Direct To Card ID Card Printers

Our Direct-to-Card (DTC) Printers can produce all types of ID cards, with high speed and superb print quality. These very popular ID printers are renowned for being easy to use and a highly affordable solution for printing directly onto plastic cards. We offer a wide range of DTC printers available to purchase individually. Alternatively, why not browse our bargain ID printer bundles, which also include the best ID card printer software and add-ons such as ribbons and blank plastic ID cards.

What is a direct-to-card printer?

Direct-to-card printers are sometimes referred to as dye-sublimation printers and DTC printers for short. A direct-to-card printer prints directly onto a PVC card in a similar way to an inkjet printer but uses a ribbon instead of ink cartridges.

Direct-to- card printers offer some of the best value print solutions on the market and prices range from £530 to £5,500.

A direct-to-card ID card printer is often used for staff, student and visitor ID cards. Often a popular entry level solution a direct-to-card printer offers the most versatility when it comes to features and scaling your ID card printing solution. Often offering dual side upgrade and encoding options. Not to mention compatible lamination modules.

How does a direct-to-card printer work?

As mentioned previously direct-to-card printers are often referred to as dye-sublimation printers. However, these printers actually follow a dye diffusion process!

The print process works by the card image data being sent to the print head controller, this then heats-up and releases the appropriate colour dye’s from the ribbon. The dye vaporizes and sublimates into the plastic ID card. This process repeats for every color patch: Yellow, Magenta, Cyan, Black and Overlay.

During the printing process, the ID card body is moved under the print head to receive all dye’s. The colour patch is as big as the card size. The printing speed is independent from the amount of data to be printed.

What range of direct-to-card ID card printers are there?

The range of Direct-to-card printers on the market is vast. Direct-to-card printers print quality photo ID plastic cards, but due to the print process are often identified by the white border around the edge of an ID card. This is known edge-to-edge printing. This print finish can sometimes be the decider as to whether a customer buys direct-to-card printer or a retransfer ID card printer.

Entry level Direct-to-card ID card printers

The entry level solutions have a relatively low price point and often are a great option for those looking to start an in-house card issuance program; commonly seen for memberships and small to medium sized businesses. The Matica MC110 is a great ‘starter’ printer with a few extra features such as rewrite capability as standard, fast print speed and encoding options available. Other options include the Zebra ZC100, Javelin DNA, Evolis Zenius and Entrust Sigma DS1. We also offer a few of our direct-to-card entry level ID card printers as a bundle.

Mid-range Direct-to-card ID card printers

Our mid-range direct-to-card ID card printers are commonly more expensive than entry level ID card printers but with good reason! Often used is schools, colleges and medium sized organisations requiring up to 10,000 cards a years, these are often more robust and ruggedised, with enhanced security features and options for compatible module attachments. The scalability and options these mid-range direct-to-card printers provide mean you can easily scale up your ID card solution when you require. Our most common mid-range direct-to-card ID card printers are the Matica MC210, Dascom DC-2300 and the Zebra ZC350.

Best direct-to-card ID card printers

The high end direct-to-card printers offer superb versatility and often offer print quality and finishes similar to that found with a retransfer ID card printer. Often used for secure ID projects and mid to high volume card issuance. The MC310 from Matica Technologies comes with rewrite as standard and not only offers multiple encoding, lamination and laser options but an extensive consumable program, including secure ribbons. Furthermore, it comes with a 4 year warranty. A few of our other best direct-to-card printers are the Dascom DC-3300, Zebra ZC350, Evolis Primacy and Entrust Sigma DS3.

Event direct-to-card ID card printers

Finally, cards-x also offers a range of direct-to-card printers suitable for the hospitality industry. The Zebra ZC10L is the only large-format, direct-to-card printer that can print full, edge-to-edge colour cards in one printing process. It is an ideal ID card printer for those looking to produce oversized ID badges for sporting events, concert tickets/passes and special event badges/passes on site and in full colour.

Why choose cards-x?

  • Low prices across our range of ID card printers. 
  • A wide range of options to suit every card printer requirement.  
  • Outstanding after purchase support to get your ID card printer up and running. 

Our friendly and knowledgeable team would be delighted to talk you through how we can help you get the best id card printer for you. Contact us today so that we can provide some no-obligation advice on your requirements.