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best laminators

The Best Laminators in 2021

Author: Robert Wilson

Electronics & Peripherals Expert

With a laminator, documents, papers, drawings and much more can be ideally protected. Our team has checked numerous comparison reports and tests on the Internet in order to be able to generate a list of the best along with ratings for performance, laminating format, weight and a lot more.

Scotch Thermal Laminator

Scotch Thermal Laminator
35,942 Reviews
Scotch Thermal Laminator
  • #1 Laminating Brand*
  • Laminates items up to 9 inches wide
  • Two heated rollers create high quality professional, bubble…
  • Safe to use on photos to help preserve precious memories
  • Will laminate pouches up to 5 mil thick. Two temperature…

AmazonBasics 9-Inch Thermal Laminator Machine

AmazonBasics 9-Inch Thermal Laminator Machine
24,864 Reviews
AmazonBasics 9-Inch Thermal Laminator Machine
  • Laminates documents up to 9 inches wide; compatible with…
  • Works with any 3 mil or 5 mil laminating pouch; note: mil…
  • 2 heat settings: 3mil (best for normal documents, photos,…
  • Quick 4-minute warm up with Ready indicator light; jam…
  • Includes (2) 3-mil-thick, 8.9×11.4-inch laminating pouches

Laminator Machine, Slaouwo A4 Thermal Laminator

No products found.

5 in 1 Blusmart Laminator Set

No products found.

Scotch Brand Pro Thermal Laminator

Scotch Brand Pro Thermal Laminator
8,072 Reviews
Scotch Brand Pro Thermal Laminator
  • 5 minute warm-up time. Light signals when machine is ready
  • Assembled product dimensions (L x w x H) 4.00 x 15.80 x 4.00…
  • 2 roller machine. Laminates at speed of 15 in/Min. Use with…
  • Auto shutoff after 1 hour of inactivity helps conserve…
  • Laminating machine throat width: 6 Inch-10 Inch

Merece Laminator - 4 in 1 A4 Thermal Laminator

Merece Laminator - 4 in 1 A4 Thermal Laminator
2,185 Reviews
Merece Laminator – 4 in 1 A4 Thermal Laminator
  • 🏆 4-in-1 DELUXE LAMINATION MACHINE SET – This A4 thermal…
  • 🏆 FAST & SMOOTH LAMINATING – The two-roller design…
  • 🏆 HOT & COLD LAMINATOR – There are two laminating ways,…
  • 🏆 COMPACT DESIGN & WIDE APPLICATIONS – This small 9…
  • 🏆 BUY WITH CONFIDENCE – Reliable quality to make you…

Laminator, Toyuugo A4 Laminator Machine

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Laminator dodocool Thermal Laminating Machine 4 in 1

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Laminator, HOPVISION A4 Laminator,4 in 1

 Our Pick
Laminator, HOPVISION A4 Laminator,4 in 1
1,196 Reviews
Laminator, HOPVISION A4 Laminator,4 in 1
  • 【ALL-IN-1 LAMINATOR】A good laminator choice for office…
  • 【FASTER PREHEATING/LAMINATION】This thermal laminate…
  • 【NO MORE PAPER JAM 】High quality laminator machine…
  • 【HOT & COLD Modes】This laminating machine for home have…
  • 【BEST GIFT & LIFETIME WARRANTY】Laminator machine with…

13 Inches Laminator Machine, UALAU 7 in 1 Thermal Laminator

13 Inches Laminator Machine, UALAU 7 in 1 Thermal Laminator
2,718 Reviews
13 Inches Laminator Machine, UALAU 7 in 1 Thermal Laminator
  • 【Laminator Machine for A3/A4/A6】The laminator laminates…
  • 【7 in 1 Versatile Laminator】It comes with 20 Laminating…
  • 【Paper Release Button Inserted and no Paper Jam】This…
  • 【Faster Warm-up and Laminating Speed】UALAU lamiantor is…
  • 【Compact and Portable Design】 It has 16.6 × 6.3 × 3.9…

Laminator Machine for A3/A4/A6

Laminator Machine for A3/A4/A6
1,687 Reviews
Laminator Machine for A3/A4/A6
  • ✔【COMPATIBLE FOR MORE DIFFERENT SIZE POUCHES】: This…
  • ✔【5 In 1 LAMINATOR MACHINE AND NO NOISE】: Including a…
  • ✔【ABS BUTTON INSERTED AND NO PAPER JAM】: All the…
  • ✔【3 IN 1 PAPER TRIMMER AND BEAUTY CUTTING】: Featured…
  • ✔【TEMPERATURE CONTROL TO PROTECT YOUR MACHHINE】: Built…

Frequently Asked Questions: Laminators

What is a laminator?

