That’s a difficult question to answer. It’s a bit like asking how much a car costs—there are big differences between a Ford Focus, a Toyota Prius, an Audi A8 and a Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano. Likewise, there is a big difference between a passive ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) RFID inlay, a high-frequency (HF) transponder embedded in a plastic card, a battery-assisted tag with a humidity sensor and an active tag designed to withstand the harsh environment of a construction site.
If you are looking for a low-cost passive tag, there are companies that sell inlays (the raw tag without any label or other packaging) for as little as seven cents apiece in high volumes (one million tags or more).
In general, the cost of passive tags depends on volume and packaging. The more tags you buy, the better the price. But if you want the tag embedded in a label, then that will add to the cost. And if you want the tag to be placed in plastic so it can survive being banged around, that will cost more as well.
The cost of active tags is driven by volume, packaging and the battery. If you want a tag with a battery that lasts 10 years, that will cost more than a tag that operates in the same manner and is designed to last only five years.
I know that doesn’t fully answer your question, but without knowing the exact type of tag you want, as well as the volume, it’s impossible to predict the likely cost.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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