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If you are trying to buy an ID card printer for the first time, the wide range of printer options may be daunting. So why not ask the ID experts at DiscountID for a free printer recommendation?

Just answer three key questions that help us understand your card needs – how many cards you plan to print per year, if you need to print on both sides, and do you need to encode magnetic stripe cards? Then fill in your contact information, and we’ll get back to you with a custom printer recommendation.

Fill out this quick form for your free expert printer recommendation!


Do you know what style of blank cards you need? With a wide range of options, there’s a card for almost every need; by knowing how you’ll use your cards, you can find the best card material.

Standard Cards

Blank cards come in a wide range of sizes, colors, and styles. Standard plain blank ID cards are made from PVC plastic, which are the most commonly used cards. If you are printing cards in a dye sublimation printer with no lamination, this is the best card for you.

Sometimes card are made from a PVC/Poly plastic combo – this makes the cards more durable, so they can withstand higher heat during the printing process. You’ll want to use composite cards if you have a reverse transfer printer, or laminate your cards.

Shop PVC cards. Shop composite cards.

Encoded Cards

Encoded cards are designed to store data directly on the card in some way, including magnetic stripe cards, smart cards, RFID chip cards, and proximity cards.

These types of cards have a wide range of uses from school ID cards that pay for lunch and checking out library books to building key cards, time and attendance tracking cards, mass transit passes for the bus or subway, gift cards, and more.

Shop access control cardsShop magnetic stripe cards.

Rewritable Cards

Rewritable cards can only be used with rewritable ID card printers. With these cards you can print on a card, erase it, and print it again – up to 500 times per card!

The limitation for rewritable cards is their color options – you can only print in black or blue monochrome.

Shop rewritable cards.


When you look at an ID card printer descriptions, often one of the first details often listed is the printing technology. But do you know the difference is between dye sublimation and reverse transfer printers, and why it matters?

Dye Sublimation Printing

Dye sublimation printing works by using a heated print head to print the design directly on the card’s surface using the colored or monochrome panes from your printer ribbon – this type of printing may also be called Direct to Card printing.

Dye sublimation printers, like the Datacard SD260, are the most common types of ID card printers on the market, giving you the widest range of price points and feature options.

Reverse Transfer Printing

Reverse transfer printers, like the Fargo HDP5600, use a different printing style – in these printers, the card design is first printed onto a clear film and that film is then applied to the surface of the ID card.

The benefit of the reverse transfer process is in the added quality and durability it gives cards; these printers are capable of printing high definition images and use true over-the-edge printing because the film is larger than the actual ID card. Additionally, these cards are more resistant to scratches and wear than a card from a dye sublimation printer.

The trade-off with a reverse transfer printer is a slower print speed and higher cost due to the additional materials used for printing.

DiscountID carries a wide range of card printers, including dye sublimation and reverse transfer printers. Shop all ID card printers on DiscountID.

Navigating the world of ID card systems can seem overwhelming if you’re not familiar with the technology. We’ve created a few pointers to help simplify the process.

If you will be printing less than 100 cards per year…then one of our entry-level ID card systems is probably the right choice for you. Systems that feature printers like the Magicard Pronto, the Fargo DTC1250e, or the Zebra ZXP Series 3 are designed to meet the needs of smaller organizations. Many smaller scale organizations will only need single-sided cards.

If you will be printing 100-500 cards per year…then mid-range systems are the answer for you. Card printers such as the Fargo DTC4250e and the Magicard Enduro3E all provide enough printing power and functionality to meet the needs of medium-sized businesses and organizations.

If you will be printing more than 500 cards per year…then you will want to consider systems that are capable of handling high-volume printing. Systems that feature printers such as the Fargo DTC4500e, the Magicard Rio Pro, or the Zebra ZXP Series 7 are all capable of batch printing, which helps improve the efficiency of larger organizations. These printers also all come with Ethernet connectivity for easy networked printing.

Taking care of you blank card stock is just as important as maintaining your printer. Keeping your cards clean is vital for ensuring that you get the best quality prints each and every time you use your printer. Any flaws that are on the card stock can be transferred to your print job, giving you less than ideal results.

Make sure to keep your blank cards free from debris and dust. Any stray particles on the surface of a card can cause imperfections and flaws when you print. Dust and debris can also damage the print head and other printing mechanisms inside your ID card printer.

