The Differences in ID Card Printers

There are many different card printer manufacturers that provide various printer product lines. The leaders in the market are Evolis, Fargo, Zebra, Entrust Datacard and UltraMagicard.

Single-Side Printers

These printers will print only the front side of the card. All card manufacturers produce single-side badge printers.

Dual-Side Printers

These dual-side badge printers print both on a single side of a card or on both sides of the PVC card. All card manufacturers have printers that print dual-sided cards.

Lamination Station Printers

These ID card printers with integrated laminators allow a secure hologram or a clear, protective overlaminate to be applied to a card as the final step in the printing process. Overlaminates are often used for increased durability of the ID card, or for security reasons when containing with a hologram.

Magnetic Stripe Encoding

These printers will print the card with full graphics and also encode the magnetic stripe on the back side of the card. This full process is completed in one pass through the ID card printer.

Smart Card Encoding

Smart cards contain a memory chip that can store limited amounts of data. This data can include encoded proximity access credentials, biometric data, or other user-defined elements. Smart cards can be printed on, and the embedded chip is encoded with information in a single pass, just as with the magnetic stripe encoders.

Network Printers

These printers can be connected to a network via integrated Ethernet ports, to then be accessed by multiple networked work stations.

Re-Transfer Printers

The print-head first prints an image of the card to a transfer ribbon in the printer. The image is then applied to the card in one pass. This method allows a full bleed of your card design to the card. The benefit of this printing capability is that the card design will print over the card edge. Standard "direct-to-card", or "DTC" printers can only render images near to the edge, often leaving a small white edge around the border of the card design when printing. For a more detailed explanation, visit our blog.

For an individual consultation with one of our experts to determine the best printer option for you, please contact us at +1 888.485.4696 or +1 704.535.5200 or request a quote by email.