Thinking of buying a laminator? We take a look at what to look for in a laminator machine and give you a round-up of the best laminators for creating your own professional projects at home. From brochures to bookmarks, safety signs, and scrapbooks, laminated projects are everywhere. Whether you’re a chaotic creative or an organised office expert, the chances are you’ve encountered them in your day-to-day life – and perhaps you like the idea of owning your own.
Being able to quickly and easily laminate your own projects at home can be a life-saver, and no longer are these clever gadgets being relegated to a dusty corner of the office. More and more crafters are finding fun and creative ways to incorporate home laminators into their creative projects, too – so whether you’re putting together menus for a dinner party, compiling a DIY scrapbook album, or making gifts for family and friends, a laminator machine might just be the perfect new addition to your craft room (check out these best die-cutting machines and best printers for cardmaking too!)
But how do you know what features you’ll need, or what size of pouch to choose? Are four rollers better than two? What’s the difference between hot and cold press machines? We’re here to answer all these questions and more. We’ve put together this guide to make the process of selecting your dream machine a little less daunting – with information on functions and features, pouch sizes, speed settings, and more. Here’s 15 of the best laminators, laminating pouches and a short guide on how to use your new laminating machine!
15 of the best laminators
Crenova GS816 A4 Four-in-One Laminator
This fantastic four-in-one starter set contains everything you need to create professional-looking projects right away, including a GS816 laminator machine, paper trimmer, corner rounder, and 20 laminating pouches in a variety of sizes including A4, A5, and A6. The machine heats up in under five minutes, which combined with a speedy lamination rate of 25cm per minute (up to 50 sheets per hour) means you can get crafting in no time. Priced just £29.99, the machine is compatible with pouches between 120 – 200 microns in weight, making it ideal for every day makes including menus, photographs, scrapbooks, and bookmarks. It also features a handy ABS lever, designed specifically to prevent annoying paper jams.
Upgraded Portable A4 Thermal Laminating Machine
In proof that you don’t always need to stick to big-name brands to find a reliable product, this A4 laminator from Amazon is priced just £29.99 and surpasses many of its competitors. The machine performs both hot and cold lamination – meaning you can work across a variety of different projects, including those that may need to be handled a little more delicately. The machine takes three minutes to warm-up, features a low motor speed to keep noise to a minimum, and is compatible with pouches between 160 – 250 microns in thickness and sizes up to (and including) A4. It also comes supplied with a free paper cutter (complete with a spare blade) and a handy corner cutter, ideal for shaping your projects for a more professional finish.
Texet LMA4-V Laminator
This bestselling model from lamination experts Texet is a hit with consumers, who praise its small desk footprint, speedy lamination speed of 60 seconds per A4 sheet, and reliable performance. It’s available now from Amazon priced £29.99 and works with pouches of between 100 – 160 microns in thickness. Set-up is easy, taking just three minutes for the machine to heat up to working temperature – making it ideal for domestic use when the time for creativity is at a premium. With a small size of just 33cm x 12cm x 9cm, the LMA4-V can easily be stowed away in a cupboard or drawer when not in use, or left on your desktop for easy access.
Fellowes Lunar+ Laminator and Craft Pack
At £39.99 from Argos, the Lunar+ from Fellowes is available in A4 and A3 sizes and can be used in conjunction with both 80 and 125-micron pouches. The machine is ready to go in just four minutes and performs at a fixed laminating rate of 30cm per minute, making it the ideal model for speedy last-minute makes. A handy built-in jam release trigger allows misfed documents to be freed and re-aligned quickly and easily – making occasional mishaps simple to fix, too. In addition to being available as a stand-alone machine, the Lunar+ is also available as part of this fun craft pack, which includes a Neutrino A5 trimmer and a starter pack of ten pouches so you can get making straight away.
Scotch Thermal Laminator
Imported from the USA, this thermal laminator machine from Scotch can work with projects up to 9” wide using a clever two-roller system and two different temperature settings. It will laminate pouches up to 5mm thick, and whilst it will work well with any brand, specially-designed Scotch brand pouches are available in a range of sizes to be used in conjunction with this model – in fact, 20 are included with this starter set, which is priced £90.99 from Create & Craft. The machine is lightweight and features a carry handle on one side, making it completely portable, whether you’re crafting on the go or just moving from room to room inside your home.
Rexel Style 2104511 A4 Laminator
Ideal for the home office, the Rexel Style 2104511 A4 thermal laminator, priced just £16.99 from Currys, is easy to set up and even easier to use. It features a four minute warm-up time and is able to laminate a wide range of differently-sized items, from small IDs and business cards right up to full A4 sheets. The 2104511 is compatible with thermal laminating pouches up to 125 microns thick, and can also be used to perform cold press lamination – opening up the scope for even more creativity. A handy built-in release lever affords easy removal and realignment of mis-fed pouches, and the compact size means the device is easy to store away once you’re finished, too.
