Which NFC chip?

Especially when buying NFC tags for the first time, it is often difficult to decide on a product. At first glance, many products look the same, but differences regarding the NFC chip used are revealed in the product description at the latest. The NFC chip, such as the NXP NTAG213, refers to the integrated electronic circuit that provides NFC functionality to the NFC product (e.g., NFC sticker, key fob or card). In this article, a summary overview of the most common NFC chips will be given, followed by a closer look at the NXP NTAG series, as it is the most suitable for common use cases. Finally, a table of application examples supports the selection of the right memory size.

Overview NFC chips

The NFC function is based on numerous technical standards (such as ISO/IEC 14443), which, among other things, specify the communication and organization of content for NFC chips down to the last detail. For the technically interested, her is an overview of technical NFC standards. At this point, it is only relevant that basically all chips that adhere to these standards are suitable for use in NFC tags. In our product range you will therefore find NFC tags with the NFC chips MIFARE DESFire, MIFARE Classic, ICODE SLIX or NXP NTAG, among others, which we go into detail in our comprehensive NFC chip overview.

The big challenge at this point is to find the right chip from the range for your own NFC application. This question often cannot be answered across the board, which is why the most used chips for everyday NFC applications will be narrowed down here: The NXP NTAG series.

NTAG series by NXP

NTAG 213, 215 and 216 are among the best-selling chips from the market-leading manufacturer NFC. They can be used with all NFC-capable devices and differ mainly in terms of the available memory capacity. The storage capacity of an NFC chip is specified in bytes, a unit from information technology. This can (simplified) be equated with the number of available signs, since a keyboard sign usually requires on byte for storage.

Two values are always found in the product description: For example, the NXP NTAG213 is described with 180 bytes (137 bytes NDEF). Primarily, the memory space after NDEF formatting is important for use, because only this space can be used. The other memory is occupied by the serial number or additional chip functions. Within the NTAG series, the NTAG 213 has the least memory space with 180 bytes (NDEF: 137 bytes) and is therefor the low-cost variant. The NTAG 216 has the most memory with 914 bytes (NDEF: 868 bytes) and is therefore the most expensive. The NTAG 215 with 540 bytes (NDEF: 480 bytes) is in the midfield both in terms of memory capacity and price.

So before buying an NFC tag, you should know approximately for which purpose you want to use the NFC chip. In this way, it can be ensured that enough memory is available for the desired application. With this knowledge and the principle ‘’as little as possible, as much as necessary’’, the acquisition costs can be kept low.

Which NFC chip – explained in a short video

Use cases for the selection of NFC chips

In the table below we give some application examples and the recommended NXP NTAG Chip to make it easier to choose the chip for your own use case. The required storage space can also be determined practically with NXP TagWriter for Android, our NFC21-Tools for iOS or the NFC21 Writer for Windows. In our collection of NFC instructions, you will find numerous practical examples for your own implementation.

Use case Example Memory incl. NDEF data Recommended chip
Simple text Hello NFC21 18 Bytes NXP NTAG213
Web address www.nfc-tag-shop.de 20 Bytes NXP NTAG213
Sending an SMS Title: Favorite person
Number: 01721234567
Text: Hello, I will be home in 10 minutes. Your Mustermann

114 Bytes
(Title, Number and Text are for assignment only and do not count towards the 114 bytes)

Phone number Title: Max Mustermann
Number: 01721234567

42 Bytes
(Title und Phone number are for assignment only and do not count towards the 114 bytes.)

Change smartphone settings z.B. Bluetooth on/off, WiFi on/off

83 Bytes (Varies depending on app)

Sending an email

Title: General email
email: meineMail@googlemail.com
Subject: Meeting
Text: Ladies and Gentlemen, as discussed, the meeting will take place at 5 pm. Your Max Mustermann

181 Bytes
(Titel, E-Mail, Subject und Text are for assignment only an do not count towards the 181 bytes)

Amiibo Backup

Backup of an existing Nintendo Amiibo figure

480 Byte

Business card

Title: Dipl.-Inform.
First and last name:
Maximilian Mustermann
NFC21 GmbH
Address: Merziger Straße 6, 45481 Mülheim an der Ruhr
Phone: 0208-6982 1931
Fax: 0208-6982 1932
Email: kontakt@nfc21.de
Website: http://nfc-tag-shop.de

329 Byte
The required storage space varies greatly here. For example, if you enter multiple phone numbers or need more letters in the individual entries, you will need significantly more memory. All chips are usually too small for adding a phone number (e.g. logo) Tip: Get around the limit with our NFC vCard.


Tip: Our NFC starter kits put together several chip types in affordable packages for an ideal start


Numerous NFC chips exist that can be used together with the NFC smartphone – but the NXP NTAG series stands out as an all-rounder for the most typical use cases. Other chipsets usually offer functions that are only necessary for special applications, such as NFC locking systems. The example table can be used to classify your own application an find the right NTAG chip. However, we are also happy to provide advice and help to find the right product with the ideal chip for your own application.

More information and sources

Erstellt: 2017-02-16 / Aktualisiert: 2021-07-05 2017-02-16 2021-07-05