It's gotten WAY too confusing to order business cards online - how do you know which is the best business Card Printer for you? Here's my attempt to simplify things.
Download my Business Card Printer Reviews (comparison chart) here (right-click, then save). And then please read the explanation below so you'll understand what I did.
Goal: Compare prices, paper weights, shipping and customer satisfaction (as measured by a "Satisfactory" rating - or not - from the Better Business Bureau) for a fairly typical business card order: 1000 full-color business cards, 4/0 (full color on front, no color on back), with UV coating, standard shipping (to my zip code, which is in the central US, if asked). I was also looking for companies that had templates/backgrounds you could use, since that's very popular these days.
Process: I entered the search term "business cards" in both Google and Yahoo! on 5/3/07 and wrote down the top 10 results for each.
I eliminated any results that weren't actual printers and those that didn't sell full-color cards. (If your favorite printer isn't in this list, it's because it didn't rank highly enough! Sorry, I couldn't check them all. - Card Embosser Machine )
Then I put them in alphabetical order and started my research!
Results: The columns, I hope, are pretty self-explanatory.
Cost: Reflects 1000 full-color cards; in other words, if the standard card was matte finish and you had to pay extra to get glossy/UV, it's reflected in the price.
Actual size: Every card except the ones from Vistaprint.com were the standard, 2" by 3.5" size card. Theirs is smaller.
Card weight: The higher the number, the more sturdy the card. Some business Card Printers post cards by weight, others by thickness. I used the following reference: 10pt is 80# - 12pt is 100# - 14pt is 120#
Coating: I tried to compare apples to apples here -a card can be "glossy" without having the protection of UV coating, and UV coating is generally considered more desirable than aqueous coating
Upload Images? Fee?: This column reflects whether or not the company will allow you to add/upload your own images (such as a logo) to their backgrounds, and if there's a fee for doing so.
Shipping: If they asked, I specified my zip code (65203, central US) but most had a standard rate.
Turnaround time: I'm LEAST certain of these figures; it was hard to tell at some websites whether or not that estimate included time for production AND for delivery. It does for PrintsMadeEasy and affiliates - they guarantee delivery by the date they specify or you can get a refund.
Satisfactory BBB Rating: BBB stands for "Better Business Bureau." Any company can find SOME satisfied customers; I wanted proof of a pattern over time of either happy or unhappy customers.
Why the blanks?
Many of the business Card Printers - PVC Card Embosser that rank high in the search engines aren't printers, themselves, at all - they're dealers for wholesale printing companies. Which means they sell identical cards.
Now there's nothing wrong with those businesses (many of whom add value by educating people about business cards, just as I do) and nothing wrong with the cards - but you should know that while the websites are different, the business cards ARE THE SAME. Believe me, knowing that up front will save you some comparison time!
What these wholesalers do is set a minimum price for business cards, and dealers can charge whatever they want OVER that price. You'll see that is a pretty typical price for 1000 full color cards from Printing Automation.
Card specs for the two main wholesalers, ECardBuilder (Amazing Print Corp.) and Printing Automation, are at the bottom of the page.