Selecting the Best Pouch Laminator for Your Needs

A pouch laminator can make a great addition to your home, office, school, or professional print shop; however it can be difficult knowing which machine will fill your unique needs.

Taking the time to review the features of the available pouch laminating machines will help to ensure that you get the best laminator for your purposes. Below we will break down the differences between the various styles of pouch laminators to help you make an informed decision about which laminating machine to purchase.

The Basics

When selecting a pouch laminator, you’ll need to evaluate the features that are the most important to your specific needs:

  • Width: Those who only laminate IDs or badges may be content with a model that has a maximum document width of 4 in., while those looking to laminate signs or displays will likely want a machine that offers a larger width.
  • Temperature Range: Nearly all pouch laminators are thermal machines, which means that they utilize heat to seal the pouch and fuse the layers together. Depending on the machine, the heat is applied by either heated plates or heated rollers. Most machines offer variable temperature control to allow users to adjust the heat level based on the thickness of the laminating pouch. If you regularly use thick laminating pouches (7 Mil or 10 Mil), then you’ll need to ensure that your selected machine can handle thick pouches.
  • Rollers: All machines utilize rollers to help ensure secure adhesion, eliminate air bubbles and move the laminated documents through the machine. Low volume machines (primarily for home use) are equipped with two rollers, mid-level laminators (for offices or schools) contain 2-6 rollers and professional laminating machines (for high volume users or copy shops) include between 4-10 rollers.
  • Reverse Function: Many pouch laminators also include a reverse feature, which makes it easier to clear jammed or misfed documents.
  • Volume: If you will be producing a high volume of laminated documents, you may want to look for a machine that has a high maximum laminating speed. Speed is often increased by additional sets of rollers.

Other popular features include a stand-by mode (preserves power while the machine is not laminating), the ability to laminate without a carrier sheet (used to prevent adhesive from oozing out from the edges of the laminating pouch and onto the rollers), cool rollers (help to reduce curling of laminated documents), and the ability to laminate photos.

Office Pouch Laminators (for Low to Moderate Usage)

Pouch laminating machines for office use offer a greater range of features than those designed for home use, and can handle a medium-to-high volume of usage. These laminators are available in widths ranging up to 13-1/2 in., and can laminate pouches from 3 Mil and 10 Mil thick. In addition to being able to stand up to more frequent usage than home laminators, office pouch laminators also laminate much more quickly (in some cases, more than three times as fast as the home machines).

Two popular models of office pouch laminators are the Tamerica SM330 13 in. Economy Laminator and the TruLam TL-320B 12 in. Pouch Laminator. Below is a comparison of their features:

ModelTamerica SM-330
Economy Pouch Laminator
TruLam TL-320B
Pouch Laminator
Max. Speed13 in./min.25.6 in./min.
Max. Width13 in.12 in.
Max. Pouch Thickness10 Mil10 Mil
Temperature AdjustmentDialDigital
Reverse Function?YesYes
Number of Rollers4
(2 Hot, 2 Cold)
(2 Hot, 2 Cold)
Warranty90 Days1 Year

Depending on your requirements, either of these machines would be a productive and beneficial addition to an office setting.

Professional Pouch Laminators (for High Volume Usage)

Pouch laminating machines for professional settings are the most robust machines on the market, and offer the most features.

These laminators are available in widths ranging up to 44 in. and can laminate pouches from 3 Mil to 10 Mil thick (with select machines having the ability to mount and laminate simultaneously). Professional pouch laminators also have the highest maximum laminating speed, with some machines laminating 12 ft. per minute.

Nearly all industrial machines come housed within metal casings for added durability.

Compare the Akiles ProLam Ultra 13 in. Professional Laminator and the James Burn USA SpeedyLam Pouch Laminator:

ModelAkiles ProLam Ultra
Photo Pouch Laminator
James Burn USA
Pouch Laminator
Max. Speed53 in./min.
(4 ft./min.)
144 in./min.
(12 ft./min.)
Max. Width13 in.13 in.
Max. Pouch Thickness14 Mil14 Mil
Temperature AdjustmentDigitalDigital
Memory Settings?YesYes
Reverse Function?YesYes
Number of Rollers6
(4 Hot, 2 Cold)
(6 Hot, 4 Cold)
Warranty1 Year1 Year

Both of these machines are equipped to handle high-volume, professional use, with the primary differences relating to the number of rollers and overall speed. Depending on your requirements and resources, either of these machines are capable of producing a high volume of laminated documents.

In Review

Whether you are looking to preserve family photos, enhance company ID cards or provide lamination services at your print shop, pouch laminators are cost-effective and user-friendly with numerous models to fit practically any need.

There are many pouch laminators on the market, and you can learn to distinguish quality laminators by evaluating key features. Investing the time to research the capabilities of the available machines will not only help you find the best machine for your application, but will also help you make the most of your budget.

Remember: what works best for someone else may not be a fit for your unique needs, so performing your own research is a crucial step in the process of purchasing a pouch laminator.

Lamination Depot is one of the leading sources for laminating equipment and pouches in the industry, with more than 300 pouch varieties available. Visit our collection of pouch laminating machines to learn more about these laminators or other available models.

New Laminating Pouch Sizes are Now Available!

We are excited to announce the release of 30 brand new thermal laminating pouch varieties! We’ve heard your feedback, and we’ve created seven additional pouch sizes to help fill all of your laminating needs. Among these new sizes are two pouches designed to accommodate ISO standard paper sizes A3 (297mm × 420mm/11.7″ × 16.5″) and A4 (210mm × 297mm/8.3″ × 11.7″), both offered in 3, 5, 7, and 10 mil. thicknesses. You’ll also find five pouch sizes that are exclusive to Lamination Depot in this new collection (listed in bold in the chart below).

New Thermal Laminating Pouches
Pouch NamePouch Size3 Mil5 Mil7 Mil10 Mil
Wallet2-3/8″ x 3-5/8″ 
ID Badge*2-9/16″ x 3-3/4″ 
Credential2-3/4″ x 5-1/16″ 
Giant Card4-1/2″ x 6″ 
Mini Photo4-3/8″ x 6 1/2″ 
A48-3/4″ x 12-1/4″
A312-1/4″ x 17″

*Also available in self-adhesive “cold” version

In addition to the new sizes now being offered, we’ve also added even more thicknesses to existing pouch sizes (highlighted in red in the chart below).

New Thicknesses of Existing Pouch Sizes
Pouch NamePouch Size3 Mil5 Mil7 Mil10 Mil
Bookmark – Small2-1/8″ x 6″ 
Bookmark – Large2-3/8″ x 9″ 
Special3-1/8″ x 4-1/2″ 
Recipe Card3-3/16″ x 4-3/8″ 
Extra Circulation3-15/16″ x 6-7/8″ 

Still don’t see the pouch you’re looking for? Be sure to contact us to learn about our affordable custom pouch manufacturing option!

All of our laminating pouches are of the highest quality, and pass a 21 point inspection before we offer them for sale. Learn more about what makes our laminating pouches the best here.

Watch for the NEW Lamination Depot Blog!

The brand new Lamination Depot blog will launch on April 1st! From product guides and reviews to instructional videos, you’ll find a wealth of laminating and binding resources in our informative blog. New posts will be added every Monday to keep you in-the-know about our latest product additions, tips and tricks from our knowledgeable Customer Service team, answers to your frequently asked questions, and much more.