The decision to buy a new plastic ID card printer isn’t easy, and with limited technical knowledge, consumers are often concerned about making the right decision. THE decision becomes even harder for those looking to print cards for the first time and many different choices out there, it gets a little confusing.
To compile our list of the best plastic ID card printers, we subjected each machine to a number of tests ranging from affordability of the printer itself, ease of use, security features, the quality of the printed cards they produced, and after-sale costs. The aim was to make your decision that little bit easier, so here’s how they fared up.
The Top 5 Plastic ID Card Printers of 2018
Magicard Rio Pro 360
The Magicard Rio Pro 360 comes in at the top of the list and retails at around the £1,000 mark. The 360 model prints single-sided and double-sided CR80 (credit card size) and CR79 sized-cards. The print quality is second to none, as is the speed at which they can be produced, taking just 18 seconds to print a full colour ID card with a Holokote security watermark. It can also print to access control cards such as MIFARE, Pac and Paxton. The printer is incredibly easy to install and it even comes with a 3-year ultra-cover plus warranty. The warranty cover ensures the user receives fixed cost printing, so no additional charges for parts or labour, and their support team is based here in the UK which is always handy. A replacement colour ribbon will set you back around £42 and this means that the Magicard Rio Pro 360 gets a solid five out of five stars from us.
The Zebra ZC100 is very similar in price to the Magicard Rio Pro 360, coming in at around £1,000. The ZC100 offers incredibly sharp single-sided ID card printing with crisp detailed text and vibrant colours. The simple plug n’ play installation is easy enough for even the most hardened technophobe to manage, and its slim line size means it will fit nicely onto most office workspaces. You can also print a maximum of 2,000 mono (single-colour) cards on a single ribbon cartridge, which makes this one of the most cost-efficient printers on our list.
IDP Smart 51 Secure GDPR
The IDP Smart 51 Secure card printer was the first GDPR enhanced card printer to hit the market and has a number of advanced card security features. Clocking in at around £750 – £800, you would expect something exceptional and you wouldn’t be left disappointed. The stand out security features include a physical Kensington lock so it can be locked to office furniture, a hopper lock so pre-printed cards or access control cards cannot be accessed if the printer is left unattended, and the new lockable ribbon feature ensures that the ribbon containing sensitive data never gets into the wrong hands. Replacement ribbons are reasonably priced at just £35, and it comes complete with a remarkable 5-year warranty.
IDP Smart 51
The IDP Smart 51 is the base model of the 51 Secure GDPR printer listed above. In terms of price, it sits at a reasonable £650- £700, with a replacement colour ribbon costing just £35. Built on the success of the Smart 50, it’s 10% faster and the print quality is also much improved, printing a single-sided full colour card in an impressive 17 seconds. A big selling point with this printer is the unrivalled 5-year manufacturer warranty. All in all, this is a fantastic little printer that’s high on reliability, quality, security but low on cost.
Fargo DTC 1500
Last but certainly not least on our list is the HID Fargo DTC 1500. This is the most expensive printers on our list at around the £1,200, but only due to this printer being a retransfer printer, which in essence provides the user with more security and durability on each printed card. A stand out feature of this printer is that it can print customisable watermarks too, which site on the surface of the card, and dramatically reduce the risk of cards being cloned. Print speeds are impressive at 16 seconds for a full colour CR80 card or just 6 seconds for a single-sided monochrome card.
Magicard Rio Pro 360 – www.magicard.com
Zebra ZC100 – https://www.zebra.com/gb/en/products/printers/card.html
IDP Smart 51 & 51 Secure GDPR – http://www.idp-corp.com/