When trying to protect our important documents, many of us purchase folders, plastic envelopes, and some may even purchase file cabinets. Considering how much time and effort it may take to replace an important document (if you can replace it), it makes sense to invest in those protective items.
However, your documents can still be vulnerable even if they are kept in those storage units. Your documents will need added protection – the kind that laminators can provide.
Where laminating devices were the prerogative of publishing houses and printing companies, today, these devices are bought for offices and home use. Let’s try to understand what these devices are like and what their cost depends on.
Laminators may all be designed with the same purpose in mind, but the machines themselves can vary significantly. When shopping for your very own laminator, make sure to keep the factors mentioned below in mind to ensure that you end up with the item that works best for you.
Paper Size Options
The first thing you need to look at if you’re shopping for a laminator is its capacity listings. It won’t do you any good if the laminator you just purchased can’t handle the documents you want to be sealed and protected.
Examples of size options commonly offered in laminators are A3 (297 x 420mm), A4 (210 x 297mm), and A6 (105 x 148mm). In some cases, you may be able to find a laminator that can also handle A5 (148 x 210mm) documents.
You don’t have to seek out laminators that can work on A5 documents, but it would be nice to have something that can handle that should the need ever arise.
Laminators can’t be used as soon as they are first turned on. You will have to give them some time to warm up so that your documents can turn out as expected. To ensure that you won’t get stuck waiting longer than you expected for your laminator, take note of the warm-up time.
Most laminators will need around five minutes of warming up before you can use them. Some exceptions do exist, though.
If you want laminators that can be ready faster, you should find units that can be used after just four or even three minutes of warming up.
Warm-up time is not the only characteristic that determines how fast a laminator can work. Laminating speed must be factored into the equation as well.
For laminating speed, the standard is 250mm/min. That’s good enough even in offices where laminators are asked to work frequently, but you can still find faster machines if that’s something you really need.
Now and then, you may see a document come out of your laminator with an uneven coating. It may even be full of air bubbles. You can still put that document back in the laminator to iron out the flaws in the lamination process, but that’s a waste of your time and resources.
This is why it’s important to check how many rollers are present inside the laminator.
According to The Laminator Warehouse, a laminator with more rollers is better because it can facilitate the document’s smoother processing to be sealed. Plus, having more rollers also works to produce a more consistent coating throughout the document.
You don’t need to go overboard with the rollers, though. Simply having two rollers working in the laminator is good enough to ensure that the documents’ seals will turn out as expected most of the time.
Rollers are not the only elements of a laminator that can prevent the emergence of jams. Manufacturers also often include features designed to get rid of blockages inside the laminators.
The jamming-prevention feature may sometimes come in the form of a button. To be more specific, you should see some laminators equipped with an ABS (anti-blocking system) button. Once pressed, the button will engage the laminator’s anti-blocking system and free up the paper.
Other manufacturers may address the jamming issue differently. Instead of installing a button, they will design the laminator’s feeder so that it will not accept the document if it is not aligned correctly.
Both methods of fixing jams are good, although the ABS button may be more convenient.
Thermal Laminating Options
According to Officemachines.net, hot melt pouch lamination is the most popular option offered in laminators. This is the option used most often when sealing documents.
However, there are instances wherein hot melt pouch lamination may not be good enough.
For so-called “professional lamination,” you should seek out machines that can offer either hot single-sided roll lamination or hot double-sided roll lamination. Those two options can form a tighter seal around your documents.
Some laminators can provide cold lamination. Cold laminations are necessary if you’re going to work on heat-sensitive documents. Ordinary lamination could ruin the writing on certain documents, for instance.
Make an effort to look for a laminator that can handle both hot and cold laminations if you want something that can be useful in just about any situation.
Getting the temperature right is not the only thing that you need to do if you want your documents to remain intact for a long time. The thickness of the laminating pouch you use is also important.
Many laminators are bundled together with laminating pouches already.
Officeworks notes that the thickness of a laminating pouch is often measured in microns. The thicker a laminating pouch is, the better the protection it can provide for your document. The only issue with that is that some laminators may not accommodate the thickest laminating pouches.
Be sure that your laminator is compatible with the laminating pouch you are planning to use.
Frequency of Usage
Don’t forget to account for how often you plan to use a laminator when deciding which one to buy.
A smaller laminator is good enough if you only need to laminate about 10 documents per day. If the number of documents you need to laminate daily is closer to 15, a medium-sized laminator would be better.
For folks looking for something that can handle a daily workload of 25 documents, a heavy-duty laminator is the one they should be searching for. If that is still not enough, you may have to purchase a roll laminator.
Simply having a laminator that can do its job consistently well is good enough, but wouldn’t it be better if it came with additional components that made it more versatile?
