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Choosing which laminator to buy
A laminator buying guide
How should you choose a laminator? When you think about which laminator to buy, ponder a few basic questions. Why are you buying a laminator? Where will you be using it, and how often will you use it? What items do you need to laminate, and which type of laminator best fits your needs? What accessories do you need? By collecting this information, you can be confident in your decision about which laminator to buy.
>> Consider the purpose
The best laminator can help you in many ways. A plastic laminator can protect paper and other fragile items that are frequently used. Plastic-coated pages are easier to handle than paper alone, and can help eliminate ink stains and other nuisances. Finally, a laminator can help you protect all the important or memorable items that you want or need to keep. Always keep the purpose in mind when deciding which laminator to buy and pick a laminator that is designed for use with the items you want to use it with.
>> Consider the type of laminator
As you think about which laminator to buy, remember that most laminating machines from laminator brands are one of three basic designs:
- A pocket laminator takes a small item, such as a business card, and hermetically seals it into a plastic envelope. Such laminators come in various sizes. If you laminate frequently, be sure you choose a laminator that is durable and fast.
- A cold roll laminator slides a sheet of paper or similar item between two rollers and presses a protective plastic shell onto both sides. A cold roll laminator is fast, since it does not need to warm up. A cold roll laminator is also safer, both in terms of personal safety and document safety.
- A hot roll laminator uses basically the same principle as a cold roll laminator, except that the heat usually applies an extra adhesive during the laminating process. Your important and precious items may be better protected when using a hot roll laminator. Most hot roll laminators include laminator features such as a temperature guide and automatic shut-off to make these laminators safer to operate and less likely to damage the items you are laminating. Hot roll laminators also tend to be less expensive.
>> Consider the location
Whether you need a pocket laminator, a sheet laminator or both greatly depends on where you plan to use your laminator and your other electronics supplies.
- Home - A child's artwork, student's report card or other printed memorabilia may last virtually forever once laminated. The same can be said for vacation photos, family photos and similar items. Because of the various sizes of the objects, you may want to consider buying one laminator of each type for your home. Since your volume is rather low, you might also want to choose small desktop laminators. These laminators can be pulled out for each use and put away for easy storage. If you plan on laminating certificates or diplomas, which are usually on heavier paper, be sure you buy a larger laminator.
- Home offices or small offices - An event-planner might need to laminate guest badges, a job that calls for a pocket laminator. A schoolteacher may need to laminate items for the class. Other businesses may want to memorialize procedures in a notebook and post important notices in the break room or kitchen. Many of these jobs would be best served by a sheet laminator, which is one of the important office technology products.
- Mid-sized or large offices - A mid-sized office has many of the same laminating needs as a small office, except these needs are on a considerably larger scale. Whether you need a pocket or sheet laminator, or both, consider buying a larger and faster laminator to keep up with demand.
>> Consider the supplies and accessories
Be sure you have sheets or pouches that are compatible with the laminator you are buying. Also, be sure you buy office supplies and office accessories that are compatible with the laminator if you are planning on using them with it. Depending on the laminator brand, your pocket laminator may or may not require a carrier. However, it is generally a good idea to always buy a carrier even if it does not require or come with one.
Finally, the laminator comparison chart below may help you decide which laminator to buy and what laminator accessories and other office products to include as you go shopping.
If you plan to laminate...
And you plan to laminate at your...
Consider buying a...
|Paper ||Home or home office ||Small, hot roll laminator with advanced safety features, a cleaning kit, a surge protector and extra supplies |
|Paper ||Office ||Heavy-duty cold roll laminator with a cleaning kit, surge protector and extra supplies |
|Photographs and name tags ||Home or business ||Pocket laminator with a cleaning kit, carrier, surge protector and extra supplies |
|Certificates and identity badges ||Home or business ||Heavy-duty cold roll or pocket laminator, with a cleaning kit, surge protector and carrier (if applicable) |
Prepare yourself with as much information as possible when you think about which laminator to buy, and you can rest easy knowing that you have bought the best laminator for your needs.
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