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Choosing The Right ID Card Printer

1. How will the ID card be used?
  • The purpose of the card will determine what information and features you require in your card design and will also influence the printer you need.
  • Create a list of your top five ID card features.
  • Determine how cards will be displayed.
  • Identify any additional printer uses.
2. Will it be two-sided or one-sided?
  • Dual-sided printers have a mechanism that prints on the front side of the card, flips the card over and prints the back.
  • Single-sided printers can only print on one side of the card at a time.
  • If you're not certain if you’ll need dual-sided cards, choose a printer that is field-upgradable and can be converted from a one-sided to a two-sided printer without a major expense.
3. How many cards do you plan to print in a year?
  • ID card printers are made to handle varying printing frequency.
  • Some printers are made of plastic parts whereas others are made of metal.
  • Make an estimate of the number of cards you will print in a year. Although you will initially have to reprint cards for everyone, consider your regular card creation after that.
  • Estimate your annual supply costs based on the different printer models you are considering or have a sales associate do it for you.
4. Do you need to encode data in the card?
  • ID card printers vary in their data capabilities.
  • Barcodes and magnetic stripes can both be added to ID cards.
  • If you will be encoding data on employee ID cards, determine if a barcode will suffice or if you need the added security of a magnetic stripe.
5. What are the security features that you need?
  • Enhanced security features can make your ID cards fraud-proof.
  • Standard security features can be added within an ID card software program, such as:
    • Signatures
    • Logos
    • Employee pictures
  • A holographic feature can be added to ID cards by inserting a special memory card to your printer.
  • Determine if your organization's security needs require a holograph on ID cards.
6. How detailed is your ID card design?
  • Most ID card printers boast great color accuracy, but lower models may not have crisp colors and colors may bleed.
  • If you have a detailed card design or logo or your organization is known for its attention to design, you will not want to settle for less than the best in print quality and color.
  • To determine which printer will suit your design best, you can:
    • Send your logo to an ID card printer vendor
    • Request ID card samples using your logo from various printer models and compare print quality
7. Do you want the printer to be movable?
  • Different printers are designed specifically to be moved between locations while others are designed to be stationary.
  • If you want to use your ID card printer at multiple locations or for conferences and events, a portable printer will be the most convenient.
  • If not, save yourself the expense and decline the on-the-go upgrade.
Datacard Group Evolis Fargo Genuine HID Indala
Magicard Teamnisca xceed ID Zebra Technologies
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