At some point the ravages of time gnaws at all types of documents. Photos and sheet material must be protected from yellowing, dust, dirt, deposits and moisture, otherwise they will become unsightly and, in the worst case, illegible. At some point, photos that are decades old are so yellow-tinged, damp and dark that the people on them can no longer be recognized.

Important documents such as contracts are illegible and valuable antiquarian documents such as deeds, old letters and other heirlooms lose their value the greater the external damage. These valuable documents cannot be reproduced and are lost forever. Drought, temperature fluctuations, high humidity, kinks, dog-ears and strong exposure to light have a detrimental effect on all documents or photos. It gets really annoying if you accidentally spill your cup of coffee on these valuable pieces of paper.

You can prevent these adverse environmental influences by shrinking your documents and photos in laminating film. A laminator is a special device for use in the office, home office and hobby, which completely welds all types of paper documents in laminating film to protect them from harmful environmental influences and exposure to time. The sealed documents are waterproof and washable.

From a purely technical point of view, it is a material and thermal joining process without external aids. From a practical point of view, however, a thin film layer is used as the carrier material and a document is protected from harmful environmental influences by connecting two films (film pouch) using adhesive and the effects of heat and pressure.

How does a laminator work?

Laminators consist of two heating plates and rollers. There are also devices with four rollers. A glossy or matt laminating film, which is equipped with a laminating adhesive, is responsible for sealing the documents in foil, or lamination. The document is placed in the foil pouch and both foil sides of the lamination pouch are glued together at the edge due to the action of heat.

After this process, the document inside the foil pouch is forever well protected from negative environmental influences. Laminators therefore adopt the physical principles of pressure and heat as their own.

After the device has been switched on and a certain operating temperature has been reached, the laminating film is pulled through two to four rollers, depending on the brand of device, and welded at the edges and corners by the action of heat in conjunction with laminating adhesive.

This process is known as hot lamination, in which the heating coil generates the necessary lamination temperature in the device and seals the film around the document.

Special chemical laminating adhesives are used for cold lamination. We examined both device types in our product test. Hot lamination is more environmentally friendly than its cold counterpart, as no chemical adhesive substances are used.

Make sure that the film is free of lint, hair and other residues so that no contamination occurs in the device.
The lamination process is very easy. After switching on the device and the corresponding warm-up phase, push the laminating film with the medium to be welded into the feed slot.

Scaling makes orientation easier for you. Push the film into the feed slot until the rollers inside the device grip it, pull it in and transport it. On the back of the device is the output slot from which the now laminated medium comes out when the automatic transport process has ended. At this moment you can remove the foil.

The commercially available laminators usually consist of eleven components. The number of components can vary depending on the manufacturer and the equipment:

  1. Support surface (feed slot) with scaling
  2. Control lamp hot lamination “HOT Ready”
  3. Control lamp cold lamination “COLD Ready”
  4. Indent
  5. Function switch for HOT (hot lamination), COLD (cold lamination) and OFF (off)
  6. “POWER” operating light
  7. Inner casing with rollers
  8. “RELEASE” output button
  9. Power cord and plug
  10. Output slot
  11. Pull-out film holder for film bags

Advantages of laminators

The main reason for using laminators is to refine and preserve documents, photos, ID cards, cards, graphics and presentation materials.

The advantages are apparent. Your valuable documents are protected against negative environmental influences for all eternity.

Even if you spill your coffee on the table on which the decades-old photos of your loved ones are lying on, you don’t have to worry anymore, because your drink can no longer harm the shrink-wrapped photos. Historical events in your family become something special, even in dull everyday life, once they are professionally laminated. Contracts, certificates and valuable memorabilia remain legible and presentable even after many years.

Laminating is also suitable for ID documents, i.e. for all types of ID cards that prove your identity, such as ID cards, driver’s licenses and the like. In this way you achieve protection against forgery. The identity documents of the new generations are already shrink-wrapped, as they are also used on the Internet with chip card readers. Lamination is ideal for documents that are heavily damaged by regular use, such as menus.

Your business cards are also protected from wear and tear and are visually enhanced. Important information on operating machines and presentation documents for your meetings make a visually elegant impression after lamination that will also impress your colleagues.

This type of preservation is recommended for documents that are regularly exposed to strong weather, such as notices and hiking maps, so that they remain legible for a long time. Warning signs that indicate the risk of black ice in winter are just as legally effective when laminated as officially set up signs.

