Tag Archives: ID Card Printer

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.

Evolis 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 Evolis printer.

Evolis ID Card Printers

Evolis ID card printers come in a range of styles, from entry-level hand feed printers up to the powerful Quantum 2 with 500 card input and output hoppers.

Shop Evolis printers on DiscountID. Or shop complete Evolis Systems with all the supplies bundled with your printer.

Evolis Ribbons

To print ID cards, you’ll need a colored Evolis ribbon – either a full color YMCKO ribbon, or a monochrome one. These ribbons come in all formats including full-color ribbons for single and dual-sided printing, half-panel ribbons, and monochrome ribbons.

Shop Evolis ribbons on DiscountID.

Evolis 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 Evolis cleaning kits on DiscountID.

BlogImage_Magicard-Rio-Pro-ID-Card-PrinterAre you looking for an ID card printer with a powerful built-in security feature? Magicard’s HoloKote adds a watermark over your printed cards, making it easier to tell authentic cards from those that are duplicates or have been tampered with.

The best part about the HoloKote feature is the price – which is nothing! The HoloKote tool uses the exact same supplies you already need to print ID cards (blank cards and ribbon) to create the watermark, so you don’t have to pay extra.

On the Magicard Pronto and Enduro3E printers, you have access to the standard HoloKote watermarks. You select from a list of pre-designed watermark patterns, although you can adjust the orientation to work with both horizontal and vertical card designs. Choose from an Ultrasecure Key, Interlocking Cube, Globes, or Waves pattern.

With the Rio Pro ID card printers, you can choose to use the standard watermarks (with the addition of a Cubes pattern) or design your own. This custom watermark is only used by your ID card program, making it even easier to tell if the cards are authentic.

The Rio Pro printers also give you access to HoloKote Flex, which allows you to change the size and location of the watermark.

Shop all Magicard ID card printers.

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!

discountid_idp-smart-50s-mainIf you are looking for ID card printers with a lot of options and modular designs that allow for easy upgrades, we have recently added IDP ID card printers and supplies to the DiscountID website.

IDP Printers

IDP makes three main lines of card printers – the entry-level Smart-30, the mid-level Smart-50, and the powerful high volume Smart-70.

The Smart-30 printer is an entry-level model designed for small batch printing with a 25 card hopper.  Options include single or dual-sided printing, magnetic stripe encoding, and an upgrade to Ethernet connection.

The Smart-50 printer is designed for mid-sized organizations with its larger 100 card input hopper and 40 card output hopper. With the Smart-50 you can choose from single or dual-sided printing, magnetic stripe encoding, and USB or Ethernet connections. If you need longer-lasting cards, the Smart-50 has a lamination option too.

The Smart-70 printer has options for single or dual-sided printing, and an optional upgrade to a 500 card output hopper (standard is a 100 card hopper) for batch printing. The laminating Smart-70 also has options for single and dual-sided lamination.

Shop IDP ID card printers on DiscountID.

IDP Supplies

Your IDP printer can print any style of card depending on which ribbons you use – with a wide range of full color, dual and single-sided, and monochrome ribbons, you’ll find everything you need on DiscountID. Each IDP ribbon also comes with a cleaning roller.

Shop IDP ribbons on DiscountID.

You will also need cleaning kits to keep your IDP card printer running in top shape – dust and debris can build up over time in your printer and cause damage to the cards, printhead, and internal parts. As a general rule, we recommend cleaning your printer every time you replace the ribbon.

This process includes cleaning the printhead with a swap, blowing out any dust, or using a long alcohol-soaked card to clean the rollers.

Shop IDP cleaning kits on DiscountID.

did_enduro-3e_systemA complete ID card system comes with the basic materials you need to start a new ID card program, but do you know what all those parts are and why you need them? The DiscountID team is here to help!


The ID card printer is the key piece of your new card system – it’s what will print, encode, and laminate your cards. Card printers come in a wide range of styles from manufactures including Magicard, Datacard, or Fargo.

Shop all ID card printers on DiscountID.


Your ID card printer can only print cards – to design cards or manage a database, you’ll need card-specific software. This software is designed for use with ID card printers and blank cards, and allow you to do everything from add cardholder photos and names to encode multifunctional cards.

Shop all software on DiscountID.


You’ll need two main supplies to print your cards, a ribbon and blank cards. In addition, you’ll need a cleaning kit to clean and maintain your printer and prevent dust and dirt from building up and damaging your printer.

Shop all ribbons and blank cards on DiscountID.

did_fargo-hdp5600-singlesided-lam-mainNew from Fargo, the fifth generation of their HDP line of ID card printers is the Fargo HDP5600! This printer pairs the powerful reverse transfer printing technology with a 600 dpi printhead.

The Benefits of High Definition Printing

An optional upgrade for the HDP5600 is the powerful 600 dpi (dots per inch) printhead. Standard printers use a 300 dpi printhead, so upgrading allows you to print finer details than possible on most other ID card printers.

Some security features, including micro text and highly detailed images, also rely on the clear printing of a powerful printer like the HDP5600.

Please note, the printhead upgrade must be purchased when you order the printer and cannot be installed in the field.

Optional Upgrades

In addition to the 600 dpi printhead, you can also upgrade the printer to include dual-sided printing, lamination, dual-input hoppers, and magnetic stripe encoding.

Shop the Fargo HDP5600.