Top 10 Best ID Card Printers in 2020: Reviews by An Expert
With a one-time purchase of a printer, you can save yourself countless trips to the store and reprinting hassles. For businesses, having an ID card printer can help to both save costs and create a greater brand value.
If you have one at your disposal, then you can easily print designs and update them when needed. You won’t have to depend on other entities to get the results.
But when you finally decide to buy one, you’re faced with a flurry of options and types to choose from. Do you want one-side printing or both sides? Or, do you want prints with encodings like bar code or magnetic stripes? All this can confuse the best of us.
And to help you with the whole process, we have listed the best ID card printers along with all the general queries that you may have.
Why Buy an ID Card Printer?
If your business requires you to interact with employees that you don’t get to see every day, then it is reasonable to consider you’re running a decent-sized business. And for you, the value of the printer is more than what meets the eye.
With a printer available, you can easily print new cards when a new employee joins and can keep track of them. It is a loss of time and resources to give the work to third parties unless there’s a bulk to print.
Fast and Time-Saving
Need to bring changes? Then no point in waiting as you can see the result yourself.
The one-time cost will be all you need to save you future hassles and money. In terms of sheer numbers, the result will depend on how many prints you need on average, but considering the overall aspects, it is indeed a cost-effective decision in the long run.
Best ID Card Printers Review
For this review, we have included printers with redeemable and lasting features that bring the best out of modern technologies.
1. Magicard Pronto ID Card Printer
We don’t want to beat around the bush, so our first product is likely the only one many of you has to check. Its all-round capabilities are perfect for those new to its services. You don’t have to be an expert to use this device; you can get it up and running right away and get professional-grade cards.
What makes this a top product is the availability of necessary accessories. One, they will provide you everything you need. But more than that, once you’ve used them up, you won’t have difficulty getting spares. That’s a major relief when it comes to printers.
There is no need to buy color ribbons or cards separately as you get 100 PVC cards and ribbon with it. This will help you to get started.
To further assist, the Bodno bronze software is simple, and anybody can print using its built-in templates, images, etc. You don’t need prior knowledge of the topic to get going. The software updates frequently to give you the best results. And it helps you to design and encode.
If your printing needs are around 500 prints per year, then this will be perfect for you. This can create a range of cards like student or employee ID cards, hotel key cards, credit cards, etc.
Easy to learn software
Prints up to 500 cards a year
Encode and design the card using the software
Comes with cards, ribbons and all necessary items
2. Magicard Pronto ID Card Printer & Supplies Package
For those of you who weren’t quite satisfied with the earlier product, don’t worry, Bodno supplies have just the printer to give you what you want. This is a stronger and more apt printer to fulfill all your requirements.
If you need to print on both sides, this can do that. This full-color machine will give you high-definition cards. Even when you are printing employee cards, you can add specific encodings to protect from outsiders copying or misusing the cards.
On top of that, you have a range of unique watermarks to choose from. Use these futures to truly stand out and cement your position.
With the watermark feature, you can prevent unauthorized use of the cards. You will be able to discern the fake cards right away. But that’s not all this is good for. Using the software and its advanced printing technologies, you can print out barcodes for your card.
Another reason to admire this is it’s compact and can be placed without needing a whole lot of space. Further, it’s plug-and-play nature means you won’t be wasting time trying to get familiar.
Finally, as it comes with 300 PVC cards and color ribbons, this will serve you for a long time, and it’s built to last.
Comes with 300 PVC cards, software, and ribbon
Can print a host of cards
Durable and built to last
Has features like watermarking and encoding
3. Badgy100 Color Plastic ID Card Printer with Complete Supplies Package
While the previous two were more for the high-end results, this one will be fancied by those who are trying to get the best value for money. This might not be as smooth or fast as the previous two, but that’s the only place where it lags because this will still give you quality color prints.
