If you own a business, a sports club, or even a school, you may be interested in creating plastic ID cards. You can now easily create your own template and add a picture to make a secure and professional ID card yourself.
There are different features and security elements to consider when purchasing an ID card printer. We will have a look at some of the better options currently available to give you an idea.
We will then decide which is the best plastic ID card printer and tell you why. So, let’s get to it!
- 1 Best Plastic ID Card Printer In 2021 – Top 5 Rated Reviews
- 1.1 1 Magicard Pronto – Best Mid Range Plastic ID Card Printer
- 1.2 2 Magicard Enduro 3E – Best Professional Plastic ID Card Printer Package
- 1.3 3 Evolis Badgy 100 – Best ID Card Printer Package for Small Business
- 1.4 4 Datacard SD260 – Best Advanced Security Plastic ID Card Printer
- 1.5 5 ID Zone Badge Express – Best Budget Plastic ID Card Printer
- 2 Best Plastic ID Card Printer Buying Guide
- 3 Small Business Owner?
- 4 So, What Is The Best Plastic ID Card Printer?
Best Plastic ID Card Printer In 2021 – Top 5 Rated Reviews
1 Magicard Pronto – Best Mid Range Plastic ID Card Printer
Perfect for small to medium-sized businesses, this pack comes with everything you need to start printing ID cards. Magicard is known in the security industry for making easy-to-use, affordable products.
This printer would be better suited to lower volume uses or for a business of around 100 to 300 people. It will, however, provide professional results quickly and easily, even for beginners without any experience.
Security, volume, and speed…
While there are no advanced security features on the printer, the cards themselves are basically impossible to modify. Due to straight to card printing, the image can’t easily be removed and then replaced.
For color cards, the ribbon can print up to 100 cards. Black and white up to 500. Each card takes just under a minute to print per side. If you want double-sided, you will have to flip the card yourself. We estimate around three minutes to fully complete a double-sided card.
Quality prints on your desk…
The pronto uses a thermal print head and a YMCKO ribbon. This works by applying each color in individual layers. Yellow, magenta, cyan, then black. The O stands for overlay, which is a clear final protective layer. Using this technique, up to two million colors are possible.
Having a head and ribbon slightly larger than the card allows for edge to edge printing. Something most other printers lack. Resolution is 300 dpi (Dots per Inch), which is capable of creating a photo image detailed enough to be easily recognizable.
- Everything you need in one package.
- Edge to edge printing.
- Cards cannot easily be altered.
- No hologram technology.
- Software doesn’t work well with a Mac.
2 Magicard Enduro 3E – Best Professional Plastic ID Card Printer Package
From the same company comes Magicard’s more superior model, the Enduro 3E. It prints faster, more securely, producing higher quality cards using similar technology to the Pronto. Great for use in schools, colleges, and small to medium sized businesses.
We will take a look at the differences in features and capabilities to help you decide if they will suit your needs. Useful applications include employee ID cards, student ID cards, access passes, loyalty, gift cards, and more.
Hologram security feature…
Equipped with Magicard’s HoloKote feature, duplicating ID cards is almost impossible. A special section in the ribbon affixes a laser-etched hologram in a specific spot of your choice to every card. These holograms cannot be scanned or printed; they can only be ordered from Enduro.
Adding this feature doesn’t slow this printer down. Printing a color card is possible in only 30 seconds. If black and white, it can be done in as little as seven seconds. Plus, there is no need to manually flip the card over for double-sided printing either.
Quality prints achieved easily…
Using direct to card printing technology similar to its little brother, there are some increases in quality. Optical sensors decode the color already present, resulting in better alignment and more accurate color mapping.
All of this is made easy with excellent compatibility. Connection can be either via USB or Ethernet. Moreover, once plugged in, the driver software is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS. You can also select from a good range of software programs for creating and designing your IDs.
- Advanced hologram security feature.
- Can print double-sided automatically.
- Great color accuracy.
- Noisy when printing.
- Not very affordable for smaller businesses.
3 Evolis Badgy 100 – Best ID Card Printer Package for Small Business
This is an affordable package from Evolis that includes everything you could possibly need to start creating plastic ID cards. Included is the printer itself, a printer ribbon good for 50 prints, 50 blank plastic ID cards, the Bodno Bronze software package, and a Logitech digital camera.
This package would suit sporting clubs and small businesses. It can only print single-sided, meaning that you will need to manually turn the cards and load the rear image. It can, however, deliver almost edge to edge printing.
Connection options and speeds…
For connecting to your computer, there is only a USB option and no Ethernet. The drivers for the printer are compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems. We found the set up simple and easy, and anyone should be able to accomplish it.
A full color single-sided card can be printed in about 45 seconds. Printing is done using direct to card technology like its more expensive counterparts. That is more than acceptable for what is considered a budget printer.
