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The best laminator in 2022

The best laminator: a woman using GBC Thermal Laminator
(Image credit: GBC)

The best laminator helps you to preserve your documents, photos, menus, recipe cards, ID cards, children's artwork and other precious items. That potentially makes it one of the most valuable investments you can make.

Because let's face it: when we have paperwork that's either important for your work, or holds sentimental value, sod's law dictates that it will get damaged. It might, for example, get stained, be ripped, have tea spilled on it, get covered in grease or fingermarks, be dripped on by candlewax... the possibilities are endless. 

However, the best laminator can keep your item safe, by sealing it permanently between two sheets of plastic, known as a laminating pouch. That means if there's an accident, you simply wipe the plastic clean.

And that's not all. Like the best Cricut machines (opens in new tab) and best Cricut alternatives, laminators are also used in all kinds of arts and crafts projects, and can provide a lot of fun for kids, either in an educational setting or just as a family activity. 

At the other end of the scale, heavy-duty laminators are often used for producing goods by commercial businesses, just like the best laser cutters (opens in new tab)

Below, you'll find the best laminator for a range of uses. We'll start with the best laminator in the States, but if you're on the other side of the pond, jump ahead to the best laminator in the UK.

The best laminator in 2021: US

Product shot of Fellowes Laminator, one of our best laminator picksCB

(Image credit: Fellowes)

01. Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 95

The best laminator overall

Specifications

Laminating width: 9.5in
Dimensions: 5.5 x 17.19 x 4.13in
Weight: 4.3lbs

Reasons to buy

+
1 min warmup
+
Cold setting
+
3 thickness buttons

Reasons to avoid

-
Not fast enough for commercial use

Want a laminator for personal, rather than commercial use? Then we reckon the best laminator overall: the Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 95. 

It’s nice and compact, so it won’t take up much space on your desk, and the maxim ‘good things come in small packages’, certainly applies here. This is a powerful and feature-rich device.

For a start, you don’t have to wait around for ages for it to warm up: its InstaHeat Technology means it’s ready to go in just 60 seconds. And it’s very versatile, too. The 9.5 entry width accommodates multiple document sizes; it accepts pouches up to 5mm in thickness and can handle both thermal laminating pouches and self-adhesive pouches, via its Cold setting. 

There are buttons to select three different thicknesses of lamination: 3mm, 4mm and 5mm. There are handy guides for feeding in A4 paper and photos, and a release button in case your material has been fed in incorrectly (an LED light will start flashing if this happens).  At around 12 inches per minute, it’s not the fastest, but as long as you don’t need it for commercial use, this will be fine for most people. 

The Auto Shut off features helps save energy and prevent overheating. The power cord is a generous 62 inches long, and inside the box, you get 10 free, 3mm pouches, along with a printed instruction manual.

Product shot of Amazon Basics Laminator, one of our best laminator picks

(Image credit: Amazon )

02. Amazon Basics 9-Inch Thermal Laminator Machine

The best laminator for home use

Specifications

Laminating width: 9in
Dimensions: 13.38 x 4.84 x 2.44in
Weight: 2.6lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight and compact
+
Performs the basics well
+
Affordable price

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks advanced features

With Amazon Basics, you know what you're getting (the clue's in the name). And so you won't be surprised to hear that this laminator perform the basics well, at an affordable price. For that reason, it’s our pick as the best laminator for home use, especially for children and family activities, as well as being the best laminator for homeschooling. 

The lightest model on our list at just 2.6lbs, it’s very portable, yet is still capable of laminating material up to 9 inches wide. It warms up in about four minutes, and comes with two 3mm-thick pouches. There’s a switch for selecting either 3mm or 5mm paper, and a jam release lever. If you want to spend a little more, there’s also a 12-inch version (opens in new tab).

Product shot of Scotch Laminator, one of our best laminator picks

(Image credit: Scotch)

03. Scotch Pro Thermal Laminator

The best laminator for teachers

Specifications

Laminating width: 9in
Dimensions: 17.44 x 6.22 x 6.14in
Weight: 3.20lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Reliable workhorse
+
Jams relatively rare
+
Easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the lightest

When it comes to classroom use, you want a laminator that will keep going without overheating or malfunctioning. After all, the whole student body's going to want a go at some point, and you don't want to let them down. 

For a high level of reliability, we’d recommend the Scotch Pro Thermal Laminator. A real workhouse, this laminator takes about three to five minutes to warm up and uses two heated rollers to laminate material up to 9 inches wide. The results are bubble and wrinkle free, and jams are pretty rare. 

It’s also very easy to use, and it automatically shuts off after one hour of inactivity. As such this is the best laminator for arts and crafts projects, photos, recipe cards, and other educational activities in the classroom. 

Product shot of GBC Laminator, one of our best laminator picks

(Image credit: GBC)

04. GBC Thermal Laminator Machine Fusion 7000L

The best laminator for commercial use

Specifications

Laminating width: 12in
Dimensions: 26 x 8.7 x 12.6in
Weight: 22lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Very fast lamination
+
1 min warmup
+
Auto-thickness feature

Reasons to avoid

-
Overkill for home use

If you need a laminator that's suitable for business use, then you're going to have to step up in price. In which case, we recommend the 7000L. It isn’t cheap, but it does deliver up to 45 documents in 10 minutes, the equivalent of 55 inches per minute, so is a great choice for heavy-duty use. 

