Different types of security labels and stickers

For high-volume, low-value stock, security labels and stickers are the ideal method of protecting products from theft. Affordable and suited to single use, they harness the power of Electronic Article Surveillance but can be easily applied and quickly deactivated at the point of sale.

But how do you know which label is best suited to your needs? Here’s an insight into the different types of security labels available and the products they best suit.

Why labels?

Electronic Article Surveillance has long been considered one of the most effective methods of protecting individual products against theft.

The system sees tags and labels affixed to items which are monitored by an in-store antenna at the entryway to the establishment.

When the labels or tags come into close proximity of that antenna, an alarm sounds alerting staff to a potential theft.

While visible plastic tags are the tool of choice for high-value items like clothing, when it comes to small items like groceries or hardware, adhesive security labels are the best option due to their affordability, disposability and simple deactivation at the point of sale.

In short, labels are considered the ideal way of protecting items like books, CD’s pharmaceuticals, perfumes, non-perishable groceries, hardware and more.

How security labels and stickers work?

Security labels house a small receiver within an adhesive sticker that can easily be affixed to products.

This receiver remains in constant communication with an EAS antenna, and when that label comes too close, an alarm sounds, alerting staff that an item is passing through the entryway.

Labels are deactivated by breaking the circuit in the receiver, so they no longer communicate with the antenna. They can then pass an antenna without sounding an alarm.

Two frequencies – RF or AM?

Like security tags, security labels are available in either the RF or AM frequencies, with each technology offering specific benefits for particular products.

RF labels

RF labels are well suited to retailers with high volumes of packaged products which require a flat paper label that can even be printed on.

Supermarkets, discount stores, and video stores often favour RF systems, but caution should be applied when using for RF labels with metallic or foil products or packaging due to tag detuning and reduced detection.

RF labels are commonly found in:

  • Grocery stores
  • Video stores
  • Book stores
  • Discount stores

AM labels

AM labels offer a slightly raised profile, but the technology provides major benefits when it comes to protecting metallic goods.

AM labels are well-suited to the protection of merchandise with a high metal/foil such as consumer electronics, cosmetics, hardware and pharmaceuticals.

AM labels are commonly found in:

  • Drug stores
  • Cosmetic stores
  • Electronics retailers
  • Hardware outlets


Unlike security tags which are detached and removed at the Point of Sale, security labels are deactivated.

This involves using technology to break the transmitter circuit within the sticker. As a result, labels cannot be reused, but the method does allow for quick disarming at the Point of Sale.

Deactivators can be built into the Point of Sale scanner or incorporated beneath the countertop to ensure scanning and deactivation occurs in one swift maneuver.


The ideal place for a security label is near a product barcode. This allows the product to be scanned and the label deactivated at the same time.

Meanwhile, positioning the security label near the barcode also ensures essential product packaging information is not obscured.

Label size and colour

Security labels are available in a wide range of colours, sizes and shapes, with semi-transparent options also available to ensure they do not obscure vital information on the packaging.


In a bid to offer greater efficiency at the Point of Sale, security labels are also available with the barcode pre-printed, so product information and security is catered to easily in a single label.

More information

More information about label security options is available here. Meanwhile, our friendly staff are on hand to assist with advice on acquiring the right security label to source your retail needs.