ID cards are essential in today's world, serving critical roles in security, organization, and networking.

While non-laminated cards are certainly more cost-effective upfront, you ultimately get what you pay for. When it comes to your organization's image and long-term value for the money, laminated ID cards are the way to go.

In this article, we'll not only help you discern which type of ID card best suits your needs but also guide you in bringing your choice to life effortlessly with - your trusted choice for custom ID card printing online!

Why Quality ID Cards Are So Important

We’ll compare and contrast laminated ID cards vs not laminated cards in just a moment to help you choose the right style. But first, let’s talk about the use case for these cards in general.

First and foremost, ID cards play a pivotal role in security protocols. High-quality cards with clear, tamper-proof features are essential in controlling access to sensitive areas, thereby safeguarding both personnel and data.

In scenarios where security is paramount, such as in corporate offices, educational institutions, or healthcare facilities, the integrity of an ID card directly impacts overall safety. Learn more about why you should use photo ID employee badges in our blog.

An often-underestimated aspect of ID cards is their contribution to an organization’s professional image. A well-designed, quality ID card reflects positively on the organization, showcasing attention to detail and a commitment to professionalism. These cards often serve as the first point of physical contact in professional interactions, making a lasting impression.

Quality ID cards also streamline various operational aspects. In large organizations, they facilitate efficient personnel management through systems like time tracking and access control. 

In public events or conferences, they expedite the verification process, enhancing the overall experience for attendees and staff alike.

All this being said, the practicality of an ID card heavily depends on its durability. Cards that are made from superior materials are resistant to daily wear and tear, ensuring they remain functional and legible for a longer period. 

This durability is not only cost-effective but also crucial in environments where cards are frequently used. So, which is the better choice - laminated ID cards or their non-laminated counterparts? We’ll unpack this consideration in detail below.

Laminated ID Cards vs Not Laminated: What’s the Difference and Which Should You Choose?

Just as with the different types of lanyards or different types of wristbands, choosing the right ID cards is paramount to making the most of this investment. 

Laminated ID cards are encased in a protective plastic layer, enhancing their durability and lifespan. In contrast, non-laminated cards lack this additional layer, leaving them more exposed to wear and tear. 

The choice between these two types of cards hinges on several factors, including durability, professionalism, cost, security, and environmental impact. Here’s why laminated is ultimately the way to go…

Durability and Lifespan

Laminated ID cards materials boast significant durability. The lamination process involves applying a clear plastic film over the card, which guards against physical damage, fading, and moisture. 

This protective layer ensures that the cards can withstand frequent handling and harsh conditions, making them ideal for daily use. Their enhanced lifespan means fewer replacements, offering long-term savings and convenience.

In contrast, non-laminated cards are more susceptible to wear and tear. They can easily become bent, faded, or damaged by liquids. 

This fragility means they may need to be replaced more often, especially in high-use environments. While they may initially be more cost-effective, the frequency of replacement can add up over time.


The sleek, shiny finish of laminated ID cards lends a professional and polished look. This can be particularly important in settings where the appearance of staff and the presentation of company materials reflect on the organization's image. The durability of these cards also ensures they maintain their professional appearance over time.

Non-laminated cards, while functional, may lack the same level of professional sheen. They are more prone to visible wear, which can detract from the professional image an organization wishes to convey. However, for short-term events or situations where the aesthetic is less critical, they can still be a viable option.

Cost Analysis

We know you want to get the best bang for your buck, which is why it’s important to analyze the cost of ID cards

Initially, laminated ID cards appear to be more expensive than non-laminated ones due to the additional materials and processing involved. However, their extended lifespan can make them more cost-effective in the long run. 

Organizations should consider the balance between upfront costs and the potential savings from reduced replacement needs. 

The appeal of non-laminated cards often lies in their lower upfront costs. They are less expensive to produce and can be an economical choice for short-term use or for organizations with limited budgets. But, the potential for frequent replacements due to damage or wear can increase overall costs over time.

Security Features

Lamination not only protects the card but also the security features it may contain. Features like holographic overlays, microtext, or watermarks are more secure under the lamination, reducing the risk of tampering or counterfeiting. This makes laminated cards a preferred choice for settings where security is a priority.

While non-laminated cards can incorporate some security features, they are generally more vulnerable to tampering and wear, which can compromise their security. For organizations where security is less of a concern, these cards can still be a functional choice.