While you are enjoying your new laminator, do not be too hasty, because certain documents such as rental agreements or sales contracts require a signature and often also notarial certification. Be sure to complete the legal process before reaching your laminator and wrapping these important documents.

Your documents, with which you regularly work professionally, remain clean and representative. With the environmentally friendly hot lamination, you do not use any chemical adhesive substances and there is no unpleasant smell. The lamination of your documents is clean and time-saving.

The only disadvantages are the power consumption and a possible risk of burns, which can, however, be avoided with proper handling.

The cold lamination consumes no electricity and there is no risk of burns. However, it is less environmentally friendly due to the use of chemical adhesive substances. Sealing the documents requires a little more skill, as working with laminating adhesive is not always as clean as hot lamination. In view of the wide range of uses and the associated advantages, it is worth purchasing a laminator. In addition, the one-off acquisition costs are negligible.

Types of laminators

There are three different types of laminators.

Hot Roller Technology

Devices that are equipped with hot roller technology have indirectly heated transport rollers that perform three functions, heating, pressing and transporting the film, in one operation. The adhesive used is heated and distributed evenly on the medium to be laminated. This technique works very well for laminating photos.

Halogen Technology

Laminators equipped with halogen technology have four ceramic rollers. The user can set the number of degrees exactly, which means that all four rollers are heated evenly. The halogen technology enables faster operational readiness and ensures precise lamination results.

Hot Plate Technology

Models with hot plate technology work with two heatable aluminum rails and two cold transport rollers. These devices have a shorter warm-up phase and ensure less film jams.

Sensor technology of laminators

The commercially available devices have two to four laminating rollers, each arranged in pairs. A pair of rollers forms a lamination gap. Depending on the type of device, one, but preferably both, rollers can be heated. One, but preferably both, rollers are part of the transport device, which has an electric drive and is connected to the control device. The marking is in the form of a sensor in the direction of passage in front of the laminating device.

It is read out before the sheet material to be laminated passes through the laminating device. The temperature and throughput speed are set and the lamination process can begin. It is useful if the sensor is not in the housing, but outside. The flow channel is supplemented by a sheet support. This is assigned to the sensor.

The sensor is arranged as a laser scanner which is able to read out surface areas of different absorption and / or reflections. The sensor is movably arranged in the flow channel and is guided transversely to the flow direction. In the case of laminating devices that have two adjustable side stops for the central (central) introduction of the film into the flow channel, this is connected to one of the two side stops, so that when the film is inserted, it is automatically adjusted and correctly assigned. So that the laminating device can process foils of different thicknesses, the height of the insertion gap must be done automatically by the control device or the sensor signal.

Devices with a sensor run automatically after being switched on, and manual intervention by the user is no longer necessary. In this way, incorrect operation of the device can be avoided, especially if several people have access at the same time and may not have the necessary user knowledge. The throughput speed of the film and the heating of the device takes place exclusively via this sensor device.

The laminating foils are provided with corresponding codes which the sensor recognizes before the start of the run. These are barcodes, numbers or letters. So that these codes do not visually impair the finished laminated product, a film overhang is provided that can be removed by trimming, for example using a cutting ruler. Anything that can be read out with the aid of a sensor and differentiated according to thickness and / or material can be used as marking for the laminating foils to be used in the method.

Thus, printed markings, for example in the form of numbers, letters or combinations thereof or in the form of a bar code or barcode, can be used, but also magnetic strips, magnetically scannable particles or the like. Since such markings can usually also be recognized on the finished laminated product, it can be provided that they are limited to an overhang which is then removed by trimming.

It is best to use laminating foils whose initial accuracy on one side is higher than the final accuracy on the other. It is ideal to use laminating foils whose initial accuracy is matt or opaque (translucent).

Because of this alignment, static electricity is avoided in the foils. The applied adhesive enables this initial accuracy.

In this area, the adhesive creates a surface pattern on the film side provided with the initial accuracy by smoothing certain surface areas that are recognized by the sensor. In this way, the feeding accuracy increases, the throughfeed process runs completely automatically without incorrect operation and the surface patterns disappear again during the lamination process.

The adhesive layer is therefore melted in such a way that it is evenly distributed over the entire laminating surface, is smoothed and becomes transparent. There are no restrictions on the extent and type of surface pattern. However, the contrast between the initial accuracy and surface areas must be so pronounced that the sensor can recognize it.

This is done by smoothing the surface areas and surface patterns so that they have the necessary final accuracy for the lamination process from the outset. Markings with parallel, straight and spaced line areas are ideal. These are achieved through the use of a suitable laminating film that has a flat initial accuracy on the edge areas provided for this purpose.

