Best Laminator 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

Laminating important documents can be the difference between them becoming tattered, torn and lost forever or preserved. Whether it be the kid’s school certificates, your insurance policies, fun things such as recipe cards or posters for the classroom or office, getting the right one is vital.

You need to find a fine balance between price tag, paper size, laminate thickness and speed. You may also want other certain specifications, such as the ability to use it as a cold press machine or safety cut out options.

Whatever your needs, there is an option out there. Check out our reviews of the best home and small office laminators to find the perfect one.

The Best Laminators – Our Top Picks

Best Home And Office Laminators

FELLOWES L80 A4 Laminator

A generous warm-up time of four minutes, great price and plenty of user-friendly features make this one of the best laminators for home use and ease.

Documents from recipe cards to certificates can be laminated using the 80-micron pouches. This is seen as the standard thickness, and you get ten free pouches so you can start as soon as it arrives.

After 30 minutes of being left on idle, the Fellowes L80 will automatically go into sleep mode, so you won’t leave it on accidentally or for so long that it overheats. This also helps to save energy, yet it is there instantly when you need it.

Specifications

  • Microns: 80
  • Type: Pouch
  • Heat Technology: Hot

We like

  • Nice size for storing
  • Easy to use
  • Anti-jam lever

We dislike

  • Can take longer than 4 minutes to heat

Final Verdict

A fabulous price and a trusted laminator from one of the best brands in the business

GBC FUSION Fusion 3000L A3 Laminator

Should you need something which can go up to A3 size and has a super fast warm-up time, say if you need it for business use, then this is the one.

It can cope with sizes from ID to A3, and up to 2 x 75 or 2 x 125-micron pouches. If you use the former, the job can be done in just 30 seconds. A green light and audible beep will tell you when the laminator is ready to use.

With suitable self-adhesive pouches, you can use it as a cold laminator. This means it won’t need electricity supply and will be safer too. There is an adjustable guide so the paper can be lined up exactly, to lower the risk of jams or wonky jobs. Unlike a lot of other models, there is an exit tray, so you don’t have to be there to catch the end result.

It can laminate up to 17 A4 sheets in around 10 minutes, so if you need something quick, flexible and stylish, you can’t do better. It is also available to buy in A4 size with longer warm-up times if you want to spend a bit less.

Specifications

  • Microns: 125
  • Type: Pouch
  • Heat Technology: Hot/Cold

We like

  • Sleek design
  • Flexible in terms of sizes
  • Almost silent in operation

We dislike

  • One of the more pricey

Final Verdict

You pay for the extra efficiency and functions, but if having the best home or small office laminator is important, then it is worth that extra cash

REXEL Style 2104511 A4 Laminator

If you need a laminator suitable for home but which can deal with slightly thicker tasks, this Rexel is a lovely price and compact size.

It is a pouch laminator, but you can choose to use it either as a cold or hot laminator, so heat activated or self-adhering pouches can be used. The pouches need to be 125 microns thick, but this gives you a good level of stability if the paper is extra precious.

There is a release lever which will allow for easy access to the paper in case it jams, so you can rectify the issue before either the laminator or paper is ruined. Just remove or realign them as appropriate.

It takes four minutes to heat up, which is around average. In all, it does what it is meant to, and is a good price to say you can use it as a cold laminator too.

Specifications

  • Microns: 125
  • Type: Pouch
  • Heat Technology: Hot/Cold

We like

  • Price
  • Green light to say when it is ready
  • Nice and compact

We dislike

  • Instructions lack good information

Final Verdict

A nice little laminator which is flexible enough for use at home whatever the task

Texet (LMA4-V) A4 Laminator

Nice and easy to operate thanks to the simple rocker switch mechanism,

Thanks to a maximum 160-micron pouch ability, your end result can be as flexible or foldable as you need. It takes about 3-5 minutes to warm up, but once it gets there, the printing speed of 30cm/min is good for the size and price of the product.

