Cheap ID Card Printer

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Are you constantly seeking alternative ways of making your business more secure and trustworthy? If your answer is affirmative, then what better way of improving your company integrity other than a secured identification card. With an ideal ID card printer, you can make cards that can distinguish between your employees easily.

While you can have your staff ID cards printed elsewhere, it would be prudent to invest in an excellent quality ID card printer, which in the long run reduces your printing costs.

In this article, we will review some cheap ID card printers available in the market today. We will also highlight some factors that you should consider during the buying process to help you settle on an ideal machine that best meets your business needs.

Factors to consider when buying an ID card printer

With a range of options available in the market to choose from, the buying process can get confusing. To clear the confusion, here are some vital factors that can guide you towards getting a good yet cheap ID card printer. 

  • Speed

The speed of an ID card printer may vary. Consider going for a high-speed capability printer if you own a large company where you need a machine that can work fast. Some printers take as little as 10 seconds to print an ID card, while others may take 35-40 seconds to complete the same amount of job. However, the prices may vary depending on the speed of the printer.

  • Volume

Estimate the number of ID cards you would want to print per year. Do this by looking at the number of your current employees and the approximate number of new employees you are likely to employ every year who will require new badges. This factor is also important, as it will help you manage visitors by providing them with special badges on time.

  • Design

Consider what design the printer can give. There are basically two types. Single-sided and dual-sided. With a single-sided option, the printer provides cards with minimal information in a simple look. On the other hand, dual-sided ID card printers can print on both sides, capturing much more information on the card. Go for a device that can meet your preferences.

  • Color

There are printers that only print in one color. These are monochrome ID card printers. They give you a single color option which is not necessarily black but you can go for any other color as well. These printers’ operation is much faster. On the other hand, if you want to produce ID cards that come in multiple colors, consider a color printer. However, color printers take a longer time to print. 

  • Technology

Consider the technology that the printer uses. Most cheap ID card printers use direct-to-card technology. This allows the machine to directly print on the surface. However, this technology does not give full print coverage on the ID thus leaving a small white border around the edge.

On the other hand, the reverse transfer technology delivers a much brighter image that lasts long.

Review of the Best and Cheap ID Card Printers

  1. Fargo DTC1250e Single Sided ID Card Printer

Fargo DTC1250e made it as our top pick for its impressively fast speed in printing ID cards. It takes only 16 seconds!. This is the kind of machine you need when looking to expand your business.

This single-sided printer gives you the option of printing, either in color or monochrome. You can print up to 150 colored IDs and 600 monochrome badges. This machine uses edge-to-edge printing and reverse transfer technology that brings out texts and images that are crisp and clean.

To transfer data, you can use the USB option or opt to connect your printer to a Wi-Fi or ethernet connection. Either works just fine.

The printer comes with 250 ribbons to get you started, after which you will need to source for replacement. You can get either a standard ribbon cartridge or Eco cartridge ribbons. Both of which are easily available. In addition, it comes with an HD camera that takes super clear images.

You can upgrade your printer to a dual-sided printer if you fancy that. And for extra safety measures, you can opt for magnetic stripe encoding. Another desirable feature is the built-in eco-friendly erase and rewrite function ideal for when printing temporary and reusable cards

This printer is equipped with advanced technology to print on both CR79 and CR80 PVC cards. As well, it can handle papers with thicknesses ranging from 9 mils to 40 mils.

 As an assurance of quality, you get a three-year warranty when you purchase the printer. 


  • 3-year warranty
  • Connects to both ethernet and WIFI
  • Ultra-fast printing
  • Can print up to 150 badges an hour
  • Can be upgraded to a dual-sided printer


  • Experiences compatibility issues with Mac and Windows
  • Set up may be challenging to some users
  1. Magicard Pronto ID Card Printer

If you thought Fargo DTC1250e was fast in printing a card in 16 seconds, try the Magicard Pronto that takes only 7 seconds to print a monochrome badge and 35 seconds to print a full colored one.

Even though super fast, it’s a single-feed machine that only takes a single card at a time. It’s therefore not ideal for large businesses but small-scale businesses with low printing needs.

It’s a pretty versatile printer, able to print in color and monochrome as well as in vertical and horizontal directions. As far as compatibility, you can use either Mac or Windows.

