Choosing The Best Laminator For Your Money

Choosing The Best Laminator For Your Money

A laminator can be an excellent purchase for either your home or your office. Laminators are very versatile pieces of equipment that can be used for a wide range of tasks. Depending on your intended application, there are a few different types of laminator that you can buy, with differing specializations.

Before we go into further detail about the best characteristics and types of laminators, we will go over the reasons for lamination and the advantages of laminating objects. Some people may consider laminators to be a niche product, but they are very useful, even for everyday tasks.

Many customers make the mistake of assuming that a laminator is a machine which is only used in offices, but they can also have very effective uses at home. For example, if you wish to ensure that your memories are properly preserved, you can laminate an image which means a lot to you.

Lamination is a process in which you increased the durability of paper, plastic and other materials, given that they are thin enough to fit into your laminator. Lamination tends to add a sheen to the material being processed along with making it more rigid and resistant to water and the elements.

Depending on your needs, you may use your laminator to laminate photos, PSAs, printed calendars and other documents which need an added amount of durability. We will now look at some of the details which go into making a laminator a better choice than other, similar products.

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Why You Should Choose Your Laminator Carefully

It is important to take a measure of care when deciding on your new laminator. The best-looking laminator will not necessarily be the best laminator machine available for purchase. In order to reduce your chance of regretting your purchase and suffering buyer's remorse, you should know what you are looking for in your new laminator.

Beyond the chance of purchasing a product which does not conform to your needs, not taking enough care before making your purchase can also result in you buying a low-quality product. A badly made laminator can be both a burden to use and can even damage the document or object being laminated.

Lamination machine in use.

Think of your new laminator as an investment. On the one hand, you can invest a small amount of money several times over the course of the next few years every time your less expensive laminator ceases to function. On the other hand, you can invest a more substantial amount of money once to have a high quality, long lasting laminator.

As you may sometimes wish to laminate sensitive documents or important images, it is important to ensure that the chance of your laminator malfunctioning is as low as possible. Depending on your type of laminator, they may have different tolerances that you should obey to minimize these chances.

It is very important to consider your intended use for your future laminator as they can have differing uses depending on their mode of operation. It would be unfortunate to end up purchasing a laminator which is ineffective at your planned task.

Having to go through the hassle of returning a product can quite simply get annoying. Save yourself the trouble by thoroughly informing yourself about your product before you make your purchase. Failing that, most online retailers have a 30-day return policy, just in case.

On What To Pay Attention When Choosing Your Laminator

Before you buy your own laminator, you have to know what you should take into consideration when buying one.

Type

The best type of laminator for you depends on your needs and what you envision using your laminator for most often. There are two main types of laminators, with an additional subtype.

Hot Lamination Machines

The first and arguably most common type of laminator is a hot lamination machine. Hot laminators use a mix of pressure and heat to apply the lamination to the object you wish to laminate. Hot laminators are typically the least expensive option since they tend to be more common.

A subtype of heat laminators is a pouch laminator. Laminators which make use of pouches are typically affordable and reliable. In order to work, you must place your intended document inside a lamination pouch, which contains the materials needed to laminate your document.

Unfortunately, pouch laminators have one downside.

While they may be more affordable than most other types of laminators, you will find that a pouch laminator has a certain upkeep cost as you will need to keep purchasing pouches to keep your laminator running.

Woman using hot lamination machine.

Pouch laminators tend to be reliable and are the more common form of heat laminator. While the pouches may be an extra cost, they ensure that your document remains undamaged by the heat while applying the lamination.

There is no best thermal laminator. Depending on your needs, you may opt for a more affordable

Lamination pouch model or a model which does not require lamination pouches. Depending on the heat sensitivity of your inserted materials, one will be the better option.

Cold Lamination Machines

The other type of laminator that you may purchase is a cold press laminator. Where a hot lamination machine uses a combination of heat and energy to laminate your materials, a cold laminator simply uses pressure. For this reason, cold lamination machines tend to be more expensive.

Where a cold lamination machine is less common than a typical hot laminator, it is also far more versatile. Where hot laminators typically require either lamination pouches or resilient objects to be effective, cold lamination machines can be used with most types of materials without further preparation.

Multi-Capability Lamination Machines

There is also a more versatile sub-category of lamination machine that can use either cold pressing or hot pressing methods. This allows you to always have a choice regarding the type of lamination you will be undertaking. These machines are typically more expensive than less versatile options.

Due to the need for more than one operating mechanism, it takes markedly more development and effort in terms of design when compared to more specialized machines. This is at least the case if you want your laminator to function effectively.