This will support any windows or Mac OS, so compatibility won’t be an issue. Moreover, much like other Bodno products, this too is easy to set up and use. The instruction manual clearly states everything an amateur would need to know to start using this right away.
When it comes to printing, you get top quality images and color. It takes about 45 seconds to print, which is longer than the previous products but still not that much. What we really like about this is the user-friendly nature.
As a beginner, you might not know when it will run out of ink, but this smart device will let you know when it’s running low. Furthermore, as this comes from a popular brand, most of what you will need for printing is available in the market. And at a reasonable price, this is right there at the top for many.
Takes about 45 seconds to print
User-friendly and ergonomic design
Clear instruction for printing and software available
Webcam for photo ID
4. Magicard Enduro 3e Dual Sided ID Card Printer & Supplies Bundle
Some devices do the job right, and some do it better than your expectations. That is where the Magicard Enduro stands. It might as well be the best ID card printer for small and medium-sized businesses.
What makes this a top pick is the professional and industry-standard prints that it gives while occupying a measly space on your workstation. It takes less than 30 seconds to print and can work on both sides. And you don’t have to flip it to get ink on the other side. It can get both sides done simultaneously.
As for the software, we love how efficient it is. You don’t need to get your designs done separately; the software can help you design a range of cards. Want even more assistance? There are 50 templates for you to just pick from. This also comes with a webcam, so creating photo IDs won’t require you to go elsewhere either.
If you want to secure your cards, select from the 5 watermarking options, to make your card recognizable. And with encoding features available, this has all the makings to keep the fakes away. For this reason, it’s the best ID printer for fake IDs.
While the price is certainly higher, with a powerful build, this was intended for heavy use. So, we wouldn’t say this is for occasional printing alone. If you’re looking for a professional printer, this could certainly do the job.
Takes about 25 seconds to run
Software with many built-in templates and watermarks
Great for creating unique designs
5. AlphaCard Pilot ID Printer
AlphaCard fills our list as a simple yet powerful device. It has a straightforward system, and although it requires some manual input, you get clear and standard output. This is a great machine for producing membership, retail, or student ID cards.
This card, with its rewriting technology, is a major supply saver. Print and erase to reprint on the same card to not waste supplies. And you can do it multiple times.
Small and medium businesses that are big enough to require identification, but not big enough to do so on an industrial scale, will find this device to be exactly what they are looking for. You get 100 cards with the purchase, and you have to input the cards individually.
But if that isn’t an issue, you will be pleasantly surprised by the efficiency of this. It takes around 35 seconds to print a card, but when it’s done, you get a satisfactory result, and misprints are very rare. So, you won’t be losing cards for printing mishap.
A good ID printer needs even better software. And that’s a big consideration in choosing all the products on this list. The AlphaCard software is simple and easy to use but gives you the most diverse results. It can encode magnetic strips and barcodes for your print. And the unique watermark will keep the fakes away.
Rewriting technology to not waste cards
Card input is done manually
Software with encoding and watermarking features
Prints quickly and efficiently
6. Magicard Enduro 3e Single-Sided ID Card Printer
For those who are looking for a single side printer, this will do the job perfectly. Being from the much appreciated Bodno brand means they can work in a quick time. And it’s true for this device too. It takes around 35 seconds to print in color, and if you’re printing in monochrome, you can get it done within 7 seconds.
This is a compact device. So, it won’t take a large space on your table, and you can simply put it in a corner and start printing. And if you’re looking for a printer to print in bulks, then you will certainly like the hopper as it can take in 100 cards at a time.
A common issue with so many devices is they can’t copy edge to edge, which means you have to leave a considerable space free. But that’s nothing for the Magicard Enduro as you get to fill around the edges, you get the best out of your cards and are open to more designs.
Speaking of designs, we have already mentioned the various options that their software brings to you, and you can get them for this device too.
But where this truly overthrows its competitors is it can print 5000 cards in a year. Meaning this can be used for businesses, and if your business prioritizes card prints, this is the printer you need.
