6 Questions To Ask Before Purchasing A Plastic Card Printer

By: Sher Matsen


Everyday business owners decide that the time is right to implement their own internal ID card printing system; and each time the same question arises - what is the right ID card printer? Here are 6 Questions you should have the answers to before purchasing an ID card printer.

1. Do you need to print on both sides of your photo ID card?

If you answered yes, you will need to purchase a dual-sided printer. This will allow you to add information on both the front and the back of the card. There are all kinds of excellent dual ID card printers on the market. The disadvantage to this type of printer is it costs more and this type of printing takes more time.

2. Do you need to print monochrome or color cards?

Monochrome printing uses only black ink, so it is much cheaper. It's also a lot faster, taking only around 5 seconds per card. Color printing lets you create eye catching color cards, and it also allows for very realistic photos on you photo ID cards. The disadvantage is that color printing costs more.

3. Do you need your cards to be smart?

Today's market provides you with all kinds of different photo ID cards to choose from, including smart ones. The smart card is able to store all kinds of information on the magnetic strip or bar code. The information is encoded on smart chips, making them popular in situations where security is an issue. For example, smart cards are a good choice if you need your employees to sign in or sign out of secure facilities.

4. Do your cards need to be secure?

There is a great deal of effort that goes into making a card as secure as possible. A members card for a local retail store might not have to be very secure, but a restricted area in a laboratory will likely require a great deal of security. You'll need to take inventory of what it is you need your cards to do, and then you'll know what features to look for in a printer. All the top manufacturers offer mag stripe encoders, and smart card encoders. If you need to laminate your card you need a photo ID printer with a special station. So consider this when you are looking

5. How many cards do you need to print every year?

The average printer can print around 30,000 cards per year, which is adequate for most. If you need to print more cards you will need to choose a printer that is designed for higher volume.

6. What is the life expectancy you want from your photo ID cards?

Abrasive activities from swiping the card in high usage situations, can wear them out quickly. Average usage will see a PVC card last 1 to 2 years, while high use could easily cut the life expectancy of these cards in half.

You can extend the life of your cards using overlays or lamination. An overlay is an additional panel on the printer ribbon, which gets laid down on the top of the card. This extends card life by a year. Lamination applies a vinyl coating on both sides of the card. It is applied using heat and pressure. There are different thicknesses of lamination to choose from. In general, laminating adds 4 to 5 years to the life of your card. These options might increase your initial costs, but overall are more likely to reduce your costs in situations of high use.

Once you know the answer to these 6 questions, you will have a much better understanding of the type of ID card printer you need. There are many excellent printers on the market, making choosing right printer that much easier. Successful businesses recognize opportunities that will reduce costs and increase profits. Printing your own photo ID cards will do just that.

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Check out ID Superstore for low prices on card printing. Or print your id cards yourself with plastic card printers. Also shop for id accessories such as name badge holders, badge reels and lanyards.

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