Ten Things to Consider When Buying a Laminator

Roll LaminatorsLaminators come in all shapes and sizes and isolating the model that will work best for you can be a challenge. The two most popular types of laminators used today are pouch laminators (found here) and roll laminators (found here). These are both commonly used in businesses for laminating a wide variety of documents. In order to purchase the right machine, you will want to ask yourself a few questions.

Here are 10 things you will want to consider before purchasing your laminator:

  1. What is your budget? While a budget shouldn’t hold you back from correct laminator you need, it will still play a role in narrowing down the field. I recommend speaking with a Customer Service Rep (800-658-8788) for help narrowing down the field once you know what you want. They are very good at working within your budget.
  2. What will you be laminating? What type of material are you laminating? If you are laminating something that is temperature sensitive, you may want to consider going with a cold laminator (found here) like those from Ledco or Xyron. If you are laminating photographs, consider a laminator with at least four rollers or more. The more rollers, the more professional the results.
  3. What is the largest size you will be laminating? Don’t just take into account what you are laminating now, but also what you will laminate later down the road. Remember, wider laminators (both pouch and roll) can be used with smaller laminating pouches or rolls. Also be aware that most pouch laminators max out around 14″ wide. If you need to laminate something wider than 14″ (perhaps a poster, banner or map), I recommend going with a roll laminator. They range in size anywhere from 12″ up to 70″ wide.
  4. How much will you be laminating? As a general rule, pouch laminators are ideal for small to medium volume laminating and roll laminators are good for medium to high-volume laminating. I consider laminating a few dozen to a few hundred items a day to be small to medium and a few hundred to a few thousand items a day to be medium to high volume.
  5. What thickness of film would you like to use? Laminating film (found here) is measured in mils, which is a thousandth of an inch (0.01″). The larger the mil thickness, the thicker the pouch or roll. Film usually comes in 1.5, 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses. The most common used with pouch laminators is 5 mils and the most common used with roll laminators is 1.5 and 3 mils.
  6. Who will be using the laminator? While it is best for only an adult to use a laminator, pouch laminators are by far the safest for children to use under supervision. I do not recommend children using a roll laminator. There are far more exposed “hot” components in a roll laminator.
  7. Where will you be keeping your laminator? Space is always an issue and roll laminators take up far more space than pouch laminators.
  8. Will the laminated documents be used indoors or outdoors? This applies more to film than the laminators themselves. If you plan to use your laminated documents outside, be sure to use UV laminating film. UV film will filter out damaging UV rays that cause color prints to fade. If you don’t expect your laminated items to be outside more than a week or two, you may be fine with standard film.
  9. Do you need to mount pictures on foam core board? If you need to mount posters, maps and pictures to foam core board, you will probably need to use a roll laminator. Most roll laminators will specify if they can mount, and if they can, it will usually let you know what the maximum thickness is.
  10. Which brand is the best? There are a lot of great brands out there. As far as pouch laminators go, I have had great luck with Akiles, Banner American (now out of business), GBC and Tamerica. As far as roll laminators go, I have had great luck with Ledco, GBC, Banner American (now out of business) and Tamerica.

Hopefully these ten tips have helped you out. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to call one of our experts at 1-800-658-8788. You can also find our entire selection of laminators and film here.

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