In 2010, foiling was the next best thing in crafting. 10 years later, it still is. Today, having a laminator for foiling handy is a boon. Even more than a printer. You may want to laminate your important photographs or documents for preservation or simply engage in foil application for your side craft project.
How about some lovely invitation cards or maybe a side hustle by selling fancy greeting cards to the kids in your neighborhood?
Whatever may be your requirement, having a laminator at home can save you a lot of effort and dollars.The Best Laminator for Foiling:
A foil laminator is a desk machine that allows you to emboss or print fancy designs using foil paper (usually gold and silver) on paper, cardboard, and cloth. It is a way to embellish boring-looking cards and products, add some shine, and make them instantly attractive.
Around the world, designers and crafters use such machines to add some zing to their work. Foiling is common in wedding invitation cards, home décor, and miscellaneous craft and art projects.
Regardless of your needs, when you decide to get a foiling machine, you should go with the best. So, here are the best laminators for foiling available to buy online.
How to Choose a Laminator for Foiling?
This is one of the most important questions that may arise when buying a foil laminator. A more precise question is: what type of laminator should you go for?
The answer lies in the capability and modes of the pouch laminator. Here’s a quick guide.
Consider the Critical Parameters
- Temperature Setting – Can you control the temperature? If yes, what is the control range? Opt for those that have a range upwards of 300 degrees Fahrenheit
- Speed – This is important if you are a prolific user. Anything in the range of 300 mm/min to 600 mm/min is a good bet
- Width of Pouch – The laminator should be able to press pouches that are at least 10 mm wide. This will allow you to hot press not only papers but cardboards, book covers, and cloth
- Rollers – Check the number of rollers. A minimum of 2 is recommended
- Safety – This is important both for beginners and professionals. Make sure the machine is built with proper safety covers to avoid burns and shocks
- Feed Width – This is the horizontal area where you feed the sheet. Opt for machines that have at least 12 inches of feed area
Fix Your Needs
Answer these three questions and you will automatically know what type of machine to get.
- Do you want a laminator machine only for laminating?
- Are you a beginner in the world of lamination and foiling?
- Are you a prolific user or a craft professional?
Here you will realize the range of your needs, your usage, and the volume of your needs. Keep those three things in mind while you browse the reviews below.
What Manufacturer/Brand to Choose?
We recommend going with the Make in America sentiment. Most of the machines that we have reviewed below are made in the USA by local, homegrown manufacturers. But if you were to select one or two brands, go with the ones that you are already familiar with.
For example, Scotch is an internationally renowned brand. On the other hand, Akiles and ABOX are popular in the country.
Best Laminator for Foiling Reviews 2020 – 2021
Here’s everything you need to know about the top six foil laminators in detail. Read individual model reviews and pick your choice. Don’t forget to check out the pros and cons to make a quicker decision if you are in a hurry or a dilemma about any two models.
#1 – Akiles ProLam Plus 330 Laminator
Akiles is an American small-time manufacturer of binding and laminating machines. Its ProLam series is perhaps the most popular brand, with its plastic laminators and binders in wide use around the world.
Foil Laminator Review
Think of a regular foil laminator. Now think of another laminator that is 5x better than that from all aspects. You have the ProLam Plus 330. It has silicon heat rollers that supply uniform heat, detailed control and indication panel, dual heat system, and gradual temperature control to suit all types of lamination projects.
But the USP is its ability to laminate through both hot and cold press. For those projects where you need to be more careful, you can use the cold-press technique (laminates using pressure and adhesive) and avoid any mistakes that may arise.
Although, the temperate range of 176°F to 320°F is useful enough even if you depend on the hot press mode.
We also like the temperature control bit which allows you to increase/decrease the heat depending upon the project. It also has a sturdy enclosure and anti-shock build that make it safer to use. You don’t need to be skilled in laminating to start with the ProLam.
You should know that this is a pouch laminator, one of the most common types in the world. Here you insert a paper or the desired element into a plastic pouch (cover) and insert it between the rollers.
