The difference between single-sided and dual-sided card printers

10 May 2019

Technology is rapidly progressing and as a result there are more ID card printers on the market than ever before – choosing one can often be difficult. The fundamental question that you must ask before buying your printer is if you’re looking for one with single-sided or dual-sided printing capabilities.

The difference between the two is relatively straightforward. Dual-sided card printers have the ability to print on both sides of the card simultaneously whereas single-sided printers can only print on one side of the card at a time, leaving the reverse of the card blank.

Technically, you could print on both sides of your card with a single-sided printer by manually turning and reloading the card however, there are a number of reasons that we would suggest against doing this.

  • This is obviously an inconvenient and lengthy process when printing a large number of cards. Doing so would reduce the productivity of your printing program.
  • Any damage caused to the printhead by manually turning and reinserting the cards in this non-standard way may void any printer warranty.
  • When you handle the cards after printing one side dust and debris may land on the card and cause quality issues with the ink that is being applied to the cards.
Zebra ZC300 printer

The decision between dual or single-sided printing needs to be entirely based on what you plan on using your printer for. If you only need to print on one side of the card as you have a simple card design and are happy with the reverse remaining blank the answer is quite clear, a single-sided printed would be more suited to your needs. Single sided printers are ideal for ID cards that are being manually checked and do not require a magnetic stripe to be swiped through a reader.

Whereas, if you’re looking to print more complex cards, with information and text spreading onto both sides, a dual-sided printer would be best. The benefit to this is that you have the flexibility to utilise more space on both sides of the card. Dual-sided card printers are usually used for cards requiring many data fields and cards that require a magnetic stripe or area for signature.

To browse our range of Zebra single-sided and dual-sided card printers click on the following link:


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