Best Laminating machine

10 Best Laminator Reviews For School Teachers and Home Use[2019]

Does your business or profession involve handling items like photographs or important documents like certificates, sales reports, ID cards, and invoices?

Do you want to keep them in good shape for a long time?

Well, if you’re looking to keep your documents safe and in good condition for long, the answer lies in laminating them.

Laminating refers to covering documents with a hard, transparent, waterproof material with an aim to preserve them.

Even as a regular person, it’s possible that you have papers you’d like to preserve, perhaps your birth certificate, diploma, land title deed, and so forth, and a laminating machine will come in handy.

Read on to find the best laminating machine that suits your needs and learn how to use and maintain it.

Need a quick decision? Here's my top 5 Laminating machine picks:

What Is A Laminating Machine? Why Do you Need It?

A laminating machine, otherwise known as a laminator, is an appliance used to fuse two plastic pieces with a substrate like fabric or paper in between them.

This machine is used in organizations like schools and hospitals, businesses, and even homes to protect important documents. By covering it with a flexible plastic material, the machine helps keep papers from wear and tear, water, and wrinkle development.

A laminator can be huge and stationary or small and portable.

Here’s why you need it:

  • To embellish or protect documents
  • For speed and convenience – of course, you can use traditional methods of laminating documents, but these are not only slow but also laden with difficulties.
  • Effectiveness – lamination machines are meant for professional use, and they produce professional results. With a good laminator, you can be sure your documents will stay protected for a long time.

Here are some of the items that people often love to laminate:

  • ID badges
  • Business cards
  • Photographs
  • Book covers
  • Posters
  • Certificates
  • Scrapbook pages
  • Stickers
  • Programs and menus (like in events and hotels)

With that aside, let’s now look at our laminator reviews. We’ll focus on small laminating machines for small- to medium-scale laminating.

OUR BEST LAMINAting MACHINE REVIEWS 2019 

1. AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator

You know why this AmazonBasics machine deserves the top spot? Well, because it has so much to offer. For starters, this pouch laminator is pretty versatile, and whether you’re looking for a home laminate machine or a fine laminator for office use, it will work perfectly for you.

If you’re targeting the optimal ease of use, you will find this machine quite appropriate because the guidelines contained in the manual are easy to read and understand. Furthermore, the machine features a simple, 2-roller feeding system.

Another aspect that is connected with the ease of use is the indicator light. This a convenient feature that helps you know when the machine is sufficiently warm so you can start laminating.

If you’re in a hurry, this little AmazonBasics machine will be very helpful. You know why? It only takes just about four minutes to warm up.

In four minutes, you can start laminating and after that take less than a minute to laminate each paper.

And again, the machine features two separate heat settings, one for 3-mil-thick laminating films and another for 5-mil films. That way, you get to select the heat setting that suits your laminating films and save time if you’re working with 3-mil films.

This is a pouch laminator with limited output, and we only recommend it for small-scale laminating at home or in a small organization.

Highlighted Features:

  • Comes with two laminating pouches that measure 9.4 by 11 inches
  • Fast warm up – just four minutes
  • Ready-to-laminate indicator light
  • Laminates substrates with a width of up to nine inches

2. Scotch Thermal Laminator 

The function of a jam release lever is to stop the lamination process when there’s jamming, and this can be very helpful for saving the machine’ components as well as time. You will be glad to see that the Scotch Thermal Laminator has this handy feature.

What we loved most about the machine is that it is lightweight and portable, and it does what it’s meant to do perfectly. But, you have to realize that the compact design and portable nature mean that the output is somewhat compromised.

That means you can only laminate items that are up to nine inches wide, and you can only laminate a few dozens of papers per day.

Thus, if you’re looking for a laminator for business use, this product will be unsuitable. But, if you need a great laminator for home use or small scale use at your business, the Scotch Thermal Laminator will be a great selection.

This appliance is also very easy to use, as it features ergonomically designed controls, and there’s also the convenience offered by the jam-release lever.

When it comes to speed, the machine is also very appropriate as it takes just 7 minutes to heat up. Moreover, it laminates more than 11 inches per minute, which means you can laminate a 9-inch wide paper in less than a minute.

Highlighted Features:

  • Warm up time – 7 minutes
  • Fast lamination – takes less than a minute to laminate 9 inches
  • Two different temperature settings
  • Laminates up to 9-inch-wide items
  • Lightweight

3. Swingline Lamination Starter Kit

Are you only getting started with laminating and you’re looking for the perfect package to start off your laminating career?

