Whether you work at a school or office, or want to preserve your kids’ artwork forever and display it proudly on the refrigerator, the best laminator is a fantastic way to increase the lifespan of important documents or precious memories. It’s never as easy as picking the first one you come across, though, and depending on your needs you need to do more research than you’ve likely ever done in your life, especially when researching laminators.
For offices, you need something that’s suitable for documents of varying size, for the classroom, you want something capable of laminating hundreds of pieces of work a week, and for the home, it’s something that works so easily, even your kids could manage it, only with your supervision, though.
The Best Laminator
Our first pick for the best laminator is the AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator Machine. It boasts 2 heat settings for versatility and safety if you’re working with kids, while the 3 or 5 mil laminating compatibility is useful for different demands.
At just less than £22, it’s the perfect option to have in the home or for personal use, and it’s easy to set up and easy to use, with user-friendly features including a jam release button and Ready light for simple operation. It takes around 4 minutes to heat up, which is standard for this price range, but takes a little too long to laminate the documents. If you’re not in a hurry, though, this won’t be a problem. For more great products for your office, check out our guide to the best label makers.
Laminates documents up to 9”
Two heat settings
3 mil or 5 mil laminating pouch
4 minute warm-up
Ready indicator light
Jam release button
- Weight2.64 pounds
Easy set up
Holds plastic together well
Not the fastest operation around
The Apache AL9 9” Thermal Laminator is a lightweight and compact option that comes at a fantastic price, making it an indisputable pick for our best value selection. It boasts a quality motor and heating element, while the 2 silicone rollers apply feed the document through with ease.
To ensure top quality, there’s an ABS release button should something go wrong, and it’s compatible with both 3 and 5 mil pouches. It might not be as consistent as more expensive options, but for straightforward home use, you can’t go wrong. So be sure to keep it always on your home office desk.
2 silicone rollers
Quality grade motor and heating element
Power and Ready LED
ABS release button
20 pack of laminator pouches
- Weight2 pounds
Sleek, compact design
Compatible with 3 and 5 mil pouches
6 month manufacturer warranty
Lamination is not as consistent as more expensive models
Even better than the 3000L is the Swingline GBC Fusion 7000L Thermal Laminator, which is our choice for the best laminator ever created (trust us). Our premium choice can laminate 55” per minute and like the 3000L it boasts a fast warm up time and can also accommodate cold laminating for vinyl and other materials.
It’s compatible with a variety of pouch sizes ranging from 3 mils to 10, and the automatic shut off saves energy. As for usability, it will automatically detect the pouch size to make it essentially a hands-free option, and with 50 pouches included, it’s decent value, too. If you work with paper bills, make sure to check out our top picks of the best money counting machines.
Laminates 55” per minute
Fast warmup time
Compatible with 3, 5, 7, and 10 mil pouches
50 pouches included
Automatic shut off
Cold lamination capabilities
- Weight22 pounds
Ideal for offices and schools
Auto pouch thickness detection
3 year warranty
Sometimes causes folded corners
The Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator is currently a total steal, so get it while it’s hot. Along with a great price, it’s also superb for professional looking results with Never Jam technology to ensure hassle-free operation every time.
It can laminate 15 inches per minute, and the dual roller design feeds everything through smoothly. Unlike other machines, it can cope with unlimited length, making it ideal for banners and signs, while the automatic shutoff feature keeps your kids safe from burning their fingers. For more great products for your office, check out our top picks of the best ergonomic office chairs.
Ready signal light
5 minute warm up time
Never Jam technology
2 roller machine
Laminates 15 inches per minute
Auto shut off
- BrandScotch Brands
- Weight3.2 pounds
Professional looking lamination
Laminates unlimited lengths
Basic set of functions
A great value option, the BluSmart 5 in 1 Laminator Set comes with an impressive 20 laminating pouches among a variety of other accessories for your home or classroom needs. It takes up to 5 minutes to warm up, and laminates 250 mm (9 inches) per minute. This isn’t super fast, but not super slow, either.
There are hot and cold modes for safe use at school or with your children, and the anti blockage system ensures every document comes out looking perfect. However, you may sometimes need to deal with crooked results, although this isn’t too often to be a problem. Don’t forget to check out our guide to the best laser printers.
20 laminating pouches included
3 to 5 minute warm up
Hot and cold modes
12 month warranty
250 mm per minute laminating speed
- Weight1.98 pounds
LED indicator light
Dual roller heating system
Picture frames and paper trimmer included
Sometimes laminates crookedly
Shifting in the upper echelons of laminator quality, the Swingline GBC Fusion 3000L Thermal Laminator is a still-affordable option for more demanding laminating needs. It’s great for the office or more official documents and delivers high productivity with a fast warm up time and accelerated laminating process.
