5 Best ID Card Printers for Schools, Colleges and Universities

5 Best ID Card Printers for Schools, Colleges and Universities

ID Cards have been a popular form of identification for university and college students for a number of years. However, we are seeing an increase in popularity across many schools and academy’s.

A student ID card often contains data about the individual and a form of photo ID on a plastic ID card. However, due to the encoding capabilities now available through many ID card printers the use and expectation from a student ID card is growing.

So why the growth in student ID card adoption?

Student ID allows schools, colleges and universities to:

Improve Security – Through clear student and staff identification.

Furthermore, when the student ID cards are encoded they can work alongside a security and access control system. When encoded student ID card can prevent outsiders entering the campus as well as acting as a ‘key’ into certain areas of the university.

Track Attendance – By monitoring the entrance and exit of students on campus, educational settings can track the students attendance as well as monitor their presence on site in case of an emergency.

Cashless Payments – In many schools and academy’s in particular student ID cards can act as a payment card by loading money onto the card for lunch and refreshments.

Which are the best ID Card Printers for printing Student ID cards?

Universities and colleges have very similar needs and expectations from their ID card printer. Often requiring reliability, simple to use features, low cost per print, fast print speed, as well as the ability to encode. Due to the number of cards being printed; 1,000s at a time, the printers often need to be able to cope with high print volumes. Within schools and academy’s the expectations are very similar, however, the print volumes vary and therefore often don’t require such advanced ID card printer.

300 dpi print quality is often good enough for student ID cards and therefore Direct-to-card ID card printers are historically the most popular ID card printers within schools, colleges and universities. Retransfer ID card printers can offer a higher quality print finish and can produce cards with 600dpi, but these printers can cost more per print and are therefore not commonly seen in education settings, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a place there! Especially for settings look to print on different ID card materials, especially ECO materials. For more information about dpi and what it is take a look at our product guide.

Our top 5 ID card printers for the education sector include:

1. Matica MC210 (Prices Starting from £1,195 Exc VAT)

The Matica MC210 is one of the newer ID card printers on the market but offers a more concise range of features when compared to the MC310, making it slightly cheaper to purchase when compared to its sister printer. However, this doesn’t mean the print capability and reliability is affected. Capable of printing the same number of ID card per hour as the MC310 has meant the MC210 has built itself a name as the ‘workhorse’ ID card printer! The MC210 boasts a robust metal chassis, capable of printing up to 10,000 cards per year, whilst still guaranteeing reliability and a quality print finish.

Offering a dual side upgrade as well as magnetic, contact and contactless encoding as optional upgrades the MC210 is perfect for schools, colleges and universities.

Key Features

  • High quality 300dpi printing
  • 180cph in Full colour
  • 1000 cph in monochrome
  • Rewritable function as standard
  • 3 Year Warranty

2. Matica MC660 (Prices Starting from £5,157.95 Exc VAT)

Matica MC660

The Matica MC660 Retransfer ID Card printer has a 600dpi printhead and produces images with excellent clarity and definition. Furthermore, due to the print process involved with retransfer technology you can print on a range of card materials that aren’t available on direct-to-card ID card printers (PET, Polycarbonate and ABS).

One of the more expensive ID card printers in our selection the Matica MC660 is an ideal solution for universities and colleges requiring clear ID card images with an superior print finish.

Key Features

  • Dual-side print as standard
  • 150cph in full colour
  • Multiple card encoding options
  • 250 card input/output hopper/stacker
  • Compatibility with a range of inline modules for increased security and durability
  • 3 Year Warranty

3. Entrust Sigma DS-2 (Prices starting from £1,051.95 Exc VAT)

Entrust have extensive software experience and are passionate about delivering secure and innovative ID in the 21st Century. The Entrust Sigma range is not only smart but built around, and on, the cloud. The Sigma DS-2 not only prints exceptional quality but it is the only Direct-to-card ID Printer on the market capable of printing on PET-G ECO ID cards, thanks to its unique ribbon.

Furthermore, the Entrust Sigma DS-2 has the option to expand your ID program with optional inline lamination modules and encoders.

Key Features

  • Single or dual sided
  • 225cph in full colour
  • Lustre printing and other security features available
  • Contact and contactless encoding
  • Unique PET-G ID card ribbon
  • Print anywhere with your mobile device
  • 3 Year Warranty

4. Zebra ZC300 (Prices Starting from £1,133 Exc VAT)

Competitively priced the Zebra ZC300 direct-to-card printer provides efficient, secure ID card printing. Coming as a dual or single side option the ZC300 is quick to setup and offers a range of encoding options. Furthermore, the Zebra ZC300 is one of the slimmest ID printers in its class and is ideal for low volume ID card production. Configured to work straight out of the box the ZC300 doesn’t have any complicated set-up and ideal for environments where time is of the essence!

Key Features

  • 300dpi print resolution
  • 200cph in full colour
  • 900cph in monochrome
  • Contact, Contactless and Magstripe Encoding options
  • 3 Year Warranty

5. Matica MC110 (Prices starting from £995 Exc VAT)


Matica’s entry level printer, the Matica MC110 is a direct-to-card ID card printer and has the same printer chassis as the MC310 and MC210 but offers a more simplified print solution with fewer features and capable of printing lower ID card print volumes.

The MC110 offers the same print quality as its sister printers in the MC range with the option to upgrade from single to dual side print. As well as still boasting re-write capability as standard! Making the MC110 an ideal ID card printer for schools and academy’s with lower print demands.

Key Features

  • High-quality 300dpi printing
  • 150cph in full colour
  • 700cph in monochrome
  • Contactless and contact encoding options
  • 2 Year Warranty


One size does not necessarily fit all and as such we have offered a rage of printers with similar characteristics (print speed, encoding options and reliability) but differing features dependant on print volumes and requirements. For more information about any of the printers above or to discuss your ID card printing needs within education please contact our sales team at info@cards-x.co.uk

Need more advice?

Contact us – Each member of our friendly team has a vast amount of knowledge on the topic if ID card software and would be delighted to offer you some no-obligation advice.

The Top 20 ID card printers of 2023 – Struggling to decide on which printer is right for you? A great place to start is our list of the best ID printers of 2023.

What is Edge-To-Edge and Over-The-Edge printing? – This guide breaks down the difference between ETE and OTE printers and why this is a key consideration for buyers.

Where to print ID cards – Another key question for potential ID printer buyers is whether they should invest in the printer in-house or outsource printing to a third party.

cards-x offer a comprehensive selection of printers from the world’s finest manufacturers, as well as a low-price promise across our range. We can also offer a next day delivery service and free delivery on all orders over £250.

Disclaimer: All the printer prices stated above are correct as of 09/08/2023 and are based on standard packages with no additional printer options.