Time is like a swift, ever-flowing river– not only for people but also for important papers, personal documents, and official letters. Most of us store them in cold and unused corners of the house or office, leaving them all at the mercy of mold, moisture, and ultimately destruction. You can apply the same for photos, which are more prone to weather damages.
Laminators are the ideal solution to this problem, which is a device that lets you encapsulate important papers, documents, and photos in plastic to make sure they don’t fade or tear over time. Most laminators use heated rollers to melt glue on a lamination film, then press it against the paper and seal it instantly. If you are into DIY arts and crafts, you can also a laminator to create dry-erase check boards, calendars, press flowers, coloring books, travel tags, and make other fun stuff.
Now, finding and buying the best laminator for your needs can pose a challenge, especially if you are unfamiliar with this particular appliance in the first place. Fortunately, there are a few options on the market that you can never go wrong with, which we have included in our roundup of the best laminators in the UK. You can also learn more about the guidelines we have followed to pick the best laminators later in this guide.
- 1 Our roundup of the Best Laminators in the UK
- 2 What to look for when shopping for the Best Laminator in the UK
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Conclusion
Our roundup of the Best Laminators in the UK
Whether you plan to use it for home, office, or DIY crafts, the following options on the below list are the best laminators to buy in the UK. You will find detailed product descriptions and buy links to every model highlighted in this list, starting with:
1. Rexel Style A4 Home and Office Laminator
The Rexel Style A4 is currently the best-selling home and office laminator on Amazon UK with 1000+ positive customer reviews. It’s one of the most affordable laminators you can find today, and it should be perfect for all your laminating needs, including documents, photos, checklists, menus, notices, etc.
The Rexel Style A4’s compact and minimal design makes it perfect for both home and office environments. Weighing just 1.26 kilos, it is relatively lightweight and easy to carry. Despite the smaller footprint, this laminator is capable of heating in just four minutes and laminating A4-size papers with pouches from 75 to up to 125 microns in thickness. There’s also a release lever in case you need to realign or remove misfed lamination pouches in the machine.
If you are looking for cold lamination, the Rexel Style A4 does have a cold setting and supports self-adhering cold seal pouches. This is great for kids’ crafts projects as it makes the laminator safe to use for children.
Overall, the Rexel Style A4 is an excellent laminator for the money and should make lamination jobs simple for most people. It comes in black and white colors and is covered by a 1-year warranty period.
2. Fellowes Spectra A4 Home Office Laminator
The Spectra A4 is a versatile, easy-to-use laminator from Fellowes that keeps your documents and photos preserved for years. It is ideal for use in both home and office, as well as school, universities, and art class for various DIY projects.
This laminator warms up rather quickly (within five minutes) and is capable of laminating one A4 sheet (~30 cm) per minute. It supports from 80 to 125-micron pouches and has an entry width of 235 millimeters. The machine also has a green indicator LED that flashes when it’s ready to laminate, which is pretty neat.
In addition, the Spectra A4 has an “Auto Shut Off” feature that automatically powers down the laminator after thirty minutes of inactivity, decreasing energy consumption and saving you from fat power bills. It also has an auto-sleep mode that reduces idle power usage.
The unit itself weighs around 1.3 kilos and has a dimension of 7.78 x 36.99 x 16.19 cm, so it’s relatively lightweight and portable enough to carry around.
All in all, the Fellowes Spectra A4 is a basic yet versatile laminator that gives your important papers and photos a professional finish. It includes a 10-sheet starter kit that should help you get started with your lamination work.
3. Swordfish Armoured 660 Heavy Duty Laminator
The Swordfish Armoured 660 is the perfect heavy-duty laminator for professionals and hobbyists. It can laminate up to A2 size sheets and is designed to make lamination jobs simple, straightforward, and fairly easy to operate.
This laminator has a tough exterior casing that’s entirely made from steel, making it more durable than most laminators. It’s also relatively big in size and thus doesn’t make sense for carrying around. However, its rugged build quality means that it will survive years of regular usage.
Underneath the casing is Swordfish’s state-of-the-art 4-roller design that makes sure your finished laminations come out flat and sealed without any sort of wrinkles or bubbles. The 26.5mm rollers are large and precise, and the steel plate cools down the laminations quickly. From small business cards to photos to A3-size documents, the Armoured 660 is capable of laminating a sheet perfectly in under 32 seconds.
