What should I look for in a Pouch Laminating Machine?

posted this on Jul 21, 2015

If you’ve never bought a pouch laminator before, you might be overwhelmed by all the choices and not know what you should be looking for. If so, continue reading so that you’ll discover when to look for when buying one.

  1. An adequate feed opening. The first thing to take a look at is the machine’s feed opening. How wide is it? Will it accommodate your documents? Laminators have feed openings that measure as little as 4.5 inches or as much as 13.5 inches. Obviously, if you’re going to be working with larger items (i.e. maps, menus), you’ll need a machine with a large enough feed opening. Likewise, if you just need to laminate business cards and I.D. tags, a machine with a 4.5-inch throat would be perfect.
  2. The ability to accept a variety of pouches. Laminating pouches come in thicknesses ranging from 3 to 10 mil. “Mil” refers to 1/1000th of an inch, so the more mils a pouch has, the more rigid it will be. Most laminators, even the lower-end ones, can accommodate 3 and 5 mil pouches. If you want to use the thicker supplies, you’ll probably have to splurge on a more expensive device.
  3. Hot and cold settings. Most of the inexpensive laminators will only offer hot settings. However, if you want to laminate items such as photographs, ink-jet printouts, and color copies, look for a device that has a cold setting. These items can be severely damaged by heat and running them through a heated cycle will be disastrous. So look for a device with both hot and cold settings.
  4. How easy it is to useMany of the entry-level laminators are extremely use to use. Often then have a knob you can turn to select your desired temperature setting. (Note: there may also be a switch or buttons.) If you’re feeling adventurous or you want total control over your laminating experience, you can choose a machine with an LED display and controls that allow you to fine-tune the heat and speed settings. Get the device you feel with which you feel the most comfortable. If you’re new to laminating, an entry-level machine is probably the way to go.
  5. A good brand name, fair price, and helpful warranty. Finally, choose a machine from a brand name you can trust such as GBC, Fellowes, or Lamitek. These manufacturers are famous in the document finishing world because they make very high-quality products. Most of their machines come with great warranties so you’re covered in case your new device gives you any grief. Also, make sure you buy the best machine you can afford. Buying the cheapest device usually means you’ll be replacing it rather quickly, so spend a little extra cash so you can get a better device.
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