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Farmers Guide to RFID 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.
HerdLogic Go
This is my every day reader, I use it for calving and chute work, then I swap to the Tru-Test XRP2 panel reader when working in crush (squeeze).
In short, it's fast to connect with an extremely simple layout. This is a Bluetooth Low Energy device so it's very forgiving jumping from one phone to another.
There is a dedicated power button for a quick reset if necessary.
The read button is easily locateable but so-so feel.

Nb. My experience has made me biased toward compact hand-held readers. The reason is I need something compact enough to slip into my back pocket when not in use cause carrying around a wand for calving is a bit cumbersome.
Once I get to the yards, I'm usually swapping to a panel reader, so in my personal setup, I don't have a need for a wand.
Pros
1. Extremely compact at 150mm x 50mm x 20mm.
2. Easily locateable read button.
3. Fast and reliable.
4. Excellent battery life.
5. Read range 14-24cm.
6. Well priced at $400 USD.
Cons
1. Button feels springy rather than clicky.
2. Ugly.
Tru-Test SRS2
I've recently spent some time with the SRS2 while performing the Livestocked integration and it's managed to become my preferred wand reader despite the lack of Bluetooth Low Energy.
In short, it uses Bluetooth classic which takes longer to connect, and jumping between devices is not so easy...but, the SRS2 proved to be a super reliable device in our testing and my only real complaint is the lack of Bluetooth Low Energy.
There is a dedicated power button for a quick reset if necessary, and the read button is easily locateable and feel is EXCELLENT! It kind of feels like the Allflex RS420 and the Agrident GPR+ made a love child.
Pros
1. Excellent button layout and feel.
2. Reliable in use.
3. Read range 30-33cm.
Cons
1. Bluetooth Classic.
2. Pricy at ~$1350 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.