How to Choose the Best Asset Tags for Your Equipment

One of the most important factors is the material of the asset tags. The material determines how durable, reliable, and cost-effective your asset tags will be.In this post, we will compare the different materials for asset tags and help you decide which one is best for your equipment. We will also provide a decision framework for making a selection based on your needs and budget.

How to Choose the Best Asset Tags for Your Equipment
Written by
Carlos Virreira
Published on
July 18, 2023

Asset tags are labels that are attached to your equipment to identify and track them. They can help you manage your inventory, prevent theft, and maintain your assets. But how do you choose the best asset tags for your equipment? There are many factors to consider, such as the type, size, shape, color, design, barcode, and security features of the asset tags.

However, one of the most important factors is the material of the asset tags. The material determines how durable, reliable, and cost-effective your asset tags will be. In this post, we will compare the different materials for asset tags and help you decide which one is best for your equipment. We will also provide a decision framework for making a selection based on your needs and budget.

The Different Materials for Asset Tags

We will cover five main materials for asset tags: paper, vinyl, polyester, aluminum foil, and anodized aluminum. Each material has its own pros and cons, depending on the application and environment.

All prices are estimates made on desk research on July 2023. Subject to changing, dependent on various variables. But, this should work as an indication.

Material

Price Range

Pros

Cons

Paper

$0.10 - $0.20 per label

Very low cost, easy to print and apply, available in different colors and shapes

Not durable at all, prone to fading, tearing, peeling, water damage, and tampering

Vinyl

$0.14 - $0.29 per label

Low cost, easy to print, flexible, water-resistant

Not very durable, prone to fading, tearing, and peeling

Polyester

$0.29 - $0.69 per label

Durable, laminated, chemical-resistant, easy to clean, glossy finish

More expensive than vinyl, not very conformable, may not withstand extreme temperatures or abrasion

Aluminum foil

$0.29 - $0.69 per label

Durable, metalized, abrasion-resistant, chemical-resistant, weather-resistant, conformable

More expensive than vinyl or polyester, may not withstand very high temperatures or UV rays

Anodized aluminum

$0.69 - $1.49 per label

Very durable, embedded print, abrasion-resistant, chemical-resistant, weather-resistant, high-bond adhesive, guaranteed to last over 30 years

Most expensive option, not very flexible or conformable, may require custom design and installation

A Decision Framework for Choosing the Best Asset Tags for Your Equipment

To choose the best asset tags for your equipment, you need to consider two main factors: the material of the equipmentand the usage of the equipment.

The material of the equipment refers to what your equipment is made of and how it affects the adhesion and visibility of the asset tags. For example, if your equipment is made of metal or plastic, you need asset tags that have a strong adhesive and a contrasting color. If your equipment is made of wood or fabric, you need asset tags that are flexible and water-resistant.

The usage of the equipment refers to how often and where your equipment is used and how it affects the durability and security of the asset tags. For example, if your equipment is used indoors and infrequently, you can use low-cost and low-durability asset tags such as paper or vinyl.

If your equipment is used outdoors and frequently, you need high-cost and high-durability asset tags such as polyester or aluminum.

Based on these two factors, you can use the following decision framework to choose the best asset tags for your equipment:

  • If your equipment is made of metal or plastic and used indoors and infrequently , choose vinyl asset tags.
  • If your equipment is made of metal or plastic and used indoors and frequently , choose polyester asset tags.
  • If your equipment is made of metal or plastic and used outdoors and infrequently , choose aluminum foil asset tags.
  • If your equipment is made of metal or plastic and used outdoors and frequently , choose anodized aluminum asset tags.
  • If your equipment is made of wood or fabric and used indoors and infrequently , choose paper asset tags.
  • If your equipment is made of wood or fabric and used indoors and frequently , choose vinyl asset tags.
  • If your equipment is made of wood or fabric and used outdoors and infrequently , choose polyester asset tags.
  • If your equipment is made of wood or fabric and used outdoors and frequently , choose aluminum foil or anodized aluminum asset tags.

Asset Tags by Industry

Different industries have different needs and challenges when it comes to asset tagging. Here are some examples of how asset tags can be used and what factors to consider for five common industries:

  • Education: Schools, colleges, and universities use asset tags to track and manage their educational equipment, such as laptops, tablets, projectors, cameras, books, and furniture. Asset tags can help them prevent theft, loss, and damage of valuable assets, as well as monitor their usage and maintenance. Asset tags for education should be durable, tamper-evident, and easy to scan. They should also include information such as the name of the institution, the department, the asset number, and the barcode or QR code. A good option for asset tags for education is polyester labels with tamper-evident or destructible features.
  • Healthcare: Hospitals, clinics, and laboratories use asset tags to track and manage their medical equipment, such as scanners, monitors, pumps, beds, and instruments. Asset tags can help them improve patient safety, quality of care, and operational efficiency. Asset tags for healthcare should be durable, chemical-resistant, easy to clean, and compliant with health regulations. They should also include information such as the name of the facility, the asset number, the barcode or QR code, and the expiration date if applicable. A good option for asset tags for healthcare is anodized aluminum labels with embedded print and high-bond adhesive.
  • Manufacturing: Factories, warehouses, and workshops use asset tags to track and manage their industrial equipment, such as machines, tools, vehicles, and inventory. Asset tags can help them optimize production, reduce downtime, and prevent accidents. Asset tags for manufacturing should be durable, abrasion-resistant, weather-resistant, and conformable. They should also include information such as the name of the company, the asset number, the barcode or QR code, and the maintenance schedule if applicable. A good option for asset tags for manufacturing is aluminum foil labels with metalized print and aggressive adhesive.
  • Retail: Stores, malls, and supermarkets use asset tags to track and manage their retail equipment, such as cash registers, scanners, shelves, carts, and products. Asset tags can help them improve inventory control, customer service, and sales performance. Asset tags for retail should be durable, water-resistant, glossy, and attractive. They should also include information such as the name of the store, the product name, the price, the barcode or QR code, and the security feature if applicable. A good option for asset tags for retail is polyester labels with glossy finish and tamper-evident or destructible features.
  • IT: Offices, data centers, and software companies use asset tags to track and manage their IT equipment, such as computers, laptops, servers, routers, and cables. Asset tags can help them secure their data, enhance their performance, and troubleshoot their issues. Asset tags for IT should be durable, laminated, easy to read, and compatible with scanners. They should also include information such as the name of the company, the asset number, the barcode or QR code, and the serial number if applicable. A good option for asset tags for IT is anodized aluminum labels with embedded print and high-bond adhesive.

Conclusion

Asset tags are essential for tracking and managing your equipment in different industries. However, not all asset tags are created equal. You need to choose the best asset tags for your equipment based on the material and usage of your equipment. By using the table and the decision framework above, you can find the best asset tags for your equipment that are durable, reliable, and cost-effective.

If you need assistance with picking the right asset tag for your equipment. Get in touch, we are glad to help.

Article by
Carlos Virreira

Founder / Vision Lead at Shelf.nu

Table of contents
How to Choose the Best Asset Tags for Your Equipment
Carlos Virreira
Co-Founder Shelf

Founder / Vision Lead at Shelf.nu

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