How Much Is a Card Printer?

How Much Is a Card Printer?

The average ID card printer costs in the region of £1,000. However, there are budget models available from as little as £550. The more advanced machines on the market mea nwhile are priced between £3,000 and £5,000.

So why are card printers significantly more expensive than regular paper printers? The simple answer is that the printer head required to print onto a plastic card is much more sophisticated. It therefore costs a lot more for manufactures to develop, compared to key components in a paper printer.

What are the biggest factors that affect ID printer pricing?

The single biggest thing that affects the price of your ID printer is your choice between DTC (direct to card) and retransfer printers.

Retransfer card printers are more expensive because they offer a two-step print process. This pushes up the general print quality of your ID cards and gives you the ability to print over the edge of the card. You can also incorporate more VSE’s (visual security elements) onto the card, which protects against forgery.

Other key attributes of a card printer that affect the price include the following:

  • Single or double-sided printing capability
  • The length of warranty offered on your card printing machine
  • The cost of necessary consumable items such as printer ribbons

Find the best ID printer to suit your budget

When it comes to the price of card printers, we have found that they naturally fall into one of four budget categories.

Entry level printers - £550 to £750

These printers are ideal if you are an SME, producing a relatively small amount of ID cards. Highly popular entry level ID printers include the Entrust Sigma DS1 and HID Fargo DTC1250e, which both provide single sided printing.

Mid-range printers - £750 to £1,000

Mid-range printers offer a little more sophistication for businesses that are producing higher volumes of cards or are likely to do so in the future. The Matica MC310 is a great versatile choice, which offers dual sided printing and can print up to 180 colour cards per hour.

Professional printers - £1,000 to £1,500

A good example of a professional level printer is the Datacard SD360, which offers bright and crisp card designs with it’s TrueMatch printing technology. It also provides an industry leading print speed.

High-definition printers – From £1,500

High-definition printers suit businesses who are printing a larger volume and wider range of plastic cards such as service bureaus and government departments. A popular option is the Zebra ZXP 9 Series Retransfer printer. This is capable of printing with a superior 600 dpi print resolution and a wide range of security elements.

What are the running costs of ID printers?

Running costs can sometimes be an afterthought when people are purchasing a card printer. However, we think they are just as important to consider as the initial outlay of the machine itself.

Every brand of printer requires its own ID printer ribbons and these are the greatest cost when it comes to running your printer.

Depending on the type of ribbon required, this can cost in the region of £150 to £300 for a ribbon that provides 1,000 prints.

Other consumable items you will need to account for include the blank plastic cards themselves. Plus, you’ll need the ID software required to create your card design.

In order to set our customers up with everything they need to get started, we introduced a great range of ID printer bundles. These include the printer itself, plus all of the required consumables and software needed in one great value package.

Need more advice?

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

The Top 20 ID card printers of 2022 Struggling to decide on which printer is right for you? A great place to start is our list of the best ID printers of 2022.

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

About Andy Reeves and Cards-x

Andy has over 20 years of experience in the security and ID printing industry. He is Managing Director of Cards-X (UK), a trusted UK distributor of ID card printers.

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 £150.