NFC Chip Types

A Near Field Communication chip is the integrated circuit within the NFC inlay that makes an NFC tag perform NFC operations. There are several different NFC chip types available; each with its own features, performance, cost and availability. NFC chips do not work by themselves; they must be be attached to an antenna to form an NFC inlay. The ultimate performance of an NFC chip is determined by both the NFC chip, the tuning of the antenna, the product the inlay is in and the device interacting with the NFC tag.

One of the first steps in an NFC project is to choose which NFC chip type will be used in the NFC tags. Here are some practical guidelines for choosing the correct NFC chip for your project:

  • Make sure the NFC chip has enough memory capacity to store what you are going to encode
  • Encode as little data as possible to increase read and write performance and usability
  • Use a modern NFC chip that is readily available; they are better tuned for the antennas in NFC enabled devices
  • Choose an NFC Forum compliant chip to ensure it will work on all NFC enabled devices
  • Most NFC projects will want an NDEF formatted chip
  • Some NFC chips have extra ‘features’; these are not used by the vast majority of deployments so don’t worry about them too much
  • Not all NFC products (stickers, wristbands, cards…) are available with all NFC chips; another reason to use a modern and available NFC chip type

Comparison Matrix

Thsi NFC chip feature matrix allows you to compare the characteristics of each chip to each other. If you need additional technical information, see the technical specs below.

NFC ChipCostMemoryPre-NDEF
Formatted
LockableISONFC Forum
Type
Notes
NXP MIFARE Ultralight$$48 bytesNoYes14443Type 2Old, limited availability
NXP MIFARE Ultralight C144 bytesNoYes14443Type 2Old, poor performance, do not use
NXP MIFARE Ultralight EV1$$ 48 bytesNoYes14443Type 2New, UID only or small memory without NDEF
NXP NTAG203144 bytesYesYes14443Type 2Not in production anymore, replaced by NTAG213
NXP NTAG21048 bytesYesYes14443Type 2Not commonly used
NXP NTAG210 Micro$48 bytesYesYes14443Type 2New, small NDEF memory, Platform tag
NXP NTAG212128 bytesYesYes14443Type 2Not commonly used
NXP NTAG213$$144 bytesYesYes14443Type 2Most popular, medium sized NDEF needs; long url or text
NXP NTAG215504 bytesYesYes14443Type 2Not commonly used
NXP NTAG216$$$888 bytesYesYes14443Type 2Large NDEF data, contact records
Kovio 2Kb$$116 bytesSometimesOTP14443Type 2Not in production
Innovision Topaz
(120b)
$$$96 bytesNoYes14443Type 1Old, limited availability, compatibility issues
Innovision Topaz
(512b)
$$454 bytesNoYes14443Type 1Old, limited availability, compatibility issues
NXP DESFire EV1
(2K)
$$$2048 bytesNoYes14443Type 4Specialty, not commonly used, expensive
NXP DESFire EV1
(4K)
$$$4096 bytesNoYes14443Type 4Specialty, not commonly used, expensive
NXP DESFire EV1
(8K)
$$$$8192 bytesNoYes14443Type 4Specialty, not commonly used, expensive
NXP Mifare
(1K)
752 bytesNoSimulated14443Not CompliantOld, not NFC Forum, do not use
NXP Mifare
(4K)
3440 bytesNoSimulated14443Not CompliantOld, not NFC Forum, do not use
NXP Mifare Mini320 bytesNoSimulated14443Not CompliantOld, not NFC Forum, do not use, limited availability
NXP ICODE
SLI
112 bytesNoYes15693Type 5Old, not commonly used
NXP ICODE
SLI-X
112 bytesNoYes15693Type 5Longer reading range, not commonly used

You can purchase NFC tags on our NFC store.

Features

Most NFC chips can be locked so after the data is encoded onto the NFC chip it can’t be changed. However, encoding and locking are two separate actions, meaning that an NFC chip can be encoded multiple times until they are locked.

Technical Specs

Looking to get super technical? Below are the technical specs for most of the NFC chip types available.

We do our best to keep this data accurate and up-to-date, but cannot guarantee its accuracy. Always verify and test yourself before committing to a large deployment.