Buying Guide: How to Choose a Laminator

September is Productivity Month!  This month our weekly eblasts have focused on products to help you be productive in the office through innovation, technology and value.  Today, I'm going to walk you through how to choose the best laminator for your office.

There are four basic considerations when choosing a laminator:  type, size, environment and durability.


There are two types of laminators:  Pouch Laminators and Roll Laminators.

Pouch Laminators can handle standard size documents up to 11" x 17".  They are small in size and normally fit on a desk or table.  Operation is quick and easy and they can handle pouches up to 10 mil thickness.  Each laminator will vary in the thicknesses it handles, so be sure to check that out before you make your purchase.

Roll Laminators can handle up to 27" wide documents and the length is unlimited since it's on a roll. They can also do odd sizes or shapes.  Extra space will be needed for the size of the machine.  Roll laminators can handle up to 3 mil thickness.


Machine size ranges from 9" wide for portrait documents, 12" wide for landscape documents or 27" wide for wide format documents.  The type of documents you need to laminate will make this choice simple and obvious.


What do I mean by environment?  How often will the machine be used and by how many people? 

Pouch lamination is versatile and is really good for most businesses or home offices.  Personal use may be a few times per month.  A small office may have a moderate volume - perhaps a few times per week.  It's also good for high volume daily use. 

Here's my "however" - if you are a school or library or a facilities management center, you may want at least one roll laminator.  A roll laminator will provide the necessary versatility in size and will save you money on the supplies.


The thickness of the laminating material determines the durability.  

Standard Durability is up to 3 mil thickness. Use these thicknesses for documents that will be handled occasionally or posted on walls. The document will still be flexible.

Moderate Durability is over 3 mil and up to 5 mil. Use these thicknesses for documents that will have moderate handling, filing or posting.  The document will be somewhat flexible at this thickness.

Rigid Durability is over 5 mil and up to 7 mil.  Use these thicknesses for documents that will be handled daily and need extra protection.  7 mil offers very little flexibility.

Extra-Rigid Durability is over 7 mil and up to 10 mil.  You may think that these would be used for items that are being passed around to multiple people constantly, but in reality, these are generally used for occasional handling but where you want something quite stiff.  There is no flexibility at this thickness.

And that's it.  When you've answered all those questions, you can look through our catalog or head to our website and choose the laminator that fits those answers and your budget.  If you still need help, call us at 877-795-2600 and one of our customer service representatives can answer any remaining questions for you.