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Thermal Printer

Good finished quality, one-step process. Expensive printer & ink. Repairs are common and costly.

An expensive nice-have

Although we do not currently seller dedicated thermal ID card printers, they do have their uses.

These printers are great for integration with on-demand print systems - for example for issuing a membership card at a service desk. They can also have built in magnetic stripe encoders and other encoding hardware to make printing/encoding an ID card a one-step process.

When working, these printers are nice to have. But when they break, they are costly and time consuming to repair.

The print quality of lower end ($1000-$2000) printers is typically not impressive (we would put our Inkjet PVC cards and a $85 inkjet printer up against the print quality of any <$2000 thermal card printer!).

Thermal ID printers eventually need parts replaced, such as the rollers and printhead (these alone are usually in the $300-$700 price range). Depending on the specific printer, your cost per card for printer ribbons can be in the $0.30-$0.60 range.

The alternative

When considering the choice between a dedicated card printer and either of our solutions, it’s important to also take in to account how easy and inexpensive it is to replace an Inkjet printer with a new one.

For example, if you are using your $100 Inkjet printer each day to print on Teslin or Inkjet PVC cards, and one day it breaks - you don’t have to be without your card printer for a week waiting on a technician to fix your printer (at considerable cost as well).

If using Teslin you can easily just buy a replacement printer at any office supply store and get back to printing right away. If using Inkjet PVC cards you may just need to be a bit more picky since you need to have a printer that can use one of our trays - but the turnaround time is sure to be shorter than for a dedicated ID card printer!

Cost per card

50 cards 100 cards 250 cards 500 cards
I have a thermal printer: $0.37 $0.37 $0.37 $0.37
Add an entry level thermal printer: $37.37 $18.87 $7.77 $4.07
Cost per card was calculated using the Zebra ZXP 7 Series printer, valued at $1,850. Ribbons (ink): $72 for 250 prints. Cards: $40 per 500 cards.
We didn't include any maintenance costs (printer heads, rollers, or cleaning kits).