You can use it to protect an incredible 17 documents in a single minute, and despite the price, it comes with 30 letter-sized pouches, which is ideal for ID cards or name tags for the next big event. There’s also a 3 year warranty, which should come in useful should the pages get stuck. Be sure to also check out our reviews of the best filing cabinets that are amazing for storing your documents.
1 minute warm up
17 documents in 1 minute
30 letter-size pouches
Compatible with 3 and 5 mil pouches
- Weight5.3 pounds
3 year warranty
Auto jam detection
Auto shut off
Difficult to fix if pages get stuck
The Sarki 13” Laminator Machine is one of the widest options we’ve selected to give you greater versatility in your laminating adventures. It’s also one of the fastest warming up, too, managing a speedy 3 minutes for increased efficiency.
Whether you prefer hot or cold operation, this can do both, and there are 4 temperature settings for the cold option. It accepts 3, 4, and 5 mil thicknesses, with each of them bringing a professional finish, great for sticking on your office door while you wait for a gold plaque or keeping your kids family portrait safe to bring out again on their wedding day. For more handy office products, check out our guide to the best portable printers.
3 minute warm up
Hot and cold lamination
13.3 inch width limit
4 temperature settings
Laminates 10.2 inches per minute
- Weight4.75 pounds
Ideal for home, school, or office
Single operation switch
Sometimes laminates with crooked edges
With a sleek, futuristic design and versatile operation, the Fellowes Jupiter 2 125 Laminator is a spectacular choice to show off to important clients at the office or reluctant, bemused neighbors at your house. It heats up in just a minute, while the AutoSense detection feature adjusts to the thickness for hassle-free use.
The 6 roller system ensures a creaseless result, and it can laminate up to 47 inches of film and document per minute. If you’re a busy man, which we’re sure you are, it’s trustworthy enough to set and forget, allowing you to make your lunch, take important calls from your office phone, or just take a break with no problems.
1 minute warm up
Laminates 47” inches per minute
Automatically reverses pouch
6 roller system
Hot and cold lamination
- Weight15 pounds
Compatible with pouches up to 10 mil thick
Set and forget usability
We’d expect it to laminate a little faster considering the price
Anyone drawn to a funny name will love the Purple Cows Hot and Cold 9” Laminator which accepts a variety of pouch thicknesses and heats up in a maximum of 5 minutes for easy use. It can laminate using both hot and cold processes, and the ABS feature ensures quality.
What we love most, though is how energy efficient it is, using 50% less energy than other options. All this combined with a simple functionality and a reasonable price makes it a decent option to pick if you’re still not sure. For more great options for your workplace, check out our guide to the best 3D printers.
Versatile pouch acceptance
Heats up in 3 to 5 minutes
Hot and cold laminating compatibility
50 pouches included
- BrandPurple Cows
- Weight1 pounds
Uses 3 and 5 mil pouches
Easy to use
Difficult to open
The final lamination machine in our selection is the Zoomyo 9” Hot & Cold Laminator which keeps you involved with a Ready LED light and the ability to go either hot or cold depending on what you’re laminating.
Along with this, it accepts a variety of pouch thicknesses, while the Jam Release technology takes a load off your mind. It can laminate nearly 12 inches per minute, giving you moderate efficiency. It doesn’t feel as durable as other options, but if you take care of it and clean it often, you should be okay. If you are looking for a perfect spacious desk for your home office, check out our reviews of the best l-shaped desks and pick your favorite.
Accepts a variety of pouch sizes
ABS Jam Release technology
Cold lamination compatibility
Integrated heating elements
3 to 5 minute warm up
Laminates 11.8” per minute
- ModelZ 9-5
- Weight15.2 ounces
Suitable for home and professional environments
Eco-friendly power consumption
3 mil pouches included
Not as durable as other options at a similar price
Laminator Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection Of Laminators
To ensure we picked only the top laminators around, we focused on these 3 factors to find the best ones for you.
Brand - Picking the brands that scream quality is usually a decent way to go, however it’s not always the perfect process. Instead, we scoured the internet searching for brands that didn’t just scream quality, but could back it up with super performance. This also means we found a range of brands instead of sticking to the 2 or 3 everyone already knows about because we love to give a shoutout to the little guy.
Price - We know all of you have different needs for your laminators ranging from simple home projects to more demanding office environments. This means there will always be a range of prices so suit whatever budgets you come to this list with. For professional needs, we’ve got more expensive options, and for more casual use, we’ve peppered in a few budget options.
Reviews - Above all other factors, laminator reviews are our favorite, most essential resource. Through these reviews, we’re able to find out how durable our picks are, how reliable they are, and how effective they are. If there are any issues with the product, we can also find that out and ensure we don’t recommend you a dud.
Features To Look For In Laminators
Before deciding on which laminator you think looks or sounds the coolest, check out these important features to think about, you might just change your mind before clicking Confirm Order.
