Tag Archives: ID Card Printer

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 need to print large numbers of ID cards in a quick and efficient way? We suggest trying out batch printing, where you print cards in large batches – this works for a large number of card design styles.

What is Batch Printing?

To batch print your cards, just print a batch of cards (often the number of cards your printer’s card hopper will hold) all at once!

Especially popular for dual-sided cards that all have the same design on the back, like a school ID card or library card that has an address to return a lost card, this allows you to quickly print one side of the card that’s the same for every card. Then you can print the front side of the card, with the student or cardholder’s information, as needed without having to print on both sides of the card.

If your cards don’t have any unique cardholder information you need to add later, you can still batch print cards. Just print the cards in large runs before you need them, so you’ll always have cards ready when you need them.

ID card printers with large hoppers, like the AlphaCard PRO 700 which has a 100 card input hopper and 70 card output hopper (so you can print 100 cards before stopping to load more) are designed for batch printing.

Visually secure cards is a popular way to improve security – using distinct designs and security features, you can make your cards easy to identify as authentic and harder to tamper with or duplicate.

Why Choose AlphaCard for Secure Printing

Every AlphaCard PRO series ID card printer comes with built-in AlphaGuard watermark technology, allowing you to print a holographic-style watermark directly on your cards. And even better, the AlphaGuard technology doesn’t add any costs or require any special equipment!

How AlphaGuard Works

Using the clear overcoat panel in a YMCKO, YMCKOK, or KO ribbon, the AlphaCard PRO printer “burns” the hologram-like watermark design over your printed cards. This allows the design to be easily seen when light is reflected off the card, but doesn’t interfere with your ability to see the card design.

For the PRO 100 and PRO 500 printers, you can choose from four built-in AlphaGuard designs which repeat in a 4×6 grid over your card: Secure Shield Grid, Globe Grid, Geometric Box Grid, and Wavelength Grid.

For the PRO 700, you have five built-in AlphaGuard designs: Secure Shield Grid, Globe Grid, Geometric Box Grid, 3D Box Grid, and an Intricate Universe Full-Card design. With the PRO 700, you can also design a Custom AlphaGuard, included FREE with your purchase (a $589 value).

Shop AlphaCard PRO Printers

AlphaCard PRO series printers at DiscountID come with all the supplies you need to start printing high quality, visually secure cards right out of the box. Every system comes with AlphaCard ID Suite software, but you can upgrade your system to include the Mac-compatible AlphaCard ID Builder software if you use a Mac computer.

Choose from these popular systems:

AlphaCard PRO 100 Starter System with AlphaCard ID Suite Basic software

AlphaCard PRO 100 System with AlphaCard ID Suite Light software

AlphaCard PRO 500 System with AlphaCard ID Suite Light software

AlphaCard PRO 700 System with AlphaCard ID Suite Light software

AlphaCard PRO series ID card printers come in three styles, all with built-in AlphaGuard watermark technology for visually secure cards. DiscountID carries all the supplies you need from AlphaCard.

AlphaCard Printers

AlphaCard PRO series ID card printers are designed to give you high quality, visually secure cards without the higher costs or extra materials other printers require. All three models (the PRO 100, PRO 500, and PRO 700) feature built-in AlphaCard watermark technology so you can print a holographic-style design over your finished cards – and with the PRO 700, you can also design your own Custom AlphaGuard at no additional cost!

AlphaCard PRO series printers also include industry-leading manufacturer warranties, Pro-Xchange replacement program, and a free year of AlphaCarePlus service and support.

Shop AlphaCard printers.

AlphaCard Systems

For the easiest printing experience right out of the box, go with a complete AlphaCard ID card system which comes with all the supplies you need to design and print your first cards. And each system includes industry-leading AlphaCard software – AlphaCard ID Suite for PC users, or switch to AlphaCard ID Builder for Mac.

Our systems only include supplies, accessories, and software that is compatible with your printer so you can use everything without any hassle.

Shop AlphaCard systems.

AlphaCard Ribbons

To print your cards, you’ll need an AlphaCard printer ribbon. These ribbons come in a range of formats for single and dual-sided printing in both full color and monochrome. Your AlphaCard printer will use the overcoat panel to print your AlphaGuard watermark design on your cards.

You should only use genuine AlphaCard ribbons with your AlphaCard card printer.

Shop AlphaCard ribbons.

AlphaCard Cleaning Kits

Cleaning your printer regularly is the key to making sure it works well for years to come – we recommend cleaning your AlphaCard printer every time you change the ribbon. You should only use the manufacturer recommended cleaning kits for your printer to prevent damage to the printer.

Shop AlphaCard cleaning kits.

AlphaCard Printer Parts

DiscountID also carries all the printer parts, upgrade kits, and replacement parts you need to keep your AlphaCard PRO series printer running in top shape.

Shop AlphaCard printer parts.

ID card printers come with a wide variety of features so you can find one that meets your card printing needs. But do you know the key differences between low, mid, and high-volume printers?

Low-Volume Printers

Printers designed for low volume printing are ideal for small organizations without many employees or members to print cards for, so they do not need to print large batches of cards. This allows a small organization to save money, as low-volume printers are generally cheaper than their larger counterparts but still have options for encoding, Ethernet, and more.

The most basic low-volume printers only offer single-feed printing, where you manually feed in each card one at a time, like the AlphaCard PRO 100 or Zebra ZXP Series 1 printers.