Environmental Considerations

The environmental impact of laminated cards is a consideration due to the use of plastic in the lamination process. While they offer durability, the materials used are not typically biodegradable, which can be a concern for eco-conscious organizations.

Non-laminated cards, depending on the materials used, can be more environmentally friendly. Options like biodegradable or recycled materials offer a greener choice. However, the frequent need for replacement can also have an environmental impact.

So, Should You Go With Laminated ID Cards vs Not Laminated?

In summary, the choice between laminated and non-laminated ID cards depends on an organization's specific needs and priorities. 

Factors like durability, professionalism, cost, security, and environmental impact play a crucial role in this decision. Understanding these differences is key to selecting the right type of ID card for your organization.

But whichever approach to ID card customization you choose, one thing remains true: you can trust for the best experience and value online!

Bring Your Custom PVC ID Cards to Life at Today!

It’s clear that laminated ID cards are superior to their non-laminated alternatives. However, PVC ID cards are the preferred choice when it comes to durability, quality, and value for the money.

For the best ID card customization experience online, you can trust Find out why below along with tips on bringing your cards to life in just a few clicks!

Why We’re the #1 Choice for ID Cards Online

While our name suggests that we’re the most trusted choice for custom lanyards, you can actually count on us for all the promotional and personalized goods you need. That includes custom wristbands, custom badge holders, and of course, custom PVC cards.

Our reputation is bolstered by the trust of over a million customer reviews and longstanding collaborations with giants like Google, Netflix, Microsoft, and Nike. With years of expertise in the industry, we've honed our process to offer the lowest prices, free shipping, and fast rush delivery options.

We pride ourselves on accommodating all types of orders, big or small, with no or low minimum requirements. Our 24/7 customer support ensures that your experience with us is seamless and satisfactory. This dedication to service has propelled us to the forefront of the industry, with a customer satisfaction rate that speaks for itself.

Our ID cards themselves are a testament to our commitment to quality. Crafted from durable materials with a variety of finishes such as glossy, matte, frosted, and holographic, they are designed to meet every unique need. 

Whether it's for a corporate event, a school ID, or any other purpose, our cards stand out in both functionality and aesthetic appeal. Getting started is as simple and straightforward as it gets, too. Here’s how it works…

How to Get Started Today

Whether you’re wondering how to make PVC ID cards or how to print on wristbands, you can always expect a seamless process with You can make your ID card vision a reality in just a few moments:

  • Select Card Orientation and Size: Begin by choosing from a wide range of sizes, from the standard 2.12" x 3.38" to the larger 6" x 4.75".

  • Choose Your Finish: Opt for the finish that suits your style - glossy for a sleek look, matte for understated elegance, or even holographic for a unique touch.

  • Pick the Card Thickness: Our standard thickness of 0.76mm is a popular choice, but for those seeking a more substantial feel, premium options are available.

  • Decide on Hole Style: From oval, circles, double circles, or opting for no hole at all, the choice is yours.

  • Customize Your Design: Whether using our user-friendly templates or starting from scratch, unleash your creativity. Add text, upload designs, and personalize to your heart’s content.

  • Finalize Your Order: Tailor specific cards within your order, add any necessary notes, choose your delivery date, and let us take care of the rest.

You can take things a step further with our custom ID card lanyards, which include not just the ID card but an acrylic badge holder or clear plastic card holder along with a lanyard for a convenient, comfortable display of the card.

So, what are you waiting for? Now that you know who makes custom ID cards and why our PVC cards are the #1 choice, get yours created today!

Final Thoughts on Laminated ID Cards vs Not Laminated

That just about does it for our guide comparing laminated ID cards vs not laminated ID cards. In conclusion, the choice between these styles hinges on durability, cost, professionalism, security, and environmental impact. 

Laminated cards offer enhanced longevity and security, while non-laminated cards are more cost-effective and eco-friendly. Understanding these nuances is crucial in selecting the right card for your specific needs, ensuring it aligns with your organizational values and requirements. 

Our blog has additional resources covering things like wristband marketing, types of badge holders, things to put on a lanyard, how to put an ID card on a lanyard, debossed wristbands vs printed wristbands, how to use a lanyard, wristbands vs lanyards, and more.

Otherwise, explore our offerings at, where we offer a range of customized solutions to perfectly suit your ID card needs. Shop with us today for ID cards that truly represent your brand and mission!