Home > RFID Fundamental > RFID vs Barcode  
  - Overview
  - RFID vs Barcode
  - RFID Applications

RFID and barcode technology are similar in that they both contain tags or labels with particular ID which are readable by some electronic equipment. Although the overall functions of both RFID and barcode technology are similar, the attributes RFID possesses may be advantageous to the business world.

Read Range and Interference

One of the important advantages of RFID technology is its long read range. An item with a barcode must be scanned directly by a laser beam with no obstacle between the scanner and the label. In RFID, the read range is longer and tags can be read even when blocked by an obstacle.


Barcode technology has been widely used in Supply Chain Management (SCM) in the past 30 years as barcodes can contain information about manufacturers, product families and type, which has increased the effectiveness of supply chain operations. However, barcode technology is limited to information at the item level, where different items with the same Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) have the same ID. This is a disadvantage for lots of businesses including the retail industry as shop managers are unable to identify exactly which products that have been sold within the same SKU. RFID technology can be applied at the item level as each product can be assigned a particular ID. This enables particular products in the supply chain to be tracked, which enhances the visibility of the supply chain operation.

Read/Write Tag Data

Barcode data is fixed whenever it is printed. It cannot be amended unless replaced by a new label. RFID tags, on the other hand, can be reprogrammed to update information, which provides greater flexibility for the user.

To Top


| Home | About Us | RFID Fundamentals | Events | Our Solutions | Membership | Contact Us | Site Map |
Copyright © Industrial & Systems Engineering in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University