Laminators Review

Why Buy Laminators?

A laminating machine is used to cover and preserve paper materials, like certificates, photographs and leaflets, in a thin vinyl or plastic film. This process results in a protective layer that keeps the materials safe from becoming smudged, stained, torn, creased or damaged by water. It also adds additional strength and rigidity to otherwise flimsy documents and papers. Typical laminating devices include the GBC Pinnacle 27 EZload Roll Laminator, the Scotch TL1306 Thermal Laminator and the AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator.

These machines are used with a variety of films and pouches, each of which can produce a different finish. Popular finishes included matte, gloss, soft touch and anti-graffiti. These films and pouches can sometimes add special properties to the finished laminated product. For instance, some plastic films have been specially surfaced so that when laminated, they can be written on using chalk or dry erase markers without harming the document underneath.

Laminators: What to Look For

When choosing the right laminating machine, there are several features to consider. The type of machine, speed and laminating thickness should all factor into your decision.

Type
These machines will either use heat technology, cold and pressure technology, or both to laminate. A hot laminate machine, also known as a thermal laminator, uses heat generated by its rollers to melt the film or pouch so that it bonds to the printed material. Cold machines are also called pressure-sensitive machines, as they apply pressure to the film or pouch to form a bond.

Warm-Up Time & Laminating Speed
These two qualities go hand-in-hand, as they tell you exactly how much time you'll spend waiting for the laminating process to complete. The warm-up time refers to how long it takes the machine to start laminating from a cold start. The laminating speed refers to how many inches or feet per minute the machine can laminate.

Laminating Thickness
The level of protection lamination offers depends on the thickness you choose. The thicker the lamination, the more secure your materials are. However, you don't always want the thickest lamination available. The use of the materials after lamination will affect this decision. For example, if a document needs to be folded after lamination, you won't want a thickness of 10 millimeters, which offers tremendous rigidity.

Number of Rollers
The number of rollers can affect the quality of the finished laminated product. In basic machines, two rollers work together to either heat or place enough pressure on the material to adhere it to the film and seal it at the same time. In more complex machines, two rollers will heat or apply pressure, depending on whether the machine uses hot or cold technology, and additional rollers will seal the document.

An office or home laminating machine can help to preserve and protect your paper materials and extend their life. Make sure you understand the features of these machines so you can choose the right laminator for you.