What to Consider When Choosing Thermal Laminating Pouches

You’ve bought your laminator—now you need the pouches to go with it.

Did you know that laminating pouches can expire? The industry standard is that they’re good for a year, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use them after their technical expiry date, but it does mean that the manufacturer can’t necessarily guarantee their performance. So if you need to replenish your stocks, here’s what you need to know.

Seals & Protects

Sized to fit a standard piece of paper, this 3mil bulk set is compatible with most thermal brands and also comes in packs of 50 and 200. AmazonBasics

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First up, make sure that you’re buying thermal laminating pouches. There is a method of lamination known as cold lamination that uses self adhesive pouches and pressure, rather than heat, to seal the document inside. While these can be useful if, for example, you only want to laminate one side of a document, if you’ve got a thermal laminator, you want thermal laminating pouches.

Works With Dry Erase Markers

These are ideal for everyday projects and come in seven other sizes. Scotch

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Laminating film comes in a variety of thicknesses that are referred to as mil. This doesn’t stand for millimeters; in fact 1 mil is one thousandth of an inch. The most common types of laminating film are 3 mil and 5 mil, which refers to each sheet. So if you use a 5mil pouch, both the back and the front will measure 5 mil—which means your final document will be 10 mil thick. The higher the mil, the stiffer and more rigid the end result. You might want to use 1.5 mil just to give a photo a glossy sheen, but then 5 mil to create a menu or a flash card.

Universally Compatible

With rounded corners, these give documents a clear, glossy sheen and are available in larger pack sizes, and also in a stiffer, 5 mil format too. Nuova

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Make sure that the pouches that you buy will not only fit your laminating machine, but are also appropriately sized for what you want to laminate. Most laminating machine manufacturers advise leaving approximately 2mm around the edge of the document that you are laminating so that it seals properly, and caution against laminating multiple smaller items in a single pouch.