Do I Need a Hot or Cold Laminating Machine?
Life is full of choices. One of those choices is whether to use a cold or a hot laminating machine to protect your prints, posters or photographs. When it comes to hot vs. cold laminating machines, the choice depends on what you’re laminating, your schedule and your budget.
What Are You Laminating?
What you plan on laminating on a regular basis influences the type of laminator you use. A hot machine usually heats up between 220 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Some materials just can’t take the high temperatures used by a hot laminator. Certain types of inks are heat sensitive and will fade when exposed to high heat. Some media types, such as photograph paper, can’t handle heat, either. Use a cold laminator for anything very delicate or heat sensitive.
The size of the item you’re laminating also influences your decision. Cold laminators are often designed to handle larger or longer prints while hot laminators are typically smaller and won’t work on big banners, vehicle wraps or oversized posters.
What’s Your Budget Look Like?
The cost of a machine can also determine whether you go hot or cold. Generally, cold laminators are less expensive than hot laminating machines. But it’s often the case that the materials you need to use with a cold laminator cost more than refills or materials for a hot machine. When figuring out your budget and whether a hot or cold laminating machine is right for your needs, look at the initial cost as well as the cost of maintaining the machine.
How Much Time Do You Have?
It can take some time for hot laminators to warm up. For example, the Maxit Adhesive System warms up in 55 minutes. That can be a drawback if you want to laminate something at the last minute.
A hot laminator can slow you down if you are a teacher who wants to laminate a poster before a class that starts in just a few minutes. You’d have to remember to turn the machine on well in advance. While it does take time for hot machines to heat up, they do tend to run quickly once warm. A hot machine takes 4 seconds per foot to laminate materials.
If you plan on regularly laminating durable materials and can usually plan in advance to give your machine plenty of time to warm up, a hot laminator can be the way to go. Otherwise, a cold laminating machine might better meet your needs.