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How to choose a card printer?

Choosing a card printer is not difficult if you just bear a few things in mind. Most important is that you have some idea of how your card should look like. For example - do you want to print an ID-card with a photo, should there also be text on the reverse side and is magnetic stripe encoding required? Just a couple of questions that will help you determine your type of printer. In order to make exactly the right choice, please follow the check-list below.

Do you want to print in color or monochrome (single color)?

We'll make it easy for you! All our card printers can print both in color and in monochrome. With a color ribbon installed, they will produce beautiful full-color cards. Fit a monochrome ribbon and you get perfect single color printing results.

See all Datacard printers
Monochrome printing Text and logo's in one color Full-color printing Photo’s, logo's and text in full-color

Do you use blank cards or do you prefer preprinted cards?

This question is not directly related to a printer model, but it's an important one to take into account as it can influence personalization choices. With blank cards you have maximum flexibility and a more cost-effective solution when dealing with smaller quantities. However, if you're talking about larger quantities and cards that should have a precise layout or even have security features incorporated, then increasingly pre-printed cards are the better option.

Blank card Preprinted card

Which printing technology do you want to use?

There are two types of card printers. Printers that use so-called direct-to-card technology and printers that work on the principle of retransfer technology. When do you choose one and not the other, and vice versa? Short answer - if you want to do monochrome printing, then always go for a direct-to-card printer. This type of printer is in most cases also very suitable if you intend to do color printing. Certainly if you are going to use pre-printed cards. However, if you want to issue cards with full 'over-the-edge' printing, exactly reproduce a house-style, or if you want to issue cards made from materials other than PVC, then a retransfer printer is what you need.

Direct-to-card Monochrome Direct-to-card Edge-to-edge Retransfer Over-the-edge

Direct-to-card printers

  •   Lower cost printers and supplies
  •   Faster
  •   Uses the most popular printing technology
  •   More limited printing area
  •   Only suitable for PVC cards

Retransfer printers

  •   Full 'over-the-edge' printing
  •   Suitable for different types of card materials
  •   Suitable for specialist use
  •   Higher cost printers and supplies
  •   Slower

Do you want one- or two-sided printing?

Entry level printers can only print on one side of the card, while the more expensive models print on two sides as standard (or in some cases as an option). When do you want to print on two sides? Naturally when you want to put your information on both sides of the card in a single-pass operation. However, in practice one sided printers are often sufficient enough. After all, when larger quantities are involved most of the (fixed) data is usually pre-printed and, furthermore, cards can always be turned manually during the printing process.

See all one-sided printers See all two-sided printers

Do you want to personalise a magnetic stripe or chip?

All our card printers can be supplied with the option for encoding a magnetic stripe or chip. This allows you to issue cards with data in machine-readable form. In addition to HiCo/LoCo encoding of magstripes and personalising either a contact or a contactless chip, there is also the possibility to add data in the form of a barcode, QR-code and MRZ-code. To be precise; this data is printed and does not require an additional encoding module.

Do you want a card with extra protection against
wear&tear and fraud?

Does your card have to last a long time or do you want to issue a highly secure (national) identity card? Then use printers that have the ability to laminate a card. By applying a transparent or holographic protective foil to either one or both sides of the card and - if required - in several layers, it is possible to choose exactly the level of protection most suitable for your card application.

See all printers with laminator See all printers without laminator

How many cards do you issue per year?

Virtually all desktop card printers are capable of printing just a few cards per day, up to several thousands annually. Regarding quantities, it is therefore not very strict to choose one printer model over the other. If you are only printing a few cards per day, go for a smaller printer model. That should be more than sufficient. In case your printing volumes are higher than this, please consider a mid-range model even if it's only because they're a little faster. If you are really in the market for a top model, then probably other requirements will play a role in making your decision, such as a lamination feature for example.

Do you a have a special application?

Models like the FP65i and SP55k fall into this category. These printers are specially designed for personalising financial cards and for installation in kiosks respectively. The FP65i is mostly used by banks and retailers who want to issue debit and (pre-embossed) credit cards instantly on location (e.g. in bank branches). The SP55k printer is very suitable for the use in unmanned kiosks because of its smart technical versatility.

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