Compact and easy to use
Hopper can take 100 cards at a time
Powerful device; prints 5000 cards a year
Can cover the edges
7. Evolis Primacy Dual-Sided ID Card Printer & Badge Supplies Bundle
Your office represents you, and that’s why so much is spent on keeping it tidy and nice. With the Evolis printer, no matter where you keep it, the look of the place will be enhanced. This works like a top printer should and has a futuristic presence to accompany it.
What we like best about this one is it can get your work done in 20 seconds only, which is a lot quicker than the average printing speed. But if you’re printing on both sides, it will take longer. Further, this device can just about print you anything on PVC cards.
One of the best things about this is you get an array of encoding options to select from. This makes it easier to secure your workplace and identify the fake cards. Use the barcodes and magnetic strip encoding features to enhance the safety of the cards. You get 20 different barcoding options.
Apart from that, the software is highly intuitive and will make it super easy for you to design your cards. You have preset templates that you can edit or create your own design from scratch. The software gives you infinite text options, and you can use any picture from your device or capture new ones to use.
We also love the construction of it. The 100 card hopper, LED screen, and other high-end features justify the price tag, and if you’re looking for a lasting product with top features, this ticks the boxes.
High-end professional printer
Various barcodes and magnetic strip options
Intuitive and creative software
Has features like LED screen, fast printing, and hoppers
8. Datacard SD260 Single-Sided ID Card Printer
If you want reliability, you will get it nowhere better than at Datacard. They have a printing experience for over 50 years and use all their combined knowledge to deliver the best products.
One of the main reasons to pick this one is its simplicity. Be it the setup or the use, all you need to do is follow the simple instructions, and you will get your job done. The operation is easy, and there is no learning curve.
And if that’s not enough to convince you, this is also an eco-friendly product. It is certified and comes with recyclable packaging. On top of that, with its built-in Ethernet, you can connect it to your existing connection without needing further networking.
Now, let’s get back to the main features. It can print about 200 cards per hour. And it runs smoothly. You can either input them manually or on the hopper. It can print in a quick time. For the bundle deal, you get pretty much everything you need, including a cleaning kit and camera.
Can print 200 cards per hour
Eco-friendly printing with recyclable packages
The bundle comes with cleaning kit and camera
Easy to operate and setup
9. Magicard Enduro 3e Dual Sided ID Card Printer & Complete Supplies Package with Bodno ID Software
This dual-sided printer is powerful enough to accomplish heavy-duty prints and is not for occasional use alone. If you’ve used their products before then, you already know about their software, and it’s one of the best out there. Also, it’s highly compatible and will easily go with any MAC or Windows system.
The best part of owning a powerful device like this is, you can get industry-standard output at no additional cost.
Also, you get 300 cards with it and won’t need to buy new ones for quite a while, depending on your printing needs. You can print in color or black. Both are pretty quick. For color, it takes about 35 seconds while black and white is done within 7 seconds. Lastly, the 100-card holding hopper makes sure you can work fast and easy.
As for security, with the holo-kote watermark patterns and encoding options, you can add the much-desired patterns and barcodes to your cards to make them unique.
In doing so, the popular Bodno bronze software will help you. This is a great printer for student, employee, or security Ids, for small businesses, it will be more than enough to do the job.
10. Fargo DTC1250e Dual-Sided ID Card Printer & Complete Supplies Package with Bodno Software
The last printer on our list is anything but the least. It has the highest capacity and charges a hefty price as well. This isn’t something you buy for occasional use. It’s definitely for medium to big businesses, schools, or even the government. This printer will adequately meet heavy-duty printing needs.
Perhaps, the best feature of this device is it does the hard work for you. Starting from input to output, your role is just supervising while the machine does its magic. It works super quick, printing in 16 seconds only.