There are multi-capability lamination machines which are available for a low price, but they are either only capable of laminating small items, or they are far less effective than other options.

Width

Lamination width is another very important aspect to consider when it comes to buying your new laminator. While most home laminators are typically capable of laminating standard width documents, anything larger may require a more specialized model with a wider input area.

Width is measured in terms of the input area as well as the size of the pouches (if your model uses pouches). The need for extra width is due to customers needing to laminate either larger banners and documents or businesses that wish to laminate a large number of items all at once. For example, your business may wish to laminate a set of business cards.

Big lamination machine.

While wider laminators were previously not commonly available, there are more and more high width laminators being sold to typical consumers and not only businesses. This means that they are available for a more reasonable price than ever before.

If you wish to either laminate a large number of documents at one time or you prefer to laminate larger items such as banners, a high width model would be perfect for your needs.

There are also low cost lamination machines which feature low width, these machines are meant to only laminate small documents such as business cards. These may seem more like a niche product, but a surprising number of customers need a low-cost alternative for their lamination needs.

Laminating Speed

The next characteristic to search for in the best laminator is lamination speed. Since lamination can be a time-consuming process, your product's lamination speed can be an excellent selling point. The speed of lamination is often correlated with the type of laminator you are making use of.

Besides saving you time, your lamination speed can also have an effect on the quality of your lamination. Depending on the model of laminator that you are using, your lamination process may be accomplished more thoroughly through a longer lamination process.

Certain models of laminator allow you to choose how long your lamination takes depending on the size and thickness of your item, but these models are not very common. More often than not, a model which features a higher laminating speed is a better choice than a model which is slower.

Our Recommendations

Let's take a look at our choice for the best laminators.

Best Roll Laminator

First, here is our recommendation for the best roll laminators.

Winner - Royal Sovereign Photo And Document Laminator

Specifications:

  • Features a 2 roller system
  • Features a max lamination width of 13 inches
  • Compatible with 3-5 mil thick film
  • Features a lamination speed of 1.18 feet per minute
  • Product takes 5 minutes to warm up
  • May be used to laminate pictures
  • Intuitive and easy display and controls
Royal Sovereign Photo and Document Laminator used.

Our Rating

If you need a roll laminator which combines affordability with efficiency and effectiveness, this is the perfect option. This laminator from Royal Sovereign is one of the better laminators we have ever reviewed, roll laminator or otherwise. It is rather versatile due to many of the included features.

The 2 roller system ensures that every bit of your document will be laminated, as models with one roller typically have a higher chance of missing a spot on your inserted item. After trying varying sizes and thicknesses of documents, we found that the two roller system works as advertized, with nearly perfect lamination every time.

One of the better features of this product is the controls and display which are both intuitive and user friendly. This is an excellent model of lamination machine for users who are new to laminators. If you would like a machine which is easy to learn and master, look no further than Royal Sovereign's laminator.

The warmup speed of five minutes may be slightly slower than some models of laminators, but it is sufficiently quick to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time. When combined with the relatively fast speed of lamination, you will find that this is one of the quicker heat laminators you can find.

This is one of the most balanced laminators we have had the pleasure of renewing. Instead of focusing on one aspect of this product, the manufacturers decided to make it more of a jack of all trades style laminator.


Runner Up - Scotch TL901C Thermal Laminator

Specifications:

  • Maximum item width of 9 inches
  • Features 2 separate rollers
  • Features 2 temperature options
  • Works with 120V electricity
  • Maximum pouch width of 5 mils
  • Includes two laminating pouches
Scotch laminator.

Our Rating

If you are looking for a more affordable option for your roll laminator, there are few better options at your disposal than the Scotch TL901C. While most other models in this price range tend to cut out features and build quality, Scotch has somehow managed to make an effective and affordable model of laminator.

The inclusion of 2 temperature settings may seem a little bare to those who are accustomed to more expensive models of laminator but it is sufficient for thickness up to 5 mils. The inclusion of two laminating pouches allows you to get accustomed to using the machine, but you would be better off purchasing an additional pack along with this product.

The maximum width of 9 inches is a good inclusion for a product in this price range as it ups the versatility of the machine. Having two rollers is a good feature as it ensures that your item will be laminated far faster and more effectively than it would otherwise.

As can be expected with any model of home laminator, it functions on standard 120V electrical outlets. This product has a very simple method of operation, featuring a power indicator, and two settings for heat, at 3 mils and 5 mils of thickness.

This product is a great contender for best home laminator under 50 dollars. Priced at just below 40 dollars, you will find that the Scotch TL901C is a great option if you are working on a budget. As long as your needs aren't too complicated, you will find that this is a perfect laminator.


