How to select your best ID card printer

Do you have any idea which kind of ID card printer will best suit your needs? Imagine you’ve been assigned to find the best ID card printer for your company. What’s the best ID card printer available? The short answer: there isn’t a “best” printer. But the following highlighted points may make it simple to compare for your selection.


Decision Flow:

  1. Printer type: whether it is direct card printing or reverse transfer card printing
  2. Volume / print speed / print sides
  3. Operating system / software / encoding techniques
  4. Brand Evaluation


1/ Printer Type

  • Direct card printer (Low Equipment Cost, Low Printing Cost): 

also known as Edge to Edge Printing. Direct to Card is where the print-head comes in direct contact with the card. This printing type is the most popular today mostly because of the cost factor of the printer.

  • Reverse transfer card printer (High Quality but High Cost):

also known as High Definition Printing or Over the Edge Printing. Reverse transfer print-head prints to a transfer film backward (hence the reverse) and then the printed film is rolled onto the card with intense heat (hence the transfer). Over the edge is because when the printer prints onto the film it has a bleed, so when rolled onto the card it’s completely over the edge leaving no border. It can be used for outstanding visual quality and durability.

2/  Volume / print speed / print sides

Choose the right model to handle your specific requirements. If you need to print on both sides, do not choose a single side printer. It will take you more than double the effort because a misprint or misarrangement will cause you the cost of the card.

3/ Operating system / software / encoding techniques

If there is a particular encoding technique requirement and the printing quantity is large, make your chosen printer has incorporated this function. 

4/ Branding Evaluation

There are really a lot of brands out there in the market. Take your time to study the reviews on the Internet based on your requirements.


Check out AliExpress for Quality ID Card Printers 



Should You Print Your Own Company Badge or Outsource the work?

This is a typical question faced by many companies or schools when they need an employee’s badge or student ID badge for door access or time attendance.

When that happens, the critical question is – Is it best to print your ID badges in-house or outsource the task?

Print Your Own Badges

Of course, in-house printing is convenience and you can print it anytime. Most printers are affordable and will output an ID in under 30 seconds. This enables you to create new IDs immediately, as well as replace lost ones.

There is no need to contact your vendor and then wait a week or two for delivery. However, the quality of most low-end printer will have a difficult time to print on a thick contact-less smart card. Sometimes, the edge is misaligned and the color on the edge is fading. The blank application formated smart card can cost up to a dollar and it will be a waste to throw it away if the printing is not good enough.

Outsource Smart ID Cards Printing

For small companies, outsourcing can notably lower the overall cost of your card issuance program. There’s no need for additional hardware, staff, or training. Plus the outsourcing company you work with will likely be able to help you with your design needs – and advise on any additional security items or features on your badge. Simply call up your vendor or order from an online portal such as

In the old days, it difficult to find a vendor that will print a couple of cards for you. With the advance of digital printing on the smart card industry, printing a few cards is very easy or low cost with very high quality. But the shipping may take longer.


In Summary:

Print Your Own Badges


  • No need to order your badges and wait for their delivery
  • Ability to replace any lost card on the spot


  • Must purchase everything needed for an ID Program – card printer, cards, ribbon, card design software, printer cleaning supplies and more
  • Can be expensive

Example: Go to AliExpress for ID Card Printer

Outsource Smart ID Cards Printing


  • No need to choose, invest in, and maintain expensive equipment and supplies
  • No need to have in-house design skills
  • Higher printing quality


  • Cannot print on demand
  • Cannot replace a lost badge on-the-spot
  • May not receive your custom cards in a timely fashion

See ID Printing


In addition, you can outsource your ID badge design at a cost of US $5 to $20 from a very popular site Fiverr