We sell thousands of ID accessories every year, and ID badge reels continue to be one of our favorites. They keep cards close at hand, work with every style of clothing, and come in a huge range of colors and styles!

Shop Our Top Badge Reels

Standard Round Badge Reels, pack of 25 – choose from over twenty colors and two clip types. These are a basic reel, used in every industry from education to business and hospitality.

No-twist Round Badge Reels, pack of 25 – choose from seven colors and two clip types. These reels keep your IDs facing forward.

Lanyard/Reel Combo, pack of 100 – choose from four colors. These reels are attached to a lanyard, giving you the benefits of both ID accessories.

Premium Square No-twist Reels, pack of 25 – choose from six colors and two clip types. Their unique square shape and premium design is an upgrade over standard round reels.

No-twist Carabiner Reels, pack of 25 – choose from four colors. Instead of a belt or swivel clip, these reels have a carabiner to attach to keys or other items.

Round Badge Reels with Reinforced Straps, pack of 25 – choose from five colors. The reinforced vinyl strap on these reels will last longer and keep your cards securely attached.

Some ID card printers are hand-feed only, like the AlphaCard PRO 100There’s an ID card printer for every need, from highly secure laminated cards down to simple monochrome cards with a barcode. The type of printer you need will depend on your card program, including the volume of cards you expect to print.

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.

How can you tell if a printer is a low volume model? If it doesn’t have a hopper and requires you to manually feed the cards, or has a very small hopper, it’s for low volume printing!

If you’re looking for a low volume printer, consider the AlphaCard PRO 100 or Fargo C50.

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 slow printing of a single-feed printer. These printers come in single or dual-sided printing with options for encoding, Ethernet, and more.

How can you tell if a printer is a mid volume model? It should have a hopper that can hold up to 100 cards, and a flipper to make dual-sided printing faster and easier.

If you’re looking for mid volume printers, consider the AlphaCard PRO 500 or the Datacard SD260.

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, 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.

How can you tell if a printer is a high volume model? Look for large hoppers that can hold over 100 cards and faster print speeds.

If you’re considering a high volume printer, look at the Zebra ZXP Series 7, the IDP Smart-70, or the reverse transfer Fargo HDP5600.

DID_Blog_Image_CardStockBlank ID cards come in a range of formats, colors, and materials. Not sure which one you need, or what the differences are? We’ll break down the four most common card material options.

PVC Cards

Standard ID cards, like CR80 30mil cards, are made from durable PVC plastic. PVC cards are designed to withstand daily wear and tear, and come in the widest range of styles and colors.

Composite PVC/Poly Cards

Composite cards are made from a combination of PVC and poly plastics, designed to withstand higher heats than a standard PVC card. Composite cards are used in laminating and reverse transfer printers, because their printing process uses higher heat than a dye sublimation printer.

Earth-friendly Cards

Earth-friendly cards are a great option if your office wants to be more environmentally conscious with your business operations. You have two types of cards: BioPVC  made from a biodegradable material, or Recycled PVC made from recycled plastic.

Do note that because of the materials, these cards are not bright white.

Rewritable Cards

Rewritable cards don’t use a ribbon to print like your normal cards, instead the card is made from a heat-sensitive material that reacts to the heat of your printer to print, erase, and re-print your cards. Because of this, rewritable cards only come in monochrome colors like black and blue.

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Do you know the difference between YMCKO and YMCKOK ribbons? These are the two most common types of ribbons, but if you don’t know how they work it’s hard to tell the difference!

Understanding Ribbon Names

This is what the ribbon names stand for: Y (Yellow) M (Magenta) C (Cyan) K (Black) O (Overlay). With this set of colors you can print every color in your design, and an overlay panel to protect it.

When to Use YMCKO Ribbons

YMCKO ribbons have a full set of color panels and an overlay. These ribbons will print full color plus black on one side of a card. The YMCKO ribbons are most commonly used for single-sided ID cards.

But if you need full color on BOTH sides of your cards, use a YMCKO ribbon – just be aware that the print yield will be half as you are using two sets of colors for each card (so a 400 yield ribbon will print 200 dual-sided full color cards).

When to Use YMCKOK Ribbons

YMCKOK ribbons have a full set of color panels and an overlay for the front side of the card, plus an extra black (K) panel for monochrome black printing on the back.