How about you get the Swingline Lamination Starter Kit, which comes with 15 pouches, a mini hole punch, and a 9-inch trimmer alongside a sleek pouch laminator?

If you’re on a budget and you’re looking for an economical way to start, this kit will be very suitable for you. You will find the added accessories most helpful.

This laminator features a single power setting, which, of course, simplifies the use, but what makes the operation really easy is the jam release lever and that indicator light.

If something has gone wrong in the process of laminating the paper, you can just pull the jam release lever.

The warm up takes only four minutes, which is pretty quick. And you don’t have to count the minutes or keep a stopwatch; when the machine is adequately hot, the indicator light turns on to notify you it is time to start laminating.

Some substrates are sensitive to heat and if you have to laminate such, then you have to do cold lamination. If you’re using this little laminator, you have nothing to worry about as it supports cold lamination and you only have to flip a switch.

We recommend this laminate machine for small scale use at home or in your office. Remember, it can only handle a width of up to 9 inches.

Highlighted Features:

  • Comes with pouches, a trimmer, and other useful accessories
  • Easy to use
  • Has an indicator light
  • Quick, 4-minute warm-up
  • Works with both 3-mil and 5-mil pouches
  • A base made of plastic for portability

4. Blusmart OL288 Laminator

Jam release buttons are great for preventing papers from getting stuck in the machine. But when you come across a laminating appliance with an ABS button in addition to the jam release button, that’s much better.

The ABS button comes in handy when there are papers stuck in the machine, and you’re looking for a quick way of removing them before they damage the internal parts. You just hit the button, and the stuck items are removed.

Sometimes, you will need to laminate items that are sensitive to heat, and in that case, you got to have a machine that can laminate both hot and cold, like this Blusmart laminator.

The preheating time needed for this machine is only a little, ranging from 3 to 5 minutes depending on the thickness of the laminating material.

When the preheating is enough, you need a convenient way of knowing its time to start the lamination, and this device makes it very easy for you through its LED indicator light; this gets automatically turned on when the machine is ready.

This laminator is perfect for laminating documents on a small scale at home or work. You can laminate items with the size of a business card to the size of an A4 paper.

A coolest feature is the intelligent temperature control, which ensures the machine doesn’t get exceedingly hot. The working temperature ranges between 122 °F to around 131 °F, which is fairly safe.

Highlighted Features:

  • Speedy preheating – 3 to 5 minutes
  • LED indicator light for notifying you when the machine is ready to laminate
  • 10-inch per minute laminating speed
  • Cold and hot lamination
  • ABS button for unjamming the machine

5. Fellowes Saturn3i Laminator

Looking for the best laminator machine with regards to speed? Perhaps you find it inconvenient to wait for several minutes till the machine heats up and you want to be able to start laminating quickly.

In that case, we’d encourage you to go for the Fellowes Saturn3i Laminator which warms up in just one minute and laminates documents in just a few seconds.

This machine accepts papers with a width of up to 12.5 inches, meaning you can use it to laminate different items including photographs and small maps.

And you know what we loved most about it? The quality of lamination that it offers. If you want to give your documents the best protection with lamination, the laminator would be a pretty good choice.

Do you love free items? Well, tell you what? When you get this machine, you also get free laminating pouches (ten of them!).

The machine accepts different pouch thicknesses. You can use it to laminate 5-mil-thick pouches as well as 3-mil-thick pouches.

It’s usually recommended that you turn off the machine when you’re done using it to protect its motors and reduce the risk of starting a fire.

But you might forget to do so sometimes, and that’s where the Fellowes’ unique auto shut off technology comes into play. After a period of inactivity, the machine turns off on its own. This feature is also very useful for conserving electric energy.

Highlighted Features:

  • Super-fast warm up – just one minute
  • Hot and cold lamination
  • Jam-release lever
  • Ten free laminating pouches
  • Auto shut off
  • Accepts items with a width of up to 12.5 inches

6. Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator

What we loved most about the Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator is the auto shut off feature.

Because imagine you’re laminating documents at home early in the morning, and then you rush to work leaving the machine on. Then when you get to work, which is 15 miles away, you remember that you didn’t turn off your laminator.

Do you have to drive back home just to turn off the machine?

Well, if it’s the Scotch Pro, you have nothing to worry about because after an hour of inactivity, the machine is programmed to go off on its own. How cool is that!

This laminating machine comes with a 2-roller system and you know what that denotes? Okay, let’s assume you want to laminate old photographs or something else that is sensitive to heat. If you use a normal hot laminator, the item you’re laminating will get damaged, so you got to use a cold laminator.

