The best ID card printers for small businesses

Issuing staff ID cards isn’t just something large corporations do. Lots of small businesses use ID card printers to safeguard their staff and site too. 

No matter how small or large your team may be, the end game is the same: to increase security and keep your workplace safe.

However, with dozens of ID card printers on the market, choosing the right one for your needs might seem overwhelming. 

Happily, we’ve put together a list of the top five ID card printers that address the security requirements of small businesses without forgetting about their budget.

The best ID card printers for small businesses (2020)

1. Fargo DTC1250e
2. Magicard 300
3. IDP Smart 31
4. Zebra ZC100
5. Evolis Zenius

1. Fargo DTC1250e


The Fargo DTC1250e is a fantastic choice for any small business that wants to produce full-colour or single-colour ID cards that offer fantastic security. 

If you’ve never used a plastic card printer before, the DTC1250e has been designed to be easy to set up and use. For example, its all-in-one ribbon cassette ensures that changing consumable parts is as straight forward and uncomplicated as possible.

Should you require access control encoding options, you can also add an encoder capable of programming iClass SE cards – a much more secure option than HID’s older Proximity cards. 

Just because it’s affordable doesn’t mean it’s a slow printer either: Should you need to, you can print up to 225 full-colour cards in an hour. That should be ample for the requirements of most small-to-medium-sized businesses.

2. Magicard 300

Magicard 300

The Magicard 300 is an extremely user-friendly printer that has several stand-out security features. Firstly, it features a clever ‘Digital Shredding’ tool that means that personal data is not left on the printer ribbon after cards have been printed. 

This is extremely useful for businesses where avoiding a data breach is of paramount importance. It was developed to ensure that the printer is compliant with GDPR legislation.

Aside from destroying potentially sensitive data, the Magicard 300 features HoloKote as standard. This is essentially a transparent watermark image that can be added to your cards during printing. 

It is only visible under certain type of light, but significantly reduces the risk of cloning and counterfeit cards becoming an issue. Several encoding modules can also be added to the Magicard 300, ensuring it can encode magstripe cards and access control cards.

3. IDP Smart 31

IDP Smart 31

The IDP Smart 31 is a budget-friendly plastic card printer that features an industry-leading five-year warranty. It’s unlikely you’ll need it though, because IDP is known for its reliability. 

The Smart 31 can deliver high-quality ID cards with the minimum of fuss and, thanks to its lightweight and compact design, is particularly well-suited for small businesses.

The IDP Smart 31 uses USB as its default connectivity option, but this limitation shouldn’t be an issue for small businesses who do not require multiple users through a network. Even if you do, however, an Ethernet connection is available as an optional extra.

4. Zebra ZC100

Zebra ZC100

The ZC100 may be Zebra’s entry-level printer, but that doesn’t stop it being a great choice for those that want a painless, easy-to-use ID card printer. 

Featuring a ‘load-and-go’ style ribbon, it is exceptionally user-friendly if you’re new to the world of ID card printing. A range of encoding upgrades are available, allowing you to create access control cards should you need to.

Its high-quality resolution also means that cards will be of a consistent high quality, although compared to some other printers on this list, on-card security options are lacking; the ZC100 does not offer watermarks or holograms. If you only plan to print simple, plain cards for photo identification, however, that shouldn’t be a problem.

5. Evolis Zenius

Evolis Zenius

The Evolis Zenius is a great choice for those that don’t need to produce particularly large volumes of cards. It’s able to print up to 120 full-colour cards per hour – not as many as more expensive printers – but still more than enough for the majority of small businesses.

Despite its slower speed, card quality is exceptionally high, while optional add-on modules allow you to encode magstripe and smart cards to your exacting requirements.

Need more ID card printer buying advice?

If you’re responsible for the security of a small business or organisation, we know how important it is that you make the correct purchasing decision for your current and future needs.

The printers listed above are all great options, but if you want more specific advice, click on the link below to book your free discovery call with our team of experts. We’ll help you find the security and identification solution that meets your needs best.  

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