Why do passive RFID tags range so much in cost - from pennies to $100?

You can buy a cheap tag for less than a dime. Ironically, you’ll pay more than a dime to have it sequenced - which is to actually put a unique number on it.

I will respond by talking about UHF RFID and passive.

So you take the inlay, you put it in a normal paper tag, you’re gonna end up somewhere around a dime and come out with a 1” x 4”, stick-on RFID.

It gets more expensive as you go up in size because the antennas are actually copper deposits. So that copper actually gets really expensive. If you get a bigger label, it just physically is more expensive. And then the machine can’t crank out as many 8” x 8” tags as it can 1” x 4” tags. And you have paper costs and all of that. So you put the top end of paper labels somewhere around a dollar.

And then you get into the issue of needing to put RFID labels on things that are metal, or containers that are full of milk or water (Paint is actually very very tricky. Even when it’s not in a metal can because the carbon in the colors do weird things). So you have metal tags and they aren’t just inlays between two sheets of paper. They usually have a foil backing in there somewhere that’s been designed to work like a back plane for the antenna, giving you isolation from some metal object that you apply it to.

And then on the high end of passive you have things like rail car tags that are literally encased in a plastic enclosure - I guess 89" long and 3" wide and a” thick. Those can go over $89 depending on what you’re trying to do.

So that’s kind of the gamut of passive tags and UHF.

But then you have the 1356 MHz high frequency stuff which is used for access control. It opens the gate at your condo complex. It lets you in your doors at work. And that stuff is dirt cheap - you know, key cards,

So tag pricing is something everybody should consider because it can change the equation. It’s the razor blade, right? Give away the handles, charge a lot for the razor blade.

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