If your paper happens to jam during the process, a little lever on the rear of the unit can help you get it out safely without causing further damage. The paper isn’t ejected automatically, but for this price, that is a perfectly acceptable issue.

As a bonus, it cools down quickly, so if you like to get the job done and everything packed away ASAP, it’ll be safe to do so.

Specifications

  • Microns: 160
  • Type: Pouch
  • Heat Technology: Hot

We like

  • Easy to operate
  • Flexible in terms of pouch size

We dislike

  • Power lead is very short

Final Verdict

Good price and a stylish little model which is perfect for occasional home use

LEITZ iLAM Home Office A4 Laminator

Complete with a free pack of Leitz UDT laminate pouches so you can get going straight away, this is a lovely little laminator for use at home.

There is a three minute warm up time and LED lights will let you know at what stage of the warm up process it is at. An anti-jam system is in place so you can keep going without having to pause and rectify any issues.

When it hasn’t been used for 30 minutes, it shuts to stand by mode, so saves electricity yet gives you the chance to pick up where you left off.

There are cheaper options out there, but the overall ease of use and style of this model, plus the fact that it feels substantial, make it worth that extra money.

Specifications

  • Microns: 125
  • Type: Pouch
  • Heat Technology: Hot

We like

  • Choice of colours
  • Lights and audible alert when it is ready
  • Also available in A3 size

We dislike

  • A bit more money compared to some others

Final Verdict

A nice little laminator which is good for home office use when you need something a bit more substantial

Blusmart 5-in-1 Deluxe Laminator Set

With a couple of modes to choose from depending on your needs, this is one of the most flexible laminators on the market.

The 5-in-1 idea comes from the fact that as well as laminating, it can round corners, trim sheets, create patterned edges and create photo frames. So even if all you need is a laminator, the other functions could come in handy.

It isn’t the most stable at all of the extra functions, so perhaps best if you would occasionally use them as opposed to them being must-haves. For home use, however, it is perfect. That is before we have even mentioned the price, which is fabulous for something which does so much. If you want a laminator for craft purposes, or perhaps for a younger person who wants to make their own art and bookmarks, it is ideal (although we will say it gets very hot).

Specifications

  • Microns: 160-250
  • Type: Pouch
  • Heat Technology: Hot/Cold

We like

  • Jam release button
  • On/off and lamination lights
  • Photo frame option is a nice touch

We dislike

  • Body gets very hot when in use

Final Verdict

Great as a basic multi-tasking tool if you also need something which can trim important documents

FELLOWES Lunar+ A3 Laminator

Capable of laminating both A3 and A4 sizes, the Lunar+ is perfect for home offices, creatives or professional environments.

It will heat in 4 minutes and has a laminating speed of 30 cm per minute, so you can get the job done in good time. A release trigger will allow you to realign any wonky or jammed documents, so you can rectify issues before they become problematic.

Some laminators aren’t suitable for covering photos, because they won’t work with the glossier finish and could cause the ink to become damaged. This model, however, is photo capable, so if you like to laminate your photos and memories for display purposes, you can.

It is a step up from the previous Lunar model, and for not much more money, you get a much bigger micron capability, quicker heat time and much more snazzy design.

Specifications

  • Microns: 125
  • Type: Pouch
  • Heat Technology: Hot

We like

  • Can cope with a lot of laminating in a short time
  • Jam release trigger
  • Good instruction manual

We dislike

  • Bit more pricey than other options

Final Verdict

A great option if you need something which can handle more sensitive documents and prints while still doing a perfect job

Bonsaii A3 A4 Laminator

Complete with both hot and cold laminating options to cater for every need, this Bonsaii model is good for both home and office use where tasks will change from day to day.

You get five laminating pouches included as a starter, so can get a good feel for using the machine before you take on the more serious stuff. It is designed to heat up in about three minutes, so you’re not left waiting for ages, and

An ABS jam release switch will help clear blockages, and you can even seal damaged items with no trouble is the Jam Protection System is activated. So if you have that bit of paper with your Nan’s favourite lasagne recipe on but which is folded, tattered and torn at the edges, you can finally seal and protect it without risking it becoming further ruined.