Now, rather than buying a cold laminator, you can get a 2-roller system laminator, like this Scotch Pro machine, that is able to switch between hot and cold lamination.

Speed is another benefit associated with the appliance. It heats in just 5 minutes and laminates every item at a fast rate of 15 inches per minute. A light signal goes off when the machine is ready to laminate.

And now that it accepts a maximum pouch width of around 9 inches, that means it laminates each item in a matter of seconds.

Highlighted Features:

  • Jam release feature
  • 2-roller system that switches between the hot and cold lamination
  • Five-minute warm up
  • Maximum pouch width of 9 inches
  • Auto shut off technology

7. Marigold LM401 Thermal Laminator 

If you need a nice, portable laminator for home or small-scale professional use, you will find the Marigold LM401 Thermal Laminator quite fitting. It’s a super-slim, lightweight machine that you can carry around without a problem.

Something else you will love about this small laminating machine is the sturdy heating system, which makes certain that the results are great every time.

Some laminators come with too many controls that make the operation rather confusing, but this machine is different. For once, the design is perfectly streamlined, making access to the features really easy. And because there are no confusing options, you’ll find it easy to use even if you’re a beginner.

If you’re looking for utmost convenience, you might find the carrier-free aspect of this machine quite appealing. And of course, it further simplifies the operation.

But, we have to inform you that carrier-free machines are generally not as durable as those with carriers because the carrier is meant for protecting the rollers from the adhesive on the laminating film.

Got an eye for elegance, then this is the laminator for you. It features a polished-white, ultra-slim design that displays a professional touch; this might go well with your home or office décor.

The quick warm up time is something else you’re likely to love about this small laminator. In just about 3 to 4 minutes, the machine is sufficiently warm and ready to laminate.

Highlighted Features:

  • Modern professional look
  • Warms up in 3 to 4 minutes
  • 9-inch entry width
  • Jam release button
  • Easy to use

8. Fellowes Jupiter 2 Laminator

With the Fellowes Jupiter 2 Laminator, you get to tap into the power of the InstaHeat Technology. This is a fine innovation that ensures there’s no waiting when you want to laminate. In just 60 seconds, the machine is warm enough and ready to laminate.

The machine unnecessitates manual adjustment for different pouch thicknesses. When you put your pouches in there for lamination, the appliance’s AutoSense Technology kicks in and makes an automatic adjustment for a perfect job.

Basically, this innovation makes it possible for you to use pouches of any thickness without having to adjust the settings manually.

Thus, if you love the words “hands-free” and “automation”, this is one fine laminator you can’t afford to ignore.

When you’re targeting small-scale to medium output, you need a robust laminating machine like this Fellowes laminator. With it, you can laminate hundreds of items per day and achieve clean, professional results for all of them.

As you will learn later, the more the rollers, the better the results. While most other small laminators have up to two rollers, this one has 6 of them, meaning the finish is of exceptional quality every time. That’s why we maintain that this is the best laminator for foiling.  

Talking of the speed, nothing does it faster than the Jupiter 2. First, we mentioned it warms up in 60 minutes. But you know something even better, the laminating speed is 30 inches per minute, which is quite high.

Highlighted Features:

  • One-minute warm up
  • 6 rollers for a high-quality finish
  • AutoSense technology for automatic adjustment
  • Anti-jam feature
  • Automatic shut off
  • 10-mil maximum pouch thickness

9. Zoomyo Z9-5 laminator 

Want to save power when laminating your items? You will be glad to know that the Zoomyo Z9-5 laminator saves up to 25 percent power compared to most other laminators, thanks to its amazing Eco-PTC-Technology.

This machine allows you to laminate items both hot and cold, meaning you can use it to laminate heat-sensitive items like old photos. You can use it to laminate items that are up to 5 mils (when doing hot laminating) or 10 mils (when doing cold laminating).

The appliance is perfect for frequent lamination at home or in a small office that has small-scale to medium-scale laminating requirements. It’s ideal for laminating ID badges, menus, price lists, photos, charts, and other documents.

The rollers are coated with silicone, and this ensures the seal applied to your projects is smooth and uniform. Hence, if you want results that a truly professional, you won’t go wrong with this machine.

Sometimes, you will have misfed documents, perhaps due to incorrect placement or other issues. This is a problem that can slow you down or damage the internal components of the machine, but with the Z9-5, there are no worries as the ABS jam release feature helps you remove the stuck documents quickly.

Everything from the design to the results is remarkable, and the weight is also perfect for portability, so we’d encourage you to go for this machine.

