Last updated: August 9, 2021

Welcome to our big laminator test 2021. Here we present all the laminators we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best laminator for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy a laminator.




Summary

  • Laminators offer you the possibility to protect your documents from external influences in the long term or in the short term and to make sure that the documents look nice for a long time.
  • Basically, laminators are divided into hot laminators and cold laminators. There are also laminators with automatic temperature control and laminators with a cutting function.
  • Cold laminators are mainly suitable for short term laminations, these only provide medium protection against external influences. Hot laminators are only suitable for long-term laminations, cannot be reversed and protect against all external influences such as liquids.

The Best Laminator: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a laminator

What is a laminator?

A laminator is an electrical device that welds a foil together with a carrier material, for example paper. This is done with the help of an adhesive that is inside the film.

The foils are stuck together with the help of pressure. Depending on the laminator, hot or cold lamination is possible. This protects the laminated documents from external influences and makes them more stable to handle.

What are the advantages of a laminator over alternatives?

As an alternative to laminating with a laminator, documents can be protected with simple self-adhesive film, as known from book covers. However, sticking simple adhesive film onto individual documents such as a DIN A4 sheet is extremely tedious and can only be done without bubbles with a great deal of practice. In addition, this film offers hardly any stability and no reliable protection against external influences such as liquids.

Another possibility is to use the cold-laminating foil without a machine. This works if you apply pressure to the film yourself until the film sticks by itself. Cold lamination film is also difficult to apply perfectly without a laminator. In addition, cold lamination does not provide sufficient protection against external influences in the long term.

  • Provides you with perfect results
  • Protects your documents in the long term
  • Saves time and effort

A laminator can help you protect your documents from stains or creases. Lamination with a machine gives you a perfect result and long-term protection of your documents. In addition, hot lamination protects your documents reliably from external influences.

A laminator can save you tedious gluing or pressing of foils and thus also saves valuable time.

How do I operate a laminator?

You should pay particular attention to the following things when laminating:

  • Correct settings on the machine for hot or cold lamination
  • The right film size and sufficient film margin
  • Do not start laminating until the machine is ready
  • Insert the document with the closed side of the film first
  • Do not push or pull the document
  • Allow to cool briefly after laminating

First of all, connect the laminator to the power supply. Now you have to decide, if possible, whether you want to laminate hot or cold and possibly switch the switch on your device accordingly. Then you can choose the right size of film for your desired laminate.

Remember that the film for hot lamination is not suitable for cold lamination and vice versa. It is also important to leave a margin of at least four millimetres around your documents, otherwise the film will not stick together sufficiently and you will not achieve your desired result. Your laminated document may not be waterproof and the film will peel off the document over time. Next we come to the size of the film pockets. If you have one large film and several small documents, you can laminate them all at once in one large film without any problems. It is important that you do not cut the film before laminating.

Once you have found the right film and placed your documents neatly inside, it is best to check again that there is no lint or hair on or in the film. Otherwise they will be laminated and can affect your desired result. When the warm-up phase of your machine is complete or not necessary because you are cold laminating, you are ready to start. Carefully insert the document with the closed side of the film into the laminator. If you insert the open side of the film first, the film may damage your laminator.

Once your machine's rollers have gripped the document, the document is usually pulled through your machine automatically. Pushing or pulling can damage your laminator or affect the result of your laminate. Once your laminate has been pulled through, it should cool down a little after a hot lamination. Hot lamination takes place at very high temperatures.

You can get burnt and the substrates can easily become deformed in the long term. Therefore, it is better to wait a moment until your document has cooled down again. If the film does not stick completely, you can of course repeat the process until you are completely satisfied with the result.

You can also rivet your laminated documents with riveting pliers to be on the safe side. If you are laminating cardboard or other thicker materials, it may happen that the material is too thick for the film pockets and the machine. This will result in the film not sticking completely even after several passes.

How long does a laminator last?

Of course, this varies from device to device and cannot be answered in a general way. A device that is not so well made usually has a shorter life than a well-made device. As with other technical devices, however, the lifespan also depends on handling and care.

Take care of your laminator as well as possible to make the most of its lifespan. When buying a laminator, also look for proper workmanship and possibly the experience of others.

What accessories do I need for my laminator?

In summary, the following accessories may be useful for your laminator:

  • Laminating foils for hot or cold lamination
  • A good pair of craft scissors or a cutter
  • A corner cutter
  • Water-soluble foil pens

If you are looking for a suitable laminator, then a lot of potential accessories will be suggested to you. The most important thing you need for laminating are the pouches. If you already know what exactly you want to laminate, then get the foils in the right sizes.

