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ID Card Printer: How To Use And A Detailed Buyer’s Guide

An ID card printer is a very important purchase that will likely become the key component in your company’s security program. As such, it’s not something you’re going to buy often. Instead, card printers are a one-off purchase that is meant to last you for years.

As ID cards printers are rather specific pieces of equipment, many people don’t know what exactly to buy when shopping for one. They’re not accessible everywhere, their features aren’t always perfectly explained, and of course, they’re a considerable expense.

Printing ID cards can be done in many ways. The IDs can cover various levels of security, ranging from things that could be created by a basic cards printer to sophisticated, complex cards that will be fraud-proof.

The process of purchasing an ID card printer can seem quite complicated. It’s hardly ever as simple as picking out the first one that strikes your fancy. This is because a lot of factors need to be considered before making that final decision.

To help you navigate the world of the best ID card printers, we’ve created this detailed buyer’s guide. Read on to make sure you get the right thing.

What is an ID card printer?

As the name itself suggests, this is an electronic desktop printer that is used to for ID card printing. Most commonly, these printers are controlled by corresponding desktop or web-based software. This allows you to customize the cards and use additional functions that are often found in them, such as striping, laminating, or punching.

While they are similar in function to typical inkjet printers, they are far from the same. You won’t find a paper tray in an ID printer. Instead, the device has an input card hopper that can be loaded with plastic cards. The other difference is that while an inkjet printer uses ink cartridges, card printers have their ink carried on a ribbon.

An ID card printer may have hundreds of uses, but most organizations use them for the creation of IDs that they then hand out to each employee. This card printer is capable of making basic PVC cards that contain some information, but also a high-level security system IDs that grant access to the building.

These printers are rather easy to use and get the hang of once you get started, but finding the right one for you and your company can be a bit time-consuming.

What is a printer ID?

Several types of identity documents can be printed in a dedicated card printer. These cards are then, most commonly, used by organizations and are handed out to each and every employee. The cards range from basic versions that only contain someone’s name and/or job title, to advanced options. The latter are often highly complex and work directly with a building’s security system.

Printer IDs can also find their use at events, meetings, and other functions that call for the use of proper identification.

Types of ID cards

When trying to determine what type of card printer to buy, you need to first consider the basics. The first thing to keep in mind is the type of card you’re looking to print.

Photo ID

This is the basic option that you can print onto regular blank plastic cards. These cards will work as a form of ID and can be arranged to meet your needs, including brand personality, logo, employee photo, and other information. However, this type of card will not have any sort of contactless technology, such as working as a replacement for a key.

Contactless

These smart IDs use contactless technologies, such as Paxton, MIFARE, or PAC. They may have a raised surface and a protruding RFID chip. This type of card is used when your ID is more than just a means of identification.

Offering supreme security, these IDs store encrypted data which lets your business take advantage of quick and easy contactless identification. You’ve definitely seen this type of security implemented in many office buildings, warehouses, or even near public transport as a ticket checker.

What is the paper size for an ID card?

Keep in mind that ID card printers don’t actually use paper. Instead, you’ll be inserting blank plastic cards into the ribbon slot and printing the ID onto them.

ID cards have a universal size, often referred to as credit card size. While you can print in other sizes, most experts recommend following the trend. The reason for that is simple: if someone were to keep their card in their wallet, a larger size will simply not fit.

The standard card, codified by the International Organization for Standards (ISO), is referred to as ID-1. The dimensions of this card are 3.370 inches wide, 2.125 inches high, and 0.030 inches thick.

Larger variants are usually utilized when the card is nothing else than a name badge at a conference, meeting, or seminar. Slightly smaller cards, on the other hand, often work as keycards.

Membership, grocery store loyalty cards, and other IDs of that type are usually no more than 2×1″.

How do I clean my printer ID card?

ID cards often get dirty as time goes on. This is simply because they’re in constant use, so grime builds up over time without you doing anything with the card. Being made of plastic, these IDs are not very demanding to clean, but you need to be careful not to damage them in any way.

A helpful tip before we start: consider keeping your card in an ID holder. This keeps it safe and clean for years.

  1. Grab a bowl and add a tsp of liquid dish soap to it. Fill it with warm water.
  2. Mix the water until it gets sudsy.
  3. Place your ID card in a safe, flat spot in an area with plenty of light.
  4. Soak a clean cloth in the cleaning solution.
  5. Holding the card in place, lightly rub the damp cloth over the card. Repeat this movement until all the dirt is gone.
  6. Immediately after, dry your card with a paper towel.

We recommend repeating these steps frequently. However, if your printer ID card has a chip, make sure that it is also safe to clean before you attempt it.

Which card printer is best for PVC ID Printing?

It’s important that you pick a card printer that suits all your needs. They are rather expensive and will serve a crucial role in your business, organization, or event. These best printers also often have a number of settings that may seem confusing to a new user.

To make things simpler, we’ve prepared a list of our recommendations. Check out the best PVC ID printers.

Badgy100 Color Plastic ID Card Printer

Sale
Badgy100 Color Plastic ID Card Printer with Complete Supplies Package with Bodno ID Software
63 Reviews
Badgy100 Color Plastic ID Card Printer with Complete Supplies Package with Bodno ID Software
  • Professional plastic ID cards on demand
  • PC & Mac ID design software

This compact printer is capable of producing plastic IDs on-demand. It’s compatible with both PC & Mac computers (connects over Ethernet) and comes with all the software you may need to design and print your cards. Aside from Badgy, you receive a full set of tools needed to start printing right away.

