While reasonably priced for their intended purpose, ID card printers are not cheap. As such, it’s important to exercise due diligence when investing in one. Not all plastic card printers are the same. Some are sold with advanced features built in while others come with standard features.
When buying ID card printers, it’s crucial that you choose one that meets your card printing needs, but note that your card production requirements may change in the future so take that into consideration too.
ID card printers can be grouped into three major classifications:
- Entry-level printers
- Professional-grade printers
- Security-class printers
Entry-level printers are the most affordable, but often have basic printer options like single-sided printing and manual card input. They are a cost-effective option for businesses and organizations that have low-volume card requirements and minimal card security needs.
Professional-grade printers encompass a wide range of printer models. They include advanced printer features like dual-sided printing, high-resolution printing, and card lamination, among others. Professional-grade printers are best for companies and institutions that produce and issue cards with medium to high security features.
Security-class printers offer the highest security options for ID cards. Utilizing the newer reverse transfer technology, security-class printers produce cards that are high-resolution and tamper-resistant. The printers also incorporate features that make the finished card difficult to copy. Banks, corporations, and government licensing bureaus, among others, typically utilize this type of printers.
With different price points and a myriad of feature options, selecting the perfect card printer isn’t as straightforward as picking the one with the best features or the model with the price that meets your budget. The determining factors actually depend on:
- Type of cards (e.g. Dual-sided vs. Single-Sided)
- Volume requirement (100 cards/month vs. 1000 cards/month)
- Data Encoding Requirements (Magnetic Stripe Cards, Smart Cards, etc.)
- Security Requirements (Holograms, Overlays, Microtext, etc.)
With the understanding that printing needs change over time as businesses and organizations grow, plastic card printer manufacturers have designed their products to be modular or field upgradable. This means that users can buy the cheaper entry-level model and simply add more advanced capabilities later on. Printer options that can be added as an optional upgrade include network connectivity, data encoding, duplex printing, and card lamination, among others.
Watch this Video to See an Example of a Modular Card Printer
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