The most common sizes to laminate are A4, A5, A6 and A8. A4 sheets are best for all normal sized documents. A5 and A6 sheets are good for photos and business cards are best laminated in A8 sheets. There are also matt and glossy laminating films to choose from. When buying laminating pouches, you should also consider whether you want to laminate hot or cold. The pouches for hot lamination cannot be used for cold lamination and vice versa. So make sure you know which films you need before you buy.

By the way, many laminators already come with the foils when you buy them, so you usually don't have to worry about the right foils at the beginning. If the foils are too big for your documents, you can easily cut them to size. Of course, a normal pair of scissors is suitable for this.

If you want to make it easier, it is also worth getting a cutter. A cutter can achieve much more perfect results than a normal pair of scissors. In addition, cutting laminated film often results in very sharp edges that invite injury. Therefore, a corner cutter can be an advantage.

With it you can easily round off the sharp corners after laminating and thus protect yourself and others from injuries. Depending on what you are laminating and what you intend to do with it, it might also be interesting for you to buy a foil pen.

For example, you can write on a laminated weekly planner every week and simply wipe everything off with a damp cloth at the end of the week. Of course, you should also make sure that the foil pens are water-soluble so that you can get the colour off again.

How much does a laminator cost?

Good laminators are available in all price ranges, depending on the equipment. Simple devices that are only used from time to time are available for between 20 and 30 euros. These laminators have basic features that are necessary for lamination.

The devices can usually hot and cold laminate up to a size of DIN A4 and a thickness of up to 0.5 millimetres. A simple switch helps to switch between the hot and cold lamination functions. These simple devices are mainly suitable for occasional hobbyists or infrequent laminating projects.

If you would rather laminate in a more energy-saving way and laminate all sizes up to A3, you can get such a laminator from around 70 euros upwards. Devices in this price range often have an LED display and can laminate documents up to 0.5 millimetres thick.

Devices in the medium price range are best suited for hobbyists or for school.

Price range Price Features Suitable for
Low 20 to 30 euros The devices have the basic equipment for lamination. They can usually hot and cold laminate up to a size of DIN A4 and a thickness of up to 0.5 millimetres. Casual hobbyists, infrequent laminating projects
Medium From 70 euros The devices often also have an LED display and can laminate documents up to 0.5 millimetres thick. They are more energy-efficient and can seal in all sizes up to DIN A3. Hobbyists, school
High from 300 euros The devices can usually laminate up to a thickness of 3 millimetres and are also equipped with a digital temperature control, for example. Professional purposes

If you are looking for a high-quality device and want to laminate something frequently, then there are hardly any limits from 300 euros up to the high three-digit range.

These professional laminators can usually laminate up to a thickness of 3 millimetres and are also available with digital temperature control, for example. Such devices are particularly suitable for professional purposes.

Decision: What types of laminators are there and which one is right for you?

The following types of laminators are presented below:

  • Hot laminators
  • Cold laminators
  • Laminators with cutting function
  • Laminators with automatic temperature control

Basically, a distinction is made in laminating between hot laminating and cold laminating. Other types are devices with special functions. Many laminators intended for normal household use have both functions. Nevertheless, it is often difficult to decide on a suitable device, because there are many devices with supposedly extensive technical differences.

What is the difference between a hot laminator and a cold laminator and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Hot laminators

Hot laminators usually operate at temperatures between 60 and 120 °C. The rollers inside the laminator are heated to a temperature between 60 and 120 °C. The laminator is then heated to a temperature between 60 and 120 °C. The rollers inside the laminator heat up. Once the operating temperature is reached, the document can be laminated.

Advantages
  • Protects against external influences
  • Can be used for a long time
  • Provides a lot of stability
  • Protects against creases in the document
Disadvantages
  • Documents that are not heat-resistant may be damaged or cannot be laminated
  • Film cannot be removed from the document again

During hot lamination, the film fuses with the document. In most cases, the film cannot be removed afterwards. This type of lamination protects the document in the long term against liquids, dirt or other things.

If a stain ever lands on the laminated documents, it can easily be washed off and the laminate can be dried afterwards. Hot lamination is suitable for handwritten texts, drawings, photos or other papers. Receipts, ultrasound images or documents printed with a laser printer can be damaged or discoloured by the heat.

Cold laminators

As the name suggests, cold laminators do not need to be heated, unlike hot laminators. The laminating pouches are self-adhesive. They contain an adhesive which ensures that the films are stuck to the documents like double-sided adhesive tape. The films could also be used without the laminator, as the laminator only applies pressure to ensure a uniformly adhesive result.