We found this one to be remarkably easy to use. You don’t need an IT professional to work this printer for you. The printing process is very intuitive and streamlined so that nearly every person at your organization will have an easy time using this device.

Aside from being easy, the printing is simply quick. A color badge only takes around 45 seconds. The color ribbons have a 50-print capacity, so you’ll be able to print many of these at once.

You can print in full color or monochrome with a margin of 1.35mm (0.05″) around the border of the card. This printer does not support edge-to-edge printing. Some of the most common uses for this printer include the creation of student IDs, employee IDs, membership cards, hotel/motel keycards, and even a gift shop card.

For a comprehensive, relatively inexpensive ID printing tool, check out Badgy100.

Magicard Enduro 3E Dual Sided ID Card Printer

Magicard Enduro 3e Dual Sided ID Card Printer & Complete Supplies Package with Bodno ID Software
50 Reviews
Magicard Enduro 3e Dual Sided ID Card Printer & Complete Supplies Package with Bodno ID Software
  • INCLUDES EVERYTHING: Print your own professional grade photo ID cards or membership cards. Everything you need to get printing is included, so get started right out of the box!
  • EASY TO USE PRINTER: Included in this package is a Magicard Enduro 3e Dual Sided ID Card printer, and the MA300YMCKO color ribbon - 300 Prints. The user-friendly features will have you printing...

If the budget is of no concern, you might as well buy a printer that is sure to cover all of your needs and then some. Magicard Enduro 3E by Bodno includes EVERYTHING you may need to print IDs. This puts it amongst the best ID card printers out there.

It will allow you to easily print professional-grade photo ID or membership cards. This printer has a very large capacity — the color ribbon can hold up to 300 prints. Therefore it’s perfectly suited to the needs of large businesses or schools. The bundle also comes with 300 PVC cards ready to print, so that saves you an additional expense.

This set also includes a camera to take quality pictures for your ID. In addition to that, you will receive the full range of Bodno software that will help you design and print IDs. The software is really easy to use and doesn’t require prior experience.

This printer is a high-end option in the world of ID card printing. We recommend it for more demanding users.

Magicard Pronto ID Card Printer

Magicard Pronto ID Card Printer & Complete Supplies Package with Bodno ID Software
192 Reviews
Magicard Pronto ID Card Printer & Complete Supplies Package with Bodno ID Software
  • INCLUDES EVERYTHING: Print your own professional grade photo ID cards or membership cards. Everything you need to get printing is included, so get started right out of the box!
  • EASY TO USE PRINTER: Included in this package is a Magicard Pronto printer, and the MA100YMCKO color ribbon. The user-friendly features will have you printing professional cards in minutes.

Treat this model as a halfway point between the Badgy100 and the Magicard Enduro. Falling somewhere in the middle in terms of price and performance, this is a perfectly rounded option for those that need to print some ID cards on a regular basis.

Much like most printers by Bodno, this isn’t just a printer — it’s a full set of goodies. Aside from the printer and the color ribbon, you receive Bodno’s exclusive printer software and a bundle of 100 top-notch white PVC cards. Thanks to both of those, you’ll be able to start printing right away.

This printer can produce cards in full color or black at a rate of about 35 seconds per card. It offers edge-to-edge printing, allowing you to get rid of the margin. Equipped with the Holo-Kote Security feature, it can also be used to print proximity cards and keycards.

Bodno’s top-notch software works on Windows and Mac computers. It will help you produce and re-use card templates, edit images, imprint signatures on the IDs, print 1D barcodes, and more.

For a great mid-range option that can print up to 100 PVC IDs at a time, check out Magicard Pronto.

Evolis Primacy Dual-Sided ID Card Printer

Evolis Primacy Dual Sided ID Card Printer & Complete Supplies Package with Bodno Bronze Edition ID Software
13 Reviews
Evolis Primacy Dual Sided ID Card Printer & Complete Supplies Package with Bodno Bronze Edition ID Software
  • INCLUDES EVERYTHING: Print your own professional grade ID photo cards or membership cards. Everything you need to get printing is included, so get started right out of the box!
  • EASY TO USE PRINTER: Included in this package is a Evolis Primacy printer, and the R5F008AAA 300 prints color ribbon. The user-friendly features will have you printing professional in minutes.

This is the priciest pick on our list, but it is also by far the best & supported by stellar reviews. For the most demanding users, we recommend Evolis Primacy as the convenient expert-chosen option.

Fully equipped with Bodno’s signature software, this highly durable product comes with a full set of included tools that will get you started right away. You can get printing almost right after you plug it in.

The color ribbon holds up to 300 prints at a time, putting it high on the list of printers that are available on the market. You can create professional-grade dual-sided or single-sided IDs without any hassle.

In this bundle, you will also receive a top-notch camera that will help you take photos needed for the identification. Once that’s ready, you can print speedily at just 19 seconds per card.

If you want to follow the experts and make the smart choice, we recommend Evolis.

Summary

ID card printers are the way of the future. You no longer need to employ outside businesses to get your necessary IDs. Be it for casual or professional use, an ID printer saves you time, money, and hassle.

We hope that our guide has helped you pick the best ID card printer for your needs. Weigh in all the pros and cons and then reap the rewards of making an informed decision.