Highlighted Features:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • ABS jam release feature
  • Both hot and cold lamination
  • Fine design
  • Compatible with both 3 and 5 mil laminating pouches

10. 3M Laminator Kit 

The thing we found most interesting about the 3M Laminator Kit is that it comes with many different laminating pouch sizes to fit all the needs of someone doing small-scale laminating.

For instance, there are 20 pouches for 2.25 by 3.75 inch pouches and 20 pouches for 9 by 11 inch pouches. With all these free pouches, you can be sure that your using of the laminator will be a hassle-free affair.

What’s more, these pouches are not just compatible with this laminating machine; they work well with almost any thermal pouch laminator out there.

Measuring about 16 by 8 by 5 inches, the machine is small enough to fit a tight working space and now that it has a small weight of only about 4 pounds, carrying the machine around is a piece of cake.

This laminator is, without doubt, an excellent choice for you if you’re looking for a good portable option.

Ideally, the appliance is meant for home use or light commercial use. That’s because it accepts substrates with a maximum width of 9 inches and a maximum thickness of 5 mils.

While that might be a little inadequate for heavy commercial use, it’s perfect for small-scale lamination at home or in the office.

Being manufactured from sturdy materials, the machine is quite durable, lasting many years with the right maintenance as described later on in this article.

Highlighted Features:

  • Sturdy-built
  • Accepts a maximum thickness of 5 mils and a maximum width of 9 inches
  • Many different pouches sizes
  • Pouches are compatible with virtually any hot laminator
  • Professional results

11. JIEZE Thermal Laminator Machine

The whole idea of laminating items is to keep them in good shape. But, if you’re using just any laminating machine out there, you might end up dealing with issues like bubbles and wrinkles, and you don’t want that, do you?

So, therefore, we’d advice you to go for the JIEZE Thermal Laminator if you want perfect lamination with no wrinkles or bubbles.

This machine is an upgrade that surpasses most of the regular laminators, and you can count on its ability to deliver great results. The upgrade also means that the warm up is pretty fast, so you don’t need to wait for long to start laminating.

In 3 to 5 minutes, the machine gets adequately warm, and a light signal goes off to notify you that it’s time to start laminating.

The amazing laminating speed of 10.2 inches per minute helps you accomplish your projects very fast.

There are three temperature settings for different pouch thicknesses to ensure that you get just the results you seek. But even with these, the operation is quite simple, and again, there’s an indicator light that shows you when there’s a change in the settings.

Using the machine is very easy and straightforward. You just put the document in the laminating film and start laminating. There’s even a set of useful instructions helping you through every step.            

Highlighted Features:

  • 3 to 5 minutes warm up
  • No bubbles or wrinkles
  • Straightforward operation
  • 10.2 inches per minute laminating speed
  • Three temperature settings for different pouch thicknesses

12. Royal Sovereign CL-923 Laminating Machine 

There are many great features of the Royal Sovereign CL-923 Laminating Machine that you will fall in love with but what you might love most about it ease the fact that it is so lightweight and portable. That’s especially if you’re looking for the most portable paper laminator.

Weighing in at 2.43 pounds and measuring around 6 by 13 by 2 inches, the machine is not only lightweight and easy to carry but also compact and appropriate for squeezed workspaces.

Whatever small items you want to laminate, whether they are photographs, ID cards, presentation materials, bookmarks or any other documents, the machine can handle them, just as long as they don’t go beyond 9 inches in width. For that, we can safely argue that this is the best laminator for home.

If you like speed, then you will love how fast the CL-923 is able to laminate documents. First, it heats up and gets ready to start working in just around three to five minutes, depending on the thickness of the pouch.

From there, the rest of the process is super-fast and hassle-free. You can complete each project in seconds.

With this laminator, it doesn’t matter whether the materials you’re laminating are sensitive to heat or not. There’s a switch that allows you to laminate the item either hot or cold.

As for the film thickness, the machine can handle anything between three and five mils.

Highlighted Features:

  • Laminates items with a maximum width of 9 inches
  • Compact design
  • Lightweight – just 2.43 pounds
  • Jam release feature
  • Quick warm up in three to five minutes

13. Swingline GBC Laminator Machine

If you love “free”, then you will love with those 30 free laminating pouches that come with the Swingline GBC Laminator. With these, the initial cost of getting into the business of laminating items goes down, and that’s a huge advantage if you’re on a tight budget.

Apart from the free laminating pouches, there are numerous other benefits of the machine as follows.

The warm up time is very quick. In just one minute, the laminator is hot enough and ready to go to work.

