Once you’ve decided to buy a laminating machine it’s time to explore your options. There’s a lot of competition out there to the point where it’s overwhelming. Well, this simple guide presents the most popular machines in their respective price categories. I’ve looked over dozens of laminators to save you the trouble. I haven’t included them all but I do list the most sought after products.

Budget
Best-budget-Laminating-Machine
Swingline Inspire Plus
4.6/5.0
2.65 lbs
Home and small office
90 days warranty
Cold lamination option and 3-5 mil lamination pouches.
Check Amazon
Best Value
Best-value-Laminating-Machine
Fellowes Saturn3i 125
4.8/5.0
5.1 lbs
Home, office, schools
2 years warranty
Auto-shutoff safety feature and quick jam release lever.
Check Amazon
Top Pick
Top-value-Laminating-Machine
Fellowes Jupiter 2
4.5/5.0
15 lbs
Commercial, schools, etc.
2 years warranty
Auto functions and high-quality lamination.
Check Amazon

Those who benefit from laminators include—but are not restricted to—the following groups:

  1. Teaching purposes (including homeschool)
  2. Kid’s projects (saves trips down to the local print shop)
  3. Personal use, which can cover all kinds of reasons
  4. Office and business

About My Best Laminators Guide

The choice of laminators available is overwhelming, especially for new users. This guide has seven models in three price categories for your convenience. I have reviewed dozens of models before compiling this shortlist of capable machines but these are not simply the results of my opinions. The thoughts of industry experts and real user feedback also contribute to these final picks.

At the end of each review is a simple three-column chart. The charts highlight the useful specs and any pros and cons for the product at a glance.

The table below shows those laminator machines in the order they appear in this no-nonsense guide.

Best Laminating Machines Comparison Table

Make and ModelEntry WidthMax ThicknessPrice
Swingline Thermal, Inspire Plus Laminator9 inches5 milCheck Price
Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator9 inches5 milCheck Price
Blusmart OL288 3 in 1 Laminator12.2 inches9.8 milCheck Price
Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 12512.5 inches5 milCheck Price
Apache 25″ Professional Cold Press Laminator25.5 inches197 milCheck Price
Fellowes Laminator Jupiter 212.5 inches10 milCheck Price
VEVOR Vinyl 51 inch Cold Roll Laminator51 inches1000 milCheck Price

Best Laminating Machines By Budget:

The laminating machines below the top three picks are in order of price category. We have under $100, under $200, and under $300. There’s an ‘Editor’s Star Rating’ under the product names that I’ve based on final thoughts. I’ve also selected the best three products based on Budget, Value, and Top Pick. Again, these are personal thoughts that you may or may not agree with. Click below to get detailed information on each machine by price.

Best Laminating Machines Under $100

The first four picks are all under 100 bucks. These are popular laminating machines with lots of positive feedback from real users. These products range from $25 to $90—at the time of writing.

1. Swingline Inspire Plus

Thermal, SwinglineInspire PlusView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

The Swingline Inspire Plus is a thermal laminator that provides excellent value for money. If you want a simple laminator for occasional use then this user-friendly model might have everything you need.

  • Best feature 1: Simple one-step lamination
  • Best feature 2: Cold lamination option
  • Plus points:Quality laminate, compatible with 3-5mil lamination pouches, 90-day warranty
  • Minus points: Cheap plastic build, slow to warm up

The Thermal Inspire Plus is an ideal laminator for the occasional user.

Using the SwinglineInspire PlusLaminator

The one-step lamination process makes it as simple to use as a regular printer. There’s even a cold setting for the safe laminating of heat-sensitive materials. This affordable and flexible device works with 3-5mil lamination pouches.

Most people who buy the Swingline Inspire Plus praise the quality of the laminate. It’s true—when it comes to quality finish this little beauty exceeds most users’ expectations. Novice operators can easily clear any jammed, misfed, or wrapped pouches thanks to the simplejam release lever.

The Not So Good

Some people complain that it takes too long to laminate. I say it’s better to take a while and get a perfect result than to get a substandard finish at higher speeds. Another complaint is that it takes too long to warm up. Those who have used faster machines are the ones who notice these things most. The 4-minute warmup time shouldn’t be an issue for most new users.

There are a few complaints that the machine build is flimsy. I agree, it’s not the most solid device out there but then it is incredibly cheap. As long as you look after it the build shouldn’t be a problem.

