RFID Animal Tag VS Traditional Animal Tag, What is the Difference?


RFID Animal Tag VS Traditional Animal Tag, What is the Difference


Animal identification is generally crucial in industries such as agriculture and livestock management. Even pets could use animal tags to track them efficiently so that you always know their location and well-being.

You will come across two main options for tracking animals: traditional animal tags and RFID animal tags. These two methods can help correctly label and track animals in different ways. However, sometimes you might be torn between the two and have no idea which to choose. That is what we want to look at today.


Traditional Animal Tags

Traditional Animal Tags

Traditional animal tags have been in the industry for the longest time. Even with changes in technology, animal tags are still widely used today. They come in different forms, designs, colors, and more. Each one would have a specific purpose, depending on the client. Nevertheless, we can mostly categorize them as ear tags and collar tags.

Ear Tags

As the name suggests, these are the animal tags attached to its ears for ease of identification. This is probably the most common traditional animal tag you will come across today.

The ear tags are mostly made of durable materials such as hard plastic, metal, or sometimes a combination of both. Then, they are secured to the animal’s ear.

The main advantage is the cost-effectiveness of such an animal tag. They are good for large-scale operations since they are quite affordable.

Still, their durability and wear and tear resistance make them a good pick for various environments. They can remain intact during the lifetime of the animal, minimizing the need to replace the animal tag.

The ease of application also makes it a top pick. It is generally a straightforward operation to attach the ear tag to an animal, even with minimal training.

Collar Tags

Collar tags are another choice for traditional animal tags that people can use today. Expect them to be used for pets, mostly such as dogs. Even working animals, such as horses, could also use collar tags.

The collar tags are mostly made of plastic or metal and are worn around the collar by the animal. They are still easy to attach and remove, making them ideal for temporary identification of the animals.

Collar tags are also designed to be highly visible. Expect them to have a bright color that can be visible at night to avoid bumping into the pets. Also, this could help in identifying lost pets.


Traditional animal tags are cheap and easy to use, but they also have some limitations. The most common is limited data storage. For example, there is not much you can write on ear tags. Most of the time, they just have a basic identification number or the contact details of the owner, in the case of a pet.

Data collection also has to be collected and recorded manually. This may be time-consuming and sometimes prone to errors.

Also, traditional animal tags are prone to tampering since they are external and easily accessible. You might even lose them, sometimes leading to identification issues.


RFID Animal Tags

RFID Animal Tags

Now that you know what traditional animal tags look like and work, we can now focus on RFID animal tags. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has revolutionized how well we can easily identify animals.

So, RFID animal tags work by having the RFID tags attached to the animal, and then they can be scanned by an RFID reader to get details about the animal. The RFID reader would be placed strategically, such as at the entrance, so that the animals can be scanned as they pass. You can also use a handheld scanner to read information about the animal from its RFID tag.

RFID animal tags can either be passive or active. The active RFID tags come with their own power source, mostly a battery. This means they are capable of transmitting the power continuously over long ranges. The result is being able to track the animal in real time.

The other option is passive RFID tags. These do not have on-board power but rely on the reader’s radio waves to power them. They are still good animal tags, but their range is limited to only a few meters.


So, why do people choose RFID animal tags?

The first reason is that the tags allow for automated data collection. With automated data capture, there will be no need for manual recording, such as what you get with traditional animal tags. It is simple. When an animal passes by the RFID reader, its information is collected and recorded instantly.

You would also have an easier time storing more information on the RFID animal tag. Different chips have different memory capacities, but most of the time, they will easily store the information that you need. This can include breeding history, medical records, and more.

There is also reduced chances of making errors and manual labor recording the information. As such, you can save time and effort during data collection.


People might not be ready to spend the high initial cost. Remember, it is not just the RFID animal tags you buy; you also need RFID readers and related infrastructure.

There can be some privacy and security concerns because of the amount of information that RFID tags store. As such, ensure that the RFID tag you use has the best security features.

Key Differences Between Traditional Animal Tags and RFID Animal Tags

We now want to look at the key differences to help you decide which one to choose depending on your needs.

1. Data Handling and Storage

Traditional animal tags will mostly store the basic information needed to identify the animal. This can be the ID number and contact details. Also, they rely on external databases for records and histories.

RFID animal tags come with the extra storage space needed to store extensive data about the animal, including medical records, breeding information, and vaccination history. Also, you can easily have instant access to this information when the tag is scanned.

2. Data Collection and Accuracy

A manual entry is needed for collecting the data for traditional animal tags. This may be time-consuming, depending on the number of animals you have to tag. Sometimes, it can even lead to data discrepancies depending on who is collecting and updating the data.

RFID animal tags are better at eliminating errors since they are automated. You should have all the information with a simple scan using the RFID readers.

3. Cost Considerations

Traditional animal tags offer a cost-effective upfront because of their low prices. You do not need much equipment compared to RFID animal tags. However, RFID tags can help reduce labor costs and improve efficiency as you keep using them.

4. Application and Usability

The traditional animal tags are relatively easy to attach and remove. So they can work with various types of animals. We find them common in industries such as agriculture, however, manual oversight is necessary.

RFID animal tags are suitable for large-scale applications. That is why you can find them ideal for livestock management and wildlife tracking. So long as data collection is essential, then consider it.


Looking at the differences between the RFID animal tag and traditional animal tag, it is possible to always choose the one that works for your needs. You could use the traditional animal tags if it is just one animal at home. However, consider upgrading to RFID animal tags for a large-scale operation to see how well it streamlines your operations.

Update cookies preferences
Scroll to Top