Best laminator

Office Supplies

A laminator can protect your kids’ art projects at home or preserve documents and files at your office.

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Which laminator is best?

Whether you want to protect your kids’ drawings at home or preserve documents or files at your office, a laminator is handy. You don’t need to worry about items getting damaged when they are laminated. There are so many options on the market, but the Mead HeatSeal PRO Lamination Machine is a great choice if you are looking for a top laminator.

What to know before you buy a laminator

Uses

You can use a laminator for crafting projects such as creating memory books for your kids, preserving your children’s artwork, pressing flowers, creating homemade playing cards or making bookmarks. 

You can use a laminator at your office to laminate bar and restaurant menus, membership cards, training and education materials or price and parts lists. You might use a laminator at home to laminate photos, recipe cards, luggage tags, weekly menus and cleaning checklists.

Types

There are a few kinds of laminators out there, including hot laminators, cold laminators, roll laminators and pouch laminators. With hot laminators, you use heat to melt adhesive backing on pieces of plastic film, which bonds the plastic film around the document or item you’re laminating to seal it. Cold laminators, also known as pressure-sensitive laminators, use pressure to seal the plastic film around the document or item.

Roll laminators work best for bigger items and use rolls of plastic film. Pouch laminators use pouches of plastic film into which you can slip the document or thing you want to laminate. Pouch laminators work best for small pieces of fabric or paper.

Capacity

The laminator’s capacity refers to the gauge or thickness of the plastic film, measured in mils, that the laminator is able to handle. Higher-gauge film is more rigid and thicker. There are a few different capacity levels, including standard capacity, medium capacity, rigid capacity and extra-rigid capacity. Standard capacity is 3 mils, medium capacity is 5 mils, rigid capacity is 7 mils and extra-rigid capacity is 10 mils.

What to look for in a quality laminator

Width

The right width for the lamination machine depends on the size of the documents and things you want to laminate. For example, photo laminators can laminate photos up to 4 inches wide, while commercial laminators can laminate things more than 27 inches wide.

Adjustable temperature control

Many hot lamination machines provide adjustable temperature control, which enables you to choose how hot you want the laminator to get.

Safety features

Look for a laminator with safety features to prevent accidents, especially if you select a hot laminator. For example, some laminators have an auto shutoff feature to keep the laminator from getting too hot if you forget to turn it off.

How much you can expect to spend on a laminator

Expect to spend $17-$300 for a laminator machine. The most basic and budget-friendly lamination machines cost about $17-$65, while midrange laminators go for $70-$175. High-end lamination machines vary in price from $180-$300.

Laminator FAQ

What is the most common mistake when it comes to purchasing laminators?

A. The most common mistake when it comes to buying a laminator is purchasing a laminator that is not big enough to handle the projects you want to laminate. Laminators that laminate items up to 12 inches wide tend to work well for home use, but you look for a bigger laminator machine for commercial or office use, where you will probably have to laminate bigger items such as signs and posters.

Which kind of laminator works well for fragile items?

A. You should avoid hot laminators when working with fragile items, since the heat can damage documents, photos and other items that are fragile. For fragile items, use a cold laminator, which applies pressure to seal plastic film around the items and documents.

Are laminators safe for kids to use?

A. Laminators work well for different projects that are fun for kids. That said, kids under the age of 12 should not use a lamination machine by themselves, since the laminator uses pressure or heat to seal the film. Children can use laminators with adult supervision as long as they adhere to correct safety procedures.

What are the best laminators to buy?

Top laminator

Mead HeatSeal PRO Lamination Machine

Mead HeatSeal PRO Lamination Machine

What you need to know: This large and fast lamination machine from Mead can laminate a letter-sized piece of paper in only a minute.

What you’ll love: This machine has three temperature settings and a fast warmup time of only three minutes. The machine can laminate up to a foot a minute and handle up to 12.5-inch-wide projects.

What you should consider: Some customers said they had difficulty getting the laminator machine hot enough.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top laminator for the money

Scotch Thermal Laminator

Scotch Thermal Laminator

What you need to know: This is a top-quality and affordable laminator machine from Scotch.

What you’ll love: An ideal entry-level machine for beginners, this portable and lightweight Scotch thermal laminator machine provides top-quality lamination, both hot and cold, at a very affordable price point.

What you should consider: This laminator machine comes with a long warmup time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Amazon Basics 9-Inch Thermal Laminator Machine

Amazon Basics 9-Inch Thermal Laminator Machine

What you need to know: This portable and budget-friendly laminator machine from Amazon Basics is perfect for beginners.

What you’ll love: This Amazon Basics thermal laminator machine heats up in only four minutes and is simple to operate. The compact and portable design of the laminator fits well on a small table or desk.

What you should consider: This laminator machine sometimes leaves lines or wrinkles when it laminates an item.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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