Now, if you don’t want to have to stand there counting from one to sixty seconds to know the laminator is ready, you’ll benefit a lot from this machine’s audible and visible alerts. A green light and an alarm go off, signifying that the appliance is ready to laminate your items.

Most other machines out there have the light alert but not the audible alarm, so that’s a cool feature that makes certain you know precisely when the machine is ready.

The laminator laminates your items very quickly, at the speed of 19 inches per minute. Considering that the machine accepts substrates with a width of 12 inches, it is easy to see that the lamination will be complete in less than a minute, and that’s fairly quick.

When there are jammed pouches, the laminator’s intelligent jam alert goes off and keeps beeping until you hit the anti-jam button to release the pouches.

Highlighted Features:

  • Visible and audible alerts for readiness to laminate
  • Fast warm up – 1 minute only
  • 19-inch per minute laminating speed
  • 3-year warranty
  • Jam alert
  • Anti-jam button

14. Apache AL9 Thermal Laminator

APACHE AL9 THERMAL LAMINATOR

Looking for the best laminator for teachers?

Perhaps what you need is a fine A4 class laminator, like the Apache AL9, that will help you laminate papers, book covers, certificates, and other items with a maximum width of 9 inches.

The best thing about this machine is that it speedily delivers clear results that are bubble-free. And not just that; the appliance weighs around 2 pounds, which is lightweight and very appropriate for carrying around from place to place.

It’s also compacts, and you need just a small workspace when laminating documents. And when you’re done, you can just store it away in a shelf.

When you get the Apache AL9, you’re provided with 20 laminator pouches (5-mil and 3-mil). Isn’t that a fine deal?

Let’s talk a bit about the design. One of the most striking aspects of this machine that drew us to it is the design. It’s a sleek little machine that looks stylish and at the same time professional.

Though it’s just a small and super lightweight appliance, the Apache AL9 is still pretty good when it comes to the longevity. The heating elements are of excellent quality, and the motor is also high-grade, ensuring you enjoy great service for years on end, but of course, with the right maintenance.

With this device, you don’t have to worry about the safety of your documents. The silicone coat on the rollers ensures the lamination takes place smoothly with minimal chances of tear. It also ensures the lamination is of high quality.

Highlighted Features:

  • 20 free laminating pouches
  • Silicone-coated rollers
  • 6 months warranty
  • Super compact
  • Lightweight (2 pounds)
  • ABS jam release button
  • High-grade components that ensure longevity

15. EasyIDea ML450T ID Laminating Machine 

The last machine on our list is dedicated specially for those who want to laminate ID cards.

This pouch laminator comes with two different heat settings to enable you to laminate ID cards with varying pouch thicknesses. With the first heat setting you can laminate cards with a thickness of as little as ten mils, while with the second one, you’re able to laminate up to 30 mils.

Love machines that are easy to use?

The this is the ideal laminator for you. All you need to do is print the design on Teslin paper or another synthetic paper, place it in a butterfly pouch, and run it through the machine.

When the laminated paper comes out, it will have a texture just like that of a regular plastic card, and it will definitely remain in good condition for a long time.

Apart from the ease of use, there’s also the benefit of the machine’s robust nature. If you maintain it well, the ML450T will serve you for years without any problems.

Having been tested with various cards the size of a credit card, there is no doubt that the easyIDea ML450T ID Laminating Machine is the perfect choice for ID cards.

So, if you have a set of employee cards, luggage tags or badges that you want to protect with lamination, don’t look any further; use the ML450T to laminate them, and you will love the results.

The only issue is that this appliance is ideal only for ID cards and other small documents or photos. If you want to laminate bigger documents, you will likely have to get a separate laminator for that.

Highlighted Features:

  • Perfect laminator for ID cards
  • Accepts a wide range of thicknesses from around 3 to 30 mils
  • Durable
  • Robust and able to work for 2 hours straight without rest
  • Lightweight

Things to Consider Before Buying A laminator machine

Laminating machines are available in all sizes and shapes and picking out the model that fits you best can be a little challenging. So, therefore, we have outlined a few factors you should consider when shopping for a laminator to make sure you go for the great one.

Budget

Although you shouldn’t let a budget keep you from getting the perfect laminator for your needs, considering your budget is still an essential aspect when it comes to narrowing down your options.

Depending on the size of the machine and the functionalities, laminators range in cost of around 50 to 1000 US dollars.

If you’re looking to laminate regular-sized papers at your home or workplace, a laminator going for around 50 to 400 dollars should be sufficient.

Keep in mind that cold laminators are generally more expensive that hot lamination machines.