Advantages
  • Heat-sensitive items can be laminated
  • The film can be removed from the document again
Disadvantages
  • Laminator not absolutely necessary, as pressure can also be applied to the films in other ways
  • Not quite as perfect a result
  • Not protected against external influences in the long term
  • Only suitable for sizes up to DIN A5

The result from the cold laminator is not as stable and waterproof as the result from the hot laminator. Cold lamination is particularly suitable for documents that are not to be laminated in the long term, as the film can be removed again. Cold lamination has the advantage that one-sided lamination is possible. However, it is not suitable for formats larger than DIN A5. In addition, the moisture from the film adhesive can discolour the documents. Cold lamination is suitable for all documents that are sensitive to heat. The following table shows the characteristics of the two devices:

Type Features
Hot laminator For permanent lamination, Works with heat, The document cannot be removed from the film
Cold laminator For temporary lamination, Works with adhesive + pressure, The document can be removed from the film without damage if needed

What are the features of a laminator with cutting function and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Some laminators have special features to make them stand out from the crowd. For example, there are laminators with a cutting function. These devices have an integrated cutter. This means that the sides and also the corners can be cut directly after lamination.

Advantages
  • Saves space and possibly time
  • No need to buy an additional cutter
Disadvantages
  • No difference to cutting with an external cutter or scissors

This should save both time and space in the cupboard or on the desk. However, the result of lamination and cutting is no different between cutting directly on the machine or cutting on an external cutter.

What are the features of a laminator with automatic temperature control and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

With many laminators, the temperature must be set before the laminating process begins. This is because the required temperature varies depending on the thickness of the films and the document to be laminated.

Advantages
  • Less effort
  • error prevention when setting the temperature
Disadvantages
  • Possible incorrect settings on the device cannot be corrected

To avoid errors when setting the temperature, it is a good idea to buy a laminator with automatic temperature control.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate laminators

Many shops offer many different laminators, so it is often not so easy to find the right one for you. In order to simplify the decision to buy a laminator, these buying criteria can help you:

  • Types of lamination
  • Special functions of laminators
  • Laminating capacities
  • Laminating time
  • Foil jam aid
  • Weight / dimensions / colour
  • Included accessories

When buying a laminator, there are several buying criteria that you should consider before making a purchase.

Types of lamination

As already described in the guide, there are a few different types of lamination. These include hot lamination and cold lamination. Most laminators can hot laminate, as this is the most common type of lamination. With hot lamination you can laminate just about any document.

However, if you want to laminate specific things, such as materials that are heat sensitive, your machine must be able to laminate cold. Therefore, you should think about what you might need a laminator for before you buy it. This will help you decide if you need a laminator that can laminate both hot and cold.

Did you know that there are many laminators that can laminate hot and cold? With some devices, especially with medium to higher priced devices, you can simply switch between hot and cold lamination with a switch. This gives you all the advantages of both options in one device.

There are many laminators that can laminate both hot and cold. If you don't know yet which type of lamination is better for you, then take a look at a device that has both functions.

Special features on laminators

Some laminators have special features that can make your lamination work easier. These include the following special functions:

  • Automatic temperature control
  • Automatic switch off
  • Built-in cutter

There are laminators with and without automatic temperature control. Devices without automatic temperature control either have a wheel on which you can set the temperature or they have buttons for the different film thicknesses. If you want to laminate particularly thick materials, such as cardboard, then it is a good idea to be able to regulate the temperature yourself.

If the laminator is set too cold, the desired result cannot be achieved. Another feature that some laminators have is the automatic shut-off. This function does not change the type of lamination, but is mainly intended to protect you. When a laminator with automatic switch-off has been on for a certain time, it will eventually switch off by itself. The time from warm-up to switch-off is usually around 30 minutes. This function prevents the laminator from overheating and thus reduces the risk of fire.

The automatic switch-off is of course always an advantage because it protects you and your machine. Especially if you want to use your laminator for a longer period of time or if you are a bit forgetful, you should not do without this function. There are also laminators that have a built-in cutter. These laminators are extremely rare, but can be handy. Laminators with a cutter can be a time saver because the document can be cut directly after lamination. In addition, you always have your cutter with you and cannot lose it, especially during transport.

This special function is a nice addition that is not absolutely necessary. You can also easily cut your documents with a normal pair of craft scissors or an external cutter directly after lamination.

Laminating capacities

The laminating capacities include the maximum laminating format and the maximum film sacks. The maximum laminating size indicates the size up to which you can laminate documents. If the maximum laminating format is DIN A4, you can laminate up to the size of a normal sheet of paper.

