College ID Card Printing: The Need for Speed

College ID Card Printing: The Need for  Speed

Imagine you have 500 new incoming students and staff who are waiting in line for their school IDs to be issued.

Now imagine your ID card printer only prints 100 cards an hour. That’s a long time standing in line and an even longer time for your staff who have to process each ID card.

While the need for speed is sometimes a paramount concern when issuing student ID cards, there are some other factors you need to consider before selecting the fastest printer on the market.


If you have a single location where you issue cards, mobility might not be a concern. Sometimes in order to facilitate a large group of incoming students, colleges and universities will set up several stations where people can queue to have their ID printed. In this case, a more portable ID card printer would be advantageous.

There are several models that are lightweight and highly mobile, like the Evolis Primacy Single Sided ID Card Printer that weighs in under 9 pounds. It can also print out 210 cards per hour in full color. Another option is the Datacard SD260 Single Sided ID Card Printer that weighs between 8 pounds and 12 pounds, depending on the options you choose. The Datacard can print up to 200 cards per hour in color.

Consumable Supplies

Another factor that influences how quickly you can print out ID cards is how many cards can be printed per ribbon. If it’s a lower number, this means you’ll spend more time swapping out the old ribbon for a new one. And this adds time onto your card per hour numbers.

For example, some Fargo printer ribbons can yield between 500 and 1,000 color cards before you have to change the ribbon. To cut down on cost and time, carefully select a printer that can produce the most cards per consumables.

Single-Sided or Dual

Do you have information that needs to be printed on the backs of your ID cards? Or perhaps you need a magnetic stripe to hold student information.

Seriously consider not only your current needs for printing IDs, but how that might change in the future. There are several upgradable ID printers available that can grow with your changing needs.

You might start off with a single-sided ID card and in a few years need dual-sided. When you choose a printer that can be upgraded quickly and easily, not only do you save money by not buying a new system, you’re able to make your upgrade in the field. This means you’re ready when you need to be.


If your campus has an influx of thousands of students each year, you need a printer that can handle your volume. High volume printers are bigger and bulkier — so less mobile — but they make up for size in the quantity of cards they can produce.

Another consideration with volume in mind is how many cards the input and output hoppers can hold. If you have a hopper that only holds 100 cards, your staff will be spending a lot of time refilling the hopper.

Sage Advice

The best advice before selecting an ID card printer for your college or university is to contact an expert who is vendor-agnostic—someone with deep knowledge about each individual printer, but who is not connected to any one brand.

At IDSecurityOnline, our account managers have in-depth experience with every single printer in our line and can help guide you to the perfect system to fit your needs and your budget. Our expertise comes field-tested; we know what works and what won’t work in practice, not just theory.

Call one of our experts today to discuss your requirements. We’re here to help in any way we can.