The 13-inch wide mouth is sufficient for most projects. The ProLam is easy to use, creates bubble-free lamination, will last for decades with proper care, and works with most standard pouches and paper types.
With two heat rollers, two cold pull rollers, a heat plate system for those foil crafting projects, and a speed of 540 mm/min, this beast comes out as the most powerful and best laminator for foiling currently in the market. And it is priced like a steal.
- Dual heat system; heat and cold modes to work on a variety of projects
- Gradual temperature control with a range of 176°F to 320°F
- Silicon rollers produce uniform heat that prevents bubbles in the lamination
- All types of standard pouches can be used
- 13-inch wide opening
- Heat plate is not as effective as dedicated gold foil presses
You cannot go wrong with this gold foil laminator. It’s a mass-produced machine, yes, but it’s one of the best that does its job flawlessly without giving you any hiccups. A perfect choice for home users, office users, and art professionals. This is a top-drawer machine that will never die on you.
#2 – Fellowes Laminator Voyager 125
Fellowes is an American conglomerate of office and technology equipment. It has been around for more than 100 years, which automatically proves its reputation in the market. The Voyager 125 is one of its bestsellers. It sells government-approved and TAA-compliant products.
Foil Laminator Review
Sometimes you need some sweet extras in your machines that you use daily to make your life easier. If you are an office administrator or a prolific art professional, getting an advanced foil laminator machine makes sense. You need to do the basic stuff but you also need to do it faster and better to stand out in the crowd.
The Laminator Voyager 125 by Fellowes is the perfect machine that you can gift yourself. It’s a pouch laminator with the basic stuff but with a lot of fresh features.
We like the auto-sense feature, which Fellowes calls the AutoLam technology. Here, the machine sets itself according to the type of paper, type of pouch, and length of the material supplied to it to execute perfect lamination.
The belt-drive system is another great feature, which solves the problem of lags and jams. Never will you find yourself hunching over your machine, trying to remove a stuck plastic pouch from between the rollers. Not when you are using the Voyager 125.
Its 4 rollers supply uniform heat and pressure and allow pouch thickness of up to 10 mm. The 12.5-inch opening is enough for most projects which can be laminated via both cold and hot press.
And no need to worry about all the adhesive stuck in the rollers. This Fellowes machine is also easy to clean and maintain.
But we did find that owing to the inclusion of several features, the machine tends to wear off quite easily. You will need to maintain it with the utmost care if you are looking for longterm use, which is the case with most office users and professionals.
But if you are confident about your usage and know that you can handle it better, the Voyager 125 will serve you for years. It heats up in less than 4 minutes and is built using HeatGuard technology that makes it easier to handle, even for beginners.
- Heats up in less than 4 minutes
- AutoLam technology auto-senses and adjusts the laminating settings
- Belt-drive system prevents jams
- Prone to faster wear and tear
If you are a sucker for advanced features and want to spend a bit more for a professional foiling machine, go with the Voyager 125. Just take extra care while handling and this will run for years. Buy it today!
#3 – ABOX Laminator OL381
Owned by Sustanbo, ABOX is an American office supplies company that specializes in thermal laminators and vacuum sealers. It is similar to Fellowes but manages to produce more versatile products, just like this all-in-one laminator.
Foil Laminator Review
If the Voyager 125 seems pricey and if you are looking for a long-term investment, prefer this ABOX foil machine. Here you get a top-class laminator that can do both hot and cold press, a very sharp paper cutter that is attached to the machine, and a corner rounder for those final finishes.
Add up the cost of all that and then compare it with the modest price of the OL381. What more value do you want?
What’s more impressive? The 13-inch wide opening that can fit most common sizes of papers including A3, A4, and A6. The cutter is a major highlight that can trim through paper of up to 50 mm, which is higher even by the standard of cutters that cost about $10 per pop.
It’s also very sharp, which forces us to be cautious, especially around kids. It has a handy lock but you can never be too cautious, right?