Roller System - The roller system feeds the document inside the film through rollers to compress it and fuse the loose ends together. Some laminators use just two rollers, whereas others use as many as six depending on the quality and price of the laminator.
Jam Release Button - These machines aren’t perfect, and no matter how much care you take using it and how clean you keep your laminator, there’s always a chance your document or picture can get jammed. While this isn’t ideal, having a jam release button (also known as an anti-blockage system) can minimize damage to both the document and the machine.
Type - The laminator you choose will depend on the needs of your environment. Large laminators are great for professional places and they are often more durable, whereas slim, more portable options are preferred around the home because of their ease of use and compact style.
Warm-Up Time & Laminating Speed - We’re sure you’re all busy, busy people, the warmup time and the laminating speed is a massive feature to consider. Typically, you can expect a standard warm up time or 3 to 5 minutes, while more advanced (and therefore, more expensive) options warm up in just a minute.
You can spare a couple of minutes to allow it to warm up properly, though, so what really matters is how long it takes to laminate your documents. The laminating speed is measured in inches per minute, and the faster the speed, the more efficient your laminating will be.
Quicker speeds are great for hectic, fast-paced environments, but are not always necessary, especially if you’re doing a small project at home.
Laminating Thickness - The thickness of your laminating pouches - which is measured in mils (not mm, as some people initially believe) and this is around one-hundredth of an inch - determines which laminator you can use and sets the thickness and therefore the durability and stability of the laminated piece. Most pouch laminators are compatible with 5 mils, whereas roller laminators primarily use 3 mils thickness.
However, top quality machines can accept a variety of thicknesses for fantastic versatility.
Types Of Laminators
Laminators aren’t as simple as you might have thought when you first started this article. Here are the different types you’re likely to encounter during your search.
Hot Pouch Laminator - A hot pouch laminator uses heat to fuse the top of the plastic film pouch and secure the document. They are excellent for creating ID cards and other small items and many are sold with pouches ready for use.
Cold Pouch Laminator - The cold pouch laminator works almost exactly like its hot pouch counterpart but relies on pressure instead of heat to seal the film. They are useful when using heat could damage the item while still providing a secure, reliable result.
Cold Roll Feed Laminator - Like the cold pouch option, a cold roll feed laminator uses pressure to seal but uses film instead of pre-made pouches. The document is fed through the rollers which seals the ends and secures it in place, protecting it from damage.
Single & Double Hot Roll Feed Laminator - These two types of laminator are close enough we thought we’d bundle them together. Using heat, they seal the film as it is fed through the rollers. In single laminators, this heat is applied to one side of the film, whereas for the double, the heat targets both sides. Both machines trim the product to tidy it up and make it presentable.
Cold Basic Roll Feed Laminator - This laminator has various speed settings and are popular among sign makers and those looking for something more official. The cold process prevents material damage, while the width range allows it to laminate large documents.
Q: What is a laminator?
A: A laminator is a machine which uses either heat or coldness to bind to pieces of plastic together with a document or photograph in between. Doing this helps to maintain the paper and increase its lifespan, which makes laminators great for using for achievements at school, important How-Tos at the office, or preserving work your children have done to display around the home.
If used correctly, the plastic binds smoothly over the document without air bubbles or creases, but if not you risk ruining the lamination process, which is not only annoying but also wasteful.
Q: How do I set up a laminator?
A: Most laminators are easy to set up even though they may not seem that way if you’ve never used them before. The best laminators around strive to be as user friendly as possible, and it is often as simple as plugging it into the socket and allowing it to warm up, which usually takes between 3 and 5 minutes.
To ensure you don’t use the laminator before it’s ready, be sure to look out for the Ready indicator LED on the machine, otherwise you risk damaging the laminator or wasting pouches because the machine is not warm enough.
How to clean a laminator?
A: To keep your laminator working at optimal performance, it’s important to keep it clean from dust, debris, and any paper or pouches that may have gotten stuck in the rollers. If you use your laminator at a school or office, the chances of it breaking down quickly increase because of the amount of use it will get. For this reason, be sure to clean it as often as possible.
Thankfully, it isn’t complicated to clean a laminator, so here’s a useful guide on how to do it.
- Remove and clean the adhesive from the rollers
When doing this make sure you don’t catch the rollers with any sharp objects, as while the laminator itself may be cheap, the rollers are not. It’s also advised to clean them as often as you can to prevent the adhesive building up too much.
- Remove the film to clean the machine itself
After removing the film, switch the laminator on and allow it to heat up and set the rolling to the slowest setting, once it is warm enough, use a scrubbing pad to remove the adhesive. Be careful not to burn yourself, as we’d hate for you to get hurt doing something we’ve explicitly recommended.
- Reload or replace the film
After cleaning, you can reload the film or replace it and you can get back to laminating.