This laminator supports a maximum pouch thickness of 500 microns (2 x 250μm), giving your laminations more protection. The built-in variable temperature sensor also ensures that the lamination pouches receive the proper amount of heat and adhere well for a perfect seal. The machine only requires four minutes to warm up. You can use regular self-adhesive pouches as well since it offers a cold lamination option.
Additionally, the reverse control function on Swordfish Armoured 660 detects pouch jams and automatically goes into reverse, solving any interference that would have resulted in poor lamination.
Despite being slightly on the expensive side, the Swordfish Armoured 660 is a brilliant heavy-duty laminator that carries out day-to-day personal, professional, and educational usage. It comes with two years of manufacturer warranty.
4. Texet LMA4-V Laminator
The Texet LMA4-V is a basic laminator that accompanies you to all your daily lamination needs, whether it’s vital documents, calendars, business cards, artworks, invitations, photos, certificates, photos, etc. The laminator’s single-switch operation makes it very convenient to use at homes, schools, and smaller organizations.
This laminator’s inlet has a width of 236 mm, and it suits various sizes of laminating films for up to A4 sheets. The maximum film thickness is 160 microns (2 x 80μm), whilst the maximum lamination thickness is 0.45 millimeters (excluding the film).
Most laminators of this size don’t take that long to heat up, and the Texet LMA4-V’s 3-5 minutes of warm-up time is no exception. Once it’s ready, the lamination speed can go up to 30 centimeters per minute depending on the pouch thickness. The twin-roller feed operates near-silently and manages to produce flat and even laminations.
The unit weighs around 1.12 kilos and is entirely made up of durable and robust ABS plastic. The matte finish of the body gives the laminator an industrial look that never loses its shine. Plus, it’s very easy to keep the machine clean with a microfiber cloth. The high-quality power cable is also compliant with UK’s stringent regulations.
The Texet LMA4-V is an affordable laminator and offers good value for the price. It’s available in only black color, and you do get one year of warranty on the laminator.
5. LLIVEKIT A4 Laminator
The LLIVEKIT A4 is the most affordable thermal laminator on this list, even when it’s not on sale. Don’t get fooled by its low price tag as this machine offers smooth and bubble-free lamination of your documents and photographs at an impressive speed.
Once the laminator warms up in three to five minutes, it’s capable of laminating 280 mm of sheets per minute that also are up to 9 inches wide. It supports a maximum lamination thickness of 0.5 mm, which is enough for protecting photos, ID cards, certificates, forms, legal papers, and other documents from discoloration and oxidation.
Like more expensive laminators, the LLIVEKIT A4 has a built-in ABS release button that rolls back misaligned pouches and prevents paper jam. The double-roller design also ensures wrinkle, bubble, and curling-free laminations of A4-size sheets.
Weighing only around 1.4 kilos, this compact and reasonably lightweight laminator is great for personal and enterprise use. It also comes with a fairly versatile set of accessories to start with, including a handy paper trimmer, a corner rounder, and a set of 20 laminating pouches. On top of everything, the laminator is covered by a 1-year warranty period.
At this point, it’s fair to say that the LLIVEKIT A4 laminator is an absolute steal for its price. Thus, we give it a strong recommendation for all the right reasons.
What to look for when shopping for the Best Laminator in the UK
There are hundreds of different laminators you can find in the stores, but it definitely isn’t easy to find the one that suits your needs. If you are in the market for the best laminator, here are a few buying criteria you should consider before making a purchase:
As you might have already noticed, there are various types of lamination, with hot and cold lamination being the most common. Most laminators can hot laminate just about any paper or board, giving you a sealed, flat, and wrinkle-free result. However, if you plan to laminate heat-sensitive things like photos and artwork, cold lamination is the way to go.
Fortunately, most thermal laminators allow you to laminate both hot and cold on the flick of a switch. Though it’s worth mentioning that you will need different laminating films or pouches for hot and cold lamination.
The laminating capacity of a laminator includes the maximum laminating format and the maximum laminating size. The latter indicates the size up to which you can laminate papers. If the max laminating format is A4, it means the laminator can cover up to the size of a normal paper sheet, as well as smaller paper formats.
