Updated on 13 December 2022
In our tests, this model took less than 3 minutes and 20 seconds to heat up to laminate 75µm thickness (5 minutes 35 for 125µm). It was also outstanding in its ability to laminate 100µm thicknesses and even managed to laminate A4 (75 and 125µm) in just 1 minute. We were delighted with the quality of the lamination, which adheres as close to the edge of the paper as possible in very little natural light. It has an automatic shut-off after 30 minutes of inactivity and also has a handy mechanism for the easy release of jammed sheets if necessary. GS, TUV and CE certifications guarantee its performance and reliability.
Some of the laminating machines tested. A3 model allows you to laminate A3 and smaller formats. The thickness of the sleeves is measured in microns (µ) and varies between 2 x 75 µm and 2 x 125 µm. For hot lamination, the preheating time varies between 1 and 4 minutes. For express lamination, choose an A3 model for A4 documents. Some laminators have an anti-jam button or an automatic standby mode.
Some of the laminating machines tested.
A3 model allows you to laminate A3 and smaller formats.
The thickness of the sleeves is measured in microns (µ) and varies between 2 x 75 µm and 2 x 125 µm.
For hot lamination, the preheating time varies between 1 and 4 minutes.
For express lamination, choose an A3 model for A4 documents.
Some laminators have an anti-jam button or an automatic standby mode.
This model has a pilot light and an acoustic signal, as well as practical anti-wrinkle buttons and size markings (A4, A5). When we put it to the test, we were impressed by its preheating speed of 53 seconds for the 75 µm (2 minutes for the 125 µm) and its lamination speed (35 to 37 seconds maximum). In addition, the overall quality of the latter was more than good, with a nice uniformity and no air bubbles. The lamination options (cold, 75, 100 and 125 µm) are clear and can be changed via various buttons. Finally, we appreciated the presence of a sheet rest at the back which prevents documents from curling up too much.
This A3 machine has a high price tag, but is justified by its high efficiency. Not only does it have a hot and cold lamination system, but it also offers 3 temperature levels for different thicknesses (80, 100 and 125 µm). In addition, our tests revealed a warm-up time of only 58 seconds and a lamination speed of just over 1 minute for an A4 document. And like the others, this laminator is equipped with an anti-wrap lever. The energy-saving function with automatic shut-off after 30 minutes of inactivity is also a plus. However, the lamination quality is not as good as that of the GBC laminator.
|Our choice, Best mid-range
|Leitz iLAM Home Office A4
|GBC Fusion 3000L A4
|Fellowes Saturn3i A3
|In addition to its fast preheating and 3-layer hot-rolling functions, this model stands out from the competition for its overall quality and reliability.
|In addition to being the fastest at preheating and laminating A4 documents of different thicknesses, this GBC laminator comes with several extras.
|The Saturn3i performs well when laminating documents (up to A3 format), and although it is a little bulky, this design makes it easy to use for smaller documents.
How did we test?
To test the laminators, we started by examining their design (ergonomics, clear buttons for starting and choosing the paper thickness, the presence of lines to guide the sheets in the machine, the presence of a sheet rest, etc.). When we plugged them in, we checked whether they had an indicator light and/or an audible signal to indicate when they were ready for use.
We then timed their heating time (for 75/80 µm and 125 µm) and checked whether the plasticising speed indicated by the brand name corresponded to reality (at 75 and 125 µm). In this way, we were also able to observe the quality of the lamination with 75 and 125 µm foils (lamination as close to the edge as possible, no air bubbles, whether the foil remains flat or curls…). Finally, we check that the laminators do not get too hot.
How to choose your laminator?
The laminating machine is an indispensable office accessory. In addition to protecting your documents from dirt and/or damage, it gives them a certain rigidity, ideal for intensive use, and embellishes them by embossing and glossing them.
Even though it is considered the flagship of every office worker’s accessories, there are so many different models that it is not always easy to find the right choice.
To help you decide, we have listed a few criteria to consider before you make your purchase:
- The type of lamination: There are two types of lamination, cold and hot lamination. Where cold lamination is more suited to documents printed with heat-sensitive inks (such as wax), hot lamination allows the document to be encapsulated and is therefore particularly recommended for papers that are handled frequently. However, it should also be noted that more and more machines are incorporating both techniques.
- The format supported: The size of the laminator is, of course, essential, as it determines what the machine will be used for. For example, an A3 laminator (29.7 x 42 cm) allows you to laminate A3 and smaller formats. Similarly, an A4 will allow you to laminate A4 documents and all smaller sizes. This is the most popular type of laminator with consumers.
- The thickness of the sleeves: For the machine to do its job, it is essential to find out the maximum thickness you want for your documents. It is measured in microns (µ) and ranges from 2 x 75 µm to 2 x 250 µm.
- Preheat time: If you choose an automatic hot run model, you should pay attention to the preheat time. Typically this is between 1 and 4 minutes, but some laminators can take up to 5 min. You should decide which option suits you best, depending on how you intend to use your machine.
- Laminating time: Again, this criterion depends largely on how you will use your machine. The process usually only takes a few minutes.
- The number of rollers: regardless of whether they are heated or not, the rollers ensure both the quality of the lamination and its speed. The more rollers a laminator has, the better it is.
- Other features: to be even more competitive, manufacturers are adding practical features to their machines, such as an anti-jamming lever or an automatic shut-off function after 30 minutes of inactivity.
Other models we recommend
Fellowes Sola A4 (£22.49 upon publication): inexpensive and popular. Despite its low price, the Sola offers practical features such as a warm-up time of only 3.5 minutes in our tests, compatibility with sheets up to 125 µm thick, and an anti-curl function with lever release and automatic shut-off. We also found it very easy to use, and the lamination was done fairly close to the edges of the sheet as long as the sheet thickness was normal. On the other hand, it should be noted that it does not have any kind of acoustic signal or temperature control, which makes it a model for occasional use.
Essentiel B FA4 (£24.99 upon publication): a compelling alternative for occasional use. With this machine, Boulanger offers an efficient solution at a low price. With its fast warm-up time of only 4 minutes, its compatibility with sleeves up to 125 µm and its automatic switch-off, it offers a satisfactory performance and is therefore attractive in terms of price/performance ratio.
Other models tested
HP OneLam 3160 A4 (£39.49 upon publication): efficient but… Although fast and efficient, we were not very impressed with this laminator due to the lack of an acoustic signal and a rather long warm-up time. In addition, there is no waiting time when going from 125 to 75 µm, which damages 75 µm sheets.
Translated by Ramsés El Hajje