Purchasing a card printer can seem overwhelming to a first time buyer. Do you buy the cheapest one and risk poor image quality or do you buy a more expensive printer that has features you don’t need? Either option does not leave you with a clear understanding of what you are actually buying. Purpose, function and volume are three components to evaluate before purchasing a card printer. Understanding the desired end product will help you process each element of card printing, leaving you more knowledgeable about your needs.
How are you going to use your cards?
The first step in deciding which card printer to purchase is to understand how the card is being used. PVC cards are often used to create employee ID badges, membership cards, or visitor badges. Badges and cards can be created entirely by the card printer, or you can use a preprinted card and only incorporate variable information. If you plan on printing a color image anywhere on the card, you will want to make sure you are using a color printer. Single sided printers only print on one side of the card, while dual sided printers print on both sides of the card.
What do your cards need to do?
Your next step is to determine if the card will be multifunctional. Printers can be customized depending on how the card will be used. For example, if you want to design an employee ID badge with a photo of the employee on the front and a magnetic stripe on the back you want to purchase a color card printer with a magnetic stripe encoder. Creating the image and encoding the magnetic stripe is done inside the printer and the finished product is ready for use. Barcodes, contact/contactless smart cards, Ultra High Frequency (UHF) and Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) are also available encoder options for your card printer.
How many cards are you printing?
The last and most important component to consider is how many cards you will print at a given time. If you are printing less than 100 cards a month, a small volume printer is ideal. These printers are typically smaller in size, making them convenient to store on a desk. Large volume printers are perfect for applications that involve printing a large number of cards over an extended period of time. An example of that would be an insurance company that prints 200 insurance cards a day for its policyholders. Large volume printers are designed to handle extended periods of card production . The supplies for these printers are designed to make printing more cost effective.
Understanding these three components will greatly simplify the purchasing process.
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