Farmers Guide to RFID Tag Readers
02 May '20
For the longest time, RFID tag readers have been cost prohibitive to many producers however we are finally starting to see some movement in the space. So, I thought it would be a good idea to run through the readers we have used and give blunt feedback on what I like / don't like about each one.
Let's get into it, the following are ranked by my preference in the context of use with Livestocked....the opinion is my own and none of these suppliers sponsor us in any way.

Agrident AWR300

Agrident AWR300 Setup Guide
This is the most recent reader I've tried...and I love it but for reasons that can be replicated in a much smaller form facter.
In short, connecting to the device is speedy and reliable...there are few greater sources of frustration than when a reader craps out in the yards and you have to wait for it to time out before it can reconnect. What happens in these scenarios? You put the reader down and proceed with visual tags.
Personally, I prefer hand-held readers to be compact enough to slip into my back pocket when not in use....I can't imagine carrying this thing around tagging calves and in the chute, I prefer panel readers to free up my hands.
The button feel is ok (not great, but ok), I'd much rather a much larger and more easily locatable read button but I did get used to locating it without having to look each time. My only concern here is that the button may be tough to locate with gloves on which may slow down yard work in colder climates.

Pros

  1. Fast & Reliable connection to the phone / tablet.
  2. Great for multi-employee scenarios where you need the reader to jump between employees.
  3. Excellent battery life.
  4. Read range 26-35cm.

Cons

  1. Read button is not distinct enough.
  2. Pricy at $1250 USD.

Allflex RS420

The Allflex RS420 is a very decent device, it has good read range, an excellent read button design which is easily locatable even with gloves and provides good click feedback.
The problem with this device is really just it's age...it's more expensive than the Agrident AWR300 but suffers from the drawbacks of an older implementation of Bluetooth.
Like most devices using older Bluetooth implementations, it's not good at swapping between phones so I cannot recommend this device for multi-employee environments.

Pros

  1. Excellent read button
  2. Single read button design
  3. Read range 24-30cm

Cons

  1. Getting long in the tooth.
  2. Pricey at $1400 USD.

Destron Fearing GPR+

I have mixed feelings about this device...form factor is good, it slips into my back pocket easily, and the read button is my favourite of all devices (large, locatable, with good click feedback).
Unfortunately, that's where the good ends...we had many connection issues raised from Livestocked users and very few persisted with them because of it.
The sort-of saving grace of this device was that you could access the battery compartment to do a hard reset...but after doing that a few times in a day you quickly toss it aside and proceed with visual tags.
Like most devices using older Bluetooth implementations, it's not good at swapping between phones so I cannot recommend this device for multi-employee environments.

Pros

  1. Best read button
  2. Good form factor
  3. Affordable at $430 USD
  4. Read range 14-24cm

Cons

  1. Connection to phone was unreliable.

Allflex LPR

The Allflex LPR came frustratingly close to being the perfect reader...it's my personal favourite for form factor, read range and battery life are really good and it's sturdy as all-get-out.
But like the GPR+, that's where the fun stops. Connection is again sub-par, for whatever reason the first read would always send through partial tag number and the read button itself is terrible. It's flat to the touch, so you can't locate it without looking at the device and the material wore out quite quickly.
By default the time-out is 90sec which is waaaaaay too short and you need access to a Windows computer with some technical chops to figure out how to change that. The LPR was the worst for connection / reconnection in my experience, errors ranged from not connecting at all to getting stuck and remaining connected to the phone until it went flat. Unfortunately the battery is not easily accessible, and with the lack of a hard reset button this device didn't stay in my rotation very long.
Like most devices using older Bluetooth implementations, it's not good at swapping between phones so I cannot recommend this device for multi-employee environments.

Pros

  1. Best form factor - extra points for the grippy rivets on the bottom
  2. Single read button design
  3. Very affordable at $325 USD
  4. Read range 14-24cm

Cons

  1. Connection to phone was unreliable.
  2. Read button was not locatable.
  3. Read button was not durable.

That's it for now...but I'll keep adding to this list as new devices become available.
As always, feedback is welcome at support@livestocked.com



Past Articles
30 Aug '20  Herd Manager App Updates
02 May '20  Farmers Guide to RFID Tag Readers
05 Apr '20  Herd Manager App Updates
30 Dec '19  Herd Manager App Updates
11 Oct '19  Herd Manager App Updates
05 May '19  Herd Manager App Updates
09 Jan '19  Herd Manager App Updates
15 Dec '18  Curious About Speckles
09 Sep '18  Herd Manager App Updates
29 Jul '18  Herd Manager App Updates
28 Jun '18  Herd Manager App Updates
25 Feb '18  Herd Manager App Updates
22 Feb '18  Let's Get Profitable
26 Dec '17  Herd Manager App Updates
24 Nov '17  Herd Manager App Updates
24 Oct '17  Breeding True
01 Aug '17  Functionally Pretty
15 May '17  Rolled In Sprinkles!
22 Apr '17  Where To Now?
20 Dec '16  Leader Vs Elaborate!
08 Oct '15  Green Eggs & Ham!
30 Aug '15  What's In a Breed?
06 Jul '15  Embracing Data
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