The dual-roller system is enough to supply uniform heat and pressure but that is where the above two models take the prize.
They each have four rollers, which provide a better finish. But ABOX makes up for it with its thermal conductivity pipe and bubble-heating system, which are ideal for laminating. It also makes use of aluminum parts, which extend the machine’s lifespan.
ABOX claims that the machine takes about 3 minutes to heat, but we tested and we had to wait for a few more. But once heated, you can get stuff laminated quickly. The heating does not slow, and you can work on it for hours.
However, the manufacturer recommends adding a cool-off period of a few minutes in between sessions.
While the other models on this list give out 2 or 3 free pouches, this one here comes with 16 complementary pouches of different sizes. It’s like a starter system that allows you to begin work on your projects the moment it arrives on your doorstep. Go on, order it now.
- Includes an attached paper cutter and corner rounder
- High-speed action at 240 mm/min
- Cutter can cut through 50 mm and has a safety lock
- Contains 16 free lamination pouches
- Heats up in less than 5 minutes
- Has only two rollers
- Cold press action is average
Versatility in a pouch laminator for foiling doesn’t get better than this. When you consider it for its features, durability, and price, you will realize that there is hardly any alternative that comes close to the ABOX OL381.
#4 – Scotch Pro Thermal Laminator TL906
From the inventor of the transparent tape comes a laminator that is equally great and easy to use. The Scotch brand has been around since the early 1900s.
Foil Laminator Review
If you have been laminating for years, you know that the biggest peeve is a sheet jamming or getting stuck between the rollers.
Whatever you do and how much ever patience you supply, that thing never gets corrected. The TL906 by Scotch is the answer to that worry.
We know we reviewed the Fellowes Voyager above that does the same thing, but this one here does it like it’s a walk in the park.
You switch on the machine, wait for it to warm up (it signals using a light indicator), feed your sheet, and voila! It adapts to the inserted sheet and manages the heat and pressure to prevent jamming.
You don’t have to worry about your important documents getting stuck in there, even if they are decades old. This bad boy will take care of them.
We love the distraction-free interface by Scotch which makes it both easier and safer to operate. There are no gaps or “open heat areas” where you could put your hands or fingers by mistake. It does get extra points for design as well as its speed, but we found the machine to be a bit noisy, especially if you are working it for more than an hour.
Plus, the opening area is just 9-10 inches long, which is a limitation if you have large sheets to laminate. The auto shut-off is a great feature but it’s nothing special because we have found it in all the other three models so far.
But perhaps the plug-and-play nature of Scotch and its beginner-level operation are what makes it a crowd favorite, especially if you are going to use it in schools and colleges.
Never worry about your sheet jamming in a laminator because Scotch is here to save the day.
Pro Tip – Remove the sheet as soon as you are done with laminating to avoid permanent curl at the end.
- Anti-jam technology prevents jams, stuck sheet, and lags
- Signals after it has warmed up (5 minutes)
- Distraction-free interface and easy controls
- Feed area is just 9-10 inches wide
Don’t let cheap laminators spoil your projects and your mood with their constant jams and crinkled results. Get the Scotch thermal laminator and enjoy a first-class laminating experience.
#5 – Xyron Glaminator Foil Laminator
Xyron is a part of ACCO Brands and has been around 1997. It produces craft and art supplies and is one of the leaders in the local US market.
Foil Laminator Review
The Glaminator works as a gold foil applicator, a hot press, and a cold press. This three-in-one machine will make for a great addition to your craft garage, with its easy-to-use operation and a free interface. Working on this Xyron machine can be learned in less than 10 minutes. It’s as simple as using the Scotch model above.
The 9-inch opening is enough for your craft projects. Use gold or silver foil and add some zing to greeting cards and invitation cards. The reactive foil application works great for perfect embellishment, regardless of the type of sheet you are using.
Just make sure you use toner ink on a laser printer for best results. (Do note that inkjet printer won’t help in foiling.)
