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When looking for the best laminator, you want to choose a balance between speed, size, thickness capacity, and of course, the price tag. Additional features such as jam prevention and auto shut-off can help you if you’re trying to choose between two similar laminators. Some laminators only have thermal technology and use heat to seal the laminating film and documents together. Others also have cold laminating capabilities—meaning the film and documents are pressed together. If speed is a factor, the ideal laminator for you will be one that warms up quickly and can laminate more inches per minute.
With that said, if you're looking for a laminator for your home, office, or classroom, check out our list of the best laminators below.
Best Overall: AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator
Weighing only 2.6 pounds, the AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator is lightweight and portable. Give it four minutes to warm up, and then you’re ready to laminate your documents up to 9 inches wide. That means you can laminate letter-sized, business-card-sized, and photo-size documents. Choose from one of two heat settings for the best results. With the flip of a switch, you can opt to use the 3 mil heat setting for normal documents or the 5 mil setting for thinner papers. The compact design is great for any classroom or home office. If papers get jammed in the laminating machine, you can use the jam release lever to quickly and easily clear out the jam.
Most User-Friendly: Crenova A4 Thermal Laminator
Reviewers love how easy to use this laminating machine is, making the Crenova A4 4-in-1 Thermal Laminator a great option for beginners. In addition to the laminator, the set comes with all the tools you'll need for laminating, including a paper trimmer, corner rounder, and 20 pouches. This portable, lightweight machine performs well, too, with a three- to five-minute heating time and 250-millimeter per minute laminating speed, producing up to 50 sheets per hour. Its ABS lever also easily prevents paper jams. While a basic laminating machine for smaller projects, it boasts a simple, three-step process and an affordable price tag.
Best for Schools: Scotch TL901X Thermal Laminator
For home or school projects, this Scotch 2 Roller System Thermal Laminator offers a fast and easy solution. The machine, which can laminate up to 9 inches wide, features a two-roller system and two temperature settings. With settings for both 3 mil and 5 mil thermal pouches, the machine is ideal for laminating photos, recipe cards, arts & crafts pieces, and more. Even more, the four-step lamination process makes it a breeze to laminate high-quality documents.
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Best With Paper Cutter: ABOX OL381 Thermal Laminator
Incredibly versatile and convenient, this ABOX 4-in-1 thermal laminator also doubles as a paper cutter and corner rounder for all of your work or school projects. The paper cutter function, which comes with a lock, lets you cut eight, A3 sheets at once—something laminators with paper trimmers can't achieve. With a hot and cold laminating system, the machine ensures quiet yet fast and smooth laminating at 250 millimeters per minute. Even more, this thermal laminator features a built-in bubble heating system, meaning it will heat laminated materials evenly and avoid any crinkling. Just wait for three minutes for the machine to heat up and laminate papers up to 13 inches in width or place postcards, business cards, photos, and other various documents together. You'll also get 16 laminating pouches of four different sizes.
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Best Value: Scotch Pro Thermal Laminator
Flip the switch on the Scotch Pro Thermal Laminator, give it five minutes to warm up, and when the “ready” indicator light illuminates, you’re ready to go. Choose between two temperature settings for different thermal pouch thicknesses. The no-jam technology automatically prevents items that have been misfed into the machine, while two rollers feed pages through the machine and prevent wrinkles and bubbles in your documents. You can laminate documents at a speed of 15 inches per minute and the laminating machine conserves energy by shutting off after one hour of inactivity. This Scotch laminator also features a folding tray, hidden cord storage, as well as a carry handle for easy portability.
Best for Speed: Fellowes Laminator Jupiter 2 125
This Fellowes laminator rapidly warms up in 60 seconds, thanks to InstaHeat technology, and can also laminate documents at an impressive 30 inches per minute. Plus, it's possible to laminate any job perfectly without adjusting any settings on your own—the AutoSense system detects the thickness and self-adjusts to the best laminating setting for those pages. The Advanced Pouch Tracking System can detect misfed pages and automatically reverses them to clear out jams without any intervention from you. Just re-center or remove to continue with the laminating process. The laminator is built with six rollers to provide superior quality laminating jobs.
Best Features: GBC Fusion 7000L Thermal Laminator
The GBC Fusion 7000L is one of the best when it comes to speed. The laminating machine warms up in just one minute and once it’s warm, you can begin laminating documents up to 12 inches wide. The machine can move efficiently, laminating up to 45 documents in 10 minutes. It's also packed with features such as Advanced Auto Pouch Thickness Detection that allows the laminator to automatically adjust to the ideal setting based on the thickness of the paper you’ve inserted. Auto jam detection clears out jams by automatically reversing jammed documents. And you’ll have the option to choose the cold lamination setting to use with pressure-sensitive pouches. The six rollers ensure flawless results—no bubbles or wrinkles. Finally, the auto shut-off feature saves electricity by powering off the device after it’s been idle for a period of time.
Best Heavy-Duty: Swingline GBC Fusion 3000L
The Swingline GBC Fusion 3000L Laminator warms up in just one minute, and the ready light and audible alert will let you know when the machine is ready for use. The machine has a laminating speed of 19 inches per minute, so you can move through large jobs in less time (please note that the maximum document width of this machine is nine inches). And if there's a snafu along the way, the Intelligent Jam Alert System sounds a beep to let you know there’s a jam. Fixing it is easy: simply press a button to release the jammed pouch and continue with your laminating job. There's also a cold setting available for smooth lamination results with pressure-sensitive pouches. And after 30 minutes of inactivity, the thermal laminator will automatically power off to conserve energy. The machine comes with 30 laminating pouches to get you started.
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If you want a laminator for handling regular-sized items, then go with the lightweight AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator (view at Amazon). It’s compact, budget-friendly, and gets basic jobs done. For bulk laminating jobs, splurge on the speedy GBC Fusion 7000L (view at Amazon), which is loaded with cool features.
What to Look for in Laminators
If you’ll only be laminating occasionally, you probably wouldn't care so much about speed. But if you’re doing lots of laminating, you’ll want something to churn out finished documents as efficiently as possible. Look at how long different models take to warm up, as well as how many inches per minute they can laminate to compare speeds.
Will you be laminating standard-size items like business cards or photos? Or will you be dealing with odd shapes and sizes? Think about your intended use to see if you should go with a standard laminator or one that can accommodate larger document widths. Also, look at the mil thickness—this will affect how thin and flimsy or thick and sturdy your laminated documents will come out.
Automatic paper jam and thickness detectors, built-in paper cutters, and different temperature settings are just a few of the features that laminators offer. If any of those bells and whistles are important to you, see what’s included in the laminators you're considering getting.
What can you laminate?
Laminators can be used to protect any piece of paper, from small documents like an insurance card or car registration to photos, school projects, and handouts.
What’s better, a hot or cold laminator?
There are pros and cons to both hot and cold laminators. The main difference is that hot laminators use thermal heat whereas cold laminators use pressure and films with stronger adhesives. Cold models may be safer since there is no risk of getting burned, but they are also pricier. Some laminators also have a cold setting that lets you choose between hot and cold laminating methods. For heat-sensitive documents, such as old photos, cold lamination may be a better choice.
What is the best temperature for laminating?
Hot laminators usually get to temperatures over 210 degrees, though some films that are classified as “low melt” can laminate at lower temperatures (around 185 degrees).