If there’s one item you shouldn’t buy second hand, it’s an ID card printer.
You might have noticed we don’t offer refurbished or “factory-fresh” printers on our site, and not without good reason. So, if you’re currently hovering over the ‘Buy it now’ button on an eBay ad, you might want to read this first.
First, let’s start by considering the reason someone needs to purchase an ID card printer: Security.
At Digital ID, our aim is to offer you the products that will best serve your organisation and keep your site and staff safe and secure. It’s fair to say we think a second-hand ID card printer is not the way to go about it.
They’re unproven and unreliable
Let’s start with the obvious: You really don’t know what you’re buying when you purchase a second-hand printer. You don’t know what it has been used for, how many cards it has printed and just how well it has been maintained. Admittedly there are reputable companies that offer refurbished machines presented as a new product, but most of the second-hand offerings you’ll find on eBay and Gumtree will leave you frustrated and out of pocket in the long run.
Printers are complicated bits of kit, and if they have been used with non-manufacturer consumable parts or not cleaned properly, it’s very likely they’ve suffered adverse damage in the process. After all, manufacturers build printers with a shelf life in mind. For most printers this is the length of the warranty – anywhere between two and five years. So, even if you can certify the age of the printer in question, by the time it’s on the second-hand market it’s certainly past its best.
There might be compatibility issues
Will the second-hand card printer come with ID card software? Some may do, but there’s no certainty that it’ll work with your operating system. As such, you’ll probably be looking to purchase ID card software anyway – and depending on the age of the printer there is no guarantee it’ll work with a legacy product.
There’s also the printer’s firmware to consider. Has it been updated properly? Will there be issues when you try to update it? Again, by buying a second-hand printer, you’re really jumping into the unknown.
There’s no support
Although our ID care packages are open to anyone – whether they’ve purchased a printer from us or not – you’ll get no support when you purchase an ID card printer. It’s worth bearing in mind that manufacturers will only stock parts for legacy models for a limited time; depending on the age of the printer, it will get more and more difficult to source consumables and spare parts.
Even if it’s still within its warranty period, there’ll be no set-up advice or tips to get your machine up and working. Conversely, choose any printer in our current line-up and you’ll benefit from 30 days’ worth of free support from our expert technical support team.
They aren’t environmentally friendly
When it comes to sustainability, ID card printers have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. Manufacturers are using fewer virgin materials in their production, while the energy they consume while in use has been reducing drastically too. Opting for a second-hand or refurbished printer means you miss out on these benefits, with lots of older models being extremely “energy-hungry”.
They aren’t as cheap as you might think
The primary reason you’re probably browsing second-hand ID card printers is that they offer a lower upfront cost. A quick browse of eBay confirms you’re likely to pay between £250 and £500 for a second-hand machine in ‘good condition’. But having covered the points above, is it worth the saving?
Much like a second-hand car, picking a bad one can soon lead you expensive repair bills. In the long run, this will cost you more than a new printer, with the added inconvenience of downtime. Considering you can purchase an ID card printer bundle such as EasyBadge 2.0 for just £595, we really don’t think it’s worth the risk.
For that price, you get everything you need in a single package – printer, cards, ribbon and that all-important software. What’s more, if there is a problem, a class-leading warranty and our unrivalled technical support only add to the excellent value.
If you want some more info on new machines, you can find our entire range on our ID badge printer page.