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Do you manage an organization and are looking for the best printer for ID cards of your staff? ID card printers are beneficial for businesses and colleges, or universities.
It can be challenging to get a photo lab to mass-print high-quality IDs. Even when you find one, that option may not be cost-effective for you. You may be charged more for outsourcing than what you’d get a portable printer for.
Some printers charge around $5 for each card print. Do the math for when you have to print about 1,000 cards, knowing that you can get a good printer for less than $1,000.
That’s why we will recommend the 5 best ID card printers on the market. Got no time? The overall best model on the market is the Bodno Magicard Pronto. It’s ideal for low-volume printing for small businesses.
However, you’ll discover four more models if you want to compare this machine with others. To help you make your final decision, we’ve also included a handy buying guide at the end.
Review of the 5 Best Printer for ID Cards
1. Editor’s Choice/Overall Best ID Card Printer: Magicard Pronto Card Printer
- Pre-made card templates
- 300 plastic cards
- MA100YMCKO color ribbons
- Drag and Drop interface
- Dye sublimation print technology
The Magicard Pronto printer from Bodno comes with a supply package with the Bodno ID software for printing. It also comes with 300 PVC cards.
It takes up little space and is ideal for a reception desk or a professional environment. It is portable, versatile, and ideal for issuing identification cards in the office, at events, or on-site.
First, the variety of accessories included in the box impressed us. It came with PVC cards, tape, ID camera, and necessary software. To prevent unauthorized copying, you can choose from four Holo-Kote designs.
The printing machine is also straightforward to use. The device is plug-n-play and has both an Ethernet port and a USB port. There are five versions of the software, each with a list of updates. The bronze version lets you browse images, has an interface for dragging and dropping images and the editor.
The ID printer is perfect for printing your cards quickly and efficiently. However, the instructions provided are a bit unclear. This is a major problem with the printer. Users have reported difficulty installing printer parts such as its ink roller. So, take your time to read and understand the provided instructions.
- Comes with all the items for printing
- Good print quality
- Also ideal for printing badges
- User-friendly features
- The instructions could be better
2. Our Budget Pick: Evolis Badgy100 ID Printer
- 300 dots per inch
- Auto Document Feeder
- Full-color printer
- 45 seconds per card
- 1.35mm margin
Evolis is a well-known brand in the industry for producing affordable and easy-to-use secure identification solutions for small and medium-sized businesses. This low-budget machine package includes everything you need to get started, and it is an excellent option for low-volume applications.
The machine can also print colored cards in as little as 45 seconds. This makes the device ideal for businesses that need to print large quantities.
It has many other features besides the mentioned ones. It is easy to install and can be used even by beginners. It also includes software compatible with Mac and PC, eliminating the need to download additional software.
What sets this printer apart from other card printers is that the head and ribbon are slightly larger than the card itself. This allows you to create edge-to-edge images to avoid getting stuck with one edge like other cheap printers. The total resolution of this printer is 300 dots per inch.
Although it is not the most detailed printer on the market, the images come out clear, and its 300 DPI resolution is more than enough to create a photo ID where the bearer can be easily identified.
If you’re making color IDs, a single ribbon can create up to 100 ID cards. You’ll get 500 prints from a single black ribbon if you’re only making black and white cards. The tray holds 25 cards at 30 mil each, which is the thickness of a standard credit card.
- Software and print kit included
- Allows badge personalization
- Includes consumable pack for 50 prints
- Compatible with Mac and PCs
- Fast color printer
- The print quality could be better
3. Easiest to Use: Badgy100 ID Card Printer
- 16 seconds printing speed in black
- 45 seconds printing speed in colored
- Compatible with Mac and Windows PC
- Pre-made card templates
- Drag and Drop interface
- Dye film ribbon print technology
The Bodno Badgy100 is a printer with a complete printing package and the Bodno ID software. It comes with 50 PVC cards and is compatible with PCs and Mac computers.
You’ll be able to print up to 25 cards simultaneously. The machine can print cards in colored form in 45 seconds. This makes the device perfect for those who need to print in large quantities.
It has many other features besides the mentioned ones. It is easy to install and use even by a beginner. It also includes software compatible with PC and Mac. There’s no need to download additional software.
All hardware comes with a 2-year warranty. In addition, the software comes with a lifetime warranty. Although the machine is easy to set up and use, Bodno’s responsive support is also a plus.
Besides, the printer has an excellent value for money, the print quality is lower than that of other models, and it doesn’t automatically print on both sides. So be aware.
