Which NFC chip?

We know it can be difficult to decide on a NFC product, as many products appear very similar at first sight. However, when looking at the product descriptions it becomes apparent that NFC products often differ regarding the built-in NFC chip type. Many products for example are either available with a so-called NTAG 213 chip or with a NTAG 216 chip. NFC tags with NTAG 216 chip are in general more expensive, but does that mean that NTAG 216 products are automatically better?

In fact, a more expensive chip isn’t necessarily better because the ideal chip type depends very much on your desired NFC application. In the following we give you a short overview about the most used chips for NFC everyday life applications. The most popular NFC uses in everyday life are storing content such as text, URLs or contact data as well as changing various smartphone properties automatically. For such purposes the NTAG series by the leading chip manufacturer NXP is most suitable. There are a few other chips like the MIFARE series on the market, but this series is more suitable for NFC development or business applications. In case you are a developer take a look at our comprehensive chip overview with many technical details. However, if you are planning to use NFC tags in a business context, we will be happy to advise you personally.

NTAG series by NXP

NTAG 213, 215 and 215 belong to the top selling chips of leading chip manufacturer NXP. Primarily, these chips differ from each other regarding their amount of memory capacity and thus in pricing. In our product descriptions, we always specify the total memory capacity in bytes and in round brackets the memory capacity after NDEF-formatting. As a user of NFC tags the most important information is the capacity after NDEF-formatting, as only this amount of memory space is actually usable. NTAG 213 has the lowest memory capacity of the NTAG series with 180 bytes (NDEF: 137 bytes) and is therefore the cheapest variant. NTAG 216 offers the highest capacity with 924 bytes (NDEF: 868 bytes) and thus is the most expensive chip of the NTAG series. NTAG 215 is positioned in the midfield regarding its memory capacity of 540 bytes (NDEF: 480 bytes) as well as its price.

Due to the different memory capacities and prices of NTAG chips one should know about the later usage before purchasing NFC tags. This way, it’s ensured that the NFC tag offers enough memory capacity for the desired usage. Moreover, it can be avoided to spend money unnecessarily by buying a chip with more memory capacity than needed.

How many memory capacity do I need for a specific use?

Basically, the following rule can be applied: One character requires approximately one byte memory capacity. However, this is just a very basic rule of thumb and in general the required memory capacity is a bit higher than the number of stored characters. A much more reliable way of estimating the required capacity is simulating several applications with a mobile app such as NXP TagWriter or our NFC21-Tools for Windows. Simply enter the text, URL or contact data you want to store on a NFC tag later on and these applications inform you about the required capacity. This way, you can decide more easily on the ideal NFC product for your purposes.

Further information

Erstellt: 2017-02-16 / Aktualisiert: 2017-05-24 2017-02-16 2017-05-24