How to Select a Home Laminating Machine

Intelli-Lam IL300 Pouch LaminatorIf you have photographs that you would like to protect, enjoy scrapbooking or would like to create your own at-home signs and banners, you may want to use a home laminating machine. These small devices are easy to use, are extremely affordable and come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Which machine should you use? Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself prior to buying a laminator.

Laminating machines, that used to cost hundreds of dollars only 10 years ago, are now far more affordable, making it possible for more people to use and own a home laminating machine. These machines, sometimes referred to as pouch laminators, can be purchased for $110 or less for home and entry-level use.

Prior to purchasing your laminating machine, consider answering the following 5 questions:

  • How large an item are you laminating? Try to determine the maximum width that you will need to laminate and use that to determine the width of the laminator you will purchase. Be aware that you will probably want something slightly larger that the maximum width you will be laminating to allow for some wiggle room. If you will be laminating 8 ½” x 11″ documents, I recommend going with a laminator that is at least 9″ wide or wider.
  • What are you laminating? If you are only laminating basic copy paper, just about any laminator will work for you. If you will be laminating thicker items, such as cardstock, or perhaps photos, I recommend using a laminator with at least 4 rollers (versus 2).
  • How many documents are you laminating per day? Volume can play a big determining factor in your purchase. If you are laminating a few dozen items per day, which is typical for home or small business use, most entry-level laminators will work for you. If you will be laminating dozens to hundreds of items a day, you may want to consider a commercial-grade laminating machine.
  • Where will you keep your laminator? While laminators have varying capabilities, they also come in different sizes. Determine where you will be storing or using the laminator and make sure you have ample room. Most laminators will specify, on the product page, their length, width and height.
  • What thickness of film would you like to laminate? Laminating pouches come in 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses. A mil is a thousandth of an inch, which means the higher the number the thicker the pouch. While most people don’t use anything thicker than 5 mils, you may want to use 7 or 10. Most laminators will handle 3 or 5, but not all will handle 7 or 10. Be sure you know the laminator’s capabilities and the film you want to use.

Now that we have covered a few important questions, I would like to recommend a few nice “all around” good laminators. These machines have a proven track record, are designed for home or small business use and are affordable.

Recommended Home Laminating Machines:

  1. Intelli-Lam IL300 Pouch Laminator
  2. Intelli-Lam IL200 Pouch Laminator
  3. Banner American QuikFinish PL100 Laminating Machine
  4. Fellowes Cosmic CL-125 12″ Pouch Laminator
  5. SircleLam SG-230 Pouch Laminator

While I have tried to answer all the important questions in this article, I understand that you may still have a few questions. If you need an answer to one of your questions, please feel free to contact one of our laminating experts by calling 1-800-658-8788.

You can find our entire selection of pouch laminating machines here.

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