Marilyn knows how to present the dullest topic in an interesting and easy-to-read way. When she’s not teaching English Literature at a local school or writing for our site, Marylin loves to knit and bake for her two grandchildren.
Julie owns a shop specializing in sewing equipment and accessories. No wonder she knows everything when it comes to technical specifications of practically anything we review. In her free time, Julie loves quilting and scrapbooking.
Last updated: January 19, 2021
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It seems like all the laminating machines the market offers are more or less the same. Unfortunately, not all of the available machines will live up to your expectations. Luckily, we’ve taken the time to search out the best laminating machine models on the market to help you choose the perfect one for your projects
When we were choosing the six products for our reviews, we made sure to look at a few specific features. The heat-up time was the first thing we looked at, to be sure you wouldn’t have to wait forever to get started with the unit. Most of the models in our reviews have the standard 9-inch opening, with a few wider models for those working with larger documents. Laminating speed was also an important factor, so you can get through your projects quickly instead of standing around waiting for each piece to get through the machine. If you’re interested in learning more about the best laminating machines on the market, keep reading.
"An ideal option for offices or just large amounts of work: it’s ready for work in just 1 minute, can be used with pouches of up to 12 inches wide, and provides smooth results thanks to the 6-roller system."
There are many reasons why the Scotch TL901X is one of the best thermal lamination machines on the market. It is sleek and stylish, so it can fit in anywhere, including your home, school, or office. It also has a decent price, so you don’t need to shell out a ton of money to get a great laminator machine.
This unit is easy to use, with a power button on the top of the machine to turn it on or off. There are also top buttons to choose one of the two temperature settings for either 3 mil or 5 mil, depending on the thickness of the pouch you’re using. It can take several minutes for the machine to heat up but there is a ready indicator light to tell you when you can start laminating.
Once it’s warmed up and ready to go, just place the item you’re laminating into a pouch, leaving some margin room on every side. Then line up the pouch lines to the machines opening with the sealed pouch end in and let the machine do the rest.
This unit can laminate any item up to 9 inches wide, so you can do letter-sized pages if needed. It is also great for photographs, recipes, or business cards. You can trim the ends off as needed when the lamination is finished. If the unit jams, the release button makes it easy to clear it out again.
The GoGo Gadgets Heavy Duty Lamination Machine is a heavy-duty model but is still compact and lightweight. It gives you professional-quality results every time, making it a great laminating machine for teachers and offices, as well as home use.
This model is easy to use, with simple controls. On one side, there are two toggle switches. The first is for turning the unit on or off, with a handy indicator light to tell you when the power is on and another that lights up when the unit is warmed up and ready to use. The second switch lets you choose between cold lamination for heat-sensitive items and hot lamination for everything else. There are specific pouches for cold and hot lamination, so you do need to buy both separately.
Not only is this the best laminator for pros, but it also includes a few handy extras. On top of the unit is a paper cutter that allows you to do straight, wavy, and perforated cuts as needed. There are a ruler and a goniometer up there as well. Tucked into the bottom of the machine is a removable corner rounder, which lets you get rid of those sharp corners, preventing cuts and scrapes.
This unit warms up in less than 5 minutes and laminates quickly, so you can get through a stack of documents in no time. It fits anything under 9 inches, plus includes a release switch to prevent jams.
Though the Fellowes Laminator Jupiter 2 125 is the priciest model in our laminating machine reviews, it includes some great features that may make it well worth the extra cost. It is easy to use since a lot of the settings are self-adjusting, so even beginners can laminate perfectly every time.
This unit includes a six-roller system, which moves the items through the unit quickly, with a high-quality finish when it slides out the other side. It also includes InstaHeat technology, so it heats up in about a minute, getting you started in no time.
The AutoSense technology means that you don’t need to worry about adjusting the machine manually to accommodate the thickness of the pouch. Instead, the machine detects the thickness as the pouch enters the unit, self-adjusting to the perfect setting.
It can laminate hot pouches that are 10 mil thick or less, plus it can do cold laminating for those more sensitive items that could be damaged from the heat. A handy removable tray catches the items when they leave the unit.
