IDP Smart Product Comparison

IDP Smart 21 vs 31 vs 51: ID card printers compared

IDP Smart head to head

IDP Smart ID card printers are among the most popular direct-to-card printers on the UK market. All of their models offer high-quality ID card printing combining affordability and reliability for the modern office environment.

With the all-new IDP Smart 21 joining the line-up, we thought we’d compare it with the other printers in the Smart range to help you decide which ID card printer is the one for you.

Let’s start by having a look at the newest addition to the entry-level printer market, the Smart 21.

(Please note all prices shown are excluding VAT)

IDP Smart 21 ID Card Printer

The IDP Smart 21 is the newest, smallest and most cost-effective printer in the IDP Smart card printer range. In fact, its price point makes it the least expensive ID card printer currently on sale, making it ideal for the card printing needs of small businesses. This brand-new entry-level printer has just launched and has been designed specifically for those with low print volume requirements for single-sided cards – something we’ve seen an increase in demand for as people return to work after the pandemic.

This is a hand-fed machine, so it is best suited for those needing to print on an ad-hoc basis for single-sided ID cards. That said, it still benefits from the same security features as the larger printers in the range, including SmartMark (IDP Smart’s UV watermark).

The IDP Smart 21 has a high print speed without compromising on quality, using direct-to-card technology to print a full-colour ID card in 24 seconds, although it’ll take just 6 seconds to create a black-and-white monochrome card. You can find out more about whether a direct-to-card printer is right for your card printing needs by checking out our handy ID card printer buying guide.

So who is it for? As we said, the IDP Smart 21 is the perfect companion for small businesses that don’t need to print high volumes of ID cards on a daily basis. A compact design and low weight (2.7kg) make it ideal for those frequently travelling between offices to assign photo ID cards within a larger company as well.

Price: £550.00

IDP Smart 31 ID Card Printer

IDP Smart 31

Moving up to the next ID card printer in this range, you’ll find the IDP Smart 31. We’d consider this the middle-weight model. The biggest difference between the Smart 21 and Smart 31 is that the latter offers an automatic card feed via an 80-card input hopper saving time printing ID cards. The dual-sided printing model features a flipper allowing you to print on both sides of a card in a single print run.

What’s more, the Smart 31 has faster printing speeds than the 21, at 20-second per full-colour card. All this makes it a more viable option for schools, organisations and businesses printing larger amounts of cards. However, at 3.4kg in weight, it’s not that much heavier than the 21. As well as magnetic stripe encoding, the Smart 31 also supports contactless and access control card encoding, while the UV SmartMark security feature remains.

The Smart 31 is an all-around more capable printer aimed at those printing ID and membership cards more regularly. Opting for the Smart 31 will also add an Ethernet connection, allowing for more flexible connectivity. It’s the better choice if you know you’ll be dual-sided printing too.

We actually listed the Smart 31 in our top ID card printers of 2022. If you’d like to know why this is one of the best ID card printers on the market, you can read more about it here.

Price: £715.00

IDP Smart 51 ID Card Printer

IDP Smart 51

At the top of the range, you’ll find the IDP Smart 51. You can consider this the most capable IDP Smart direct-to-card printer, which benefits from several features that set it apart from the Smart 31. First off, it comes fitted with a 200-card input hopper. Aiming the Smart 51 squarely at those that need an ID card printing system with a larger card capacity to produce a lot of cards in a short amount of time without compromising on excellent print quality.

Not only does it come with a built-in LCD display, but the Smart 51 is also available with dual-sided printing and laminator module upgrades too. The laminator allows you to add further holographic lamination for visual security, giving the cards a protective coating to extend card life and protect them from wear and tear. Adding to the security element further, the Smart 51 is available with a physical lock, meaning the printer cannot be tampered with and printed ID cards are protected from prying fingers.

The Smart 51 is also the fastest performing of these direct-to-card printers to produce a standard full-colour card too, with a print speed of just 16 seconds per card. With USB, Ethernet and WiFi connectivity, it’s also the most flexible for connecting to your computer too. On the face of it, the Smart 51 is the Rolls Royce of the IDP range costing the most out of these three ID card printers. Like a Rolls, it’s rather heavy in comparison to the other card printers, weighing 8.8kg.

Price: £915.00

Which IDP Smart printer is for me?

Hopefully, the above information along with our quick review videos will give you a good idea about which IDP Smart printer you should choose. But if you’re still not sure, we’ve laid out all the key facts on print speed, quality print volume and more in the table below.

You can take a closer look at these IDP Smart printers alongside our full catalogue of professional desktop ID card printers here.

If you need further advice on which IDP Smart model will suit your printing requirements best, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our helpful sales team are experts in their field and they’ll be able to find the perfect solution for you. Get in touch on 0800 988 2095.

*Disclaimer: Prices are correct as of 10/02/2022 and are subject to change.