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Choosing the Best Laminating Machine for Home Use

Updated on February 14, 2012

Adding a laminating machine to your home opens up a world of possibilities for preserving documents and inventing fun arts and crafts activities for both adults and children. Unless you're a laminating pro, you probably haven't given much thought to what characteristics you need from a laminator to accomplish your laminating tasks, so before you decide on one, take a moment and consider what you will use it for. Is it for scrapbooking? Is it for a homeschooling curriculum? Business cards? Also consider where you will store it and how much you want to spend. Generally, a home laminating machine can cost you a modest $30, but you can also spend $100 or more on a laminator.

A look at some of the more popular laminating machines will help you decide which features and which brands best meet your laminating needs:

Scotch Thermal Laminator TL901

Scotch's thermal laminator has 2 heat settings, allowing you to adjust the heat according to what you are laminating, features a release lever so you can clear any jams, and is light enough to transport from room to room. You can use laminating pouches up to 5 millimeters thick with the Scotch Thermal Laminator and laminate items up to 9 inches wide.

Purple Cows Hot and Cold Laminator 3016c

While most home laminators on the market offer heating technology to seal items into laminating pouches, Purple Cows' laminator also offers a cold laminating option, which means pressure-sensitive adhesives are used on the laminating pouch rather than adhesives that require heat. Cold laminating, as you would expect, does not use electricity or heat, which may be ideal for laminating heat-sensitive items (or for when your electricity goes out and you just need to get something laminated!). The Purple Cows Hot and Cold Laminator laminates both 3 and 5 millimeter pouches without requiring a heating adjustment.

Fellowes Saturn SL 9.5 Inch Laminator 5213201

Priced higher than some other home laminating machines, Fellowes' Saturn SL 9.5 Inch laminator is roughly the same size as other laminators you might consider for use at home but is also built to handle the laminating needs of a small office. It laminates pouches up to 5 millimeters thick and has a temperature control system designed to laminate perfectly. This laminator has a lever that allows you to remove or re-align the item you are laminating.

Which Home Laminator is Best for You?

If you plan to laminate things that you can't risk ruining with heat, like very old photographs your grandmother gave you, a home laminator with cold laminating capabilities might be your best bet. And even if you go with a hot laminating machine, as most people do, being able to adjust the heat setting is an important feature, as is having the ability to release the item being laminated in the event of a jam. If you are relatively new to laminating at home, my preference is to stick with a well-known brand like those discussed above (I invested in a Scotch home laminator), though your personal laminating needs should guide you first in making your final decision. And while you're deciding...have fun thinking about all of your laminating possibilities!


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      Rebbie 4 years ago

      In school we did mold growth experiments using laminated sheets of damp paper. I think the conclusion was that orange construction paper was the most conducive to mold growth.

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      Mom in STL 6 years ago

      Really a good idea! Thx for the info......