How to Shop for an ID Card Printer with Confidence

How to Shop for an ID Card Printer with Confidence

It’s not quite as difficult as shopping for a used car when you have zero mechanical know how, but shopping for an ID card printer can be a little overwhelming if you lack technical knowledge. In the ID printing industry,  we use enough jargon acronyms to drive the novice shopper mad. So let’s take a quick moment and talk about the key features you need to know when shopping for an ID card printer. At the end of the day, choosing a printer is most often based on three key features. That’s speed, image quality and card security. Certainly there is more to learn if you so desire. However, if you can master a basic understanding of these key features you’ll be able to shop with confidence. So let’s take a look at three of the best retransfer printers in the industry and use them as a guide down the journey of understanding.

A Need for Speed

Perhaps the easiest of the three critical components in ID card printing would be speed. Discovering how much speed you require for operational efficiency is the first step. So let’s say you have a major need for speed as printing IDs in bulk is part of your normal routine. This could be for large complex organizations with many employees or perhaps a standard large scale event requiring massive amounts of ID badges in a short time. The Fargo HDP 6600 can print up to 230 cards per hour (YMCK with transfer).

Now, that might sound like a lot, but consider if you have an event with 10,000 attendees at a major stadium all of who require a special access badge. That’s nearly 44 hours of continuous printing. However, you’ll take comfort in knowing that at 230 cards per hour the Fargo is still one of the fastest retransfer printers in the market.

On the other hand, if your printing needs are limited to 10 to 20 new ID cards a week then you may not need to pay a premium for that speed. Both the Magicard Prima 4 and the Datacard CR805 will print cards at a rate of 100 per hour. Perfectly sufficient for most organizations, but hardly fast enough for high demand and high volume jobs. Ask yourself, do you have a need for  speed?

Beautiful Imagery and Crisp Letters

Once you’ve identified your need for speed, let’s talk aesthetics. Truthfully, the detailed imagery a card printer can produce goes beyond just what looks good. It’s a matter of offering clear displays that allow for quick recognition and identification. Comparing our three retransfer printers, the two that allow you to print at beautiful 600dpi are the Fargo HDP 6600 and the Datacard CR805. The dpi stands for “dots per inch.”

The difference between 300dpi and 600dpi can most aptly be recognized with the ability to print small text and crisply defined barcodes with better resolution. If imagery and fine detail is not a priority for you, then the Magicard Prima 4 will deliver just fine for you at 300dpi. Simply ask yourself how important fine detail and beautiful imagery matters. Then, look for the dpi printing resolution to guide you down the right path.

Secure Cards for the Modern Era

Finally, you need to understand what security features you want in a card and find the printer that offers the best options. Most printers come with added options that will enhance the security features such as adding a holographic overlay or magnetic encoding. For instance, the Magicard Prima 4 Uno Reverse Transfer Printer requires an extra lamination module to add holographic laminates. The same is true for the Fargo 6600.

However, the most basic security feature used by most organizations would be the simple magnetic swipe. For the Datacard CR805 Single Sided Retransfer ID Card Printer, you will need to add this feature. With all three printers, you have the ability to print right up to the edge of smart cards allowing you to add this feature without losing any of its quality imagery.

At the end of the day, if you can interpret speed, print quality, and security, then you can select your next ID card printer with confidence. However, all three printers will deliver you a durable ID card that will last. For some it’s just a matter of preference, while for others it is a matter of organization necessity. If you still have questions, never hesitate to reach out to our elite customer services team. We are ready to guide you down the right path to your perfect ID card printing solution.