Best Pouch Laminator

Now that you've seen our top roll laminators, let's go to the best pouch laminators.

Winner - Swingline Fusion 3000L GBC Laminator

Specifications:

  • Only one minute of warmup time
  • 19 inches per minute laminating speed
  • ​Max item width of 12 inches
  • ​Features a jam alert system
  • 30 included laminator pouches
  • Comes with a 3 year limited warranty
  • Also features a cold pressing option
  • Features an auto power off option
Swingline GBC Laminator front view.

Our Rating

The Swingline 3000L is certainly the best pouch laminator we have found. A combination of user-friendly features and efficient functionality make this model perfect for customers who need a laminator which is versatile. For example, the 12 inch maximum width ensures that you can use several different document types with this model.

The laminating speed is also a very impressive feature of this model, working at almost 20 inches per second. When combined with the warmup time of only one minute, this becomes one of the fastest models we have reviewed. Most competing models take about 5 minutes to warm up, so this model is rather impressive in that regard.

This product is also very energy efficient thanks to the inclusion of an auto off feature. Should you forget to turn off your laminator after you are done, it will turn off within thirty minutes automatically. This saves both the planet and your power bill. Besides this feature, this laminator also draws comparatively less energy than many competing models.

The inclusion of a jam alert system is also a very intuitive addition to this model of laminator. When the jam indicator is blinking, you have but to press the button to release the jammed document. This allows you to divert your attention away from the machine and still be able to clear a jam in a reasonable amount of time.


Runner Up - Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125

Specifications:

  • InstaHeat technology makes for a short 1 minute warmup
  • 12.5 inch maximum document width
  • Choice between 3 and 5 mil thickness for hot lamination
  • Optional cold functionality
  • Features an auto shutoff
  • Features a release lever for jams
Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125 front view.

Our Rating

If you wish to find a well priced and effective pouch laminator, this model from Fellowes manages to check off both of those aspects. This is one of the more versatile models we have seen, thanks to a good combination of features. Usually, some of these features can only be found on much higher priced models.

Priced at just over 105 dollars, this model is in the upper mid range of prices for home laminators. While some customers may find the price a little steep, but it is worthwhile when you consider how long this laminator should last you.

There are several features to ensure this model's longevity, such as an auto shutoff that kicks in when the machine has been on too long, or starts to overheat.

It features the typical choice for hot pressing of both 3 and 5 mil pouches, but that is not the only choice you have. You may also choose to set this laminator to a cold press setting. This makes it compatible with self-adhesive pouches so you do not damage sensitive documents such as photos or other items which do not take well to heat.

This model also comes included with a 2 year warranty, which gives it a rather good minimum baseline in terms of lifespan and performance. It is always nice to see a manufacturer who has faith in their product. This is an excellent laminator for customers who prefer a reliable, effective model that is still affordable for use at home and not only an office.


Best Cold Laminator

Finally, our recommendation for the best cold laminator.

Purple Cows 13 Inch Hot and Cold Laminator

Specifications:

  • Features a 13 inch maximum document size
  • Features a warmup time of 3 to 5 minutes
  • Usable with 3 and 5 mil pouches without need for adjustment
  • Includes 50 3 mil lamination pouches
  • Uses up to half as much electricity as competing models
Purple Cows Hot and Cold Laminator and results.

Our Rating

This model of laminator is one of the more energy efficient types we have come across. While most cold laminators tend to have a very low power draw when compared to heat based models, this type takes it a step further.

Incorporating technology to generate heat without the need for excessive amounts of energy, this is a very economically and ecologically sound product. If you would like to reduce the strain on mother nature's resources while you reduce the strain on your wallet incurred by your power bill, this model should be great for you.

A 3 to 5 minute warmup time for this model is an excellent feature, as you do not have to wait overly long for the machine to be ready. The choice of a 13 inch maximum document size allows you to use slightly larger pouches than is typical on products in this price range.

Another excellent feature of this product is the inclusion of 50 lamination pouches. This allows you to test out several sizes of pouches. Depending on your documents, your pouch size will vary, so it is nice to have some idea of what sizes they come in and how exactly you feed them into this laminator.

The inclusion of an option to choose between hot and cold pressing makes this product far more versatile than it would otherwise be. Purchase this product if you would like a product with many quality of life features for a very reasonable price.


Conclusion

We hope that this buying guide has helped you make a decision about the best laminator machine for your needs. While it may not be the easiest product to decide on buying, a laminator can be very useful depending on the number of documents you need laminated and how often you do so.

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