What’s the Difference? 125 kHz vs. 13.56MHz RFID hotel door locks


RFID Hotel door locks now are mainly use the 125KHz and RFID13.56MHz.
Many newbies may not clear what is the difference between 125KHz and 13.56MHz RFID Hotel door lock.

Actually they are both the major 2 types RFID technology widely used in Hotel door lock system especially in hotels.
They both use contact-less key(room card) and provide very similar using experience.

In the whole RFID Hotel Door Lock system usually includes 3 basic elements-The lock, Room key and encoder.

These three elements are interrelated and indispensable.
They should be used the same RFID technology otherwise they can not compatiable with eachother.

RFID Door lock system for Hotel

hotel door lock elements

For instance, the 125KHz room key(card) can only be read by 125KHz lock and 125KHz key encoder.
Same happens to the 13.56MHz system.

Comparison of 125KHz and 13.56MHz RFID Hotel door locks

125KHz RFID Hotel door locks13.56MHz RFID Hotel door locks
Room Key Working Frequency125KHz13.56MHz
Major brand usedTemic E5551

Atmel T5557


Philips Mifare S50
Room Key detect distance on hotel door lockContactless Less than 2cm


125K card on lock

Contactless More than 3-5cm

Mifare card on lock

Room key Read/write lifeMore than 100,000 timesMore than 100,000 times
Capacity264bit/330 bit8K bit
Reliability of data saved in Room keyLow

Easy lost


Never lost

Hotel Door lock manufacturing costLowHigh
Room Key encoder manufacturing costLowHigh
One card Application in hotelunavailableAvailable
SecuritySimple Encryption

Easy copy by special device

DES Encryption

Not easy copy

From the above form you could understand the differences between these 2 contact-less technology.
For the hotel application, the 13.56MHz RFID technology will be better in security,Reliability and system expansibility.

13.56MHz Better for Hotel

Security-The hotel room usually places the customer’s valuables. It requires high security.
13.56MHz tech’s encryption is in higher security level than 125KHz tech.

Using experience-Technically the room key(card) working distance are same in 125KHz and 13.56MHz.
But in hotel door lock real using, they are different.
The reason is the door lock’s material- metal.
metal disturbance

In most hotel door lock, the antenna will be surrounded by metal,except the front and back.
The metal will decay the RF signal.
Bonth 125KHz and 13.56MHz RFID signal will be affected.
In this environment, the higher frequency(13.56MHz)still keeps an acceptable working distance in 3-5cm, better than 125KHz(left only 1-2cm).

System expansibility-13.56MHz RFID based on 8Kbit capacity card.
This card can contain much more data than 125KHz card.
Take KAHN Hotel Access control System for example, it allows one card access many regions.

 KAHN one card system for hotel

In KAHN Hotel door lock System one card could access to guest rooms, elevator, Swimming pool.
The KAHN Software provide guest key programming function in front desk.


    • Well, actually the 125K RFID tech is also use-able because the tech is cheap.
      Cheap in electronic parts inside the lock and the key cards.
      But 13.56MHz RFID provide more flexibility and possibilities. For example 1 card can open the door and used as a parking card.


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