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Tech Specs
Uses: Home and small office
Dimensions: 11 x 11.7 x 13.2″
Product weight: 2.65 lbs. (1.2 kg)
Max entry width: 9-inches
Max pouch film thickness: 5 mil
Warmup time: 4-minutes
Warranty: 90-days
The Pros
Affordable
One-step lamination
Quality laminate finish
Cold lamination option
3-5mil lamination pouches
90-days warranty
The Cons
Cheap build
Slow-ish warmup time

2. Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator

Scotch PRO Thermal LaminatorView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

The Scotch Pro is another affordable laminator. It’s popular too and that’s always a good sign as it helps new buyers to make better-informed decisions.

  • Best feature 1: Never jam technology
  • Best feature 2: LED touch panel
  • Plus points: Two heat settings, easy to transport/store, auto-shutoff, laminates 5″ per minute
  • Minus points: 9″ width restriction

There’s no bigger frustration than jamming so the ‘never jam technology’ of this machine is a definite plus point. It also sports a simple LED touch panel which has a clear “ready” indicator and two temperature settings. The one you choose depends on the thermal pouch thicknesses used.

Using the Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator

The heat up time is around five minutes which is average for a machine in its category. At 15″ per minute the lamination process is reasonably fast. The auto shutoff is a nice safety feature that powers the machine down after 60 minutes of inactivity.

This is a great little machine for light to moderate usage. The 9-inch maximum entry width makes it a good all-around device for homes, schools, and small businesses, etc. Another nice feature of the laminator is its portability factor. It has a concealed storage compartment for the cord and a folding tray. There’s even a carry handle to make it easy to transport and store.

The Not So Good

The 9″ width restriction is only a problem if you need more. Always check the maximum entry width for your intended use prior to purchase.

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Tech Specs
Uses: Homes, schools, small business
Dimensions: 17.4 x 6.2 x 6.1″
Product weight: 3.8 lbs. (1.7 kg)
Max entry width: 9-inches
Max pouch film thickness: 3-5 mil
Warmup time: 5 minutes
Warranty: 30 days
The Pros
Affordable, popular machine
User-friendly
Never-jam technology
LED touchscreen
Two heat settings
Easy-to-transport
Auto-shutoff
The Cons
9-inch restriction

3. Blusmart OL288 3-in-1 Laminator

Blusmart OL288 3-in-1 LaminatorView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The Blusmart 3-in-1 Laminator is a step up from the first two picks. It’s still cost less than 50 bucks (at the time of writing) but it sports a few impressive bells and whistles.

  • Best feature 1: 3-in-1 function
  • Best feature 2: Hot &cold laminating
  • Plus points: Two color option, fast warmup, 9.8″ per minute, quiet, built-in cutter
  • Minus points: Cutter blade needs improving

The first thing to point out about this laminator is its 3-in-one versatile function. We’ll look at that in more detail shortly. There are also hot and cold laminating options. The cold option is invaluable for anyone who needs to laminate heat sensitive materials.

Using the Blusmart3-in-1 Laminator

The three-in-one function is not something you find on all machines, especially at the budget end. The primary function isto laminate of course. The other two functions are rotary paper trimmer and a corner rounder (nice touch). There are even three cutting patterns, i.e. straight, perforated and wave. The maximum warmup speed is a full two minutes faster than the previous model.

The laminating speed is just above average at 9.8″ per minute. Another nice thing about this machine is its quiet motor compared to others in this price range. You can also buy the Blusmart 3-in-1 laminator in black or white. That’s another extra you don’t find on all machines.

The Not So Good

The only major gripe with this machine is with its cutter. Some reports suggest it has difficulty cutting through plastic. Others have said it cuts paper leaving a jagged edge. These are not issues shared by everyone. I suspect the paper relates to the type and quality used at the time. Most people love the cutter but there are enough complaints to highlight these potential problems.

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Tech Specs
Uses: Home, school, small business
Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.9 x 5.5″
Product weight: 1.98 lbs. (0.9 kg)
Max entry width: 12.2″
Max pouch film thickness: 160(2 x 80)-250(2 x 125)mic <0.5mm
Warmup time: 3-5 minutes
The Pros
3-in-one function
User-friendly, easy to use
Hot and cold laminating option
Fast warm-up time
9.8-inches per minute
Quiet operation
Built-in cutter
Amazon best seller
The Cons
Cutting blade needs improvement

4. Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125

Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

The Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125 has an unusual design. It also costs twice as much as the previous pick but is it worth the extra? Let’s take a look.

