RFID has been widely used for the past years, it was applied on toll road payments, access card for offices, and even identification for passports in some countries like Japan. But what makes an RFID card reader so good? Well, it provides a cheap, efficient, and reliable way to collect and read data. Today, we are going to discuss some of the best RFID card readers that is available on the market today.

But first, let’s discuss a few things…

How Does an RFID Reader Work?

Just like barcode, RFID, or Radio Frequency Identification works almost the same. It identifies the location and information of tagged items. However, instead of using laser light to read the information of the barcode, RFID uses low-frequency radio waves to collect and store data.

To give you an idea of the actual process of reading an RFID proceed below.

In collecting data from the RFID, the transceiver reads unique radio frequencies and sends them to the RFID tag where the data is stored. Now, to read the data from the RFID, the identification data is then transmitted from a microchip stored inside the RFID tag and broadcasted to the RFID reader.


7 (BEST)  RFID Card Readers

#1: LANMU Radio Frequency Card Reader (125 kHz Contactless Proximity Sensor)

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What we liked the most about the LANMU RFID card reader is that it is cheap. However, even if the card reader is cheap you still get decent performance. The LANMU RFID card reader features a fast and contactless radio frequency identification reading and can detect RFID cards at a distance of 0-8 cm. It adapts to a microelectronic RF module that is compatible with multiple operating systems without the need for drivers. You can get the LANMU RFID card reader on Amazon for $10.

#2: RFID NFC Reader Writer 13.56MHZ USB Contactless/Contact Smart Card Reader

YIQing S9-BU-13-00 RFID NFC Reader...
31 Reviews
YIQing S9-BU-13-00 RFID NFC Reader...
  • 【Product features】:Dual interface smart IC card reader, supporting contactless IC...
  • 【Support system】:Windows 2K、XP、2003、Vista、Linux、WIN7 / 8 / 10、Win...
  • 【Packaging and development kits】:1 Reader Writer + 2pcs(4442 Cards) +...

This card reader is a dual interface NFC and smart IC card reader that has support for both contact and contactless IC cards. It is compatible with most Windows versions from Windows XP up to Windows 10. However, it doesn’t have support for macOS but compatible with Android phones. For card detection distance, it can detect RFID cards at a length of 0-50 mm and has a working frequency of 13.56 MHz. You can buy this RFID / NFC card reader and writer on Amazon for $60.

#3: TOPINCN RFID Reader / Scanner

Reader Card ID TOPINCN RFID Card...
27 Reviews
Reader Card ID TOPINCN RFID Card...
  • 【SUPPORT】- Supports ISO 14443 type A and B, FeliCa and 4 NFC (ISO / IEC 18092)...
  • 【COMPATIBLE WITH】- PC / SC CCID compatible card reader. ACR122U is compatible...
  • 【FAST READ AND WRITE SPEEDS】- Read and write speeds are fast and accurate,...

Last on our list is the TOPINCN Radio Frequency Identification card reader. It is a compact plug and play device that has support for interoperability with multiple devices at the same time. In terms of performance, the TOPINCN RFID reader can reach up to 424 kilobytes per second for fast RFID tag identification. The card reader has a built-in antenna for contactless identification with a max distance of 50 mm.  Aside from being an RFID reader, the TOPINCN RFID reader can also function as an NFC card reader. The TOPINCN Card reader is available on Amazon for $47.

#4: D-Logic uFR Classic – RFID, NFC Reader Writer

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Now this RFID card reader from D-Logic is on the expensive side, however, you get a lot of features in exchange. It has support for multiple SDK and compatible with most Windows versions, macOS, Android, and even Raspberry Pi. For supported card types, the D-Logic Reader is compatible with MIFARE Mini, MIFARE Classic 1K, MIFARE Classic 4K, MIFARE Ultralight, MIFARE DESFire, and MIFARE Plus. You can get the D-Logic uFR Classic RFID card reader and writer on Amazon for $70 and comes with free technical support to help you in setting up the device.

#5: Handheld RFID 125KHz Card Reader Writer 

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In terms of compatibility, the HandHeld RFID card reader covers a lot of RFID tags. It is compatible with hid proximity cards, RFID 125khz, ID EM4100, T5577 card, and keyfobs. This handheld RFID card reader has low power consumption and can last up to 2000 scans with 2 batteries. It also comes with 2 keyfobs and a blank key card to get you started right away.

#6: RFID Reader Writer Copier for Both 125KHz Proximity Card 1326 Family Cards

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If you are looking for an RFID card reader with multiple functions then you should consider getting this radio frequency reader. This card reader is capable of not only reading data from RFID tags but also copy the exact information from one RFID tag to another. It is powered by two AAA batteries and compatible with EM4100, 1346, 1326, 10301 RFID cards. You can get the RFID Reader Writer Copier on Amazon for $26 and comes with 5 pieces of blank RFID key fobs.

#7: XCSOURCE 13.56MHz USB Smart IC Card RFID Reader

The XCSOURCE RFID card reader is another good option if you are looking for a budget-friendly RFID reader. Priced at $13 you would get a 13.56 MHz RFID reader equipped with a 1.3 meter long USB cable. The XCSOURCE card reader is widely used in office entrances, hotel locks, computer access, and libraries. For reading distance, the card reader can detect an RFID tag at a radius of 0-8 cm.


Common Applications of RFID Readers

If you are wondering how RFIDs are used in the real-world, here are some areas where RFID tags are applied.

  • Inventory Management – large warehouses use RFID cards to identify and track inventory movements going in and out of the warehouse.
  • Document and File Tracking – some offices today implement an RFID technology on their document and file management. They use RFID to track who borrowed office files and when it was borrowed.
  • Library Automation – like the concept of document and file tracking, libraries use RFID cards to track the movement of books going inside and outside the library.
  • Toll Road Payment – on toll roads it is always a problem when a large volume of cars queue on toll gates for payments. To address this, toll companies use RFID attached in cars to accept payment from drivers.
  • Parking – modern malls and parking areas also use RFID cards to record the information on your car and the time it entered the parking area. This helps them identify the parking fee that you need to pay as you go out of the parking area.


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