- Compatible with Mac and Windows computers
- You can print on both sides by changing the settings
- Excellent tech support from Bodno
- Comes with everything needed for printing
- Print quality can be improved
- Cannot make automatic double side printing
4. Fastest ID Card Printer for Mass Printing: Fargo DTC1250e ID Card Printer
- Bodno Bronze software
- 250 PVC cards
- Dye sublimation and thermal printing technology
- Dual-sided printer
Like Bodno printers, it also comes with all the accessories needed. This printer can print business cards efficiently and up to 251 plastic cards. It can also print up to 30 cards at a time and has a 100 card input capacity. The printer is ideal for mass printing as it only takes 16 seconds to print a card in colored form. For monochrome printing, the printing speed is in just 6 seconds, which is rare for an ID printer.
Because it can print large quantities, you can also print ID cards and other loyalty and healthcare cards. A third important aspect is a 3-year warranty covering everything in the box.
This unit comes with a Bronze Software, including features such as image browsing and the photo editor. You can choose the Silver version software, which comes with some additional upgrades like password protection. But the price isn’t the same.
- Print speed is super-fast
- High card input capacity
- Included are all accessories needed for printing
- Easy to use software
- 3-year warranty
- A little bit pricey
- Not a dual-side printer
5. Best Compact Printer: Badgy200 Color Plastic ID Card Printer
- 38 seconds printing speed for colored cards
- 25 card input capacity
- Mac and Windows compatible
- Dye sublimation print technology
Do you have space constraints? Then you should consider getting the Badgy200. The machine will be suitable for small businesses. This device performs just as well as high-end devices but at a lower cost.
The box contains 100 plastic cards, an upgrade from the 50 cards included with the Badgy100 product. It can also print cards in 38 seconds and has an input capacity of 25 cards. This printer is ideal if you are looking for a printer that can print around 1000 cards in a year.
Including the Bodno Bronze software makes the process simple to grab. It works functionally. However, it is a bit difficult to set up the printer. Users seem to have difficulty calibrating the printer’s ink ribbon, unlike other Bodno products. This is a minor issue that the customer service team can resolve.
- High print quality
- Inexpensive and great value for money
- Comes with two years warranty
- Easy to use
- Not so fast or ideal for mass printing
Now let us discuss why we chose these products. There are a few things you should consider when purchasing ID card printers. We can help you find out what these factors are.
The speed at which the printer generates its output is one of the essential factors. A printer that can’t keep up with card demand is worse than having no printer.
The ideal speed should be between 5 to 7 seconds for monochrome printing and 20 to 30 seconds for colored printing if you’re mass printing.
There are currently two types of ID card printing technologies: reverse and DTC technology. Direct-To-Card technology is where the image is transferred directly to the PVC card. Reverse technology uses heat and pressure to imprint the image onto the card.
Both are popular because they each have their advantages. DTC, however, is the fastest.
Look around the area where the printer is supposed to be. How much space is available for the printer? When looking to buy one, keep this in mind. Thankfully, most ID card printers are compact and never as big as paper printers.
Some printers include a yellow magenta, cyan, and black (YMCKT) ink ribbon, while others allow you to print in any color. You’ll be able to print in black with most printers; however, black printing is the fastest and most cost-effective. But who prints an ID in black? Before choosing a printer, make sure you understand your business needs.
It is important to ensure that your ID card has security features. So, look for an ID card printer that can create, encode and protect data if you need it. A password-protected machine can also provide additional protection.
We’ve done a comprehensive review of the 5 best ID card printers on the market. This review will give you a better idea of what you should buy. We hope this has been helpful.
We want to remind you of our top picks before you go. The Fargo DTC4250e printer is the best choice if you are looking for a fast commercial printer that can also be used with an external camera. The Bodno Badgy100, however, is best for an easy-to-use machine for low-volume routine applications. Here’s a reminder of how they rank and where their strength lies:
- Editor’s Choice/Overall Best ID Card Printer: Magicard Pronto ID Card Printer
- Our Budget Pick: Evolis Badgy100 ID Printer
- Easiest to Use: Badgy100 ID Card Printer
- Fastest ID Card Printer for Mass Printing: Fargo DTC1250e ID Card Printer
- Best Compact Printer: Badgy200 Color Plastic ID Card Printer
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can print your own ID card without outsourcing to a printing house. The machines for printing aren’t that expensive, plus you can personalize your card and even find preset templates, so starters can even print.
The best printers for ID cards on the market include the Magicard Pronto ID Card Printer, Evolis Badgy100 ID Printer, Badgy100 ID Card Printer, Fargo DTC1250e ID Card Printer, and the Badgy200 Color Plastic ID Card Printer.
While some paper printers will also print on small plastic printers, not all can perform this function. If you have an inkjet printer, you should be able to print on cardstocks. These printers are versatile enough to print thick cards with the quality found at the photo lab.
If the printer has an inkjet PVC printer tray, you should be able to print on PVC cards with no problem. But ensure you have enough ink.