  • Best feature 1: Fast one-minute warm-up
  • Best feature 2: Auto-shutoff safety feature
  • Plus points: Hot & cold settings,12.5″ entry width, jam release lever, audible ready indicator
  • Minus points: No built-in cord storage, price tag

One of the highlights of this laminator is its fast one minute warmup time. It also has an auto shutdown feature that helps to saves energy and prevents the machine from potentially overheating.

Using the Fellowes Saturn3i 125 Laminator

This machine has a hot option that uses the standard thermal laminating pouches. It also offers cold laminating using self-adhesive pouches. A simple button switches between the two modes. The maximum entry width is 12.5 inches which can accommodate lots of different document sizes.

The machine is ready to use in around 60 seconds from the moment you switch it on. As well as the usual green Ready Light there’s also an audible beep to let you know when the device is ready. There isn’t any jam-free technology with this laminator but there is an effective release lever

A couple of other things worth a mention are the 10 sample laminating pouches and 2-year warranty. A company that offers a 24-month guarantee on something that costs less than 100 bucks has a lot of confidence in their product. That’s always a good sign.

The Not So Good

The gripes for the Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125 are quite minor but will matter to some. Despite being a streamlined device there’s no built-in cord storage. It’s a small complaint but it would be easier to move and store the machine if it had one. The price tag will also deter buyers on lower budgets.

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Tech Specs
Uses: Home, office, schools
Dimensions: 5.8 x 20.9 x 4.1″
Product weight: 5.1 lbs. (2.3 kg)
Max entry width: 12.5 inches
Max pouch film thickness: 5 mil
Warmup time: 60 seconds
Warranty: 2-years
The Pros
Amazon’s Choice Product
Easy-to-use laminator
Rapid one-minute warmup
Auto-shutoff safety feature
Hot & cold settings
Quick jam release lever
24-month product warranty
The Cons
Higher price tag
No built-in cord storage

Best Laminating Machines Under $200

The next picks are in the under $200 category. I have two machines here that are a step up from the less expensive models above.

5. Apache 25″ Professional Cold Press Laminator

Apache 25 Professional Cold Press LaminatorView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The Apache AL25P 25″ is an affordable professional cold press laminator. Skip this review if you need heat. This device has a lot of eco-friendly features that make it quite unique.

  • Best feature 1: No electricity needed to operate
  • Best feature 2: Unlimited project length
  • Plus points: Pressure sensitive application, precision rollers, small footprint
  • Minus points: It smells, loose tables (wings)

Not all products and materials benefit from a cold laminate finish. If they could we’d be using more of this basic technology. Pressure-sensitive laminating definitely has a place though.

Using the Apache 25″ Professional Cold Press Laminator

This non-electric cold laminator means there’s no warmup. It also means there are no faulty electrics to worry about. Nor are there any toxic odors during operation but there is a smell (see below).

Items ideal for pressure-sensitive laminating include, but are not restricted to, the following:

  • Laminating over wax-based inks
  • Rougher textures
  • Items with a high moisture content (photographs are a prime example)
  • Any items that are overly sensitive to heat

There are no restrictions on project length with this machine which is a definite plus point. It employs high-precision rollers, uses a pressure sensitive application, and has a tiny footprint.

The Not So Good

It’s ironic that there are no irritating thermal lamination vapors with this product yet it still smells. It’s a kind of irritating plasticky stench that doesn’t go away. Heat doesn’t generate the smell but in some ways it’s worse—because it’s always there.Who knows some people may find it pleasant.

The other gripe is that there’s no latch of any kind to hold the tables (wings) up during storage.

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Tech Specs
Uses: Commercial
Dimensions: 28 x 12 x 6″
Product weight: 25 lbs (11 kg)
Max entry width: 25.5″
Max pouch film thickness: 197 mil
Warmup time: N/A
The Pros
Non-electric device
Unlimited project length
Simple to use
Easy to store
Small footprint
Great value
The Cons
Unit stinks
No way to keep the tables fastened during storage

6. Fellowes Laminator Jupiter 2

Fellowes Laminator Jupiter 2View on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

This is a great machine for anyone who needs to laminate on a more regular basis. It’s also fast in all areas of operations. Speed is an attraction for a busy office that doesn’t have time to wait around.

