Basically, if you want a professional, sharp-looking credential, a reverse-transer printer is a good choice.
These printers, also known as "retransfer" printers for short, use a unique print method that differs from less expensive direct-to-card printers in a key way: with retransfer printers, the printhead never touches the surface of the card.
The printhead prints your imagery and text on the transfer film, which is then applied to the surface of your card and cured with heat for a durable, long-lasting solution.
This process is what allows retransfer printers to offer true over-the-edge printing and long-lasting printheads.
However, the process also comes with a potential snag, one that can potentially do serious damage to your printer: it's very hard on PVC cards.
If you can't stand the heat...