Asset Tracking
RFID vs Barcode: Which One is Better for Asset Tracking?

RFID vs Barcode: Which One is Better for Asset Tracking?

RFID vs Barcode: Which One is Better for Asset Tracking?

RFID and Barcode technology are two techniques that are frequently used for asset tracking, inventory tracking. These technologies are applied in several industries such as Retail, Transportation, Clothing, Manufacturers, etc.

Every day an organization takes several decisions in order to decrease the cost and increase productivity. So, choosing technology that works efficiently and effectively in your organization is very crucial.

Knowing the major differences between RFID and barcode is a necessary need for running the business successfully and to enhance your Return on Investment (ROI).

What is Barcode?

It is a data representation in code that is readable by machines & scanners. Barcode comes in a square shape with some parallel lines in black and white also right below them, there are few numbers written. It is used for asset tracking or inventory tracking. The data can be read by smartphones too. Now barcodes come in 1- Dimensional and 2-Dimensional.

1-D is simple, it can store text data, product price and 2-D are complex compare to 1-D they can include information like price, quantity, image, etc.

According to Grand View Research,  “The global 2D barcode reader market size was valued at USD 6.79 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7% from 2021 to 2028. The growing adoption of 2D barcode scanners for inventory control and gathering business intelligence for business process optimization is expected to drive growth.”

What is RFID?

RFID Stands for Radio Frequency-Identification. This technology works on a tag basis, on an item a tag is attached, and radio waves track the tag. RFID can be divided into 3 parts Reader, Antenna & Transponder.

The antenna conveys a radio-frequency signal furnishing a way for communication with the RFID tag. When the RFID tag goes through the frequency field of the scanning antenna; it identifies the activation signal and can store the data to be picked up by the antenna.

Also Read: RFID vs NFC: How They are Different in Terms of Asset Tracking?

What Are the Advantages & Disadvantages of Barcode?

Advantages of the barcode are as follow:

  • They are cost-effective
  • Barcode is very accurate
  • Barcode is a universal technology
  • It is vastly used in Inventory Tracking
  • It removes the possibility of human mistake or error
  • They can be ready by barcode scanner from anywhere across the world
  • Barcode is easy to use technology as you can see it on almost every product and item

The disadvantages of the barcode are as follow:

  • It needs to be scanned in a straight line
  • If the barcode is tempered there is no other way to scan the product
  • Barcode only stores a small amount of data
  • Barcode scanner needs to stay close to the product in order to scan the barcode

What Are the Advantages & Disadvantages of RFID?

Advantages of RFID are as follow:

  • RFID automatically collects data reducing human effort and error
  • It does not need line to line to read data information
  • It increases efficiency as it can read multiple tags at the same time
  • RFID can read data from long distance
  • The password is encrypted & data is secured. So, it provides great security
  • RFID tags are reusable because they are covered with plastic

Disadvantages of RFID are as follow:

  • The impact of the signal is vulnerable by material such as liquid and metal
  • Sometimes it accidentally scans the data
  • RFID tag cost is much higher than barcode as there is inbuilt chip inside the tag
  • RFID Implementation is time-consuming
Also Read: 7 Best Asset Management Practices for Your Business

What Are the Similarities Between Barcode And RFID?

There are several similarities between them such as:

  • Both technologies are used for asset tracking & inventory tracking.
  • RFID and barcode are the two asset tracking methods for gathering & collecting information data
  • Stored information on both are retrieved via another device (scanner or reader)

What Are the Differences Between Barcode And RFID?

Here are a few differences:

  • RFID does not to be scanned in a straight-line as barcode needs to scan a product
  • Barcodes are very cost-efficient compared to RFID
  • RFID can read the data from a bigger distance (10 feet to 30 feet approx.) than Barcode (From few inches to max. few feet)
  • In many cases; barcode precision has been said to be the equivalent or surprisingly better than RFID tags
  • RFID Tags quickly read data compared to the barcode
  • Barcode is very simple to use as it is much smaller and lighter than RFID
  • RFID can read and write data, but barcode can only read data
  • Barcode can't scan multiple items, so it provides accuracy and reliability. Hence, you don't have to worry about accidental scan
  • RFID can also maintain a product's history of maintenance, expiry date, etc.
Also Read: How is Asset Tracking Using NFC Different from Other Technologies?


Both asset tracking technologies have their own benefits and drawbacks. So, it is up to you and you have to figure out which technology will be more favorable to your product in your work scenario.

For instance, in a little store where a barcode works efficiently specifically for inventory tracking. On the other hand, if this small store implements RFID technology then it will be a lot costlier for them.

It is important for organizations to utilize asset tracking technology either is barcode or RFID. Another significant factor is to utilize tags with asset management software that will give you an extra edge.

You may ask, how? because these asset tracking methods will provide crucial data that assist the team in maintenance management, work order management, scheduling maintenance, asset history can provide analytics that will help in making informed decisions.

Since these methods specialize in tracking monitoring assets. Your productivity will increase, and asset optimization will be better.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can RFID replace barcodes?

Since the barcode has been there for a long time & it has been working fine & effectively in many companies, therefore, we don't think it will be replaced by any technology. However, it has been updated to QR Code and in the future, we may see an updated version of the Barcode.

2. Is RFID cheaper than a barcode?

No, definitely not! At least not in terms of tag price because it is said that 1 RFID tag costs 10x of the barcode.

3. Can RFID readers read barcodes?

Available scanners support both RFID and barcoding so you can upgrade at your own pace.

4. Is barcode better than RFID?

RFID has more advantages compare to RFID but again as we have said earlier first you have to understand your business requirement then only you will be able to figure out which technology is best for your business process.

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