RFID Readers


RFID readers provide the crucial link in an RFID technology solution between your tagged objects such as assets, inventory, vehicles and people, and the software that records and displays locations in real-time.

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification, and is a form of wireless communication that uses radio waves to identify a wide variety of ‘tagged’ objects or people from a distance. One of the key advantages of RFID over traditional barcode technology is that RFID does not need a direct line of site to ‘see’ an object. This is key to increase visibility of individual items in large rooms containing many items, and also saves a lot of time.

The technology has been developed over a number of years and forms the basis of tracking solutions for a wide range of assets and people across various industries. RFID technology solutions use a combination of tags, readers, software and networks to create a customised solution to track a wide variety of valuable business assets.

RFID readers come in a variety of formats and capabilities, and can be specified as part of a customised RFID technology solution to suit particular business requirements.

RFID Reading the room

RFID readers or sensors identify tagged objects such as assets, inventory, vehicles and people in a variety of ways.

For example, in a stock room or retail store, stock can be counted by simply ‘waving’ a handheld RFID reader to pick up all the RFID tags in the vicinity, to a very high (99%+) degree of accuracy. Contrast this to manually reading every single item as is the case with traditional barcode technology.

The same scenario could apply to assets such as computers, tablets and phones in a busy office environment. A simple walkaround with a handheld reader can pick up these items no matter where they are located within the office. In fact, there are examples where supposedly ‘lost’ items have been picked up by RFID readers – the items were simply misplaced at the time.

When it comes to people, or art, or other mobile items, RFID readers can pick up the movement of these items in and around buildings, even determining the direction in which they were moving.

And in the case of vehicles, RFID readers can be mounted at warehouse gates or checkpoints or ports to identify the movement of vehicles in and out of these facilities, without any human intervention needed. Readers can also be mounted to warehouse equipment such as forklifts to track the movement of pallets, boxes or individual items.

The possibilities are endless to use RFID tracking solutions to save businesses time and money.

Take it as read

RFID readers can be mobile (handheld) or fixed (mounted) and pick up radio signals transmitted by passive and active tags affixed to various types of assets, or worn by people. When designing an RFID solution, consideration is given to when objects will need to be ‘read’ or counted, where the reading will take place and therefore the best place for readers.

There are essentially two distinct kinds of RFID reader – passive and active – which reflects the types of RFID tags that are available. Readers and tags are matched based on the requirements of a particular RFID solution.


This type of RFID reader is typically smaller and its use activates passive tags. They can be:

  • Handheld readers
  • Smartphones (apps)
  • Portals on doorways, dock doors and conveyors
  • Smart cabinet reader
  • Vehicle-mounted readers (forklift, reach stacker)
  • Roadside reader


This type of RFID reader is typically larger in size, with an included battery and a longer reading range. They can be:

  • Handheld readers
  • Vehicle-mounted readers (forklift, reach stacker)
  • Roadside readers

Both these types of RFID readers can often incorporate:

  • Embedded PCs
  • Wi-Fi or cellular modems
  • i/O devices
  • UPS
  • Solar power

A complete RFID solution

And beyond passive and active RFID readers in their various forms, there are other components that can be incorporated into an RFID technology solution. These include:

2D (QR) barcodes

Read by handheld readers where RFID tags are at close range, or by smartphone apps when the user doesn’t have an RFID reader handy.

GPS tags

These tags do not require local readers infrastructure, instead they rely on cellular or other long range networks to send data to the software.


RFID printers are used to print and encode RFID labels for use both on and off metal. RFID printers can offer superior flexibility, high print speeds and high media roll capacity.

Customised RFID inventory tracking solutions for every business

RFID readers are an important component of an RFID technology solution that can be customised for different businesses depending on their specific needs and their particular circumstances. Using the most appropriate type of RFID reader, in combination with tags and software, helps create a powerful RFID solution to increase visibility of valuable assets, save time, and increase the business bottom line.