It appears that nearly all "passive RFID" tag-reader combinations have around a 5-10cm specification for reading distance.

But I am interested in approx. 20 cm reading distance.

I am assuming one of these is the right approach to follow, but I'm not sure which:

  • Perhaps the 5-10 cm range is a constraint of the passive RFID technology itself, and I should look into other technologies?

  • Or is it that there exist variants within the passive RFID technology (and the frequency band within which they operate)?

  • Or should I look into different kinds of tags specifically (I highly doubt this is the case since they do after all transmit upon being energized by the reader)?

  • Or should I consider adding a specific external antenna to my RFID reader?

Note: I am aware of "Active RFID", but given its battery requirement on the tags, this is not ideal for my experiment.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ They make tags with a higher range than that, maybe just not in the size you're looking for? omni-id.com/products/RFID_tags-ultra.php 100 feet. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 18:47
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This guy does 9.8 meters gaorfidassettracking.com/RFID_Asset_Tracking_News/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 18:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SomeHardwareGuy: Certainly not that big a size! (And that much range is not necessary even; just need about 20 cm) \$\endgroup\$
    – boardbite
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 18:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SomeHardwareGuy: Nevertheless, several meters with passive tags is very fascinating. \$\endgroup\$
    – boardbite
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


In my experience, ISO 15693-compatible tags work fine at that sort of range (assuming that the reader antenna is properly tuned and emits a powerful enough field). For example NXP ICODE SLI-family tags are generally available online and are usually reasonably priced.


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