YMCKOK ribbons are used for dual-sided ID cards where you do not need full color on the back of the card.

Shop all ID card printer ribbons on DiscountID. Not sure which ribbons are compatible with your ID card printer? Try the Ribbon Supply Finder today!

Some ID card printers are hand-feed only, like the AlphaCard PRO 100ID card printers come with a wide range of features, requiring you to make many choices upfront when you purchase a printer. One important choice – hand-feed printer or one with a hopper?

What’s a Hand-Feed Only Printer?

A hand-feed only printer can only print one card at a time, and that card must be manually fed into the printer. This makes the process of printing cards slower and more labor intensive – but if you only print a few cards at a time, and are on a budget, this may be the printer type for you.

Why Do Printers Have Hoppers?

Printers with hoppers are designed to more efficiently print cards – instead of hand-feeding each card in as you printer, they can store a stack of cards and pull from that stack.  This allows you to quickly print cards, great for organizations that need to print multiple cards in one batch.

The size of the hopper will vary by model, with some being very small (less than 100 cards) and some upgraded models holding several hundred cards. Printers have input hoppers for blank cards, and output hoppers for the finished cards.

What Are My Options?

If you want a hand-feed only printer, check out the AlphaCard PRO 100 ID card printer. This affordable entry-level printer comes with many built-in features including visual security.

If you want a small hopper for small batch printing, you might want to try the Fargo C50 printer which has a 50 card input hopper/30 card output hopper.

The Datacard SD260 printer is a hand-feed only printer as the base model, but can be upgraded to include a 100 card input hopper.

If you need a larger input and output hopper, the Evolis Primacy ID card printer has a 100 card input hopper and 100 card output hopper.

ID Badge Reels, Clips, Pins and More Are Popular Alternatives to LanyardsIf you’re looking for an alternative ID accessory to the popular lanyards, don’t worry – badge reels, strap clips, pins and more are affordable and user-friendly options!

ID Badge Reels

ID badge reels clip onto your clothing, making them a great alternative for workplaces with safety requirements that won’t allow you to wear a lanyard. Popular with healthcare and corrections workers, a reel can clip onto your clothing or slide onto a pocket and the retractable cord keeps the cards close at hand without getting in your way.

Reels come in a wide range of styles including colorful patterns and durable heavy-duty models. The type of clip and the card attachment can change from reel to reel, so you can always find one that works for your ID card program.

Shop all ID badge reels.

ID Strap Clips

ID badge strap clips work the slipping a strap through the hole in your card (or in the card holder) and snapping it closed to lock the card into the strap clip. Then you clip the badge to your clothing anywhere you need – these strap clips work will with jackets, collared shirts, pockets, and more.

Worried about the clip damaging your clothing? Look for a style of strap clip with a clothing-friendly clip made from plastic or with a flat edge that won’t tear delicate fabrics.

Shop all strap clips.

Clips, Pins & More

Want even more variety in your ID accessories? Try out clips, pins, magnets, and more! From strong magnetic attachments to bar pins, you’ll find everything you need to easily display your ID cards.

Shop all clips, pins, and magnets.

If you purchased a complete ID card system, you received a ribbon with your first order. But now that it’s time to resupply, do you know which type of ribbon you need?

Start with the Basics – Common Ribbon Types

Monochrome ribbons are a single color and print only in solids with no shadows or shades. The most popular monochrome color is black but they are also available in blue, greed, red, metallic silver and gold, and more.

A YMCKO ribbon has color panels (Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, and Black) PLUS a clear overcoat panel that adds some protection to your cards. This style of ribbon will print full color, black, and the overcoat on one side of a card. If you want to print full color on both sides of the card, you’ll get half the print yield from the ribbon (so a 300 print ribbon would do 300 single-sided cards or 150 dual-sided cards).

A YMCKOK ribbon has the YMCKO panels for printing on one side of the card, plus an additional black panel to print only black on the back side of the card (so a 250 print ribbon would do 250 dual-sided cards).

Understanding Other Ribbon Types

If you have a reverse transfer or laminating printer, you can’t use a ribbon with an overcoat panel. Instead you would use a YMCK (single or dual-sided printing) ribbon or a YMCKK (dual-sided printing with black on the back) ribbon. With reverse transfer printers you will need an additional retransfer film to print.