What is to be laminated

If the materials you’ll be laminating are sensitive to temperatures, then you might want to go for a cold laminate machine. But if they’re not sensitive to heat, then yµou can get a hot or cold laminator.

Again, if you’ll be laminating photographs most of the time, then a laminating machine with a minimum of four rollers will be suitable.

Remember, the higher the number of rollers, the better the results.

Size of your substrates

Come closer, this is important. You see, if you get a pouch laminator, you can only laminate substrates (paper or fabric) with a maximum width of 14 inches. That means you won’t b able to laminate things like banners, posters and big maps.

So, don’t just think about your laminating needs now, think of your needs down the road.

We’d advise you to go for a roll laminator, as it enables you to laminate items that are between 12 and 70 inches wide.

Output

Different laminators have different outputs. In general, pouch laminating machines can only laminate small to medium volumes of substrates. By small volumes, we mean a few dozen items, and by medium, we mean a few hundred items a day.

Roll laminators, on the other hand, are suitable when you want to laminate many substrates; they’re ideal for medium to high volumes of output. With a roll laminator, you can laminate several thousand items a day.

Film thickness

Of course, the thicker the laminating film, the better the protection. But then again, the thicker the film, the less the flexibility and the harder it is to fold the laminated paper.

Film thickness is an essential consideration especially because different laminators work with different film thickness.

Pouch laminators often work with films with a thickness of up to 10 mils while roll laminators work with thinner films of around 1.5 to 3 mils.

Remember, a mil equals one thousandth of an inch.

Will kids use it?

First, you got to realize that laminators are generally meant for use by adults. A pouch laminator, however, can be used by kids under supervision by an adult. That’s because its hot components aren’t exposed, unlike those of the roll laminator.

Space

If space is an issue to you, then you’re better off with a pouch laminator. Roll laminators consume more space and may be unsuitable where space is limited.

Will the documents be mounted on foamboard?

If the pictures, maps or posters are going to be mounted on foamboard, it’d be better to use a roll laminator.

How To Use It?

As stated before, a laminating machine helps you fuse together two films, often with a paper in the middle. It’s a method of preserving items like photographs and documents. But how do you actually go about using it?

Here are the steps to follow to use a laminator correctly.

Load the film

In most cases, two different film rolls are needed. Every laminator has its directions for loading the films; be sure to follow them.

Turn on the machine

The purpose of this is to allow the laminator some time to warm up. Every laminating machine has its specific timeline for preheating so be sure to check that in the manual.

Fortunately, most laminators come with two very helpful lights – one that turns on when the machine is switched on and another that turns on when it is ready to start laminating. And of course, the machine is ready to begin laminating when it is sufficiently warm.

Prep the substrate

There’s the aspect of fit, so you might want to trim the paper a bit (if need be) and there’s also the aspect of how you’d want the paper to appear when the film is fused around it. So, prep the paper.

Put it in the laminator

Take the substrate (the paper you’re looking to laminate) and put it on the laminator shelf. To enable the machine to have a hold of it with ease, push the paper, so it sits adjacent to the film rolls.

Once the film rolls and the substrate are in position, flip the machine’s feed switch. The paper will then get pulled into the laminator.

Allow the machine to run until you see the film with the paper inside it placed at a point where it’s possible to make a cut. 

Hit the stop button

Before doing that, you want to make sure that the project is complete and that the film is positioned where you can cut it.

Make the cut

After stopping the machine, use a pair of scissors to cut the film. Ensure you make the cut behind the substrate.

Note: some laminators create a perforated edge behind the substrate, making it possible to just tear off the film.

Trim the film

Once you have your laminated document, it’s time to do some final touches. In that regard, trim the film, leaving a border of only about an eighth of an inch (3 mm) around the substrate’s edges.

And that’s how you use a laminator correctly. Remember, different laminators have different features, and the process of operation might differ slightly, so be sure to check your user manual.

When you’re done using the machine, make sure you switch it off and disconnect the power.

Now let’s delve into the types of lamination machines available.

Types of lamination machine 

If you’re looking for a laminator but are confused about what type to get or about the differences between the various types available, this section should be helpful.

Here’s a rundown of the main types of laminators.

Pouch

A pouch laminator is relatively smaller, and it’s a more portable laminator.

This sort of laminator uses a definite size of plastic line with adhesive to encase a substrate. The plastics are known as pouches, and that’s where the laminator gets its name.

So, what you have to do is take the substrate you’d like to laminate and put it in the pouch before placing the pouch in the protective covering, or carrier, and running it through the laminator.

