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What to Look for in a Laminator: GBC’s Guide to Choosing the Right Machine

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How to Choose the Right Laminator

With dozens of different options out there ranging in size, functionality and price it can be tough to figure out which machine works best for you. We’ve put together this guide to help you find the machine that fits your needs.

When it comes to laminators there are two different types:

Pouch laminators

Pouch laminators are the versatile choice for schools, home or business and are the most commonly used type worldwide. Ideal for almost any task from business presentation to home arts and crafts projects.

Browse our pouch machines


Roll laminators

Roll lamination focuses on speed for schools and professional print finishing – any user who deals with large volumes, large and odd sizes as well as deadlines. If this is the area you are looking for, a range of roll laminators from the Ultima 65, Pinnacle 27EZ or Ultima 35 are available through our website.

Browse our roll machines


No matter which style you choose, ask yourself these three questions:

1. What size document are you laminating?

The first consideration is content. What size laminate do you need? All laminators do not cover every format, and while other aspects are important, content size is crucial. Laminating pouches come in pre-set dimensions, so if you laminate standard dimensions such as letter-sized documents, a pouch laminator might be right for you. Roll laminators allow more flexibility when laminating odd shapes and sizes. Our laminators cover a variety from 27” down to 9” giving you choice across the range.

2. What laminate thickness?

Laminating Pouches are the most recognized accessories. Measured in mil – the higher the mil the thicker the laminate. Ranging from 3 mil all the way to 10 mil, pouches cover all paper sizes from business card to menu size, and, as a general rule, the more the document is handled the thicker the laminate should be. For roll laminators, laminating film ranges from 1.5 to 3 mil and comes with an enhanced glossy finish. GBC offers two types of roll film – standard roll film, which has to be loaded onto a film shaft and EZload film, which comes with color coded endcaps and does not require film shafts. Film is simple to load and is available in a variety of lengths.

Tip: Many of GBC’s machines support patented EZload technology. Loading film upside down is the number one reason for service calls on roll laminators as it can cause the film to be “glued” to the heat rollers, causing the heat rollers to have to be replaced. EZload comes color coded out of the box, meaning it is as easy as matching colors when loading film.

Browse pouches and film

3. How many users and how often?

The number of users has a significant impact on choice. Pouch machines are ideal to keep at your desk or at reception while a roll laminator is best suited for a shared work space.

Tip: The Ultima 65 laminator comes with an AutoSpeed feature. With this feature the machine always runs at the perfect speed, ensuring the best possible lamination output every single time. This feature is ideal for shared workspace use with multiple users.

Other considerations

Ease of use:

While it’s obvious that the pouch laminator is the easier model to use based on its popularity and target market, roll laminators can be simple too. Our selection of EZload laminating film designed for use with the Ultima 65, Ultima 35 and Pinnacle 27EZ roll laminators with color coding and male to female plugs to allow simple film loading every time…so when considering which is the best laminator for you, don’t automatically assume that pouches are superior.

Tip: EZUse pouches come with alignment guides built into the pouch to help you perfectly align your document inside the pouch. These helpful alignment guides automatically disappear during the lamination process, leaving you with outstanding lamination quality and accuracy when you finish your lamination job.


As with any other purchase, a laminator is an investment. When choosing, consider how often it will be used, and also factor in laminating accessories which can often be overlooked when taking into account overall cost.

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