To keep your cards clean keep them in the case they came in, or in an airtight and watertight container. Look the cards over before printing and keep a dust cloth at hand to wipe the cards off if you notice any dust or debris.

Taking note of the card storage temperature is also important. Extreme heat or cold can damage PVC cards, making them more brittle and susceptible to snapping. Store your cards in a temperature-controlled area and make sure not to put them through drastic temperature changes.

Shop DiscountID’s wide range of blank card stock options.

If you know exactly which ribbon or cleaning kit you need, ordering supplies for your card system is easy. But if you’re not sure what you need, our DiscountID Supply Finder tool is here to help!

Not sure which ribbon you’ve used in the past, or what cleaning kit your printer uses? That’s not a problem because the Supply Finder shows you all the compatible supplies for your printer. This makes it quicker and easier to find what you want online.

Using the Supply Finder takes just seconds – simply select the printer brand from the first drop down, then your printer model from the second drop down. This information should be on the front of your ID card printer, for example a Magicard Pronto or IDP Smart-30.

Try it today for a faster, easier supply ordering process! The DiscountID Ribbon & Supply Finder tool.

Whether you are looking to update your current ID card system or buy your first ID card printer, our ID card experts are here to help! This quick, easy, and FREE tool gives you expert recommendations in just a few clicks.

All you need to do is answer these four questions:

– How many cards do you want to make per year?

– Which industry are you in?

– Do you need to print on both sides?

– Do you need magnetic stripe cards?

With this information our ID card experts can start recommending systems tailored to your organization’s specific needs.

Get your DiscountID Free Expert Recommendations today!

placeholder_cardsWhen it comes to storing data on your cards, you can’t beat the ease or cost of magnetic stripe encoding. Most ID card printers have an optional magnetic stripe encoding module, and card design software makes it easy to add your data.

But when adding magnetic stripe cards to your ID card program, do you know the difference between HiCo and LoCo cards, and how to pick the one you need?

LoCo cards, or low coercivity, have a magnetic stripe that is encoded with a lower strength magnetic field. This makes the cards ideal for short-term use, like hotel room keys which will be erased and re-encoded after every use.

HiCo cards, or high coercivity cards, have a stronger magnetic stripe. This allows the cards to hold data for longer periods of time, and also makes the data more secure. HiCo cards are best used for payment cards like college meal plans or ATM cards.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when selecting magnetic stripe cards:

– Do you need to reuse the cards? Then you may want LoCo cards.

– Are the cards designed for temporary use? Then you may want LoCo cards.

– Do you need the cards to last a long time? Then you may want HiCo cards.

– Are you worried about data security? Then you may want HiCo cards.

If you need help discussing your options and creating the best system for your needs, contact the ID card experts at DiscountID!

placeholder_ribbons_03To ensure your ID card printer continues to run in top shape, you should only ever use the recommended products from the printer manufacture – this includes everything from ribbons to cleaning kits.

But with so many different ribbon types and sometimes confusing names, cleaning kits, blank cards, and more it can be difficult to find the specific items you need quickly and easily.

Our easy Supply Finder makes this process easy!

You only need to answer two questions to quickly see all the ribbons and supplies compatible with your specific printer. Select your printer brand from the drop down menu, and then your printer model – that’s all it takes!

Try the Supply Finder today.

BlogImage_Fargo-ID-Card-Printer-Cleaning-Kit-86177It’s now the start of spring, are you including your ID card printer in your spring cleaning? Keeping a printer free of dust will help prevent damage to the printer so your cards continue to look great.

Each ID card printer has a cleaning kit specifically for it – this makes sure that you’ll have all the supplies you need to clean the printer, printhead, and rollers. If you’re not sure which cleaning kit you need, we’ve got a Ribbon & Supply Finder tool to help – it’s at the top of the Cleaning Kits category. Just select your printer brand and model to find all the supplies you need.

Although it may not seem that dirty, dust and debris can cause major problems with the sensitive equipment in ID card printers. Built-up dust can block the sensors inside the printer that track cards throughout the printing process, and can cause damage to the printhead that will result in bad print quality on your cards.

The key issue is how often you should clean your ID card printer. It’s best to clean the printer every time you replace a ribbon. For many organizations, this means their printer is cleaned every few months. If you print a small number of cards and it takes you a long time to finish a ribbon, you will need to clean the printer more often than you replace the ribbon to prevent dust from building up.

Find ID card printer cleaning kits on