Examples of extra features you may find on laminators are paper trimmers and corner rounders. These features are handy for adding the finishing touches to your documents to be more presentable.
If the laminator you’re buying is packaged together with extra pouches and frames, then that’s good news for you as well.
In this article, we will talk about all things related to laminators. You will learn about specific products on the market that could be worth your money, as well as the factors that contribute to the selection of the best office laminator. Now that the introductions are a thing of the past, let’s discuss laminators in more detail.
Best Office Laminators Of 2021
1. Fellowes Saturn 3i – Best Overall Laminator
If you want a laminator for business or personal use, the Fellowes Saturn 3i could be an ideal choice. You can laminate office documents, presentations, certificates, and projects with ease. This is a high-performance machine that laminates well without creating any bubbles.
With this laminator, you will have documents laminated up to 5-mil thermal pouches. By doing so, you will give your documents a presentable, professional, and long-lasting look. It comes with a 12.5-inch entry width that will accommodate multiple document sizes. As such, you’re not limited to a particular width of the documents you will laminate with this laminate machine.
With advanced InstaHeat technology, the laminator quickly warms up. In fact, it is ready to laminate in just 60 seconds. Once the laminator is idle, the auto shut-off function turns it off to save energy and prevent possible accidents due to overheating.
The laminator features a green light and a distinct beep to alert you when ready for the job. It handles either thermal laminating pouches or self-adhesive pouches with a press of a button. You can also cold set the Saturn 3i 125 laminator for self-adhesive laminating pouches if you are looking for faster and easy covering.
If you need an easy-to-use and super-fast laminator for a small office, home, or school project, we highly recommend the Saturn 3i. Besides, it is lightweight and capable of heating up quickly for greater lamination of documents in no time.
Overall, this is a wonderful laminator that does exactly what the manufacturer claims it can do without fail. Purchase clean sheets of printer paper, and you won’t regret your laminating tasks. Fellowes Saturn 3i is the most reviewed brand and model in its price range owing to its high quality and versatile features. For home, office, and moderate use, we highly recommend this great laminator machine.
2. Eficentline YE381 Laminator – Equipped with the Best Extra Features
Eficentline’s laminator can work on A3, A4, and A6-sized documents. The 250mm/min laminating speed is more than acceptable. The manufacturers note that it takes about three to five minutes to warm up, but it most often ends up being the latter.
Being able to operate without making a lot of noise is a big plus for this product as you don’t want to disrupt anyone. Should something go wrong, the ABS button will quickly address any paper jams.
A Premium Paper Cutter
You are also given the option of finishing your laminated documents with a corner rounder. The smooth corners bring a nice aesthetic element to the document while also protecting holders from nasty paper cuts.
Meeting Thermal Laminating Needs
Along with the conventional type of lamination, you can also use this Eficentline laminator for cold lamination. That feature is going to come in handy if you need to process temperature-sensitive documents.
The temperature control features on this laminator will also protect it from overheating and allow it to stay in service longer.
There’s no other way to say it: This laminator is not cheap. It more than doubles the price of some other laminators. The premium features somewhat justify the higher price tag, but you can certainly find more cost-effective options if you are on a strict budget.
Recommendation (Pick Up or Pass?): Pick Up. This is a premium product for sure.
3. Blusmart Multi-Function Laminator – Most Versatile Laminator
You certainly want a laminator that can capably handle all of your laminating needs, and from that perspective, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a machine that can outshine Blusmart’s offering. The folks over at Blusmart weren’t kidding when they said this is a multi-function laminator.
It starts with paper sizes. With the ability to process A3, A4, and A6-sized documents, you can also use this laminator for A5-sized items. That means you can laminate smaller photos and business cards with the help of this machine.
The laminating speed and warm-up time for this item are similar to the previously reviewed laminator, which is good. If a jam does occur, you can also push the ABS button and get rid of that problem right away.
You’re not just getting a top-of-the-line laminator if you purchase this Blusmart creation. Also included in the package are items that will help you stay better organized.
Hot and Cold Lamination
Conventional and cold lamination are both possible using this Blusmart laminator. This may not seem like an essential feature at first, but if you work with different kinds of documents regularly, this is likely something you’ll end up using more than a few times.
Be More Precise with the Cutter
There’s obviously a lot to love in this laminator, but if you want to make use of its paper cutter, make sure you do so properly. The paper cutter is not as precise if you don’t apply the right amount of pressure. Keep that in mind whenever you’re using that addition.
Recommendation (Pick Up or Pass?): Pick up. This is one of the most versatile laminators you’ll find, and the extras included make this purchase even better.
4. Scotch Advanced Laminator – Best Value
If you are a teacher and want a laminator for laminating various school documents, this laminator is for you. It comes at 13 inches wide to provide flexibility, making it ideal for laminating different projects’ sizes. Therefore, you can laminate different sizes of documents, certificates, photos, and pictures that you hold, dear.