Mid-Volume Printers

Mid-volume ID card printers work for the majority of card printing needs – their ability to batch print cards saves time and effort for any organization that needs to print multiple cards at a time without the slower printing of a single-feed printer.

These printers come in single or dual-sided printing, with options for encoding, Ethernet, and more. Their hoppers may range from 100 card input/30 card output like the AlphaCard PRO 500,  to the 100 card input/25 card output hoppers of the Datacard SD260, or up to 100 card input/40 card output hoppers of the IDP Smart-50.

High-Volume Printers

If you need to print large numbers of cards quickly and efficiently, you’ll want a high-volume ID card printer. Used by larger organizations like schools to print student and staff IDs at the start of each school year, these printers have larger hoppers to minimize down time between print jobs.

High-volume card printers are available with the standard single or dual-sided, encoding, and Ethernet options found with other card printers; they also tend to have more advanced options including lamination.

High-volume ID cards printers include the Zebra ZXP Series 7 with a 200 card input hopper and 100 card output hopper, the IDP Smart-70 with a 500 card input hopper and 100 card output hopper, and the reverse transfer Fargo HDP5600 with a 100 card input hopper and 200 card output hopper.

Zebra ID card printers come in a wide range of styles, from single-sided entry-level printers to advanced reverse transfer high-volume printers. DiscountID carries all the supplies you need from Zebra.

Zebra Printers

Zebra ID card printer are easy to use, reliable, and meet the needs of everyone from a small retail store printing loyalty cards to a large college printing student and employee ID cards. Choose from single or dual-sided, magnetic stripe encoding, and more.

Shop Zebra printers.

Zebra Systems

For the easiest printing experience right out of the box, go with a complete Zebra ID card system which comes with all the supplies you need to design and print your first cards. Our systems only include supplies, accessories, and software that is compatible with your printer so you can use everything without any hassle.

Shop Zebra systems.

Zebra Ribbons

To print your cards, you’ll need a Zebra printer ribbon. These ribbons come in a range of formats for single and dual-sided printing in both full color and monochrome. You should only use genuine Zebra ribbons with your Zebra card printer.

Shop Zebra ribbons.

Zebra Cleaning Kits

Cleaning your printer regularly is the key to making sure it works well for years to come – we recommend cleaning your Zebra printer every time you change the ribbon. You should only use the manufacturer recommended cleaning kits for your printer to prevent damage to the printer.

Shop Zebra cleaning kits.

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.

The difference between a single-sided and a dual-sided printer is whether or not the printer will automatically print of the back of a card – but how do you know when to upgrade to dual-sided?

When to Use a Single-Sided Printer

Single-sided printers only print on the front side of your cards, making them faster and more efficient than dual-sided printers. If you are only printing single-sided cards, you’ll need a single-sided printer. But there are several instances where you may also want a single-sided printer even if you are printing dual-sided cards.

For example, if all your cards have the same design on the back, like a “Return to this address if found” message, you can batch print all the cards with that information, and then print the customized front for each cardholder as needed. Or if you are on a tight budget and print a low volume of ID cards, and have the time to manually flip cards to print on both sides.

Shop all single-sided printers on DiscountID.

When to Use a Dual-Sided Printer

Dual-sided printers will automatically print on both sides of your cards, either by flipping them and running them through the printer again or by using two printheads to print both sides in a single pass.

You may want to upgrade to a dual-sided printer if printing efficiency and speed is important to your organization, especially if you print large numbers of cards. A dual-sided printer is also the best option if you need to print unique data on both sides of the card and cannot pre-print one side of the card.

Shop all dual-sided printers on DiscountID.

IDP ID card printers come in a range of styles to fit any budget and card printing need – and DiscountID has all the supplies you need to keep printing with your IDP card printer.

IDP Ribbons

To print ID cards, you’ll need an IDP ribbon. These ribbons come in all formats including full-color ribbons for single and dual-sided printing, half-panel ribbons, and monochrome ribbons.

Shop IDP ribbons on DiscountID.

IDP Laminates

Laminating your ID cards will make them last longer and deter card tampering – an important feature for many secure businesses. Overlamiante film comes in a range of styles, including clear and holographic prints.

Shop IDP laminates on DiscountID.

IDP Cleaning Kits

Cleaning your printer regularly is the key to making sure it works well for years to come. You should only use the manufacturer recommended cleaning kits for your printer to prevent damage to the printer.

Shop IDP cleaning kits on DiscountID.

A complete ID card system comes with everything you need to design and print ID cards, all in one box. This makes it quick and easy to get all the supplies you need, but do you know what comes in a system?

The Printer

First, and most importantly, each system comes with a professional-level ID card printer. DiscountID offers card printers from entry-level to secure, high-volume printers from the industry’s leading manufactures. Choose a system featuring a card printer from Magicard, IDP, Fargo, Evolis, Zebra, and more.

The Software

Second is your card design software. This is what you will use you design cards, manage your cardholder database, and send card designs to the printer to be printed. With a wide range of features for designing everything from simple single-sided visitor passes to dual-sided student and staff ID cards, card software is the brain of your system.

The Supplies

Finally, your complete ID card system comes with the ribbons and blank cards you need to print ID cards. Most systems also include a digital ID camera to easily add cardholder photos to your cards.

To keep your new system running in top shape, you should also add a printer cleaning kit to help prevent damage to your printer.