Fellowes Saturn 3i Laminator
The Saturn 3i lamination machine, priced £107.99 from Viking Direct, is the perfect model for those want to get a little more from their machine. Its InstaHeat technology means that it is ready to laminate in only 60 seconds and can work through 30cm of lamination per minute, for truly speedy results. Available in both A4 and A3 sizes, the machine is built to take on documents of up to 125 microns in thickness and also features an auto-feed sensor, which shuts down misaligned documents to stop accidents in their tracks before they even start. The machine is also eco-friendly, with an automatic shut-off feature that activates after 30 minutes of inactivity to reduce energy consumption.
Willing A4 Laminator
This compact lamination machine from Willing is available on Amazon priced just £21.59. With two evenly-heated rollers the machine is equipped to take on pouches of between 80-127 microns and up to A4 in size. It weighs just 900g – less than a MacBook Air – and measures only 33cm x 10cm x 6cm, making it the perfect miniature machine for occasional use or projects on-the-move. Those looking for an everyday machine shouldn’t discount this model, however; with a heat-up time of under five minutes and a low decibel motor that keeps noise to a minimum, it could just prove itself to be an ideal office companion.
Bonsen A3 Hot & Cold Laminator
If you’re looking to dive into lamination straight away, this four-in-one kit from Bonsen, priced at £47.99 from Amazon, could be a good match for you. It contains a thermal machine (capable of both hot and cold lamination), 50 laminating pouches, plus a handy corner cutter and paper trimmer set, so you’ll have everything you need to get started straight away. The two-roller design of this machine helps to avoid wrinkles, blistering, and curling during the lamination process, and in case of an occasional mishap, an ABS release button solves paper jams quickly and efficiently, too. This machine is equipped to work with pouches between 80 and 150 microns in thickness, and A4 in size.
Fellowes Neptune A3 Office Laminator
If you’re looking a heavy-duty machine that can really deliver, the Fellowes Neptune A3 laminator, priced £159.99 from Ryman, could just be the one for you. This advanced four-roller machine boasts a number of high-end features, such as a 100% jam-free mechanism, automatic sleep mode, and a high-tech LED interface that allows the user to stay in control at all times. The machine’s active cooling system enables rapid shifts from hot to cooler settings, and its impressive lamination speed of 80cm per minute is hard to beat. It can work with pouches up to 350 microns thick and A3 in size, meaning it can take on almost any project in the home office setting.
Cathedral Pink Automatic Laminator
Who says you can’t colour-coordinate your gadgets? This A4 lamination machine from Cathedral is available in three different colours, including hot pink – our personal favourite – priced just £20 from Hobbycraft. The handy device will easily take on pouches of between 150 and 250 microns, with a warm-up time of just two minutes and fast processing of 55 seconds per A4 page. The machine is suitable for beginners and five pouches are included in the box, allowing even absolute beginners to stuck in straight away. This model also features a handy jam release function, ensuring that even if things get a little snarled up, you can get back on track and making again in no time.
GBC Foton 30 A3 Laminator
If you want a machine that you can really push to the limits, the GBC Foton 30 A3 laminator, priced £515 from Currys, is hard to beat. It’s the world’s first fully-automatic office laminator, capable of processing up to 30 A4 or A3 documents at a time. You simply load your documents into the auto-feed tray, press the start button, and the machine takes care of the rest for you. It uses lamination film cartridges of 75, 100, and 125 microns, each of which will laminate up to 250 A4 documents before it needs refreshing. This machine maybe a little more expensive than the others on this list but it’s certainly worth considering if you’ve got a high volume of projects in mind.
Willing A4 Advanced Laminator with Built-In Trimmer
If you’re looking for a truly space-saving device, this A4 laminator from Willing, priced just £29.99 from Amazon, might be ideal. This multi-functional lamination machine has a built-in trimmer that cuts in three different styles – straight, perforated, and waved – and also includes a free corner-cutting gadget and 20 free pouches, too. The speedy model can seal up to 70 documents per hour and performs both hot and cold lamination, leading to a wider scope of potential projects. The machine heats up in under five minutes and is fully compatible with pouches between 80 to 125 microns in thickness.
Wilko A4 Laminator
Another high street favourite, this budget-friendly machine from Wilko is priced at just £14 and is a great no-fuss beginner’s machine. The mains-powered model heats up in just five minutes and provides quick, easy, and wrinkle-free lamination with pouches in A6, A5, and A4 sizes, which are also available in-store and online at 60 microns per side. It also includes a handy jam release feature to quickly fix snags and mistakes, and its compact size means it can easily be stowed away when not in use.
Vevor Manual Desktop Cold Laminator
This cold-roll laminator by Vevor is priced £85.99 and operates slightly differently than most of the others on our list, using up to 750lbs in pressure, instead of heat, to seal and protect your projects. The machine is made from solid iron, soft silicone, and durable rubber and has an adjustable roller height of up to 25mm and an impressive project width of up to 75cm. The machine is manually powered and requires no electricity, and can also be folded up to save space when not in use, making it a great all-rounder for those who want to try something a little different.
