With so many options on the market, how do you make a decision about “the best laminator” for your office, classroom, or production services? Does it make your head spin looking at spec sheets, comparison charts, or reading online product reviews? Let’s make it easy, and look at four decision-making factors that will help you narrow in on the best laminator for your purposes.
What will you use it for?
This seems like a simple question to tackle right off the top. Make a list of the ways in which your laminator will be used - and be specific! For example, if you own a restaurant, or chain of restaurants, perhaps the sole purpose of your laminator will be to laminate menus and table cards. Many businesses use a laminator for presentations, brochures, price sheets, even I.D. cards. Whereas schools tend to use lamination for posters, training materials, and certificates. These are all very different applications, especially when compared to large-format lamination, like POP displays, banners, floor or window graphics, etc.
Here are a few suggested products for various applications:
13” Automatic Laminator
Applications: posters, menus, certificates, placemats, business cards, training materials, etc. View online
14” or 27” Roll Laminator
Applications: gift cards, postcards, menus, tags, I.D, photos, price sheets, etc. View online
27” Hot and Cold Roll Laminator
Applications: dust jackets, signs, menus, banners, mounted graphics, presentations, etc. View online
45” or 65” Hot and Cold Roll Laminator
Maps, posters, signs, floor graphics, window graphics, POP displays, vehicle graphics, etc. View online
How frequently will your laminations be handled?
There’s a big difference between something like a menu that will have every day use, and a poster that will never be handled once on the wall. So, frequency of handling is an important thing to consider. The rule of thumb is, the more frequent the handling, the thicker the lamination required. You need to look for laminators that can deliver on the thickness you require. Here are a few easy guidelines: For minimal handling look for 1-3 mil films, for moderate handling look for <5 mil films, and for frequent handling, look for 7-10 mil film.
What kind of functionality and/or features are important to you?
Every laminator will come with a range of features that make it “special”, but what you’re looking for, are the features that are must-haves for your application. So, in many cases, safety features become important for schools (where minors may need to easily operate the machine) or even businesses where safety regulations are strict. In that case, features like automatic shut-off and heat guards will be top of the list. In businesses where time is money, speed will be important, along with ease-of-functionality technology, like anti-jamming/jam-release, or easy access. Look for lamination machines that feature variable speeds, automatically feeds sheets, and will laminate and trim in one pass, like the ALM 3222 Fully Automatic Laminator. In production environments, size might be the thing that matters most, so you’ll be looking for mounting size and capacity, as well as wide format lamination machines.
Do I need hot, cold or both?
Many people don’t realize that lamination machines can vary in the temperature they produce to apply lamination. Really, it comes down to the type of document being laminated. For example, cold laminating is typically used outdoor applications such as posters or items that could be damaged by UV rays. However, hot (or thermal) lamination provides greater durability and clarity. If you decide that you may require both hot and cold options, look for a machine like the RSL 2702S that does both.
Laminators are a great way to present high-quality marketing materials, use in classrooms for posters, training guides and posters, or even protect the durability of important documents like I.D, certificates and signage. Ultimately, the best laminator for you will depend on what you use it for and how often those items are used (see question one and two). Once you know that, you can search for laminating machines that fit the bill in other ways like safety features, speed of production, formats, and even temperature.
Looking for the laminator that’s right for you? View our catalogue