With so many lamination options to choose from it is easy to run ahead and buy the one that catches your eye. Instead of blindly buying a laminator that does not suit your purpose, why not check out our review and buying guide and arm yourself with the information that will help you purchase the best laminator machine you need?
To ensure that you are in a position to make the best choice, we have combed the market and found ten recommended laminators. In this review, you will learn about the leading laminators and certain features that are very important in any laminator you would want to own.
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Looking for the best laminator? Read on. Best Laminator Picks: Machine Reviews:
Best Laminator Picks
1. AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator
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For high-quality lamination, consider the AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator. This small machine does not take up much space in your home office, or classroom and in this regard is the top laminator machine. The AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator is quick and easy to use and the two-roller feeder is a big help in making fast work of any lamination job. Furthermore, this laminator warms up quickly – within four minutes – and it has an indicator light that tells you when the unit is ready to roll.
Choose between the 3 mm and the 5 mm settings for preserving your printed charts, photos, printed certificates, and anything you want to protect. Even if you need to laminate then cut up the laminated sheets – to make puzzles, for example, the AmazonBasics works quite well. The quick release handle clears jams so you can finish the job.
- Laminates sheets up to nine inches wide (uses legal size, letter-size, photo-size, and business-card-size paper);
- Offers two settings for heat – the ‘3 mm’ setting for photos, cards, and normal sheets and select ‘5 mm’ for thin sheets;
- Use with any 5 mm or 3 mm lamination pouch;
- Fits in any classroom and home office space;
- Warms up quickly – within four minutes;
- Jams cleared with the release lever.
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2. Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator
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Are you looking for the best laminator? You can also count on the Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator for professional quality lamination for your classroom or home office. With its never jam technology, the laminator offers consistent quality and volume in laminating photos, charts, menus, and other documents. Within five minutes your Scotch PRO laminator is ready to go. Furthermore, this laminator has a LED touch panel that includes an indicator light that shows when the unit is ready and temperature settings for two types of thermal pouch thickness.
Features also include hidden cord storage, a folding tray, and handle to make the laminator easy to carry around. It accepts a maximum of nine inches and laminates at fifteen inches per minute. So, even if you are a preschool special education teacher who must constantly laminate stuff for your students, this is the best laminator for you.
- Warms up within five minutes;
- Does not jam easily – Never Jam Technology stops misfeeds automatically;
- Designed with two rollers and laminates at a speed of 15 inches per minute;
- Uses thermal pouches that are 3 and 5 mil thick and up to nine inches wide;
- Shuts off automatically after one hour for safety and energy conservation.
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3. Swingline Laminator, Thermal, Inspire Plus Lamination Machine
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What better thermal laminator would you need if you are a kindergarten teacher who uses thousands of laminated sheets each year? The Swingline Laminator Inspire Plus, which is the best laminator for schools, is your answer. While it is not the fastest laminator on the market, it is jam free.
Expect the Swingline Laminator to heat up quickly – within five minutes and go for hours without burning up. You can also use any brand of lamination pouches with the Swingline Inspire Plus. This machine is also quite easy to use – simply plug it in, wait for it to warm up, then get going! You can choose whether to go with cold or hot lamination features with this machine.
- Produces professional-quality lamination for personal business, craft production, home use, and for the classroom;
- Is compatible with 5 mm and 3 mm pouches to provide long-lasting protection;
- Accepts documents that are twelve inches wide and is perfectly suited for photos and letter size sheets;
- Gets warm quickly – within five minutes;
- Also works well for cold lamination with self-sticking, pressure-sensitive, pouches for lamination.
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4. Scotch Thermal Laminator 2 Roller System
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What if your next thermal laminator is very easy to use, gets warm quickly, and produces top-notch lamination? You won’t need to guess with the Scotch Thermal Laminator. With this premium laminator from the makers of the best laminator for office, you can effectively produce professional quality laminates in a snap. Furthermore, this laminator has a lever to release any jam that might occur during lamination. Choose between two temperature settings based on how thick your lamination pouch is.
You can input documents up to nine inches wide so you can pretty much produce any laminated item for the school, personal business, and home. This handy tool allows you to preserve your photos, artwork, documents, and anything else! Within just five to seven minutes your laminator is warm and ready to go. It laminates at a speed of just under 12 inches per minute. Not only does the Scotch Thermal Laminator laminates, but it also foils as well (great for the extra creative types!)
- Can laminate sheets up to nine inches wide;
- Designed with the two-roller system that enables a professional output;
- Laminate photographs;
- Suitable for three mil and five mil lamination Pouches.
