Features to consider when choosing a laminating machine
There are a lot of features to consider with a lamination machine. Some smaller devices are best in the home while larger ones are meant for the office. To make the most out of your lamination machine, first think about what you will use it for. Then you can find the right group of features for the best laminating machine for you.
Maximum input width
The maximum input width refers to how wide the paper can be when inserted into a lamination machine. Standard paper sizes are 8 ½ inches wide, and most lamination machines have a maximum input width of 9 inches to accommodate standard paper.
If you’re a bit nervous about limiting yourself to this width, don’t despair as there are larger lamination machines to choose from. The TLC 7000T has a maximum width of 12 inches, the Fellowes Laminator Jupiter 2 125 has a maximum width of 12 ½ inches, and the Apache AL18P has a grandiose maximum width of 17 ½ inches.
Lamination machines with a larger maximum input width will usually cost more, but if you know your needs ahead of time, they will be invaluable.
Pouch thickness it’s compatible with
Pouch thickness refers to how thick the plastic laminating pouch is. Thinner pouches are more brittle and can break more easily. Thicker pouches are stronger and will be more rigid.
The two most standard pouch thicknesses are 3mm and 5mm. These are perfectly fine for home use or everyday office use.
If you know you need more rigid lamination choices, it’s best to find a machine that offers this upfront. The TLC 7000T, the Fellowes Laminator Jupiter 2 125, and the Apache AL18P are more heavy-duty machines and can accommodate pouches with 10mm of thickness.
Speed of laminating
If you just have one or two pages to laminate, speed isn’t much of a factor. But when you have a stack of papers to get done, speed is of the essence.
Laminating speeds are actually measured in inches per minutes. To know what that means in pages, you have to do a bit of math. For example, the Scotch TL906 has a speed of 15 inches/ minute. Standard pieces of paper are 11 inches in length. This means the Scotch TL906 can laminate just over one piece of paper per minute.
If you plan on needing to laminate large groups of papers, be sure to find a larger speed for a more productive day.
Warm up time
With the current advancements in technology, it sure is frustrating when you need to wait for a device to warm up. Lamination machines require heat to melt the plastic, and this can result in a longer wait time for your machine to be ready to use.
Warm up times vary greatly from machine to machine. For example, the Fellowes Laminator Jupiter 2 125 only needs one minute to warm up, while the Scotch TL906 needs five minutes.
Lamination machines are great, but they also require storage. Whether it’s on top of your desk or in a cupboard, make sure you have adequate space for your new device. Smaller lamination machines, such as the Scotch TL906 can be tucked away on the corner of a desk. Larger lamination machines, such as the Apache AL18P will probably need its own shelf. The Apache AL18P has dimensions of 21.3 x 8.2 x 5 inches while the Scotch TL906 is almost half the size.
Large lamination machines offer more choices but do remember to measure your working area to ensure you have a place for your new purchase.
There are a lot of technical components in a lamination machine, so a warranty is really useful. Standard warranties are for one year although they vary greatly. The TLC 7000T has an incredibly impressive five-year while the Scotch TL906 only has a 30-day limited warranty.
In addition to standard features, you might find some more exciting features as well. Some machines will include lamination pouches in your purchase, which means a lot less hassle and a bit more value. Others will have a cold lamination mode, which uses an adhesive rather than heat. Remember that the more features you find in a product, the more dollars you end up spending.
Lamination machines use very hot heat to melt the plastic to cover paper. Even if you are in a rush, leave the newly laminated paper in the machine for at least a few seconds. The hardened plastic will cool quickly, but save your fingertips a bit of agony and practice some patience.
Also, use caution and try not to overheat the machine. Some smaller lamination machines take minutes to produce one paper. If you’re in a rush this can seem like agony but don’t try to force the lamination machine to work harder than it can. If you feel like speed will be an issue, purchase a faster lamination machine, to begin with to avoid overheating and breaking your new product.