Although it is designed for ease of use, the machine can still produce high-quality lamination. You can confidently laminate your photos, recipe card, regularly handled documents, art, and crafts without a hassle. You will definitely have great fun laminating your project with this laminator, as it offers a seamless operation.
The machine comes with 3 mil and 5 mil pouch settings. The auto shut-off feature turns off the laminator after an hour of idling. As such, you can save energy and prevent overheating. Moreover, it has 20 letter size thermal laminating pouches.
Equipped with advanced thermal technology, it takes a few minutes to prepare the machine for lamination. The rollers heat up within a minute to create exceptional professional and creases-free lamination. The fast heating rollers also reduce the time you take to laminate significantly while increasing the entire production process.
It has a built-in carry handle that stays cool for easy portability. Coupled with its compact and lightweight nature, you will conveniently carry this laminator to wherever your projects take you. With touch-button controls, you are sure to have a seamless operation. It has two heating setting buttons that allow simplicity to the operation of this unit. Overall, the Scotch Advanced is an excellent laminator that comes at the best price.
We highly recommend it for its lightweight nature, ease of operation, and affordable price point. Should you ever need a laminator for lightweight projects at home, school, or office, consider buying this unit, and you won’t regret it!
5. JZBRAIN Laminator – Laminator with the Fastest Warm-Up Time
Working fast and working properly don’t always go hand in hand, but that is not the case with JZ Brain’s Laminator. This laminator is an item worth considering if you want to process documents as quickly as possible.
Many laminator manufacturers will say that their machines can warm up in around three to five minutes. In most cases, though, the warm-up time usually takes five minutes, and it only dips down to four minutes on rare occasions. The reason why JZ Brain’s offering stands out is that it actually does heat up in around three minutes pretty consistently.
If you’re the impatient type, this laminator should be right up your alley.
Its speed is still comparable to the two laminators discussed previously. Still, when you combine that rate with the faster warm-up time, you should be able to laminate significantly more documents within the same amount of time.
You can also work on A3, A4, A5, and A6 documents with this laminator.
In addition to an ABS button, this laminator can better protect against wrinkles than its bubble heating system. The aforementioned feature will prevent the formation of those annoying air bubbles and pesky curled corners. Knowing that you can trust your laminator to produce a problem-free result almost every time is very reassuring.
Also included with this laminator is a paper cutter. To prevent any unnecessary accidents, the manufacturers have installed a cutter lock. That should stop kids from being able to use the cutter without you supervising them.
Clear Out a Good Spot for It
This is not the most portable laminator. Try to find a good spot for it in your home or office because you don’t want to waste time and effort moving it around.
Recommendation (Pick Up or Pass?): Pick up. You’re getting a consistent performer at a very reasonable price if you decide to purchase this laminator.
6. Crenova A4 Laminator – Best Performer
The Crenova A4 is a user-friendly starter set laminator with excellent accessories that make it versatile for lamination projects. The accessories include a corner rounder, a paper trimmer as well as 20 pouches for laminating.
The 20 provided pouches are all hot and come in three sizes, 10 small pieces, 5 medium pieces, and 5 large pieces. The machine is designed to laminate A4 as the largest size, so the large pouch is dedicated to A4 papers.
Even though the machine comes with a paper trimmer that works well, it lacks a cut line guide, making it difficult to get clear-cuts. While the paper slips under the fixed cutter slide, it becomes difficult to remove small edge trimmings. On the other hand, the corner rounder will only work perfectly once you figure out how to position the corners in the right place. Surprisingly, instructions aren’t given on how to use these two valuable features in the manual.
To prevent paper jam, the laminator comes with an ABS lever, which, whenever pushed, releases any stuck paper or pouches effortlessly. This function’s practicality allows you to experience a smooth and quick lamination exercise even with heavy workloads.
The laminator has compact in size and lightweight, making it very portable. With this size, you can conveniently move with it to wherever your laminating profession takes you. Besides, it fits every desktop, thus saving you a lot of space to keep documents and photos.
It comes with a paper cutter that seems to be a bit flimsy but surprisingly cuts perfectly well. With non-skid pads on the bottom, you won’t have the cutter sliding around, thus delivering perfect cuts for your projects.
It features a ready light that you can’t see unless you are directly looking down on the unit. Although the machine gets relatively warm on its top, it isn’t enough to burn you during use. Moreover, the bottom remains cool, which means that you won’t have to worry about the heat damaging the surface where you rest it. This machine’s downside is that it doesn’t have an auto shut-off in most brands and models.
Overall, this is a high-performing laminator that meets office and home use. It comes at an affordable price point, thus giving you value for money. Moreover, it has simplified operations and optimized for office, school, and home projects.
We recommend the laminator for those who do high-volume laminate productions.
