What is the Right Thickness of Laminating Pouches for my Documents?

posted this on May 24, 2016

Using a pouch laminator and some laminating pouches it is incredibly simple to create high quality laminated signs, luggage tags, name tags, visual aids and identification pieces. All you need to do is insert the material that you want to laminate into the pouch, insert the both into the carrier and then run the carrier through your laminator. All this is very simple if you have the right pouches for your job. This article is designed to provide information that will help you choose the right thickness of laminating pouch for your documents.

There are five primary thicknesses of pouches available on the market. However, before we discuss these different thicknesses it is important to note a few things. First, the thickness of the pouch is almost always listed per side. This means that a 10mil pouch is actually 20mil thick (10mil on the front and 10mil on the back). It is also important to note that not all laminators will accept all the different thicknesses of laminating pouches. Before you select the thickness of pouch that you want to use you will need to reference your laminator’s user’s manual to determine the maximum thickness that it can accept.

There are five different thicknesses of pouches. Here they are…

  1. 1.5mil are the thinnest ones available on the market. In fact, they are so thin that most laminators don’t support them. However, these “economy” grade pouches are ideal for high volume output where flexibility and low cost are a priority. These items offer a basic level of protection for your documents but it is still easy to crease or bend the laminated output.
  2. 3mil pouches are the most commonly used option for larger sized documents. They offer a basic level of protection while still allowing documents to remain flexible. However, they are too thin for laminating smaller items such as business cards (if cut down to smaller sizes they will curl). They are great for use with letter size, legal size and menu sized sheets.
  3. 5mil are the thinnest pouches available for laminating smaller documents such as credit card size, bookmark size and index cards. They offer a small amount of additional rigidity to larger documents but are not overly rigid. They are a good compromise for companies who want to give their laminated materials a premium feel without paying a premium price.
  4. 7mil supplies offer even more rigidity than traditional five mil supplies. They do offer a slightly heavier feel than 5mil pouches. However, most users who are looking for the extra heavy duty feel will opt for a 10mil pouch. The most common application for these supplies is for users that want to laminate small items such as business cards and name badges. The 7mil option offers a compromise between the ultra heavy duty 10mil and the lightweight 5mil (remember that for small items 3mil supplies aren’t recomended).
  5. 10mil supplies are ideal for laminating documents and reference materials that are frequently handled or will be exposed to abuse. They offer the most rigidity available and have a finished thickness that is slightly less than a credit card. This makes them ideal for reference materials, flip charts and name badges.

Hopefully this should help you better understand the different thicknesses of laminating pouches that are available. Using this information you should be able to choose the right supplies to meet your needs based on the amount of rigidity that you want, the frequency with which the items will be handled and the capabilities of your laminator. Good luck and happy laminating.

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