Discover the successors to ACR122U

Best alternative to the very popular ACR122U NFC reader

23. August 2021
The ACR122U NFC reader from ACS (Advanced Card Systems Ltd.) was a very popular contactless reader and is still used in many applications all over the world.

It supports the ISO 14443 A/B standard and is suitable to work with the following chips: MIFARE Classic®, MIFARE Ultralight®, MIFARE® DESFire®, NTAG, FeliCa, and others.

Since the ACR122U USB NFC reader has been counterfeited by certain law-breaking parties and there are many bogus products of questionable quality and reliability, ACS no longer manufactures it and most of the distributors have already sold out the original ACR122U readers.

With this article, you will learn which are the best alternatives to the original ACR122U.

Since ACS is no longer producing the ACR122U and there are a lot of counterfeited ACR122U readers sold on different web shops we recommend buying newer models of ACS readers.

The reader ACR1252U is the successor of the ACR122U and is almost identical, apart from the color and some additional functionalities. In the majority of applications, it is fully compatible with the original ACS122U reader. It supports an on-field firmware upgrade and can work in three modes: as a card reader/writer, as a card emulator, and it supports peer-to-peer communication.  This function enables the ACR1252U to communicate with other NFC-enabled devices. The card emulation function makes the NFC device capable of behaving exactly like a standard contactless card.

There are two models of ACR1252 readers. The ACR1252-M1 is a reader variation with a SAM (Secure Access Module) slot which can be used together with a SAM card for key diversification and mutual authentication, providing high-level security in contactless transactions. The ACR1252-M2 is the version without the SAM slot but other functionalities are the same.

To develop secure NFC or RFID applications, we recommend buying a ACR1252U SDK kit which includes a ACR1252-M1 reader, a collection of PC/SC–compliant sample codes, for devices and contactless card programming, and various transponders. The SDK is designed to help software developers create PC-linked contactless applications, like smart posters for advertising and marketing. The SDK includes also NFC and NDEF tools to demonstrate the NFC capability of the ACR1252U. 

If you are looking for similar reader with Bluetooth connection, there is a reader ACR1255U-J1 that combines the latest 13.56 MHz contactless technology with Bluetooth® connectivity.  It has a compact design and a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. ACR1255U-J1 is extremely portable and convenient for use anytime, anywhere with most Bluetooth-enabled smartphones and tablets. The firmware of ACR1255U-J1 could be upgraded on the field. 

With Bluetooth® technology and AES-128 encryption, ACR1255U-J1 connects securely and wirelessly to any device running on Android™ 4.3 and later, iOS 8.0 and later, Windows® 7 and later, and Mac OS® 10.7 and later.

The demo apps for ACR1255U-J1 are available on Google Play and App Store.

ACR1255U-J1 SDK kit is also available and contains a ACR1255U-J1 reader and a collection of PC/SC–compliant sample codes, for device and contactless card programming for Java, MS Visual Basic .NET 2013, MS Visual C# .NET 2013 and MS Visual C++ .NET. 

If you have any questions send an email to or call +38641 884 124 and we will be happy to help you.
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