How to use a laminator
There are three main types of laminator machine available on the market – pouch laminators, heated roll laminators, and cold roll laminators. All three work in slightly different ways, and are best suited for different types of project. Here’s a quick description of all three, to help you choose the best model for you:
Pouch laminators: This is the most popular type of laminator machine, and is commonly found in a range of different settings including schools, restaurants, and offices, as well as in regular homes and offices. Pouch laminators seal items between two individual pieces of plastic lamination film, and tend to be used for smaller, every day projects such as photographs, business cards, menus, and more.
Heated roll laminators: These machines tend to be larger than pouch laminators, and seal items between two rolls of lamination film using temperatures of between 110ºc and 150ºc. The heat activates a layer of adhesive on the film, providing a firm hold that’s extremely durable. It tends to be used for larger-scale projects in industrial settings, though it does have its drawbacks – it can’t be used to laminate anything that might be damaged by high temperatures, including certain types of ink.
Cold roll laminators: These work in a similar way to heat roll laminators, but use intense pressure to fix the layers of film together, instead of high temperatures. They’re ideal for larger-scale projects that deal with more delicate materials, and again are mainly found in industrial or professional settings.
For most domestic users, a standard everyday pouch laminator machine is the most sensible option of the three. They’re small enough to keep on your desk (or even, in some cases, in a drawer) and they don’t require any special supplies – all you need is your chosen machine, a stack of pouches, and the project or document you want to laminate.
To use a pouch laminator, follow these simple steps:
- First of all, set your machine up on a clean, flat surface, ensuring it isn’t being crowded or covered by other items. You don’t want it overheating! Once in position, plug the machine in and turn it on. Most laminators take between one and five minutes to heat up, so you’ll have a little time to prepare your project.
- Whilst your machine heats up, remove your pouch from its packaging and open it up. Place the item you want to laminate in-between the two sheets of the pouch, pushing it up against the seam and ensuring that it’s free from dust, dirt and other particles. If possible, make sure to leave a border around the other three edges. If the item you’re laminating is smaller than the pouch, don’t trim it down before processing – this must be done at the end of the process. Many machines will automatically sense the thickness of the pouch you’re using, but if not, now is the time to manually key in the details to ensure an accurate finished result.
- Once the machine has reached temperature, it’s time to laminate. Insert the sealed edge of your pouch into the machine, following any placement guides. The machine should now gently pull your document through its feed, heating and/or sealing it as it goes.
- Once lamination is complete, you can either remove your project from the machine and use it as is, or trim it down to size if necessary.
Where to buy laminating pouches
Now that you’ve found the machine of your dreams, you’ll need to stock up on pouches. Laminating pouches are available in a wide variety of different sizes, thicknesses, and finishes, including gloss and matt. They’re sold in most high street stationery shops, as well from online retailers.
The thickness of a laminating pouch is measured in microns (one micron = one 1000th of a millimeter). The higher the micron measurement, the thicker (and more robust) the pouch will be. The micron measurement given on a pack of laminating pouches can relate to just one OR both sides of the pouch – this differs from brand to brand but should be clearly labeled. For example, Fellowes pouches are always described as ‘thickness per side’, meaning that the micron number given relates to only one side of the pouch, and should be doubled to give the finished overall thickness.
Here’s just a small selection of pouches that you can buy, right now.
Fellowes 80 Micron Gloss Pouches (Pack of 100)
These handy, everyday pouches from Fellowes weigh in at 80 microns per side, creating a lightweight pouch that’s flexible, easy to use, and perfect for a wide range of projects. The glossy finish gives a professional, high-shine look and each pouch features Fellowes’ exclusive ImageLast direction and quality mark, which clearly shows the correct way to load them into your machine, avoiding costly mishaps. The mark disappears after lamination, leaving behind a perfectly sealed project with superior results. Each pack is priced £9.99 and contains 100 pouches.
WHSmith A5 Laminating Pouches (Pack of 25)
These gloss-finish laminating pouches are available in packs of 25, priced just £5.99 – ideal for small-scale makes and one-off creations. The A5 size is perfect for laminating photos, tickets, receipts and business cards, and at 75 microns per side, the pouches are lightweight enough to pass through almost any domestic machine.
Deskit A4 Gloss 250 Microns Pouches (Pack of 30)
These A4 laminating pouches from Deskit weigh in at a hefty 250 microns, allowing you to achieve a professional and long-lasting finish on projects that require something a little more hard-wearing. The extra-thick pouches provide tough rigidity, making them ideal for outdoor signage, bookmarks, and menus. They feature a high-shine gloss finish and are priced £11.90 per 30 pouches.
GBC Premium A4 Laminating Pouches 150 Micron (Pack of 100)
This pack from GBC contains 100 high-quality 150-micron pouches, priced at £16.98. The pouches have a matt finish, making them the perfect choice for projects that need to be non-reflective, such as menus, fire safety signs, and other important documents. Each mid-weight 150-micron pouch is A4 sized but can be trimmed down to fit smaller projects as and when needed.
We hope you’ve found a new laminating machine to buy! Now you’ve got your hands on a new machine head over to our papercraft projects section for lots of free DIY makes. We have everything from how to make stickers to DIY Christmas cards.