With all the different options available in ID card printing technology, new users may feel overwhelmed when it comes to additional features such as overlaminates. At AlphaCard, we’re here to simplify it for you.

Why choose an ID card printer or system that includes an overlaminate? Overlaminates can prolong the life of your ID card by adding an extra layer of durability that protects against everyday wear and tear while guarding against tampering.

There are two types of overlaminate film: PolyGuard and Thermal Transfer. How do you know what kind to use? Read on for more information.

To get the best ID cards money can buy, you’ll want to use Fargo PolyGuard overlaminate. This film is to be used only with laminating printers, such as the Fargo DTC4500 and HDP5000. Heat and pressure applied to this film render the finished ID card virtually tamper-proof. How well does PolyGuard hold up? Independent tests confirmed that cards laminated with PolyGuard withstood up to 50,000 swipes through magnetic stripe readers. For comparison, other cards not laminated with PolyGuard began to show signs of damage after a mere 300 swipes.

Thermal Transfer lamination is a more affordable option. This film can be used on a single-laminate printer. Because of the way heat is applied during card printing in a dual-laminate printer, if you tried to use Thermal Transfer film, it would melt and destroy the ribbon.

Bottom line: Dual-laminate printers require PolyGuard overlaminate film, and Thermal Transfer overlaminate film can only be used with single-laminate printers.