  • Best feature 1: Unique AutoSenseSystem
  • Best feature 2: Rapid warm up
  • Plus points: Rapid laminating,Pouch Tracking,6-roller system, laminates up to 10 mil
  • Minus points: Big machine, heavy, higher price tag

This is the second of my laminator choices from Fellowes. The Jupiter 2 also comes with a two-year warranty like the earlier pick. It has more to offer, though, hence the higher price tag.

Using the Fellowes Laminator Jupiter 2

This laminator is all about speed making is a great choice for schools and businesses.

Here are some of the key features that make this machine fast and easy to use:

  • Rapid 60 second warmup time
  • Rapid laminating at 30 inches per minute
  • AutoSense Technology instantly self-adjusts laminator to the optimum settings

That last point means you don’t have to mess about with changing settings. Your only job is to feed a pouch in and let the technology and 6-roller system take care of the rest. You can laminate cold pouches and hot pouches up to 10-mil. That’s double the thickness of cheaper machines in this guide.

The Not So Good

It’s a quality machine but it’s bigger than the other electric laminators we’ve looked at so far. Make sure you have a dedicated space to put it before you decide to buy. At 15 pounds it’s quite heavy too. That’s also a good thing as it reflects the heavy-duty build. Its larger size and heavy weight do make it less portable and harder to store though.

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Tech Specs
Uses: Commercial, schools, etc.
Dimensions: 21.2 x 8.2 x 5.1″
Product weight: 15 lbs. (6.8 kg)
Max entry width: 12.5 inches
Max pouch film thickness: 10 mil
Warmup time: 60 seconds
Warranty: 2-year
The Pros
Heavy-duty, well-built
Easy to operate
Fast in all areas of operation
Auto functions
High-quality laminate
The Cons
Fairly big (check your storage)
Quite heavy
Higher price tag

Best Laminating Machines Under $300

You won’t need the costlier machine in this section unless you do a lot of larger jobs. My pick here is a device that will appeal to certain users with specific expectations.

7. VEVOR Manual Vinyl 51 inch Cold Roll Laminator

VEVOR Manual Vinyl 51inch Cold Roll LaminatorView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.9/5

My laminator over 200 bucks is the VEVOR Manual Vinyl 51inch Cold Roll machine. It’s another cold roll laminator so skip this review if you need heat.

  • Best feature 1: Cold laminator (small footprint)
  • Best feature 2: Zero warmup time
  • Plus points: Versatile, metal frame, no power needed, full 2-year warranty
  • Minus points: Heavy, cold only option

This machine will serve you well if you don’t need heat to laminate. It doesn’t require any electricity and thus has a tiny footprint compared to thermal type machines.

Using the VEVOR Manual Vinyl 51inch Cold Roll Laminator

Manual machines always take a bit of getting used to when compared to the automated options. Even so, there’s no steep learning curve here so it doesn’t take long to become familiar with this cold roller. Setting the thickness is a simple process using the two adjustment knobs on each side of the device. To control the actual laminating process is a two-position handling board.

The machine can laminate lots of the same kinds of items you’d do with heat lamination. For example, photography, books, charts, posters, color documents, flashcards, and so on. Unlike the previous thermal laminators,this one can handle film up to 1″ thick and 51″ wide.

The Not So Good

The VEVOR 51inch Cold Roll Laminator is heavy. That’s also a plus point because it makes the machine stable to use. But it does make it less portable so you’ll want to find it a home and leave it there. The other downside is that it only does high-pressure manual cold laminating. That’s another plus point for eco-conscious folks who don’t need heat and electric power to seal their items.

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Tech Specs
Uses: Commercial
Dimensions: 58 x 14 x 10″
Product weight: 88 lbs (40 kg)
Max entry width: 51″
Max pouch film thickness: 1″(25mm)
Warmup time: N/A
Warranty: 2-years
The Pros
Versatile laminator capable of 1″ thicknesses and 51″ project widths
Heavy-duty with metal frame
Manual only (no electricity needed to operate)
Long two-year warranty
The Cons
Heavy machine
No heat lamination option