For a final point, it can work for a long time without coming close to overheating or struggling if you switch it to cold every so often.

Specifications

  • Microns: 2x125
  • Type: Pouch
  • Heat Technology: Hot/Cold

We like

  • Price
  • Good anti-jam process

We dislike

  • May not be the most long-term friendly

Final Verdict

Not the most reliable for the long term judging by other reviews, but it is compact and easy to use so should help you out with a few immediate tasks for the price

Crenova LT01 A4 Laminating Machine

With a two roller system in place which gives the perfect pressure for both hot and cold pressing, this is a flexible laminator model which gives a great consistent performance.

After the 3-5 minute warm up time, you are good to go. The end results are quick and bubble-free, and instructions are easy to follow so you can set everything up perfectly to avoid any issues.

The cold option requires no pre-heating and is fully safe, and if you use the hot function, the auto shutdown will prevent it from overheating. If the paper jams, just press the ABS button and you can release the problem with no trouble.

When it is good to go, the Ready light will turn green, so you always get perfect results. There are some pouches included with the purchase, so you’re good to go out of the box.

Specifications

  • Microns: 2x75 to 2x125
  • Type: Pouch
  • Heat Technology: Hot/Cold

We like

  • Small and sturdy
  • Great results

We dislike

  • Laminator gets very hot
  • Instructions are poor

Final Verdict

It is very simple, but sometimes it is the simple appliances which do the best job. As a bonus, other users report that aftercare and customer service from Crenova is top-notch

AmazonBasics 13″ Thermal Laminator

If you want something cheap and cheerful for your office, then the AmazonBasics range is always a great idea. This is our winner for the best cheap laminator, and while it isn’t perfect, the results are still worth a go.

It can be used with laminate pouches up to 5 mil thick, so is good for those jobs which still need a bit of a give and bend feel. Amazon has made its own dedicated pouches for use with the product, which is reasonably priced and sufficient.

The overall size is very compact, so it is good if you want to be able to keep it out all of the time for immediate use but are low on desk space. It will accommodate sheets up to 13 inches wide, so should easily suit your everyday needs.

It doesn’t give the most reliable results. Users comment that it occasionally snagged or bent the sheets, so may not do if you’re constantly sealing precious one-off documents, but if you have back-ups, you’re good.

Specifications

  • Microns: 80-125
  • Type: Pouch
  • Heat Technology: Hot

We like

  • Quiet in operation
  • Price

We dislike

  • Maybe not the best for important tasks or long-term use

Final Verdict

Cheap and generally does what it is meant to do. Good if you want something for occasional use

Help and Resources

Laminator Buying Guide

Types Of Laminator

Pouch Laminators

The most common option, and probably the best if you are just going to be laminating business and ID cards, small posters and tags. They come in sizes from ID card to ordinary A3 sheets.

Pouch Laminating Systems are thermal machines. They use heat to melt the glue within laminating pouches, and the fusing of the two sides seals the paper document. Just place the document in the pouch and then run it through the laminator.

This is the type we have featured most heavily in our reviews, as they are widely available without going to a specialist shop and they’re also the easiest to use.

Roll Laminators

These use rollers to seal the laminate. They use rolls of laminating film as opposed to pouches and are a bit more flexible in terms of size, so are found in schools and workplaces.

They work at their absolute best with larger prints, so anything A4 and above. To buy, they’re a bit more expensive, but the flexibility could mean this is worth it

Dual Sided Film Laminators

Mainly found in professional environments. They can just seal one side of a document if needed, so are perfect for menus, business cards, recipe cards and posters which still need to have a bit of flexibility to them.

Encapsulation Laminators

Basically a form of pouch laminator, except they are able to cope with much larger paper sizes. They are commonly used on large banners, posters or maps.

Hot and Cold Laminators

Furthermore, the types of laminator are split again into the sealing technology they use.

Most will be hot, using heat to activate glue inside pouches or film and stick to the paper/card, giving a firm seal. The heat is provided via rollers which press over the surface.