Another handy feature included with this laminator is the auto-shutoff. After 30 minutes of inactivity, the unit shuts itself down, preventing the machine from overheating and reducing energy costs.
This unit also includes anti-jam protection, which automatically reverses the pouches out of the machine if they’ve fed in wrong or they’re too thick. Then you can adjust them or re-center them as needed before they go all the way through the room.
The Crenova A4 Laminator is a versatile model that can be used for all types of projects at home, the office, or at school. It is easy to use, plus this unit is compact and lightweight for portability. It warms up in only a few minutes, with an indicator light that glows red when it’s warming and green when it’s ready to go.
This model prints smooth laminations, with no air bubbles to ruin your projects. There is an ABS lever that is designed to prevent any paper jams in the machine. If anything gets stuck in the laminator, just push the lever and slide out whatever is trapped in there. Then you readjust it and put the pouch and document through again.
This stylish model also includes a few extras to make it even more convenient to have on hand. It comes with 20 laminating pouches to get you started with the laminating machine. It also includes a portable cutter that you can use to trim or cut the pages before you put them into the machine. It also works as a ruler and a goniometer for perfect sizes and angles. You can even use this cutter to trim the edges off the finished laminated sheets as needed.
Another handy tool is the corner cutter, which trims and rounds those corners to prevent injury from those sharp edges. The blade isn’t the best, though, so you do need to use some pressure for a proper cut. You can sand the edges if needed after you cut them as well.
The Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125 costs more than some of the other home laminating machines on the market but it has some great features that may make up for the higher price. It has a large 12.5-inch entry, giving you plenty of room for even your largest laminating projects.
This model heats up in about a minute, thanks to the InstaHeat Technology. When it’s ready to go, a green indicator light turns on. It also beeps, so even if you’re across the room, you know it’s ready to go. It also has a 12-inch per minute laminating speed, making it easy to laminate multiple items in a short amount of time.
There are two heat settings, allowing you to choose either 3 mil, 4 mil, or 5 mil pouches, depending on what you’re putting into them. There is also a cold setting that lets you seal those self-adhesive pouches over those items that could be damaged using the heat settings.
A handy release lever allows you to remove the pouches from the machine if they should be improperly aligned or they get jammed in the machine. You can remove them easily and start them over again in only seconds.
Another handy feature included with this sleek and stylish lamination machine is the auto-shutoff. After the machine has been inactive for a while, this will turn off the machine, preventing overheating when the machine isn’t being used. It also saves you a bit of money on your energy bill.
If you’re looking for a laminating machine for home use that won’t cost you a fortune, the AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator Machine is a great option. It has a great low price, plus it is compact and lightweight, so you can squeeze it in wherever you need it or take it on the road with you.
Despite the low price, this model still produces high-quality laminations. It can laminate almost any item up to 9 inches wide, so you can use it for legal-sized sheets as well as smaller items, such as business cards or stickers. There are also two heat settings to choose from. The 3 mil heat is best for normal documents, card stock, or photographs, while the 5 mil setting is for those thinner sheets that need a bit more protection.
It takes a minimum of 4 minutes to heat up, which is a bit long for a laminating machine, but there is a ready indicator light to tell you when it’s warmed up and ready to go. The controls are also easy to use, with a simple switch at the back that lets you choose the heat setting or turn it off. There is a jam release lever at the back as well in case your laminating pouch gets stuck inside the unit.
This handy laminating machine comes with two 9.4 x 11-inch pouches to get you started and works with any brand of hot laminating sheets.
What we liked:
Jam release lever
Easy to use
What could be better:
Long heat-up time
Things to Сonsider
Everyone has items they’d like to protect. This could include old photographs, recipe cards that have been handed down from older relatives, menus, or reusable pages for little ones learning to write. No matter what type of project you have in mind, you need the best quality laminating machine to get the job done. If you’re interested in one of these handy units, check out the sections below to see the features that they have to offer.
Features to consider when choosing a laminating machine
When looking for a new laminating machine for the office, your classroom, or your home, there are a few features you may want to look for. This will ensure you’re getting the right model for the projects you have in mind.
