The Difference Between the RFID Frequency Ranges (LF/HF/UHF)

The frequency range of an RFID system has a significant impact on multiple performance metrics like the read range and interference susceptibility, so it's important to make sure you select the right frequency for your business application or use case. 

  LF/NFC HF UHF
Frequency range 125 - 134.2 KHz 13.56 MHz (global) 433, 865 - 828 MHz (varies regionally)
Read range < 10 cm < 1 m 1 - 100 m
Tag cost Relatively expensive Varies Inexpensive (in high volumes)
Reader cost Relatively inexpensive (established technology) Relatively inexpensive (established technology) More expensive (newer technology)
Applications Pet identification, access control, modern car keys, touchless payment methods Book identification, smart cards Supply chain tracking, inventory, livestock tracking
Performance in close proximity to conductive materials Unaffected by nearby conductive materials (e.g., water, metal) Less affected by conductive materials than UHF Highly susceptible to nearby conductive materials (see anti-metal tags)
Security Few encryption capabilities, but less susceptible to eavesdropping Multiple encryption and security features Few encryption options, but have read/write protection and anti-cloning capabilities
ISO standards ISO 11784, ISO 11785, ISO 18000 ISO 15693, ISO 14443 ISO 18000-6C
Supported tags A wide variety of manufacturer-specific tags including NXP (Philips) HITAG, EM Microelectronic, and Texas Instruments A wide variety of tags including ISO 15693, ICODE (I & II) and the complete Mifare family of ISO14443 (A & B) EPC Class 1 Gen 2
Data transmission rate Slow Faster Fastest
Simultaneous tag reading capabilities Only single reads Good Excellent