The machine heats up the adhesive, and the plastics adhere together, encasing the substrate.

Pouches have a thickness of up to 10 mils, and the thicker the pouch, the sturdier the final product. As pouches are thicker than the laminating film used with roll laminators, pouch laminators are better at offering protection to the document.

Pros

  • angle-double-right
    Small machines that require less workspace than roll laminators
  • angle-double-right
    Less expensive than roll laminators.

Cons

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    Limited by the size of the document – typically laminates documents with a width of up to 14 inches.

Roll

Also called film laminators, roll laminators are commonly found in schools and other bigger organizations, as they’re mostly meant for professional or commercial use.

But, that’s not to say roll laminators are not meant for individual or home use; you can benefit a lot from the functionalities offered by a good roll laminator.

A roll laminator uses huge film rolls to laminate substrates of a wide size range, normally from around 12 to around 70 inches in width. And when the machine is done laminating, it also trims the document.

The substrate is normally placed on a plastic sheet with adhesive. The top roller holds the laminate’s top layer in position, and when the switch is flipped, the substrate gets pressed in between the two layers of film.

The heaters spread heat over the film, and the glue adheres permanently round the document.

Pros

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    Able to laminate documents of any size.
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    A big output volume – can laminate thousands of documents in a day.
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    Operates like an assembly series, laminating many substrates in a series.

Cons

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    High machine cost
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    Huge size – needs more workspace than other models like Pouch

Cold Laminators:

If you’re looking for a machine that is totally kid-safe, then you might want to consider getting a cold laminator.

This kind of laminator doesn’t use heat to bind the laminating film. Instead, it uses a combination of pressure and adhesive to laminate your documents.

One great advantage of the cold laminators is that they ensure water tightness and amazingly, they’re the only type of laminators able to pull that off.

Again, unlike the hot laminators (pouch and roll), they don’t need a power source. So, the next time you hold an outdoor festival and you need to laminate documents, the correct laminating machine to use will be a cold laminator.

Of course, cold laminators compromise rigidity a bit but they’re also safe for use as no heat is employed; that’s why we said that they’re ideal for kids.

Pros

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    Safer as heat isn’t used
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    Able to create a water-tight barrier
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    Don’t need a power source

Cons

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    Rigidity is sacrificed

Carrier-free laminators

These are the laminators that don’t use carriers. While they may seem like a good upgrade, we’d advise staying off of these for this reason – the carrier helps to ensure that the glue on the laminating film doesn’t collect on the rollers.

This function helps save the machine from failure and thus improves its longevity. Taking away the carriers equals reducing the machine’s longevity.

Top Rated Laminating Machine Brands on The Market 

BluSmart

Founded in 2015, BluSmart happens to be one of the newer laminating machine brands, but it has quickly risen into one of the best particularly due to the good quality of its products.

This brand has one of the best researches and testing teams that ensures the laminator machine technology used is superior to that of other brands. Moreover, the team takes the laminators through rigorous testing exercises to ensure you receive amazing quality.

If you’re looking for a laminator for professional use, we’ll recommend you get one from BluSmart.

Fellowes

Fellowes is an American brand that was founded over a century ago, first venturing into the business of storage systems. If you’ve ever heard of the term Liberty Box (associated with World War I), you now know the brand that brought it into existence – yes, that’s right, it was Fellowes.

Through the decades, Fellowes expanded its operations and invested in a wider range of products, including business machines, office accessories, and records storages.

Their laminating machines are some of the most elegant in the market, and they’re ideal for both home and office use.

Scotch

For decades now, Scotch has worked closely with big brands like 3M to offer you the good quality adhesive tapes and tape dispensers, but that’s not all it’s known for. This brand, has for a while now, been recognized by DIY enthusiasts as a reliable provider of laminating machines.

Scotch’s laminators are quite efficient, enabling you to laminate small documents in a matter of seconds. Due to the brand’s resourcefulness, the machines they make are long lasting, and they also produce great results such that you don’t have to deal with wrinkles or bubbles.

Royal Sovereign

If you want to purchase from the leading supplier of office solutions, then you might want to consider buying from Royal Sovereign. This brand has its headquarters in New Jersey, but it has operations in over 100 countries.

When it comes to innovation, almost nothing beats the brand; it has over 100 patents worldwide for its unsurpassed innovation.

The Royal Sovereign’s pouch laminating machines and films feature a superb design, and they’re also able to deliver exceptional results with regards to document protection.

3M

3M is a brand that is widely recognized for adhesive tapes, but is that all it is really about? Well, the brand manufactures a range of other items and its laminating machines are not to be ignored when talking about the finest laminators.