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5. INTEY Thermal Laminator A4
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Here is another top contender for the best laminator. Maybe the INTEL Thermal Laminator A4 is most ideal for your purposes. This sturdy and solidly-built lamination machine are just as productive as any other thermal laminator on the market. Not only is it designed with a three-position selector switch (cold, hot, and off), it also features an LED panel that is easy to use.
You can laminate all kinds of items such as photos, insurance cards, and your important documents. Clearing jams is also an easy operation thanks to its lever (located on the back) to release the drive mechanism and allow you to retrieve the sheet. Whether you laminate items for fun or for business, the INTEY is one of the selected laminator machine choices you can make.
- Versatile – works well with documents, photographs, letters, and cards not exceeding nine inches wide and 02 inches thick;
- Use for office and home purposes;
- Use for both cold and hot lamination – the cold mode is for self-adhesive film, while the hot mode is for the heated rollers;
- Warms up quickly – within three to five minutes. The green LED light shows you when the unit is ready to go.
- Releases jams – when jammed while laminating turn it off and use the jam release lever/button (located at the back) to remove the jam manually.
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6. 3 in 1 Blusmart OL288 Laminator, Laminating Machine Set
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Your selection could also include this three-in-one laminating machine from Blusmart. Not only is this machine a laminator, but it is also a paper cutting and trimming machine. It is quite easy to use and even a complete novice can operate this laminator with ease. This multi-function machine also eliminates the clutter created by additional machines to cut and trim items.
Plug your laminator in and within just five minutes it is warm and ready to start your lamination jobs. Laminate up to A4 sheets and expect professional laminator for office needs available today. Your Blusmart laminator is ideal for protecting important documents, photos, certificates, and other items. So, whether you are laminating for business or for fun, the Blusmart OL288 Laminating Machine is the perfect set up for your purposes.
- Three in one machine for lamination, rotary cutting and pattern cutting (perforated, straight, and wave);
- Versatile for both cold and hot lamination for different purposes (self-adhesive pouches for cold laminating);
- Warms up quickly – within five minutes after you plug it in;
- Use to protect and preserve a range of documents;
- High quality, wrinkle-free results thanks to its two rollers;
- Built-in jam release button removes paper jams.
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7. Apache 7 Mil Letter Size (9 x 11.5″) Crystal Clear Universal Thermal Laminating Pouches
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Even the best laminator needs pouches. If you do a great deal of lamination the Apache 7 Mil Letter Size Universal Thermal Pouch would be very handy. They are quite clear and once laminated retain their crystal brilliance. They are not dark and cloudy like some other brand of pouches. Even colored items remain sharp after being laminated in an Apache pouch.
Unlike some brands of laminating pouches which are inflexible, the Apache is flexible and does not cut like a knife. The likelihood of an Apache laminating pouch becoming warped or bent out of shape is quite low. Another thing about the Apache pouches that you would appreciate is that their rounded edges. If you have kids around, you would appreciate that they will be safe around the Apache pouch and not hurt themselves on the blunt edges.
- These laminating pouches are ideal for the US standard letter size paper (that is 9 by 11.5 inches) and (8.5 by11 inches);
- Each pouch is 7 Mil thick;
- You get crystal clear, photo quality laminating results;
- The corners are slightly round and one side has a seam;
- Great to use with professional Apache lamination machines.
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8. Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125
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You will be satisfied that the Saturn 3i Laminator is best for schools and various lamination projects that you can buy. Not only is this machine quite versatile, but it is also so easy to use. The quality of lamination produced by this machine is top notch. Laminate your important documents, photos, cards, and certificates, and anything worth protecting and preserving. If you are a teacher you can use this handy laminating machine to produce flashcards and picture cards for subjects like geography, math, science, or language.
Also, use the Fellowes Laminator to create your event signs and keep material used for reference neat and clean. This laminating machine warms up within a minute so you can get going with your project. This feat is possible thanks to its InstaHeat technology. Another great feature of the Saturn 3i 125 Laminator is that with a touch of a button, it handles both the self-adhesive (cold) and thermal (hot) laminating pouch.
- Instantly warns up – within one minute;
- With its 12 ½ inches wide entry this laminator can accommodate different size documents;
- Works for both the cold self-sticking lamination and hot lamination (3-mil or 5-mil);
- Saves energy and stops overheating by automatically shutting off;
- Unjam with a Jam Release Lever.
