AM or RF? Make the Right Choice for Your Store

How to choose the right EAS system

Since it first rolled out in the 1960s, EAS is still the most effective weapon in the war against shoplifting. According to the Global Retail Theft Barometer, more than 73% of retailers around the world use it.

The most commonly used technologies of EAS are RF and AM. But which is the right choice for retailer? Before purchasing EAS products, retailers must make a suitable choice.

The following content is about the differences between RF and AM, their attributes and their advantages and disadvantages.

The Basics of EAS

Whether RF or AM, all electronic article surveillance works on the same methodology. In short, each item is marked with EAS tag and detection system is positioned near the store opening. Security gate can detect any active labels that have not been properly removed and send out alarms.


The main difference between RF and AM is the frequency of their tags and system operation. The operating frequency of AM system is 58 KHz. While RF operates at 8.2 MHz.

RF Technology

RF has a higher acceptance because of its lower installation cost. And sticky security soft label is most popular with retailers over hard tags. The flat area of paper labels makes them suitable for many packaging products. Security tags cover a wide range of soft label and hard tags, and are suitable for a variety of applications, including clothing, food and pharmaceutical products.

RF Disadvantages

However, RF has its limitations. This technology is sensitive to interference from other electronic devices and metals. It is easy to cause false alarm for the detection system. It is unavoidable. The RF security label cannot be activated again once the circuit is broken. Detection systems are generally limited to doorway pedestals.

RF Benefits

  1. The price of its complete system is affordable. This means that it is more acceptable to retailers.
  2. RF security tags have a wide range of shape and size. That is to say, it can be used in a wide range of industries.
  3. Some RF antenna systems can be upgraded to RFID.
  4. Security tags are easy to quickly deactivate.
  5. All RF products are available from many manufacturers.

The Application Place of RF

  • Retail store with a large number of packaging products.
  • The most popular supermarkets, video stores, discount stores, etc.
  • A growing number of clothing stores.

AM Technology

The main feature of AM technology is its wider detection range. And more importantly, it is usually not easily disturbed by external electronic devices. This provides greater flexibility in the installation of antennas. The antenna can be on a base or hidden under the floor.
AM security tags can often work on or near metals where other technologies fail. Like RF, AM security tags are available in a range of sizes, and can be reused. Although smaller than RF labels, AM labels are not paper thin and have a raised profile. Traditionally, the installation cost of AM is higher than RF. However, due to the increasingly fierce competition, the cost of AM system has been reduced in recent years.

AM Disadvantages

AM needs higher costs than RF. And AM labels cannot be bent around merchandise and can’t be easily printed on.

AM Advantages

  • The detection area of AM system is wider.
  • Detection system is not interfered by other electronic devices.
  • Security hard tags are reusable.
  • The detection system can be installed under the floor.
  • It can accurately detect security labels.

The Application Place of AM

  • Large department stores
  • Clothing store
  • Hardware store
  • Retail store selling products with metallic and foil components or packaging

Final Summary

Choosing the right EAS system is the key to loss prevention of retail. At the same time, it is a weigh-up of the retailer’s intended usage and needs. 
Ultimately,  the budget and size of the store and the type and quantity of products are the decisive factors.

Do your homework and talk to suppliers and understand your needs and what you want to protect. If you are not sure which system is suitable for you, please contact with a professional supplier. Choose the right EAS systems and make them work best for you.

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