Having been around for over a century, 3M has acquired enough experience to create laminators of value that both individuals and professionals keep their works of art safe without much hassle.

Some of the benefits that have been associated with their laminator kits include durability and the ability to deliver excellent, professional results. You got to try them.

How to Maintain and Take Care of Your laminating machines for Longevity 

A laminator is an extremely useful document-finishing machine that helps you keep different items from certificates to photographs presentable and safe from damage.

However, if you’re to keep your lamination machine working properly, there are a couple of precautionary as well as maintenance measures to take, as discussed below.

Protect the rollers from sharp items

Craft knives, needles, scissors, and other sharp objects can easily damage the silicone that covers the machine’s rollers.  Realize that if this silicone is damaged, you might incur lots of costs repairing or even replacing the machine.

Don’t use it to laminate metallic items or items with glitter

The metal or the glitter can damage the rollers, and moreover, it can make hinder effective heat transfer. Eventually, there’ll be so much damage that the machine will be rendered useless, so it’s better to steer clear of metal and glitter substrates.

Turn it off when you’re all done

When you’re done laminating all the documents, turn off the machine. That way, you will be protecting the motor and enabling it to last its full life. And apart from that, keeping the machine turned off when it’s not in use lessens the risk of a fire eruption or the injury in case someone touches the heating parts.

Get a professional

If an issue you don’t quite understand is affecting your laminator, consider calling in a professional. That way, you’ll not just have the issue solved; you’ll avoid terminating the warranty.

Clean the rollers

After using the machine for a while, you will notice some adhesive building up on the rollers. Don’t worry about it; just clean it off this way:

  • Take off the laminating film roll from the machine.
  • Turn on the machine and switch the heat setting to warm so that the adhesive softens.
  • Use a soft damp scrubbing pad to scrub the soft adhesive off the rollers. Take care not to burn your hands as the rollers are warm. You could even use a pair of gloves to protect yourself.
  • Continue scrubbing until all the adhesive has come off.
  • Reload the adhesive film and continue using the device.

Avoid opening the unit

Most laminators don’t have user serviceable parts inside. As such, we don’t see any reason why you should open the unit unless you’re a technician of such machines.

The risk of opening your unit is that you could suffer an electric shock or even start a fire inadvertently.

So, those are the precautionary and maintenance measures, and we’re positive that they will help you keep your machine working properly for a long time.

Don’t forget to keep your hands away from the hot elements when operating the machine. Also, remember to clean the rollers from time to time, so the adhesive doesn’t accumulate there so much and affect the functioning of the device.

Cleaning the rollers also ensures the laminated paper doesn’t come out with residue on it.

Oh, and dear reader, don’t clean the rollers using hard materials like steel wool or those aggressive scouring powders; they’ll ruin your rollers. Instead, use a soft pad.

Before you go, here are some common questions you’d like to look at.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

1. Why do I need to laminate documents?

To preserve them. The laminating film offers the documents protection against moisture and general wear. The primary purpose of laminating papers is to boost their longevity, and that’s something we all want.

3. How long does the laminating process take?

To laminate paper efficiently, allow the machine to heat up for about ten minutes. After that, 30 seconds should be enough to laminate each paper.

4. Is it possible to fold the laminated document?

Yes, it’s possible. Folding it with the hands might be a little challenging especially if the laminating material is thick or hard but with a scoring machine, folding the laminated document will be fairly easy.

5. Is it possible to cut the laminated paper?

Yes, but the difficultly of cutting differs with the thickness of sturdiness of the laminating material. The thicker the laminating material, the harder it is to cut the laminated paper. If you want to cut laminated paper, you’d better use a sharp and firm cutting implement like a pair of sharp scissors.

6. Can I laminate old photographs?

One factor to keep in mind is that the heat can ruin old photographs, particularly if an inkjet printer was used to print them. Therefore, if you want to laminate old photographs, you’d better use a cold laminator or a pouch laminator with a cold setting.

Final Word

There you have it – a review of the top 15 laminator machines plus their features. We hope you have selected one or two that fit you but if you haven’t, go through the review again, carefully scrutinizing the features to know exactly what works for you. The buying guide should help you know what to look for.

We have done our best to pick and review the finest laminating machines that will work excellently for you and stay useful for a long time.

But remember, the length of the laminator’s life depends a lot on how you maintain it, so be sure to clean the rollers periodically and observe the other maintenance measures we talked about.

We hope you found this post useful and that you will share it with your friends. Thanks in advance.

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