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9. Fellowes Laminator Venus 2 125
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If you are a fan of the Fellowes Laminator, you have another option to choose, the Fellowes Laminator Venus 2 125. Expect quick and high-quality lamination from this professional class of laminating machines. The Venus2 Laminator senses automatically the pouch you insert and will adjust itself to fit, thanks to its AutoSense system. The Venus2 warms up quickly – within an amazing 30 seconds! You literally don’t need to wait to start with this laminator.
Expect perfect laminating each time you use the Venus2 no matter how thick your lamination pouch is. Preserve your school certificates, photographs, and important documents, and create bookmarks, event cards, menus, and other premium quality lamination outputs. It is versatile as you can do both hot and cold lamination. If your laminator misfeeds or is overloaded, you can simply engage the reverse mode to release the pouch and start again.
- Fellowes’ one of a kind AutoSense system adjusts itself once it detects the pouch thickness;
- Warms up very quickly – within 30 to 60 seconds;
- Laminates at a rapid speed of 40 inches per minute;
- Shuts off automatically to prevent it from becoming too hot and to save energy;
- Designed with a robust six-roller system to produce high-quality lamination.
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10. TruLam 12-Inch Pouch Laminator
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The final laminator on this list is the TruLam TL-320B 12-inch Pouch Laminator. This desktop laminator is quite compact, easy-to-use, and powerful enough to use in the office. If you are on a budget, the TruLam is a cost-effective choice. This laminator is full of features including its digital display that is user-friendly, electronic controls for setting the temperature, 4 silicone rollers, and a reverse switch that clears jams.
You can laminate with pouches up to 10 mm thick with the TruLam so you can use it for any laminating project you need. So, if you need to laminate your certificates, photographs, menu cards, event cards, business cards, and anything you like, the TruLam 12-inch Pouch Laminator is just the one for you. Furthermore, this versatile laminating machine comes with a metal housing that is durable and the unit is supported by a one-year warranty.
- Comes with four rollers;
- Electronic temperature controls;
- Laminates at a speed of 6 inches per minute;
- Releases jams with its jam release feature.
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Buying Guide: Things To Consider
If you are looking for your first laminating machine, you might need a little more information on what to look for in purchasing the laminator machine. For the more seasoned user of lamination machines, this section is more like a refresher.
Whether you are a first-time user or a seasoned pro, you might find some useful information in this section of the best laminator review and buying guide.
So, here are what you need to consider:
- The first thing to consider when buying the best laminator is its primary purpose. High volume, heavy duty lamination jobs require an efficient yet durable lamination machine. A few brands offer high volume lamination but these may be on the more costly side of the budget. For the occasional user of lamination machines, such as for home purposes, there is no need to buy such a high volume lamination machine.
- Many brands boast numerous features, many of which are useful for the purpose you might have. Features you would need to look for include the ability to produce hot or cold lamination. Some brands of lamination machines boast the ability to produce both. Whether the laminator is a roll or pouch laminator is also something to be conscious about.
- The capacity of the laminator is another consideration. Many of the best laminator options come with capacities ranging from 3 mm to 10 mm.
- The width of the laminator’s entry is another useful indicator of the quality of lamination machines you would consider. Most brands provide extra wide, wide, document, or photo formats.
- Your safety is also an important consideration and manufacturers of lamination machines have incorporated the automatic shut off as a safety feature in their designs. Not only does this auto shut off feature protects against overheating for your safety, but it also saves energy.
- Most users of the lamination machine are also concerned about the jammed paper. So, it is no surprise that a deciding feature of the best laminator for teachers is the ability to clear paper jams. When you see laminators being advertised as jam free, what it essentially means is that you will be able to clear the jam when it occurs – not that the unit will never jam! So, look for features like jam release levers or buttons in your laminator machine.
- Versatility is one thing you would want from your new laminator. This means it can accept most lamination pouches, and it is capable of doing both hot and cold lamination. With a versatile laminator, you should be able to laminate almost anything from single thin sheets to thicker items like photographs, cards, and artwork.
- Durability is another consideration that may make the difference between choosing a laminator that you will be satisfied with and selecting one that offers only disappointment. Many brands of laminators claim to be durable or long-lasting. You would need to research or read customer reviews when choosing your laminator. There are a few that will live up to their claim of being a durable product that will give you years of continued use.
- For those who worry about the cost of the laminator, there are numerous options that are within a reasonable budget. They are not costly yet they are just as good as more expensive options. Compare the prices, and check the features to ensure that they are really what you need. Depending on what you need a laminator to do, you would have to decide whether the price is worth your investment.
