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Close-up of a woman inserting a visitor ID printout into a clear clip-on badge

What is the best printer for badges?

Keeping track of who is on site has never been more important. From providing identification for office visitors, to keeping your business’s brand visible at all times, it’s easy to take an everyday item like a badge for granted.

After all, badges are almost everywhere we look, from offices, shops, and warehouses, to transport, healthcare, education, and many other industries. But while badges are ubiquitous, they are also a vital requirement for almost every business and organisation.

From simple identification badges for day-to-day use around your workplace, name tags or visitor passes for new starters and guests, right through to bespoke ID for specific events, badges are essential for safety, security, and people management. They also promote professionalism and staff accountability, support brand awareness and corporate identity, and can help provide a better customer experience.

We may see them almost every day, but do you know the best way to produce high-quality, durable badges for your business and what printer to use? And what about home crafting? Badges can be fun and creative too. They are a great way to celebrate a special occasion like a birthday or wedding and can also be used in promotion and merchandise. Let’s take a look at the best printing solutions for both business and personal use.

Should you use an inkjet or toner printer for badges?

There are lots of different types of printers out there - inkjet, toner, thermal, laser, and many more - and not everyone knows the difference. When it comes to badges, your choice of printer will depend on the kind of badges you need to produce, and how you plan to use them. Do you require quick and disposable badges for visitors or high-quality, durable corporate ID to last years and show off your company logo? What about fun and colourful badges to promote your band, celebrate a special occasion, or advertise your home business? Finding the best printer for the job can seem overwhelming, and one of the most common questions people ask is whether to use an inkjet or a toner printer – when in fact a label printer is often the best solution.

Label printers such as Brother’s QL-800 Series can produce eye-catching two-colour labels in black and red without the need for ink or toner. The QL Series uses direct thermal technology and Brother DK rolls to create badges that stand out and last. The series features models ranging from simple USB plug and print functionality, with added extras such as free label editor software and mobile apps for printing from anywhere on multiple devices, through to our advanced QL-820NWB printer. This offers the flexibility of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and LAN connections plus an optional battery base for standalone label printing for an on-the-go mobile solution.

If you do go down the route of a more standard and traditional printer, it’s important to know the difference between ink and toner. Inkjet printers spray ink onto paper through a nozzle in microscopic droplets while laser printers use toner, a very fine, dry powdered substance, which is fused to the paper using heated rollers. Ink cartridges need to be replaced more regularly than toner cartridges which can print thousands of pages before needing to be replaced. For this reason, toner is generally considered to be more economical.

In terms of quality, laser printers are excellent for text, but inkjet printers tend to do better with photo-quality prints and complex, image-heavy printouts although, thanks to advances in technology, the difference between the two is getting less noticeable. These general rules about inkjet vs toner printers and their relative strengths also apply when deciding which to use for badges.

Ultimately, which kind of printer is best comes down to your particular business or personal needs, as well as budget.

Alongside this, Brother has also partnered with a range of third-party software providers to offer seamless Visitor Management Solutions  for welcoming, identifying, and monitoring visitors on-site. Partner a Brother QL-800 Series label printer with leading visitor management software and you can quickly sign visitors in, while wirelessly printing their details onto a high-quality badge that can be fully customised to showcase your brand and logo.

What paper should be used to make badges?

Badges come in all shapes and sizes and can be made from a wide range of materials, including paper, plastic, card, and much more. Add to this the huge variety of options and finishes, such as whether to have your badges laminated, adhesive, rigid, matte or glossy – or housed within a badge holder – and it’s enough to make your head spin. But when it comes to choosing the best paper for printing badges, you may find it’s much easier and more economical to use durable labels in a label printer, with ready-made and tested media.

Rather than sheets of paper, Brother’s QL-800 Series uses rolls that easily slot into the machine, with pre-sized die-cut adhesive options, continuous label rolls that can be cut to the length you need, non-adhesive card which is ideal for name badges, and removable adhesive for repositioning. Check out Brother Genuine Supplies for the full range of high-quality materials available, as well as our Creative Centre for thousands of free professional templates and design ideas.

Whatever your personal or business needs, if you need badges, there’s a printing solution for you. From high-quality, long-lasting corporate IDs and quick, disposable name tags and visitor passes, to fun and colourful badges for home crafting and creative projects, you have lots of options, including inkjet, laser, and thermal label printers, such as Brother’s QL-800 Series, to choose from.

Brother’s QL range of award-winning label printers can produce name badges quickly, cost effectively, and to the highest standards thanks to industry-leading technology, the best third-party software and apps, and decades of printing expertise. With unrivalled versatility, the highest print speeds, unique features, and the most connectivity options in their class, the QL-800 Series of Professional printers are an ideal choice for badges for both business and personal use. You may also want to consider our PT labelling range for your personal identification needs, and the Brother Craft range for other badge-making ideas.

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