With the lamination process, these areas are smoothed so that they are no longer a hindrance and are then simply removed with a cutting ruler, as these surface areas are limited to the sensor area. These are made larger or smaller with regard to different film thicknesses.

These are made larger or smaller with regard to different film thicknesses. This differentiation is made by line areas of different widths and spacing.

Important purchase criteria for laminators

Many users use laminators for occasional skin use. The most common devices are those from the Olympia and Leitz brands. These manufacturers are brand manufacturers in the range of office supplies. Normal documents from everyday life such as invoices, rental agreements, order confirmations, order forms and the like are kept in files because they will be outdated at some point and will be disposed of.

Many companies have already switched to digital archiving in this area in order to save space and make the documents easier to find. Photos, old letters, certificates, contracts and similar heirlooms from family history, on the other hand, are valuable personal mementos that need to be preserved and protected from negative environmental influences.

A device from the lower price segment is sufficient for occasional use. For regular use in the home office or at work, we recommend the high-quality and well-known branded products, as they are easy to use, of good quality and particularly durable. In our product test, we explain which purchase criteria you have to consider.

Laminating width and format

An important basic requirement is the lamination width and the lamination format. The paper size is standardized by DIN standards. The common DIN sizes are A4, A3 and A5. The commercially available devices laminate documents in A4 size. Of course, you can also process smaller formats.

If you would like to seal documents in A3 format, we recommend the larger Olympus laminator. It is important that the film pocket does not exceed the lamination width. For A4 formats the size is 230 mm and A3 formats 330 mm. There is a large range of standard devices for A4 formats have them in their range. Discounters such as Aldi and Lidl also regularly carry special items. Devices that also process A3 sizes are not that widespread.

Our tip: If you often change the laminating thickness, we recommend buying a device with a variable adjustment pressure and adjustable passage height.

The right laminating film

The right laminating film is important to achieve a clean and flawless result. The thickness of the film plays an important role, because you want to enjoy your laminated documents for a long time. The film thickness is given in micrometers. However, this unit of measurement only refers to one half of the foil. With a thickness of 80 microns, your end product is surrounded by 160 microns thick films. You also have to consider the thickness of the paper.

We advise you to invest a little more money and use the expensive, but high-quality films to ensure a satisfactory lamination result. High-quality laminated bags protect your office documents and valuable memories for all eternity. The lamination process only works with the right foil.

Avoid experiments by using commercially available transparencies that happen to be available in order to supposedly save money. Since the device seals the document with the film by generating heat, the appropriate laminating film that is adapted to the performance of the device must be used.

Conventional brochure covers do not withstand the effects of heat from the device, they melt and stick to the laminating rollers. In the worst case, your device will become unusable after this process.

Not only the thickness of the laminating film plays a role, but also how thick the material to be laminated is. Business cards, paper or thin copies require a smaller film thickness than hiking maps, menus or pictures with thicker paper material. Some documents are not suitable for lamination because of the way they are processed. All types of receipts and cards for public transport fall into this category.

These documents are produced using the thermal printing process. This inexpensive printing process does not withstand the effects of heat from the laminator and the writing becomes illegible. You should therefore refrain from shrinking your receipt as proof of guarantee. If you change frequently between different laminating thicknesses, make sure that you are equipped with a thermostat control.

A look at the manufacturer’s instructions tells you which foils should be used for the device. Some devices can only be used with the manufacturer’s own foils, so you are bound to them for the long term. Inquire how much the manufacturer’s own foil packages cost and compare this price with the commercially available foils.

If you only seal sheet material occasionally, this point is not that important. For larger quantities and excessive price differences, we recommend that you look for a device that is flexible with regard to the use of the film.

Lamination speed

A good starting value is 300 mm per minute. In general, the range is large in this regard, it starts at 200 mm per minute and ends at 900 mm / per minute, depending on the equipment and quality of the device. If you want to laminate sheet material regularly, an average value of 450 mm per minute is a good value.

If you have a home office, a copy shop or a graphics agency, we recommend the use of high-end devices that move in the range of 900 mm per minute, but are also at the top of the price range. The devices from Leitz iLam A3 and Fellows Titan A3 have established themselves in this area.

Insertion rails and ejection trays

This equipment is often neglected, but is important for a precise lamination result. Equipped with an optimal sensor, these devices help with the precise introduction of the film into the insertion slots, without it slipping or rotating around the rollers and thus causing a jam. Ejection compartments take the still hot and fragile foil so that it can cool down without any problems.

