How Much Should I Budget for an ID Card Printer?
I often receive calls from people who need to print ID cards for the first time. They call me up to learn about ID card printers and software and, more often than not, they underestimate what it costs to do something like this. I can understand that; card printers are more expensive than other types of printers. After all, you can walk into Target and buy a paper printer for about 50 bucks, so the average person has no reason to believe card printers would cost more than the average printer. But, they do. Card printers range from about $1,200 to over $10,000 – and that doesn’t even include the ID software, ID camera, printer supplies, lanyards, etc. Card printers are much more specialized and advanced than the average printer. It takes a different technology to print onto a plastic card, much different than the basic printer that prints on paper.
So, yes, card printers cost more money. And, it is important to remember the terms cheap and expensive are relative terms. A “cheap” paper printer is $50. A “cheap” card printer is $1,500. You wouldn’t expect a $50 paper printer to perform very well or last very long and the same applies to card printers. While $1,500 is a lot of money, it’s nothing for a card printer. The old adage is true – you can have it cheap or you can have it good.
My point is this: don’t “skimp” on your printer purchase. If you’re making a large investment for your company, be sure it will perform as you need it to and be sure it is the right printer for your particular application. Do you want a robust, reliable single sided card printer? Expect to spend a minimum of $2,000 and over $3,000 for a dual-sided card printer. Add a minimum of $1,000 on top of that for the remaining items – software, camera, supplies, etc.
I’ve never received a call from someone who regretted spending more money upfront for a good printer. But, unfortunately I’ve gotten hundreds of calls from people using cheap printers who end up purchasing a new printer – the printer they should have purchased initially.
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