If you want to laminate larger documents, you should look for a laminator that can laminate up to A2-size sheets, just like the Swordfish Armoured 660. However, some high-end laminators can handle formats up to A1, but they come at a higher price and bulkier size.
One other thing to mention is that manufacturers always specify the maximum pouch thickness in microns (µm). Laminators that support up to a 125-micron thick film indicate only one side of the film, so the entire pouch can be 250-micron thick. Note that the thickness of your document isn’t counted in the calculation.
In a laminator, the lamination time includes the warm-up time and the lamination speed. The warm-up time on the product description indicates how long the laminator needs to reach the ideal temperature for hot lamination. If it wasn’t obvious, cold lamination doesn’t need any warm-up phase.
The laminating speed tells you how much sheet area (usually in millimeters or centimeters) a laminator can cover per second or minute. It’s something worth paying attention to, especially if you are eager to cut some time on your lamination jobs.
Pouch jam reverse
One frequently occurring problem during lamination is pouch jamming. Pouch jam means that the laminator rolls in a misaligned film that slowly gets stuck in the laminator and causes the rollers to stop functioning, also severely damaging documents and photos in the process.
A pouch jam usually happens when the document or the laminating film is mistakenly inserted in an angle. However, most laminators come with a reverse lever or a button that allows users to push the film out the other way around the machine. A few high-end laminators can even do it automatically.
This is why it’s important to buy a laminator that comes with a reverse function. At least you won’t end up damaging your important documents or photos when trying to laminate them.
Some laminators come with special features like variable temperature control, auto-sleep mode, and built-in paper cutters. While they don’t sound special, such features can make your lamination work much simpler in the longer run.
Laminators that have variable temperature control allow users to manually set a particular temperature that’s ideal for different film thicknesses. A few expensive laminators can regulate the temperature automatically and give you the desired results without any effort.
Buying a laminator that features an auto-sleep mode also has some benefits. When active, the mode not only reduces power consumption but also prevents the laminator from heating too much, thus suppressing the risk of a fire breaking out.
Laminators that come with a built-in paper cutter or corner rounder are quite uncommon, but they can save a lot of time for those who do laminations on a daily basis. Of course, you can also easily cut finished laminations with a standard pair of scissors.
Laminators that come with film packs and external cutters add extra value as they help you get started immediately after unboxing and plugging the machine into the power outlet. It also helps when you aren’t sure which laminating films or pouches are compatible with the laminator you just purchased.
Some laminators also come with pouch bundles, especially on Amazon UK. They come at a cheaper price and save you some money, so make sure to keep an eye on such deals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What does a laminator do?
A laminator is an electric appliance that basically glues two protective sheets together with a carrier material in between, such as a paper or a photograph. It’s done with the combined help of heat, adhesive, and pressure.
Q2. How to operate a laminator?
While it’s a matter of placing the paper inside a laminating pouch and simply pushing it through a pre-heated laminator, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Different types of laminators work in different ways, so we highly recommend following the user manual. Here’s a step-by-step video guide on YouTube that shows the proper way to use laminators:
Q3. What’s the lifespan of a laminator?
This is a rather broad question and varies from device to device. A cheap laminator that doesn’t have a good build quality usually has a shorter lifespan than a more expensive, robustly-built laminator.
As with other electronic appliances, a laminator’s lifespan also depends on how you use it. Hence, make sure to take extra care of your laminator when using it and keep the machine clean.
Q4. Are there any disadvantages of going for cold lamination over hot lamination?
While cold laminations don’t require heat, unlike hot laminations, the self-adhering laminating pouches fail to deliver a flawless result in most cases. Since the adhesive can break over time, moisture can make its way inside the film and discolor cold-laminated documents.
However, if you are planning to keep your stuff temporarily laminated, cold lamination is the way to go as the film can be removed quite easily. Though it’s worth noting that this type of lamination isn’t generally suitable for paper formats larger than A5.
This is where we conclude our buying guide to the best laminators in the UK. Aside from our top five recommendations to choose from, we have also helped you make the perfect choice when shopping for a laminator and answered a few frequently asked questions in this guide.
Let us know in the comments which laminator you have decided to buy for your work. Please don’t hesitate If you have any other models to suggest, we would be glad to hear from you!