Features and included software…
Having a small footprint and design allows you to easily set the printer on your desk. Using a smart notification system with LED buttons, it’s clear when there is an error or a new ribbon is required. Luckily there is also an easy change ribbon design too.
The included software, Bodno, is easy and intuitive to use. To get you started, there are pre-built templates, which we found very useful. In addition, the software supports ID barcodes, signature acquisition, and magnetic encoding.
- Affordable ID card solution.
- Complete package, including camera.
- Easy to use software.
- Cannot print edge to edge.
- No Ethernet support.
4 Datacard SD260 – Best Advanced Security Plastic ID Card Printer
Datacard has created a single-sided direct to card printer that can print professional quality images. This is all packaged in an eco-friendly, biodegradable, recycled plastic frame, and ribbon core.
Besides all of the impressive environmental inclusions, this printer has many other great features too. One of which is its speed. It can print single-sided color cards at a rate of 200 per hour. That’s a card every 18 seconds.
More great features…
Connectivity is possible using both USB 2.0 and Ethernet 10, complete with activity lights for added security. This also ensures access from all areas of business premises. The hoppers can also be locked and are upgradable if more frequent input plus output is required.
An LCD display is located on the front of the printer, giving clear and easy to read status and menu options. We particularly liked the automated cleaning function, as it guides you through each step and what is required.
Compatible with advanced security options…
Optional magnetic stripe coding can be added available in IOS 7811 three-track, both high and low coercivity. This is perfect if you want to integrate access options to secure areas into the ID card itself.
Smartcard encoding is also possible with the Datacard SD260. Not only does this offer superior security to magnetic stripes, but it can also hold up to 100 times more data. This truly is a professional machine.
- Advanced security features.
- Very fast printing capabilities.
- Ethernet compatible.
- More expensive option.
- No automatic double-sided printing.
5 ID Zone Badge Express – Best Budget Plastic ID Card Printer
Finally, we have this affordable option from ID Zone. The package contains everything you need, including the printer, color ribbon good for 100 prints, 100 blank ID cards, and a 30-day subscription to CloudBadging software.
This compact printer is small enough to be placed on most desks alongside a computer monitor. ID Zone also gives businesses peace of mind by offering three years of warranty and support. They’ll even supply a loan machine in the first two years if anything goes wrong.
Great specs on a budget…
Print quality is at 300 dpi. While not in any way groundbreaking, images are clear and detailed enough that photos are easily recognizable. Edge to edge printing is possible too, which is excellent at this price point.
The input hopper can hold up to 80 cards, and the output hopper 20. Cards are printed at a quick rate too. Single-sided color at 156 per hour and black and white can be printed at 720 per hour.
Easy to use software…
The included CloudBadging software has some great features, especially for beginners. It uses a drag and drop design system with extensive photo support and a wide barcode selection. There are unlimited variable fields making customization a breeze.
A centralized user management system and exclusive cloning tool ensure that your designs can be kept consistent. It’s just a shame that there is only a 30-day subscription included; a fee will be required to continue use.
- Three year warranty included.
- Quality budget printing.
- Edge to edge printing.
- Software only lasts 30 days.
- Lacking security features.
Best Plastic ID Card Printer Buying Guide
Now that you probably have a better understanding as to what’s on offer for ID printing solutions, it’s now time to narrow down the search field. Which of these products is best going to suit your needs?
All of these printers can supply great quality prints on a PVC card that can be used for a variety of purposes. The difference basically comes down to two main areas. They are the speed of printing and security features.
You need it when?
Obviously, if you have a high demand and require hundreds of cards frequently, you are going to need a printer that can operate at high-speed. The Magicard Enduro and the Datacard both produce high-quality prints at a blistering pace.
If you only require infrequent use, then one of the more affordable options will more than suffice. Both the Badgy and the ID Zone can be an efficient, affordable solution for small to even medium-sized organizations.
Extra levels of security
Will access to secured areas be necessary? Both the Magicard Enduro and the Datacard are compatible with magnetic strips. This could save you having to implement an entirely different system for door access.
Datacard goes one step further with its smartcard compatibility. Being able to store all that extra data to the card means not just having details printed on a card but also having them stored in the chip itself—another whole level of security.
If you still can’t decide, hang around and read on. Next, we will reveal our choice for the best overall plastic ID card printer available at the moment and why.
Small Business Owner?
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Back to ID card printers…
So, What Is The Best Plastic ID Card Printer?
There is a vast difference here in terms of security features. Depending on your use, some features can be critical. You may just need basic identification, or even just want to make some loyalty or gift cards.
We have considered all aspects and are recommending a product somewhere in the middle.
The product we chose is the…Evolis Badgy 100
We specifically chose this printer for its great value package and the ability to produce quality prints at a decent pace. All this while including some useful additional security features.