This laminator warms up in just one minute, and has six rollers for smooth, high-quality results. And there’s a clever feature called advanced auto pouch thickness detection, which identifies the thickness of your pouch and document and adjusts to the optimal settings for the perfect seal. 

It comes with 50 letter size EZUse Premium Speed Pouches, which seal on the longer side to reduce processing time by 22%. In short, this is the Rolls Royce of laminators, both in terms of price and what it delivers.

The best laminator in 2021: UK

Product shot of Fellowes Laminator, one of our best laminator picksCB

(Image credit: Fellowes)

01. Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 95

The best laminator overall

Specifications

Laminating width: 320mm
Dimensions: 14 x 43.7 x 10.5cm
Weight: 1.95kg

Reasons to buy

+
1 min warmup 
+
Cold setting 
+
3 thickness buttons

Reasons to avoid

-
Not fast enough for business use

We'll make this easy for you: the Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 95 is the best laminator you can buy today, for a number of reasons. 

You only have to wait one minute for it to warm up. It accommodates multiple document sizes, thanks to a generous 9.5-inch width. There are buttons to select three different thicknesses of lamination: 3mm, 4mm and 5mm, as well as a Cold setting for self-adhesive pouches. 

If you feed in paper incorrectly, an LED starts flashing, and there’s a release button to stop everything and correctly align it. There’s an Auto Shut off feature to save energy and prevent overheating. You get 10 free, 3mm pouches, and the power cord is a healthy 62 inches. All in all, this laminator is easy to use, efficient and reliable, and delivers great results.

Product shot of Crenova Laminator, one of our best laminator picks

(Image credit: Crenova)

02. Crenova A4 Laminator

The best laminator for teachers

Specifications

Laminating width: 230mm
Dimensions: 35 x 15 x 7cm
Weight: 1.37kg

Reasons to buy

+
Reliable over long periods
+
Compact space saver
+
20 free pouches

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the lightest

If you're a teacher and want a laminator your students can use in class, the Crenova A4 Laminator is a great choice. 

Based on a two-roller system, it produces high quality laminates for long periods of time without overheating. It’s a fast worker too, heating up in just three to five minutes, and maintaining a 250mm (10 inches) per min laminating speed, or 50 A4 sheets per hour. 

There’s also a lever to free you from paper jams, although note that you have to turn the machine off first. This laminator is compact enough to fit on a small desk, and comes with a corner rounder and 20 free pouches: five A4, five A5, and 10 A6.

Product shot of Texet Laminator, one of our best laminator picks

(Image credit: Texet)

03. Texet A4 Laminator

The best laminator for home use

Specifications

Laminating width: 229mm
Dimensions: 33 x 11.8 x 8.8cm
Weight: 1.12kg

Reasons to buy

+
Does the basics well
+
Good lamination speeds
+
Reasonable price

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the fastest warmup

Want a laminator for your home, but don't want to spend too much money? The LMA4-V from Texet does a great job despite its low cost. It takes just three to five minutes to warm up, and it offers lamination speeds of 300mm per minute, which works out about 60 sheets an hour. 

It comes with five free A4 pouches, and while it doesn’t have any particularly clever features, it does what it needs to, for a good value price. So we reckon that makes it the best laminator for homeschooling, and for home use in general. 

Product shot of Swordfish 40350 A2 Armoured 1000 Professional, one of our best laminator picks

(Image credit: Swordfish)

04. Swordfish 40350 A2 Armoured Professional Laminator

The best laminator for commercial use

Specifications

Laminating width: A2
Dimensions: 29.5 x 61.5 x 15cm
Weight: 20kg

Reasons to buy

+
Laminates A2
+
High speeds
+
Auto-detects jams

Reasons to avoid

-
Overkill for business use

If you're running a business, and looking for the best laminator for commercial use, this professional-grade device from Swordfish will deliver. With an entry width of 335mm, you can laminate anything from business card size up to A2, and its four roller system delivers excellent results. 

Speeds are impressive, at 32 seconds per A4 sheet. There’s a cold lamination option, allowing you to laminate heat sensitive content. Jams are auto-detected, sending the laminator in reverse to solve misfeeds. In short, if you use it a lot, the extra cost of this device will more than pay for itself in the long run. 

How do you choose a laminator?

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a laminator. First, think about the size of items you'll be laminating. Will they be standard A4 size, or will you need to laminate either larger items, or smaller ones such as business cards? Check the laminating width, as we've highlighted in our choices above, to make sure the laminator will accommodate your needs.

You also need to consider cost: not just the price of the laminator, but the ongoing cost of the sheets you need to feed it. That said, when it comes to valuable documents and precious memories, you should also think about the cost of not laminating them!

Finally, think about how often you'll need to use your laminator. If it's just going to be the occassional job, pretty much any basic laminator will do. But if you're going to be laminating lots of things in one session, or sharing the laminator in a busy workplace or classroom, you'll need something a bit more powerful and expensive, as some of the cheaper options may be less reliable.

What's the best laminator?

The best laminator for personal use is the Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 95 (opens in new tab). It’s compact, it warms quickly (just 60 seconds) and its 9.5 entry width accommodates multiple document sizes. It accepts pouches up to 5mm in thickness and can handle both thermal laminating pouches and self-adhesive pouches. It has Auto Shut off to save energy and prevent overheating, and you get 10 free, 3mm pouches in the box for free.

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Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity (opens in new tab), published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.