Maximum pouch width and thickness
When choosing the best home laminator for your home, the first thing you should look at is the maximum pouch dimensions. The maximum pouch width tells you how wide the pouch can be, which also determines how large of a document you can put in it to laminate. When you put the item in the pouch, there needs to be at least 2 mm on every side to maintain the laminated seal, so the pieces must be smaller than the pouch itself.
The maximum pouch thickness is also something to consider. The thickness of the pouch film is measured in thousands of an inch, which is called a mil. The higher the mil is, the thicker the laminations will be. A thicker mil also makes the finished product more rigid.
There are a few different mil sizes to choose from, including 1.5, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 10 mil. Thinner mil pouches create flexible pages while the thicker mil options are great for ID badges and other items that you want to stay stiff. All of the models in our laminator reviews have a maximum pouch thickness of 5 mil, except for the Fellowes Laminator Jupiter 2 125, which can handle pouches up to 10 mil.
Warm up time
The warmup time is another thing to consider. After you turn on the lamination machine, it takes some time to heat up enough to properly seal the pouches that you`re running through it. If you don`t wait long enough, the pouches won`t seal and you`ll have to run them through the machine a few more times to seal the edges of the pouch around the document for the proper lamination.
The longer the warmup time is, the more time you need to spend waiting around to get started on your projects. Some of the models we`ve reviewed can take 5 minutes or more, which is a bit long for those in a rush. Of course, if you have some extra time to wait or need a few minutes to get your documents organized before you get started, this warmup time may not be an issue.
Of course, some of the models in our reviews warm up much faster, like the Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125. This model only takes a minute to reach the proper lamination temperature, so you can get started on your projects right away.
You also need to consider that the unit will need to maintain its heat throughout the laminating process. If you`re only doing one or two documents, this won`t be an issue. A laminator for teachers may need to laminate enough items for an entire class, so the machine may lose heat as you`re working, requiring you to pause and let it get back to the proper temperature again. A faster warmup also means it takes less time to regain its temperature while you`re working with it.
The laminating speed is another important feature to consider when choosing a new laminator for your home, school, or office. The faster it laminates the items, the more pieces you can put through it in an hour. Most of the home models don`t have a super high output since they are meant to be used for smaller projects.
For instance, the GoGo Gadgets Heavy Duty Lamination Machine has a laminating speed of 10 inches per minute, so you`ll only get one letter-sized piece done in a minute. If you have 50 sheets of the same size to laminate, you`ll be working on them for at least an hour, especially when you consider that they take a couple of minutes to cool after they come out the back end of the unit. Those who are only using a model like this for a couple of items at a time likely won`t see this speed as a negative.
Some machines are capable of running at a much faster rate. The best laminating machine for teachers or offices will have a higher laminating speed since they will likely get much more use, laminating multiple items in less time.
Cold lamination option
There are a few reasons that some people may choose a model that offers cold lamination as well as hot lamination. First of all, these are more kid-friendly since you don`t need to worry about your little ones touching a hot machine or the hot finished products coming out of it.
Another reason these models are handy is for those heat-sensitive materials. Some items can be ruined by using hot lamination. Cold laminators use adhesive pouches combined with pressure to create the laminated documents instead of heat, so it is safer for many materials. The seal created with these laminators is water-tight, so they offer even more protection against moisture than other lamination types.
Though a good laminator is a great tool all on its own, some of them include some handy accessories that make them even more convenient to have on hand. The GoGo Gadgets Heavy Duty Lamination Machine is one of these units, with a few extras to help you complete your projects.
One handy extra is a ruler and goniometer combination, which helps you measure the length and width as well as the angles needed for the perfect finished product. A paper trimmer is also good to have to cut the documents before you laminate them, plus they can trim the laminated edges as needed after the document comes out of the machine. On the GoGo Gadgets model, these pieces are incorporated right onto the top of the unit but they can also be a separate piece to keep the size of the laminator more portable.
