Can I use cheap USB RFID reader in my Raspi?

Why should I buy an 'expensive' RFID reader like this or this instead of USB reader?

  • I'd prefer a USB device. I think it would probably work. Just note that it doesn't do NFC.
    – Gerben
    May 21, 2014 at 9:51

3 Answers 3


I think the USB RFID Reader should work.

The other RFID-Readers(only pins) could be used if your Development-Board does not have a USB Port (or it is used by other Items), maybe the read-IO is a bit quicker also because you can access it more directly and is it not routed through the USB Host Controller.


this instrucatble article RFID Interface shows how you can interface a low cost RFID with any uart device.


Personally, I would recommend the Adafruit PN532 NFC/RFID controller breakout board. https://www.adafruit.com/products/364. The problem with using a USB device particularly with a Microcontroller is the potential for kernel crashes - which I have personally found to be a problem when using serial devices.

By using a NFC controller such as this you have different options in terms of communications such as I2C or SPI. However, if you do require serial then it is still an available option - you would just require an FTDI Serial Chip such as an FN232 Breakout.

As for the specific 'cheap' model specified the issue is driver compatibility, which is hard to advise given the technical specifications on their website are not particularly elaborate, other than to outright specify it is designed for Windows systems. Which would elude me to the idea that the device would not be UNIX compatible from package. However, if you are up for a bit of a challenge and fiddling and want to save a few pounds go for it.

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