What is a cold laminator? Well, they are newer and a bit less common, but the difference could be vital depending on what you are sealing. They use rollers too, but this time around they are kept cool, using pressure to do the job instead. These are found in environments where using heat could damage the item being printed. Some don’t even need power to work, so can be used anywhere and are safer.

You can now buy self-adhesive pouches which don’t need heat to work, so if you prefer to work with this type of pouch or find that they are more affordable/readily available, a cold option will be needed.

There are a few models out there which can be used as both, which may be worth considering if you print precious photos or high-quality posters as well as boring old documents. Multi-heat options are probably the most common cold laminator you’ll find available to buy for non-professional use.

Size

What is the maximum size of document or paper you will be laminating? If you are a teacher who frequently makes A3 posters, owning a laminator which can only cope with documents a maximum of A4 size is a little pointless. Don’t just think about the immediate future either – if you own a printing business, you may wish to expand in a few years time and don’t want to be buying more equipment.

Large laminators can also take smaller prints, so you aren’t going to be restricted if you get something too big now.

Microns

This is the measurement of thickness. 150 microns will be thicker than 75 microns. This could be important if you need to either make solid, unbendable prints or relatively flexible sheets.

Sometimes, you will see microns displayed as ‘2×75’, which basically means it will take a pouch of 150 microns, but the pouch needs to be evenly split as 70mics each side.

You may also see film measures in mils, which is a thousandth of an inch (0.01″). 1.5, 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses are the most commonly found, and the higher the number, the thicker the film.

Laminating Volume

How many sheets you need to laminate every day will depend on the model you can buy. Pouch laminators are usually the best for small to medium volumes, from a handful of prints to a couple of hundred. Anything above this will need a high volume, professional laminator.

Other Things To Look Out For

  • Warm Up Time – You want to get the job done ASAP. The average is probably around 3-4 minutes for home use, but office laminators may heat up in as quick as one minute
  • Dimensions – If you’re using it at home, you’ll want to ensure that you have an appropriate amount of room for it
  • Auto Shut Off – Should your hot laminator overheat, you want it to be able to close down in order to protect you, the paper being laminated and your home
  • Automatic Detection – The laminator will start pulling through the paper/card as soon as it is detected, meaning you have less setting up to do
  • Auto Reverse – Just like a printer or shredder, if the paper becomes jammed or starts to go wonky, you’ll be able to sort it out without damaging anything

FAQ’s

Who May Need To Use A Laminator?

  • Teachers – They are great for protecting handouts you want to reuse, important posters, certificates or even using as budget whiteboards if you get the right laminating pouch
  • Offices – Again, they can protect important documents and informative posters
  • Home – Whether you have documents you want to save from getting dog-eared, or you love crafting, they can be handy to have around. Maybe you love organisation and labelling items, and a laminator will help to keep everything perfect

What Is The Best Laminator For Home Use?

A pouch laminator will definitely be the easiest to manage. They come in both A3 and A4 sizes, and a choice of microns. You want something which is user-friendly and a good size for use on your desk or table.

Things such as printing and heating time may be a concern, but you should be prepared to have to wait around 3-5 minutes for heating and at least one minute per 30cm printing speeds.

Which Type Of Laminator Pouch Is Best?

There are several different types available. The most popular are matt and gloss, but others include soft touch, eco-friendly biodegradable and anti-graffiti for outdoor use or use in a school.

What Are The Best Laminator Brands?

Fellowes is perhaps the largest and most widely available manufacturer. Other names to look out for are Rexel, Texet and GBC. You will also find own-brand models from high street home and office suppliers.

Can I Do Hot Foiling With A Laminator?

If you like to do crafts, laminating with foil may be something you’d like to do. You will need a pouch model with a 10 mil setting or higher. Full control of temperature is the best idea, too. It is also good if it is slow.

Therefore, not every laminator is going to be ideal. They’re also only a good idea if you’ll be using it only occasionally for this job. Anything frequent, and you’re best looking into getting a foil roller too.