ID Card Printers Review

Why Get an ID Card Printer?

Whether you run a small or large office, keeping track of employees is important. ID cards let you identify employees and the department they work in with just a single glance. You can even encode the IDs to work with a special reader to grant or restrict access to certain doors. With an ID card printer, you can issue new and replacement cards in minutes. Three card printers on the market include the Badgy 200, Nisca 5350 and Datacard SP25 Plus ID Card Printer.

ID Card Printers: What to Look For

When it comes to buying the right ID card printer, it's important to determine the features that you're looking for. Basic models let you print a visual ID card while more advanced ones give you the option to encode special information within. Each model has unique features that define its capabilities, and it's up to you to determine which features suit your business needs.

Single-Sided vs. Two-Sided Printing
There are two basic types of ID card printers: single-sided and dual-sided. Single-sided models print on one side only while dual-sided can print on both sides at the same time for increased efficiency. If you're not sure what type of printer you need, it's a good idea to look for one that has upgrade capabilities. That is, you can upgrade a single-sided model to two-sided printing capabilities, but you cannot downgrade a two-sided printer.

Encoding Options
ID cards come with several encoding options, including a smart card, a magnetic stripe and a barcode. Cards with barcodes don't require a special reader, but they require the use of a compatible scanner and a computer that stores the information.

Magnetic stripes come in two forms: Hi Coercivity (HiCo) and Low Coercivity (LoCo). HiCo cards are durable and ideal for long-lasting applications, such as a time or access card. LoCo cards are better suited for short-term use, such as for hotel key cards. To print magnetic stripes, your ID card printer needs to have the appropriate software and the capability of offering magnetic stripe encoding.

The final option a smart card printer gives you is the ability to encode security information on a chip or a chip and antenna combination, which holds significantly more data than other types of ID cards. A card with a chip needs to come in direct contact with a special reader while the chip and antenna combination card only needs to come within a specified distance of the reader.

Retransfer Printing
Many ID card printers use direct-to-card printing where the printer prints directly on the surface of the card. Retransfer printing instead prints the information on a clear film, also known as retransfer film and then fuses the film to the card. This eliminates potential damage to the printhead and lets you cover the entire card, which comes in handy with magnetic stripe and smart cards.

Before you purchase an ID card printer for your business, it's important to thoroughly evaluate the models available to you. Each printer has different features and functions with its own benefits. Purchasing the right card printer means less overhead and increased efficiency.