If you are particularly concerned about security, this machine features a HoloKote watermark system that prevents any future duplication. It also makes it resistant to wear and tear.

It’s easy to set up and easy to use. And to make it even fancier, it comes with a color-coded LED screen and edge-to-edge printing technology.

What I loved most about this machine is the ability to design your own badge using the drag-and-drop software. And if designing is not your forte, you can use the pre-designed templates.


  • Comes with 100 PVC cards as a bonus
  • Secure
  • Compatible with Mac and Windows
  • Easy to use
  • Dual-sided printer


  • Not ideal for businesses that require a large volume of printing capacity
  1. Complete AlphaCard ID Card Printer Bundle

Another affordable ID printer for small businesses that require a low volume printing capacity is this ID complete card printer from AlphaCard. If your employees are between 20-30 in number, this is it. 

Even though it’s a small capacity printer, it’s able to write, erase and rewrite on the card over up to 500 times making it so economical. These erasable cards are often available for monochrome printing, however, you can still print colored cards with this machine. Printing speed is 35 seconds for full-colored badges and 7 seconds for monochrome badges.

This printer comes with all the essential supplies you will need to get started. These include software for designing the cards, a cleaning kit, 100 blank cards, and a YMCKO ribbon. You also get an AlphaCare30 membership, which gives you access to product support.

As for security, there is the magnetic stripe and 1D barcode, both of which offer enhanced security.


  • Anti-theft security system 
  • Superfast printing
  • Colored and monochrome printing
  • Easy to use right out f the box
  • Comes with free 100 blank cards


  • Low printing volume
  1. IDP Smart 31 ID Card Printer 

Three things that make the IDP Smart 31 card printer are reliability, super high speed, and its minimal maintenance requirement. Just about what every small business owner would be needing. And on top of that is its great price point.

As a beginner, you need not worry as it comes with all the essentials you will need to print your

Initial cards. It is also beginner-friendly in terms of usage and set up. The software is easy to use and comes with pre-made templates that make designing your cards a breeze.

In addition, the printer comes with an HD camera, 250 prints of color ribbon, and 300 blank PVC cards. Even though it’s a single-sided card printer, you can always upgrade to the dual-sided version whenever you want.


  • Compact to fit in small spaces
  • Low maintenance 
  • User-friendly
  • Can be upgraded to a dual-sided printer


  • Fairly
  •  low printing speed
  1. Badgy100 Color Plastic ID Card Printer

Another very popular ID printer for teachers is the Badgy100 color plastic ID printer. It’s a rather stylish machine with a compact design for ease of carrying around.

It comes with a webcam to make taking pictures easy. Once you’ve taken your pictures, you can design professional-looking badges as well as encode them for security.

To get you started, this mini-machine comes with 50 blank white cards.  

It’s an easy to set up machine as well as use, it’s basically a plug and play. And even though it takes fairly long to print colored badges, 45 seconds, it does a perfectly clean job. 

One of the main issues with a lot of ID printers is compatibility. Lucky for you, this machine is compatible with Windows and Mac. Also for flexibility, it comes with its own patented software that you can use for designing your cards. You can design cards with photos, without photos, with barcodes as well as with signatures.

Aside from the software, I precisely loved that it has an internal database of its own. This means no keying in information every other time when reprinting badges. This makes work a lot easier.

I also loved that you get alerted whenever your full-color ribbon is almost running out. This feature is very convenient for businesses.


  • Frequently updated
  • Easy designing software
  • Portable
  • Internal database to minimize work when reprinting
  • Compatible with Mac and Windows


  • Low printing volume, ideal only for small to medium businesses

Best ID Card Printer Conclusion

Whether in a small business or a big one, you probably deal with many people. As such, it may be difficult for you to memorize all their names. With an ID card printer, you can make new identification badges or even edit the design of existing ones for easy identification. Employee ID cards also enhance the security of a business as well as add some professional touch to the overall image of your company.

Since we know every business is different, we have tried to review a variety of ID card printers. And because we know cost is a sensitive subject to businesses, especially now, we have reviewed only the best cheap ID card printers. 

We hope you find the best for your business. If you feel stuck on what to pick, refer to our buying guide. It should help you narrow down.

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