GPS vs RFID Asset Tracking

When it comes to asset tracking, there are a lot of things you can do to automate your operations. Two of the most effective ways to automate asset tracking are GPS tracking and RFID tracking.

These two have some differences, however, and so, which is better?

While GPS gives you real-time updates, RFID allows you to track your assets hands-free. 


RFID Asset Tracking

RFID asset tracking provides you with more automation than QR code asset management. RFID tags don’t require a line of sight, which means that you can use RFID tags to track high-value assets.

This gives a potential edge over GPS tracking, as GPS trackers are bulky and so won’t necessarily be the best option if you’re tracking wine bottles or paintings, for example.

There are a few different types of RFID asset tracking, too, so you’ll be able to decide what you opt into based on your budget.


Fixed RFID Reader Asset Tracking

The most automation you’ll get is if you opt for fixed RFID reader asset management. With fixed RFID readers, you’ll be able to track and manage which locations your assets are moving between with ease.

You’ll set up fixed RFID readers in certain locations on your site and, as they’ll have antennas, they’ll track which direction your assets are moving in.

What this means is that if your equipment moves from one room to another, your asset management software will pick up on this and automatically log the change.


Handheld RFID Tracking

Handheld RFID asset tracking is similar but provides less automation. 

You’ll use BlueTooth to link a third-party RFID scanner to your asset management software and track your assets by using the reader to scan RFID tags.
Again, this is helpful when you have high-value assets, for example, as you’ll be able to hide the tags in a way that you won’t with GPS tags, QR codes or barcodes.

GPS Asset Management

GPS provides you with different functionality than RFID asset tags. With GPS asset management, you’ll be able to track the locations of assets in real-time.

However, you may want to opt for periodic updates as GPS trackers are battery-powered. What this means is that the location of your equipment will update every hour instead of every set amount of minutes.

GPS trackers are rechargeable, so if you’re using GPS tracking for fleet management, you’ll be able to keep the GPS trackers plugged in.

Another benefit GPS trackers have over RFID tags is that they allow for geofencing. So, fixed RFID tracking will only pick up your equipment wherever there is a fixed RFID reader. If your equipment is going offsite, the risk of theft or loss is instantly higher.

GPS can reduce risks of theft, as you’ll get notified when a GPS tag leaves the location it’s supposed to be in.


GPS tracking


Which is Better, GPS or RFID?

Which is better will depend on your requirements. As the functionality they both provide is helpful for different reasons, your use case will dictate which type is more valuable.

If you’re in healthcare and are tracking hospital assets, for example, fixed RFID will be more applicable as your assets likely won’t leave the hospital often. If they are getting packed onto an ambulance, you’ll also be able to use fixed RFID to stocktake the ambulance’s supplies on the go.

If you’re in the construction industry, GPS tracking may be more helpful for you as theft on construction sites is a huge problem. Using GPS tracking provides you with a ROI by mitigating a different issue.

This is why itemit allows you to use both GPS and RFID tracking. As you can use our asset tracking software with different tracking capabilities, you’ll be able to tailor it to whatever will give you the highest Return On Investment Possible.

With itemit, you’ll be able to mix and match how you choose to track your assets. This means you’ll be able to use QR code asset tags, RFID tags, GPS tags, and barcodes. Therefore, you’ll be able to use GPS trackers on heavy, expensive equipment, RFID tags on high-value assets, metal QR codes on equipment that goes through wear and tear, and sticker tags on IT assets.

To find out more about itemit’s asset tracking suite, you can book a demo using the button below.

You can also contact us at or by calling (+44) 01223 421611. You can also fill in the form below to start your 14-day free trial.


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