, such as white or clear, does not directly affect scan distance.

Ideal uses for a white NFC tag..
  • When you need a QR code, ID or simple logo/text print
  • You like the look of a simple white tag
Ideal uses for a clear NFC Tag..
  • You need a thin tag for hiding behind a label or lamination
  • You want the cheapest possible option
  • You like the look of an antenna visible tag
Ideal uses for an NFC Disc Tag..
  • Exposed outdoor use
  • Industrial areas where the tag might get wet or knocked

Tag Size

As a general rule, the larger the tag, the greater the scan distance or ScanStrength. ScanStrength is how close the phone needs to be to get a response from the tag. A larger ScanStrength or scan distance means the user experience is better as they don't have to 'hunt' for the tag or be so accurate with phone placement.

With mobile phones, the maximum scan distance is acheived with a tag around 50-60mm, however tags from 29-38mm will provide a great user experience for almost all use cases. Tags bigger than this are not only expensive but generally mobile phone phones don't have enough power so scan performance is either flat or starts to reduce.

All our tags have been tested with all popular phones. We only stock the best tags and even our smallest tag will scan without problem. Phone performance varies but to give an idea, our smallest Midas tag has an average scan distance of around 2cm. Our 38mm size tag has an average scan distance of around 5cm. However, bear in mind that the vast majority of people do tend to almost or actually physically touch the tags (or the fabric/card/plastic in front of the tag) when scanning, then in reality all the distances are more than enough.

Reasons for choosing a smaller tag..
  • You have a small space and need a small tag
  • You prefer the look of a smaller tag
  • Every penny/cent counts and you want the cheapest you can get
Reasons for choosing a larger tag..
  • You need the maximum possible ScanStrength
  • You want to ID print a QR code or large ID text/number
  • You want the tag to be more visible
  • The tag will be scanned through thick card, glass, etc

Choosing which NFC chip

Seritag stock tags with seven of the most reliable and powerful NFC chips on the market - the new ST25TN01K and ST25TN512 chips, the NTAG213, the NTAG210µ (NTAG210 Micro), ICODE SLIX2 and NTAG424. The 424 is a specialist authentication NFC chip which need advanced encoding and software. The ICODE SLIX2 is only recommended if you need very long term memory storage. Therefore, the majority of use cases will require the NTAG213.

NFC & QR Code Management
©Copyright 2023 Seritag.
Seritag is a trading name of TabDesk Ltd, a UK Registered company 10474154. VAT Registration Number GB256328005.