How to Use a Laminator Machine: Step By Step Guide
So, now that you have brought home your new laminator, you are anxious to try it out on a few pieces you were dying to laminate. Before you run ahead and start laminating everything you can lay your hands on, take the time to refresh yourself on how to use this tool. It might be a no-brainer to a few of you who already know how to use the laminator. For the rest who are completely new to it, these pointers are useful to know.
Here are the steps:
- Insert the laminating film – for machines that require two separate film rolls, this step is required. The instructions that come with the laminator will show you exactly how to do this.
- Warm up the laminator – To do this, first, turn the laminator on (make sure to plug it in first!) and wait for it to warm up. Most laminators will warm up within about five minutes. Depending on your brand, you will be told how long it will take to get things warmed up. Laminators also have a light (usually green) that indicates when they are ready to laminate.
- Get the paper item you want laminated ready – OK, this is the part where you prepare the item to be laminated. This may include cutting and trimming it and cutting the laminating plastic/pouch to fit the item. Make sure you cut them the way you want them to look after the lamination process is finished.
- Position the prepared item in the laminator’s entry or laminator shelf – For this, you need to carefully place the item you want laminated at the entrance of the laminator’s feeder. This is to allow the laminator to pull the item in and start laminating it.
- Flip the feed switch – This is to allow the laminator to pull the paper in. For models that do not use feed switches, but automatically pull the paper in once it is positioned in the feeder, this step is not required.
- Wait – Here is where the machine continues to laminate the fed item while you wait. Depending on the speed that this happens (measured in inches per minute) you may not have to wait long.
- End the feed – Laminator models that require you to stop the feed with a stop button would need you to do just that at this stage. For the ones that automatically eject the finished product, you simply take it away once the lamination ends.
- Cut the film behind the laminated item – This step is for machines that require you to cut the film in the end. Some of these machines provide perforated edges for you to tear.
- Trim the finished item – Again, this step is for laminators that require you to do so. Trim the excess film from the item but leave at least a 1/8 inch (3mm) film border around the edges.
- Turn the laminator off and allow it time to cool down.
Different Types of Laminator Machines
Here is a breakdown of the different laminators on the market to avoid any confusion about which one to buy.
Most popular and easily recognizable, the hot pouch laminator requires you to enclose the item to be laminated inside a pouch which has two connected sides. Each pouch has a heat-activated coat of film that melts as you pass the item through heated rollers to pressure bind and seal it.
Hot Roll Feed
There are two types of this laminator – the single hot roll and the double hot roll feed that enclose a thermal film (with heat activated coating applied to one or both sides) around the print to be laminated. The laminated item is trimmed leaving a clear border.
Laminators that use self-adhesive cold pouches are the best laminator for documents that are sensitive to heat like photos, faxes, and inkjet-printed documents. Cold pouches are activated by pressure.
Cold Roll Feed
These laminators use cold roll feed film to enclose the item to be laminated. Print and copy shops, commercial printers, and sign makers are the most common users of this lamination technique.
Cold Basic Roll Feed
This type of laminator is a heavy-duty system that delivers professional quality results for graphic designers, sign makers, and print shops. It utilizes two cold, large size rollers to apply pressure to laminate.
Top Laminator Brands Available on The Market
Numerous brands of laminators are currently available on the market, but which ones are the top performers for 2018? You might already have your favorites which may also be on this list. These brands are well known and have produced top quality laminators over the years. You may also say that these are among the producers of the laminator machine you can trust for your purposes.
So, check out these three top brands of laminators on the market:
- Scotch – This is the same brand known for the transparent adhesive tape invented in 1930. The lamination machine produced by Scotch continues the Scotch tradition of high-quality reliability trusted by generations of resourceful users worldwide.
- Fellowes – For over 100 years the Fellowes brand has stood for innovation in an ever-changing environment. Known for quality office products such as shredders, binding machines, and laminators, the Fellowes brand continues to be among the best. Fellowes operates from Itasca Illinois, with 17 global subsidiaries.
- Swingline – Founded in 1925 in New York, this brand synonymous to staplers, is also a leading supplier of office accessories including the laminator. Swingline continues to be a leading brand in long-lasting and reliable office supplies known the world over.
The Best Laminator Models: Final Review
Have you made up your mind yet about the lamination machine you want to buy? No doubt, you would need all the information available to make the right choice. Our review and buying guide has pointed you in the right direction with recommended laminators with features vital for your purposes. It is always a good idea to research for yourself any product before you commit to it and we expect that what you have learned here will help you to make your final selection. Now that you have a clearer picture of the laminators and their features, go ahead and choose the laminator that is best for you.