7. Swingline Laminator – Budget Pick
The Swingline is a budget-friendly laminator that is perfect for home and small office use. It is compact-sized, stylish, and lightweight, making it one of the most versatile laminators you can have in your office, school, or home. Its simple size also ensures easy portability around or to wherever your projects take you. What’s more, it takes up the smallest space on your table, thus giving you more space for seamless working while ensuring that your projects are within reach.
The laminator comes with a simple start-up, which ensures it starts right away. In as little as 4 minutes, it is fully warmed-up ready for laminating your projects. It has no complex settings that can complicate its operation; it is easy to use. The ready indicator light serves as a signal to start your laminating exercise.
With a simple power setting, you can control your pouch thickness without the need to change the actual setting. As such, it ensures quick and smooth simple operations. The single setting button also makes the laminator user-friendly, thus making the entire lamination process flawless.
If you’re laminating smaller papers or documents like note cards, you will have to ensure you fill the leading edge. You should fill the corners as possible to add that rigidity to the document.
Other than the exceptional features the laminator comes with, it has a 90-day warranty. It also comes at a budget-friendly price point, thus making it the most affordable laminator in the review.
Therefore, we recommend this unit for those under a budget but who want a good quality laminator.
8. AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator – Best Bang for Your Buck Laminator
Are you not too keen on the idea of spending upwards of $50 on a laminator? That’s a reasonable stance, especially if you want something to use at home. In that case, you may also want to check out the Thermal Laminator from AmazonBasics.
Let’s start by examining its capabilities further.
This Amazon creation is surprisingly fast when it comes to warming up. It only takes about four minutes to get ready – a notable improvement over what some of the larger laminators you’ll see on the market are capable of. An indicator light will also let you know if you can already use it.
It can also handle documents that are as wide as 13 inches. It will have no trouble processing documents that are three or five millimeters thick in terms of thickness.
Stop Worrying about Jams
Installed on this laminator is a lever that you can use whenever a piece of paper gets stuck. The lever releases the paper immediately, and the machine can go on working as designed.
The lever is also positioned well on the machine, making it easy to eliminate any jamming issues.
A Portable Laminator
Weighing in at just under 3.5 pounds, this is one of the lighter laminators you’ll find. It’s also easy to carry around because of its smaller frame.
If you are going on a business trip and need to bring a laminator with you, this is an item you should consider purchasing.
No Extra Features
Calling this a bare-bones offering is a bit unfair, but that’s also an apt description. Those extra features that work to make other laminators more versatile are absent from this product.
This AmazonBasics offering is a good laminator, but that’s all you’re really getting.
Recommendation (Pick Up or Pass?): Pick up. If all you need is a reliable laminator, this should work fine for you.
9. Scotch Pro Thermal Laminator – Best Laminator for Speed
Last up is the Pro Thermal Laminator from Scotch. This is yet another laminator worth inspecting further if you want something that won’t bust your budget.
If you want a laminator that can work in a hurry, this item should be on your shopping list. It features a laminating speed of 15 inches per minute. That translates to about 381mm of the surface area getting laminated in just a single minute.
You won’t see that kind of speed in numerous other laminators.
Unfortunately, that impressive speed is offset by the fact that this laminator can’t handle many types of materials. The document you’re looking to laminate must not exceed nine inches in width if you want it to fit inside this laminator.
It takes about five minutes before this laminator can work properly. You don’t need to set a timer or anything as the light will indicate when ready.
Avoid Jamming Issues for Good
This laminator makes use of Scotch’s Never Jam Technology. The feature delivers on its promise as it really does effectively prevent the occurrence of jams.
The lone issue with it is that it will force you to be more precise when feeding documents into the laminator. If the document is not properly aligned, the laminator will not process it. Ultimately, that feature is for the best, but it cannot be delightful to deal with at times.
In busy offices where not everyone may be paying attention to the devices they’re using, this laminator should be a good fit. It’s equipped with an automatic shutdown feature that takes effect after an hour of inactivity.
For Laminating Purposes Only
Just like the item from AmazonBasics, this Scotch laminator also offers no additional features. It’s certainly a good laminator, but versatility is not its strong suit.
Recommendation (Pick Up or Pass?): Pass. Because of the limitations on which it documents it can laminate, you’ll be better off getting the one from AmazonBasics if you’re looking for something inexpensive and portable.
To properly protect an important document in your possession, you should seriously consider laminating it. Once laminated, the document gains greater resistance to wear and tear, and it should also be able to survive frequent handling easily.
Laminating your IDs and business cards is also a good way to convey professionalism to your clients and colleagues.
A laminator may not seem like an important purchase at first, but once you have one, you will likely be surprised by how often you’re using it. Ensure that the one you’re buying is a high-quality product by reviewing the products and factors listed above.