There are numerous plastic ID card printers on the market with purchase prices from a few hundred pounds to several thousand pounds. However, it’s not only the initial purchase cost you should look at – the day-to-day running costs of a card printer vary across the printer range, allowing for the blank cards, ink ribbons, cleaning kits, any overlay/varnish or lamination as well as staff time/cost should be considered. A few pence difference per card can make a big difference if you are printing hundreds or even thousands of ID or membership cards per year.
We explain below the general factors to consider when deciding which ID card printer package is suitable for your requirements.
Colour or Monochrome?
First decide whether you wish to print ID or membership cards in full colour or in monochrome.
Most plastic card printers support black ink as well as a few other individual colours such as blue or red. If your budget is limited, using a monochrome card printer to print onto blank plastic cards or pre-printed cards can be a viable option. We supply a range of coloured blank cards. See our Blank Cards section.
Full colour ID card printers on the other hand will let you incorporate full colour text, logos, graphics with your own background design to a high quality professional standard.
1-sided or 2-sided Card Printing?
Choose whether you want to print on one side of each card or boths sides. Obviously single-sided plastic card printers are less expensive than double-sided plastic card printers and have lower ink ribbon running costs.
Some of the newer range of plastic card printers are field upgradeable, meaning you can purchase a 1-sided card printer, and then later on upgrade to the 2-sided card printer version.
Estimate the typical volume of ID cards you will print. If you will be printing several hundred ID cards a month, then a higher specification plastic card printer with a feeder and hopper will be both faster and more economical to run. If you will be printing smaller volumes of plastic cards (eg. a few dozen cards a week), then our entry-level single-feed ID card printers would be appropriate.
Other Card Printing Features
If you have any particular requirements such as magstripe encoding, smart card chip writing, lamination, holograms and other security features, check the plastic card printer specification to see if it supports those features. Also check the availability cost of any required card printer consumables.
Most ID card printers are provided with a USB interface to connect to the computer, but some also have other interface options such as Ethernet which allows them to be connected to your network. Check your PC has the required port, and choose the correct model of plastic card printer for your required interface.
Card Printer Package Components
Once you have narrowed down the range of ID card printer packages which will suit your requirements, you will need to consider the various items to form the package. The minimum you will require is:
(1) the plastic card printer
(2) ink ribbon(s)
(3) blank pvc cards
(4) card design & print software
and obviously your own PC to connect the printer and run the software on.
Check the quantity of blank cards and the capacity of the ink ribbon that is included in the card printing system package, as you may need to purchase multiple packs if you will be printing a larger number of cards.
You may also need a digital camera for photo ID’s, a signature tablet to capture signatures, accessories such as card holders, lanyards or clips and tools such as a hole/slot punch. See our Card Printer Accessories.
Card Design Software
We recommend the CardPresso Vision range of card design software. CardPress is a Windows-based and MAC OSX compatible card design software package which will allow you to design your own cards, including placing text, logos, barcodes, graphics etc onto the design. Upgraded versions of the software will allow you to maintain a database or link to an existing database as well as perform other advanced functions.
You can choose from one of our standard ID card printer packages above, or make your own package choosing your own components and we will work out a special package price for you.
Contact Us if you require further assistance. You can order online or by telephone on 01298 83131.