ID Card Printer Ribbons and Which to Buy

We carry high-quality ID card printer ribbons at great prices from many manufacturers, such as BadgePass, Datacard, Evolis, Fargo, Magicard, and more! Below is a quick guide to help you decide which ribbon you need based on the different manufacturers, types, and applications of ID cards. Already know what you need? Click here to scroll down the list of ribbons we offer from various manufacturers.

With so many printer manufacturers and models on the market today, choosing the right ID card printer ribbon can seem overwhelming sometimes. There is no need to let the letter combinations or seemingly endless options confuse you, though! Choosing the right ribbon can be fairly simple once you define your printing goals. Answer these three questions to determine which ribbon type is best for your needs:

1. Are you printing full color or single color ID cards?

Typically, to print a full color card design, you will need either a YMCKO or YMCKT ribbon. This combination of Yellow (Y), Magenta (M), Cyan (C) and Black (K) allow for production of all colors in the spectrum on your ID card. What is the difference between YMCKO and YMCKT ribbons? The (O) or (T) panel is a clear overlay or topcoat, which provides extra protection from tampering and reduces wear and tear on your cards. Both the overlay and topcoat provide the same function, and whatever type you buy will be determined by the manufacturer of the ribbon you need. However, keep in mind that neither option is nearly as protective as adding a laminate panel.

YMCKO to YMCKT ID Card Ribbon Comparison

YMCKO and YMCKT ribbons are the most popular ribbons among all manufacturers and make up the majority of ID card printer ribbons on the market. If you are printing text, printing single-color images, or personalizing a pre-printed card with a single color you will not need a YMCK ribbon. A monochrome option, either all black (K) or another color, will be perfect to meet your production needs!

2. Are your ID cards single-sided or dual-sided?

You have a choice with most ID card printers to print either single-sided cards or dual-sided cards. Single-sided cards are best for simple use cases where all of the neccessary information can be kept on one side of the card, but many companies prefer to print double-sided cards to store more information on the back of a card, such as a barcode and additonal text. There are a few things to consider when deciding how to print your cards, so let us highlight a few points for you.

How many badges can ID printer ribbons make? The actual number of card prints per ribbon are determined by the manufacturer, so if the manufacturer advertises a 300-yield for that supply item, you will get 300 single-sided card prints from it. However, if you are printing full color designs on BOTH sides of your card, you’ll still want to use the YMCKO or YMCKT ribbon, but be aware that you will only get half the number of card prints, since you are using two full sets of panels for each card.

When printing dual-sided cards, many customers opt to use YMCKT-K or YMCKO-K ribbons which offer full color printing with an overlay or topcoat on the front of the card and black (represented by “K”) on the back of the card. The back side of the card can include black text only or custom barcodes, allowing you to include more information on your cards. Some manufacturers, such as Datacard, offer YMCKT-KT ribbons, which include a topcoat layer on the backside of the card (as implied by the “KT”) for added durability.

YMCKOK to YMCKTK ID Card Ribbon Comparison

3. What type of ID card printer are you using?

Each card printer ribbon is manufactured for use with a specific make and model of printer. For best results, you should use only authentic manufacturer ribbons. Every ID card printer has a list of compatible ribbons and we can help you determine which is right for you.

Below are some of the manufacturers whose card printer ribbons are available through BadgePass. Select a manufacturer to learn more about our available offerings.

BadgePass ID Ribbons

Datacard ID Ribbons

Evolis ID Ribbons

Fargo ID Ribbons

Magicard ID Ribbons

Don’t see the ribbon you are looking for? Make sure to ask for a quote with this form, and we can get back to you with a price for whatever you are interested in ordering!

Still unsure which ribbon is right for you? We can help! Contact one of our Supplies Specialists today and we will help determine the best ribbon to meet your card production needs!

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