Of course, you can also laminate all smaller formats. However, if you are planning to laminate larger sizes, you should look for a different laminator. Most laminators can laminate up to A4 size and some can laminate up to A3 size.

Did you know that some laminators can laminate sizes up to A2? Conventional laminators can usually handle formats up to A4 or A3. Larger devices can also laminate A2 formats.

There are also some laminators that can laminate up to A1. However, devices that can handle such sizes are rather unsuitable for private use.

The maximum film thickness is always specified in microns (mic). Laminators that laminate up to a film thickness of 125 mic can be used with film pouches where only one side of the film is 125 mic.

The entire pouch has a thickness of 250 mic. The thickness of your document is not included in this calculation.

Laminating time

The lamination time of a laminator includes the warm-up phase and the lamination speed. The warm-up phase indicates how long the laminator needs to come out of the idle state in order to be able to laminate hot. If the machine can also laminate cold and it is set for this, there is no warm-up phase.

The laminating speed indicates how many millimetres per second can be laminated. If a laminator can laminate 5 millimetres per second, it takes just under a minute to laminate an A4 sheet. The laminating time of a laminator is interesting for you if you are often in a hurry when laminating or generally want to save time.

However, most laminators take a similar amount of time to warm up. If the laminating time is relevant for you, you should therefore mainly pay attention to the laminating speed.

Film jam aid

One problem that often occurs during lamination is film jamming. Film jam means that the laminator pulls in the document to be laminated and the entire document with the film gets stuck in the laminator. A jam usually occurs when the document is inserted at an angle.

The document is then difficult to remove from the device and is in most cases severely damaged. That is why there are many laminators with a reverse function. Most of the time, the rewind function consists of a lever with which you can simply push the film backwards out of the device. The rollers of the laminator are therefore turned the other way round with the help of the lever.

The film jam help protects your machine in case of problems with film jams. The jam can always happen, so the reverse function is a practical plus for every laminator. Nevertheless, a film jam help does not protect against film jams and damaged documents

Weight / Dimensions / Colour

The weight, dimensions and colour of a laminator do not influence the result of the lamination. Nevertheless, these criteria can be important when deciding which laminator to buy. The weight of your laminator is especially important if you want to transport it.

A low weight saves you some effort in this case. In addition, the weight can also be relevant for you if you want to store your laminator on higher shelves or if the laminator is also used by somewhat weaker people. On the other hand, a heavier laminator offers you a little more stability during the laminating process. If your laminator is a little heavier, it will not be easy to move it on the table. In extreme cases, it is also more protected from falling down.

The dimensions of a laminator are important when transporting it and also when storing it. Here, too, smaller dimensions are naturally easier to handle during transport. Furthermore, a small device takes up less space in a cupboard or on a shelf. However, small devices are usually not suitable for laminating large formats such as DIN A3. You can choose the colour of your laminator according to your taste.

It does not affect the handling of the laminator or the result of your lamination. Most laminators are therefore available in black or white. The weight, the dimensions and the colour do not contribute to the result of your lamination. These features are mainly of interest if you want to transport your laminator or if you attach great importance to the colour.

Included accessories

When you buy a laminator, often foils, cutters or corner rounders are already included in the delivery. Especially foils that are included in the scope of delivery can be an advantage. The foils supplied are of course compatible with the laminator. This means you don't have to worry about which foils are the right ones for your device.

Once you have used up these films, you can of course simply buy the same films again. This way you can be sure that you always use the right pouches for your laminator. In addition, foils, cutters or corner rounders that are included in the scope of delivery may also save you money.

If you are planning to buy a cutter anyway, for example to cut your laminated documents extra straight, it may be cheaper to buy this together with the laminator.

Facts worth knowing about laminators

Finally, we would like to briefly explain how a laminator works. How does a laminating machine work? Inside laminating machines there are at least two rollers that sit firmly on top of each other. These rollers are driven by an electric motor. When the machine is switched on, the rollers start to rotate and when hot laminating, the rollers heat up during this process.

When buying a laminator, there are various buying criteria that you should consider before making a purchase. (Image source: unsplash.com / rescoli)

After the machine has warmed up, the document is inserted wrapped in the film pouch. The rollers now pull the document through the device. The enormous pressure of the rollers ensures that the films are pressed together.

During hot lamination, the adhesive in the foils melts because of the heat and also allows the foils to fuse with the document. This is also the reason why hot lamination is more waterproof than cold lamination and cannot be reversed.

(Image source: flickr.com / Reto Schläppi)

Why you can trust me?

Reviews