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Photo ID Card Printers
ID CARD PRINTERS
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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ID CARD PRINTERS?
When looking to purchase an ID printer, there are three main points that differentiate each printer. Understanding them is critical to choosing the right one for you.
Single-Sided Printing vs Dual-Sided Printing
The difference here is whether the printer prints on both sides of the blank PVC card or just one side. Many single-sided ID card printers can later be upgraded to dual-sided printers if your needs change, but there are so many ways to use the back of your ID card that most companies purchase a dual-sided printer to start. You can use the back of your card to implement data and security features, which frees up the front for a cleaner, more professional photo identification badge. For more information about using the back of your ID badge, visit our blog post: What to Put on the Back of an ID Badge.
Direct-to-Card Printing vs Retransfer Printing
Direct-to-card printing, also called dye-sublimation, consists of a blank PVC card, ink ribbon, and a printhead. The printhead presses the color from the ribbon directly onto the PVC card. While this printing technique results in fast printing and a lower cost per card, it does leave a minimal white border around the card because the printhead cannot cover the card’s edge.
Retransfer printing consists of a blank PVC card, ink ribbon, printhead and a film ribbon. In this process, the ink is imprinted, or transferred, onto the inside of a clear film, which is then heat sealed onto the blank card. While retransfer printing is slower than traditional direct-to-card printing, it does produce a high-quality print that will last longer because the extra film reduces fading and everyday wear and tear.
ID card printers are commonly categorized by low, medium, and high volume printing capabilities, meaning they are designed to handle a different number of prints per year. The recommended number of prints can be stretched, but that means the lifespan of the printer can be shortened. The following are the recommended number of prints per year.
- Low volume: Up to 200 prints per year
- Medium volume: Up to 1,000 prints per year
- High volume: More than 1,000 prints per year
WHAT DATA OR SECURITY FEATURES CAN ID BADGES HAVE?
ID Maker Printers paired with our best-in-class ID Maker software have a wide range of printing and data capabilities. Thanks to our customer focused approach, we have innovated and implemented the following desired features as well as compatibility with most internal systems and much more. Interested in learning more? Browse our Knowledge Center or give one of our ID specialists a call at 1.866.438.4553.
Barcodes and QR Codes: These are simple, cost-effective methods of storing data on cards. You can use this feature on any ID card crinter paired with ID card software that supports these codes.
Magnetic Stripes: Magnetic stripes are another common method for storing data on cards. One might use this over a barcode due to its ability to hold more data and its usability with other systems. To use this feature, your printer must have the magnetic stripe encoding module, you must use PVC cards with a magnetic stripe, and you must have ID card software that can encode the data.
Smart Chips: Smart chips are the most secure way to store data. This is often used for storing large volumes of data or highly classified data. To utilize this feature, you will need a smart card encoder module on your printer, software that can encode the cards, and blank smart cards.
Holographic Overlays: Holographic overlay is an available security feature that makes it impossible to counterfeit your IDs without the overlay template. To implement holographic overlays on your IDs, simply use a holographic template. These can be purchased separately, but also come standard with some ID Maker Systems.
Biometrics: A fingerprint can be scanned and included with the ID card design making it impossible to create a fraudulent card.
For more information, check out our ID Card Features Infographic!
HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT ID CARD PRINTER?
Ask yourself four simple questions:
- How many cards do I need to print per year?
- Will the badges be single sided or dual sided?
- What security or data storage features do I want?
- Is a printer all I need?
If you are still unsure which ID card printer best fits your needs, feel free to live chat or call an ID Specialist. They will listen and understand your unique needs so they can recommend the best solution for you. Not too much, not too little.