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The Complete ID
Printer Buyer's Guide

This guide walks you through all the important considerations you'll need to know when selecting an ID card printer.

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ID card printers come in a wide range of styles, with dozens of features to choose from. If your organization is using cards to increase security, however, there are some important features and printer models you should know about.

Laminating Printers

Laminating ID cards makes them more durable and harder to tamper with, better protecting you from counterfeit cards. Lamination is an upgrade option on many higher-level ID card printers, and some printers offer the option of single or dual-sided lamination.

The lamination process works by adding a clear film to the card immediately after the card design is printed using a heated lamination module which is attached to the ID card printer. The lamination film used in this process can be clear, or it can include holographic images.

This holographic overlaminate acts as a watermark on your cards, applied over the card design without obscuring the image behind it. The lamination process makes the watermark hard to tamper with, and the holographic design is difficult to duplicate.

When selecting a holographic laminate film you may choose from a wide range of designs depending on your specific printer model.

View All Laminating Printers

Lamination is Best For:

  • Programs That Require Long-lasting ID Cards
  • Payment & Access Control Cards
  • Preventing Card Tampering or Duplication
  • Adding Holographic Overlays to Cards

Magicard HoloKote

Magicard, an ID card printer manufacturer, has a unique version of holographic overlays – they can produce the image without lamination film or special cards, which a lamination printer requires. The HoloKote process uses the standard blank cards and printer ribbons, making it an affordable choice for organizations on a budget (lamination can add $1,200 to $3,000 to the cost of a printer).

This HoloKote feature is available on all Magicard printers at no additional cost. The Magicard Rio Pro printer has two additional designs, along with the option to create a custom holographic image and to control the design placement.

Learn More About Magicard HoloKote

HoloKote is Best For:

  • Preventing Card Tampering or Duplication
  • Including Holographic Designs on your Cards
  • Programs that Cannot Afford Lamination

High Definition Printing

High definition reverse transfer printers use a special printing process to create clearer, crisper cards than traditional dye sublimation printers. The printer firsts prints the card design on a thin clear film, which is then applied to the surface of the card.

This extra step results in slower print speeds than dye sublimation printing, but offers better visual print quality & allows for true over-the-edge printing since the clear film is larger than the card.

The increase in quality is important if your card design will include micro-text and images. Micro-text is when you print incredibly small text or designs, invisible to the human eye without a magnifying glass. These tiny design features are hard to see or duplicate, providing an additional layer of protection from fraudulent duplication.

View All High Definition Printers

High Definition Printing is Best For:

  • Printing on Technology & Smart Cards
  • Including Micro-text in Your Designs
  • Clear Cardholder Photos