Special functions

In the area of laminators, trendy names such as “Heat Swap”, “Easier Access” or “Antiblocker Function” are repeatedly used. However, these additional functions can be neglected, because the previously mentioned basic functions that make up a laminator are important.

If there is something wrong with the price-performance ratio in this regard, the additional functions advertised by the manufacturers are also useless. We advise you to regard this as a nice additional bonus, which should, however, be secondary in the purchase decision.

If you pay attention to the technical equipment of your device, the correct consumables, the accessories and the price-performance ratio when buying your laminator, you are doing everything right.

Warm-up time and operating time

Our test showed that the different devices hardly differ from each other in terms of the warm-up time. All models we tested recorded a warm-up time of three to five minutes.

However, there are differences with regard to the operating temperature. The models of the high-quality brands from Olympus or Leitz are also suitable for continuous operation, while the devices from the lower price categories have to be switched off after half an hour to protect them from overheating.

A similar principle applies to the lamination speed. The devices from the upper price segment weld 1,000 mm per minute, while their inexpensive “colleagues” manage 300 mm per minute. A good quality heating system prevents the formation of bubbles.

Rollers

The number of rollers is decisive for the result of the lamination, as the document feed is distributed more evenly. Most devices have two roles that are sufficient for normal household use. Good average quality models have four roles. Professional devices in the upper price range are often equipped with six rollers.

If you value an environmentally friendly device, make sure that manufacturers avoid using flame retardants such as bromine.

How to maintain a laminator?

Cleaning the laminator is easy. The device is switched on to clean the rollers. Once the operating temperature has been reached when the “HOT Ready” indicator lamp lights up, run a sheet of white cardboard or a “GBC” cleaning sheet specially made for these devices through the device two or three times.

This cleaning cardboard removes glue residues and dust particles from the cleaning rollers. Alternatively, you can use roll cleaning cloths that are specially made for laminating machines. Similar to a printer, open the upper part of the device to get access to the cleaning rollers. Use the cloth to wipe the rollers to remove any adhesive residue and dust particles.

Avoid anything that could contaminate the device and keep it in a place after use that protects it from the effects of dust, light and temperature. Under no circumstances may the device be cleaned with a wet cloth or immersed in water for this purpose. Cleaning with a damp cloth is possible as long as no water gets inside the device.

The use of aggressive cleaning agents, abrasives, steel brushes or other hard cleaning tools must be avoided in any case, as they damage the device. The same goes for the use of gasoline, oil-based detergents and solvents. They attack the device both inside and outside.

Do not insert an empty foil pouch into your device and do not cut it up. The corners and edges intended for sealing must not be removed either, since in this case the film will wrap around the roller and cause a jam. The foil pouch must always be inserted into the device with the closed end.

Do not use damaged plastic bags that have kinks, tears, or dog-ears. Do not leave the device unattended and switch it off immediately after use. Do not attempt to take the laminator apart and repair it. If you follow these instructions, your device will run flawlessly and extensive cleaning is not necessary. Laminators are nowadays designed so modern with basic and additional equipment that lamination is child’s play.

Nevertheless it can happen that a film jam occurs. The foil pouch has creased, tilted, wrapped around the rollers or is simply stuck so tight that it can no longer be removed. We know this problem from our printers. Let your device cool down. Only then do you try to remove the film. In this case, the additional functions advertised by the manufacturers such as “hot swap” and “ABS anti-lock braking system” prove their worth.

They prevent the rollers from overheating and the anti-blocking button (release) lets the film run backwards to the beginning, so that it can usually be removed without any problems. The device is opened by opening the connecting screws to gain access to the rollers and to remove the remnants of the film. However, we would like to point out that in this case the legally guaranteed manufacturer warranty expires, as it is an unauthorized and improper intervention in the device. However, if you can remove the entire film, it doesn’t matter.

The high-end devices from the Fellows Titan A3 brand are equipped with the additional “Easy Access” function, so that the device can simply be opened and the castors are easily accessible.

Laminator accessories

The most important accessories for laminators are the laminating foils. Laminated documents have an unlimited lifespan, they look neat, elegant and important. Laminating foils make your documents water and dirt repellent, writable (water pens), forgery-proof and tear-proof. They are available in different strengths and designs.

There are models with a self-adhesive back and with punch holes. Most devices come with an additional foil set, a cutting ruler for cutting photos and paper, and a corner rounder.

In order to optimally upgrade and use your laminated material, we recommend purchasing a binding device. Laminated and bound documents leave a perfect impression and are easy to handle. Binding devices hold your laminated documents together reliably. They are available as thermal, wire or plastic binding devices.

Last product update on 2021-09-24 | Source: Amazon Affiliate