While the Glaminator cannot compete with the ABOX model we reviewed above (both are for different purposes), it surely can replace your old MINC. Or if you have ever had your eyes on MINC, this can be a great alternative.
Xyron is known for its craft supplies, so it’s no wonder that the foils come out great from this machine. The embosses are permanent and spotless. And it works on a variety of surfaces like letterheads, thick certificates, and even book covers.
- Uses reactive foiling for better output
- Slider button makes it easy to transition between modes
- Free gold foil included in the package
- The lamination function doesn’t work as well as traditional laminators
If you anticipate multiple uses for your laminator, get the Xyron Glaminator. It’s a cheaper alternative to MINC but does a far better job at embossing. Get it today.
#6 – Swingline GBC Laminator, Inspire
Swingline is also owned by ACCO Brands, but its focus has been on office supplies and stationery. The brand has been around since 1925 and has more recently entered the laminator and binding products industry.
Foil Laminator Review
Finally on our list of the best laminators for foiling is a budget-friendly model. This one by Swingline is intended for homes use and for beginners who may have never used a laminator before.
The GBC is a cheap laminator for foiling so you cannot expect it to move mountains. But for the price, it comes in a nice package and enclosure. The black covering adds to the look and allows for easy operation.
The 9-inch opening is sufficient for most lengths of sheets like greeting cards, handwritten cards, and documents. Just put the sheet in the pouch, feed it into the opening, and the rollers will do the rest. It’s very easy.
It can take sheets of widths up to 5 mm and takes about 7 minutes to heat up. This is obviously higher than the average, but we can assure you that once it is heated, you can quickly laminate through your sheets in bulk.
Just the basic features and a hardworking motor here – what more do you need when you are just starting up?
- Single-step thermal press
- Takes only 7 minutes to heat up
- Can laminate sheet of up to 5 mm
- Jams sheets if not fed properly (or with wrinkles)
If budget is a concern for you and the ABOX OL381 does not fit your bill, go with the Swingline. It’s a fine, affordable machine for beginners and will stay with you for years with basic to moderate use.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Foil Laminator
Answers to some of the most common questions about thermal laminating.
How does cold press work in lamination?
Cold pressing is a simple technique that uses a pouch and special adhesive to laminate a paper or cardboard. This process does not use heat and instead depends on the pressure provided by rollers. It is a preferred technique for temporary lamination.
How can I extend the lifespan of my foil laminator?
You can take care of your laminating machine by dusting and cleaning it frequently, using a dust cover to cover it when not in use, and following the instructions specified in the user manual. We also recommend registering your product on the manufacturer’s website as soon as you buy it.
Can laminator machines foil?
Yes. Machines that thermal-press can also foil/emboss. But most such machines will require the support of a laser printer.
What is the difference between the Minc and the Glaminator?
The Minc is majorly a foil applicator. Whereas the Glaminator is a three-in-one machine that you can use for foil application, hot press, and cold lamination. Read our review above for more.
Why do I need a laser printer? Will the inkjet printer work?
A laser printer using toner ink is required for foil application. This is due to the re-melting property of toner ink, which allows the foil to stick when heated.
What are the top parameters when buying a laminator?
You can buy a laminator based on its safety features, heating and laminating quality, and motor quality. Everything else is usually secondary.
Should I go for multi-purpose models?
It entirely depends on your needs. If you feel that the need to use multiple features or types will arise in the future, you should definitely go for multi-purpose models the Xyron Glaminator and the Fellowes Voyager 125. They give you a total bang for your buck and also save you money in the long run.
Finding the best laminator for foiling is easier when you only have to choose from a range of six models. We hope that this short guide has helped you find your ideal machine. While each one of them is better than the rest in its own regard, the Akiles ProLam and Swingline GBC Inspire usually come on top of most expert ratings. In our tests too, these were the models that took the most beating and yet continued to do what they do best.
If you are in a dilemma, pick one of them and begin a journey towards the ultimate crafting, foiling, and laminating experience. Buy today!