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 NTAG424 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 including labels, disc tags, cards, wristbands, keyfobs and much more.

Within stickers, the standard choice is between white, clear, or custom print. However, we also have specialist stickers such as tamper tags and labels for clothing/garments.

For disc tags, the choice is typically between cost effective plain PVC disc tags (or custom printed PVC disc tags) and the more industrial PPS or ABS plastic variants. 

For cards, we have stock of PVC white gloss cards with slot holes or adhesive. We also have cards made with bamboo for a more eco-friendly option.

There are two choices for wristbands, either wristbands with a single use toggle or silicone wristbands that can be used multiple times. 

For keyfobs there are a wide range to choose from made with different materials such as PVC, ABS and some with an epoxy finish.

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 achieved with a tag around 50-60mm, however tags such as 29mm, 38mm or 48x78mm 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 our ScanStrength+ System. 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 48x78mm size tag has an average scan distance of around 7cm. 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 can supply NFC tags with a range of NFC chips including the NXP's NTAG213, NTAG215, NTAG216, NTAG424 and STMicro's ST25TN01K and ST25TN512 and others. 

However, almost all the tags we stock are with the industry standard NTAG213 chip or the more advanced authentication NTAG424 chip. Seritag only supply genuine NXP NTAG chips. 

Reasons for choosing the NTAG213..
  • Industry standard chip with enough memory for weblinks
  • Great performance, reliability and features
  • Cost effective 
  • For all non-authentication use cases - the chip of choice
Reasons for choosing the NTAG424..
  • You need anti-counterfeit or authentication protection
  • You want a 50 year long-life chip 
  • It comes in the format that you like !
Reasons for choosing another chip such as the NTAG215..
  • You need more memory
NFC & QR Code Management
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