A corner cutter is another great extra. Laminated items can have sharp corners, which can cut your skin when handled. A corner cutter rounds the corners of the finished documents, making them much safer to work with. This is especially important for teachers or home use, when the document may be held by small children who may not be as careful as a grownup.
Dimensions and weight
If you don`t have unlimited space for a new lamination machine, the dimensions are definitely a feature worth looking into. The larger the unit, the more room you`ll need to use it. You also need to remember that you need room in front of the unit to slide the documents and pouches into the machine and the same amount of room at the back for it to come back out again without wrinkling or folding, especially until it cools down.
The dimensions are also important if you plan to take the unit from your home to your job. You may also want to use it for trade shows or other events. A huge machine will be difficult to travel with, so if you`re moving it from place to place, a more compact unit will be much more portable.
The weight of the unit is also something you may want to check out. The heavier it is, the harder it will be to move. Luckily, none of the units in our reviews weigh a ton. The heaviest is the Fellowes Laminator Jupiter 2 125, which weighs 15 pounds. The rest of the models weigh about 5 pounds or less, so you can transport them easily or just move them from a desk to a storage area without straining yourself if you don’t use it very often.
If you have any issues with your new lamination machine, a good warranty will cover you for any replacement parts, repairs, or a whole new machine. Most of the models in our reviews have a 1-year warranty against all defects with the parts or the manufacturing. This way, if the unit fails due to issues that occurred before you even opened the box, you don’t need to spend any of your own money to remedy the problem.
Both of the Fellowes models in our reviews double this time with a 2-year warranty, giving you twice as long to try out your machine to make sure it’s working as it’s supposed to.
How to make every lamination perfect
In order to make sure every lamination comes out smooth and perfect, try out the following tips:
Let the machine warm up for the right amount of time to be sure it will completely seal the pouches around the document.
Make sure the document you’re laminating is aligned properly before you feed it into the machine.
Be sure that the pouch’s sealed end is placed snugly against the unit’s opening and let the machine pull it in gently instead of forcing it in.
Let the document set for a couple of minutes after it comes out of the machine to ensure it seals well.
Leave a border of at least 2 mm around the edges of the document to be sure the lamination seal stays closed.
Take your time to learn the machine before starting with your important documents to be sure you don’t damage anything irreplaceable.
Even though leather and other heavy-duty materials might seem like they are too much for a portable model to handle, that is not the case. This is especially true if you get a more powerful model like the EverSewn Charlotte. These machines have plenty of power to get through even the thickest materials without too much trouble.
The length of time it takes to cool down depends on the machine and how long you’ve had it running. If you’re turning it on and using it for only one or two items, it may cool down much quicker than if you’ve been running the unit all afternoon for various projects. Some units could even take up to half an hour to cool down completely, especially if they have multiple rollers inside that need to cool off after use.
Yes, you can laminate photos, postcards, cardstock, and other thick items with all of the units in our lamination machine reviews. They are built to fit the thicker items as well as thinner ones like letters or paper. This makes them more versatile since you can use them for any type of item you want to laminate, including letters, recipe cards, menus, or anything else you like.
The best lamination machine can be used for a variety of items, such as photos, letters, posters, stickers, and so much more. All six of the models we’ve reviewed are worth a look, though some have a bit more to offer.
Our favorite is the Scotch TL901C. This sleek machine can handle pouches up to 9 inches wide and 5 mil thick. It is quiet, lightweight, and easy to use, with a jam release button and simple controls for powering up the machine or choosing one of the two heat settings. It also has a budget-friendly price.
The GoGo Gadgets Heavy Duty Lamination Machine is a professional model with a standard 9-inch pouch width and a maximum thickness of 5 mil. It includes 25 pouches, a built-in cutter for straight, wavy, and perforated cuts, a ruler, a goniometer, and a corner rounder. It can also be used for cold lamination.
The Fellowes Laminator Jupiter 2 125 has a large 12-inch pouch width and can be used with 10 mil pouches. It warms up in only a minute and has a speed of 47 inches per minute for fast lamination of multiple items. It also includes 6 rollers, an auto-shutoff, cold lamination, and anti-jam protection.