Laminates also come in multiple styles including clear, with holographic watermarks, and with cutouts for magnetic stripe cards, signature panels, or smart card chips.

There are also specialty ribbons which are used less often, but include fluorescent printing, scratch-off ribbons, inhibitor panels, and more.

Shop All ID Printer Ribbons

Ready to find your ribbon? Shop all ID card printer ribbons on DiscountID, or find all the compatible ribbons for your printer with our Supply Finder tool.

Do you want to protect your ID cards so they withstand scratches, dirt, spills, and even bending? Then you’ll want to use a badge holder ID accessory, the easiest way to protect cards!

Clear Flexible Holders

The most popular type of holder, clear flexible holders come in the widest range of styles and sizes to work with almost every card! These holders will protect your cards from scratches and dirt so they last longer.

Shop all clear flexible badge holders.

Colored Badge Holders

Do you want to make it easier to identify your cardholders? With colored badge holders you can add an eye-catching colored piece to your badge holders. A popular option is to use different colors for different cardholder types including employees, visitors, volunteers, and staff.

Shop all colored badge holders.

Rigid Badge Holders

Made from stiffer plastic than flexible holders, rigid badge holders prevent your cards from bending in addition to protecting them from scratches or dirt. Rigid holders are available in both clear and colored styles.

Shop all rigid badge holders.

Magnetic Badge Holders

The most common way to use a badge holder is with a lanyard or reel that attaches to the slot punch at the top of the card, but you can get magnetic badge holders that come with their own magnetic attachment so you don’t need to use two ID accessories.

Shop all magnetic badge holders.

Card Dispensers

Once a card is placed in a holder, it can be difficult to get them out quickly to scan at a check in desk, payment kiosk, or for security – which is where card dispensers come in! These rigid holders have specialized slots and sliders for removing the cards quickly and easily.

Shop all card dispenser badge holders.

A standard blank ID card is a white PVC CR80 30 mil card – but do you know what that actually means? Cards come in a variety of sizes, materials, colors, and styles, and our experts are here to help.

Standard Card Options

The most common cards, used in all but specialty systems, are CR80 30 mil cards – this just means they are the size and thickness of a credit or debit card. This makes the the perfect size for employee ID cards, student ID cards, retail rewards membership cards, visitor passes, and much more!

Standard PVC blank white ID cards are used for most card applications, because they are the perfect blank slate. But if you need composite cards for a laminating or reverse transfer printer, there are standard size blank white composite cards too that can withstand the higher heat of those printing processes.

Don’t want plain white cards? You can also choose from standard-size colored cards, in a wide range of colors. Please note that you should only print monochrome on colored cards.

You can ever get cards with signature panels on them if you want to include cardholder signatures on the cards, popular in retail rewards programs and gift cards.

Encoded & Prox Card Options

Magnetic stripe cards are easy to use and encode with ID card software and a card printer, and come in PVC HiCo and PVC LoCo varieties along with composite HiCo.

If you want to use your cards to help secure your building, proximity cards are a great option – these cards help you control who has access to open doors, without the security issues and hassles of traditional keys.

Do you know the best way to prevent damage to your ID card printer, helping prevent repairs and printer down time? Remembering to regularly clean your ID card printer!

How Cleaning Protects Your Printer

Even in the cleanest environment, your printer is still exposed to dust and other debris that can build up over time. That built up dirt can block sensors within the printer, cause problems with sensitive electrical parts, and even damage the printhead!

You can also introduce dirt and oils from your fingers into the printer on your cards, so be sure to store blank cards in a clean, dry environment and only touch the cards by their edges (or wear gloves).

By regularly cleaning your card printer, including the rollers and printhead, you can remove this buildup of dirt before it becomes a problem requiring expensive repairs and printer downtime.

Each printer has a recommended cleaning schedule from the manufacture, but the easiest way to remember is to clean your printer every time you replace the ribbon. That way you get both steps done at the same time!

Shop Cleaning Kits on DiscountID

DiscountID carries all the printer cleaning kits you need from major manufacturers including AlphaCard, Datacard, Evolis, Fargo, IDP, Magicard, and Zebra.