Choosing the Best ID Card Printer

Making the best ID card printer selection is easy after reviewing your card printing needs. By answering the following questions, you can narrow down your choices to the type of printer you need. 

Do your cards need to be printed in full color or monochrome?

With a color ID card printer, you can print realistic images and logos using full color. With the color PVC card printer, you use a full 4-panel ribbon for each card whether you use each color panel or not. You also must allow the time for each ribbon panel to print for each card.

Monochrome printing is much quicker (about 5 seconds a card) and the cost is much less due to the single panel print.

Do you need to print on both sides of your card?

Dual-side printers allow the card to be printed in full color on the front and monochrome black on the back. There are also ways to print full color on both sides of the card. The cost of the dual-side printer is more than that of a single-side printer. The cost of the dual-side ribbon is also higher than that of a single-side ribbon.

How many cards will you print each year?

Some small business applications may only require a few cards a month. Other educational and large business applications can require more than 10,000 or 20,000 cards per year. High capacity needs may require specialized printers.

How long should a card last?

Barcoded cards tend to wear out more quickly that most ID cards due to abrasive swiping of the card. Most standard PVC cards will last about 2 years. To increase the life of a card, you may consider adding holograms or lamination to the card or placing the card in a protective badge holder.

Holograms are sometimes also called overlays. This is an additional panel on the ribbon that prints on the card during the card printing process. Some holograms are clear; some have a specialized pattern on them. Some panels are custom to the business need, such as a driver’s license overlay.

Lamination is a process that applies vinyl to the card. It is a better method of extending the life of the card than a simple overlay.

What security features do you need on your badges?

The advances in ID card printer technology is making security options easier and more cost effective than ever before. Some cards, such as school IDs, might not need any additional security feature. A highly secure military area might require identification with a number of security measures. Holograms, mag stripes, smart chips and other options are available for insuring protection in highly restricted areas. Manufacturers produce ID card printers with smart card and mag stripe encoders as options. Many printers come with lamination stations that will provide secure holograms to the finished printed badge.

How critical is it that your cards are smart technology enabled?

Information can be stored in a bar code or magnetic strip on a printed PVC card. Advanced applications may require cards to be encoded with biometric information. New generation smart cards can open doors and streamline payroll information.

For more information about ID card printers and supplies, contact our experts at +1-704-535-5200 or +1-888-485-4696.