And the input hopper can take 100 cards at a time while the output gives out 30. This could very well be for industrial use because it sure performs that way. Like most professional devices, this, too, will let you print edge to edge, meaning you can make the most out of your cards.
This can print up to 10000 cards a year. And the software is efficient in making sure it runs smoothly. You can create your own designs or choose from the preset templates. Finally, this is a great device that comes for the right price. But if you don’t need as many prints, then you have cheaper choices.
10000 prints a year
Card flips to print on the backside
Each card takes 16 seconds
Powerful and heavy-duty product
ID Card Printer Buying Guide
There are many technical and physical aspects to an ID card printer that go into consideration. Of course, you might not understand all the technicalities, but there are less obvious physical aspects to it as well.
This guide will hopefully allow beginners to get an idea of the less obvious features that go a long way into a printer’s usage. And we will avoid the obvious ones like printing capacity or appearances because those discretions depend on your company or personal needs.
If you’re in a company where appearances or compactness matters, obviously your purchasing decisions will automatically consider those factors. And hence, we will avoid those.
Color or Monochrome
You perhaps already expect to print in color, but don’t forget to check if your printer supports color printing. Because the obvious deduction might be that it’s a given criterion for a machine, but there are many printers that don’t support color and can work in monochrome alone.
Auto or Manual Input
Some printers require you to individually put the cards in, which we call manual. And others have hoppers or other systems that allow you to input a hose of card together for printing. Placing cards one at a time is both time-consuming and draining. However, they are cheaper too.
Single or Dual Sided
Some printers print on one side alone, some can be flipped to print on the other side, and others support simultaneous dual side printing. Depending on the technology, this differs from price point too. So, if you’re on a budget, you might have to settle for one’s that can be flipped to print on the backside.
You might not be aware of the specific sizes, but each card has it’s subtle or evident sizes. And your printer also has a set of sizes that it can work with, and if that doesn’t meet the dimensions of the card you’re planning to make with the device, the whole purchase will be wasted.
This is yet another thing people take for granted, but many printers still can’t print edge-to-edge, and if you’re uncomfortable with it, you have to get one that can do so.
Card printers have encoding options like barcodes or magnetic stripes, for making hotel cards or entry cards. If you need these features, you should check if the software and printer have it.
Useful Tips for Taking Care of ID Card Printers
A printer is a useful addition to your company if you want to keep track of and maintain safety. But it’s not an expense you want to incur too often, so here’s a list of things you ought to keep in mind to best take care of it.
Use Cleaning Kits to Keep It Tidy
Your printer will collect dust and debris often, and simply using a cleaning cloth isn’t enough to clean it. So, you can find complete cleaning kits to clean the printer, which are made specifically for this very purpose.
Use Verified Supplies
You might think you’re saving cost by going for cheaper cards or ribbons, but if you look at the bigger picture, using them will make the device work harder and wear over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here we have the most commonly asked queries regarding the best ID card printers:
What types of ID cards can you print?
You can print employee, student, security, etc. types of ID cards, but if you want encodings on your card, then you will have to check whether the printer supports it.
How to program HID proximity card?
The programming process of proximity card requires you to know about the prox format and part number. As the transmitter needs to detect the radio frequency signal, this process requires you to do specific programming.
How to make your ID cards last longer?
To make ID cards last longer, you need to print them using good color ribbons. Also, printing them on normal PVC cards will not do the job, and you will need better cards.
How to load a new ribbon?
This will vary slightly from product to product, but the general way is the same. You remove the ribbon cartridge and bring out the used one. Afterwards, put the new ribbon in and replace the previous roller with a new one.
How to read printer ribbon names?
YMCK ribbons can print mostly all colors while monochrome can print in a single color, which is generally black but can be other single colors too. There are variations of YMCK where coats are added.
That’s all you need to know about printers, and hopefully, you’re ready to purchase the best ID card printer for your facility.
So, if you’re willing to increase the security of your workplace, these devices certainly make it easier.