What is the Best Laminating Film for a Poster?

Posted by: James on March 13th, 2013

Roll Lamination FilmIf you have a roll laminator and are going to be laminating posters, you may be wondering what type of film is best for your project. At Office Zone, we offer a huge selection of roll lamination film (found here) and would like to provide you with a few tips on laminating posters. I will cover a few questions you may want to ask yourself and will highlight a few points that should help you make the best selection possible.

When I refer to posters, I am talking about your traditional movie posters, educational posters, large signs and many banners. Lamination film is used on all of these types of printed material for various reasons. Most people laminate them to help bring out the colors, protect the posters’ surface and to protect them from the elements. Before I talk about the best film for your poster, I would like to cover the different types of film. Understanding laminating semantics and terms will help you in making your decision.

These are four terms I recommend you  become familiar with when shopping for roll lamination film:

  • Mil – The mil thickness is the how thick the film is. This is very similar to the gauge often used to measure the thickness of plastic. One mil equals 0.001″, which also happens to be 100 gauge. The higher the mil thickness, the thicker the film. Roll lamination film is usually available in 1.5, 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses.
  • Width – All roll laminators have a maximum width of film they can use. The most popular poster laminators are in 25″ and 27″ widths. If you own a 27″ wide laminator, you can use widths from 27″ on down, including 12″ wide rolls of film.
  • Core Size – Roll laminators have mandrels, usually made of metal, that are used to hold and support the rolls of film. These mandrels come in different sizes. Most 25″ and 27″ laminators use mandrels with a 1″ diameter, which subsequently are compatible with lamination rolls that feature a 1″ core. Wider format laminators often have mandrels of 2 ¼” or 3″ diameters.
  • Finish – The most popular roll lamination film we offer has a glossy finish. It reflects light and brings out color. Some people, however, don’t like the shiny look of glossy film. In those situations, I often require a matte film instead. Matte film has a dull luster, but is still clear. Another type of finish people often like is a UV filter for outdoor use. UV film filters out UV rays that can cause printed materials and posters to fade.

Having sold a lot of film and having laminated a lot of posters, I personally recommend you use a film with a glossy finish. As far as the thickness of the film is concerned, I recommend a 1.5 or 3 mil thickness. You can use thicker film, but for the purpose of laminating posters the thinner film is usually more than adequate. All of the film we offer, as long as there is a sealed border around the edge, should be water resistant. A 1.5 mil or 3 mil finish should also be enough to provide adequate protection while still bringing out the colors.

You can find our entire selection of glossy roll lamination film with a 1″ core by visiting us here. You can also find our entire selection of roll laminators by visiting us here. If you still have questions, please give us a call at 1-800-543-5454. Thank you for reading this article!


What is Mil Thickness and Which is Best to Use?

Posted by: James on December 14th, 2012

Lamination Film Mil ThicknessIf you’re shopping for lamination film (found here), you undoubtedly have come across the term mil thickness. It is a critical part of the lamination film selection process. If you’re new to lamination, or simply want some clarification, I will explain exactly what a mil is and how many mils you should have in your film.

A mil is a measurement of thickness, much like gauge and microns is used to measure the thickness of other products. A mil is exactly a thousandth of an inch (0.001″). This measurement method is used in the United States to measure the thickness of lamination film, CR-80 cards, plastic and other material. A mil is equal to 100 gauge film or 25.4 microns.

The lamination process typically involves two layers of film (both pouch and roll lamination). In pouch lamination there is a pouch that consists of a folder with a top and bottom layer. The item being laminated goes in between the layers. Roll lamination uses two rolls of film, one on the top and another on the bottom. The mil thickness of the film only refers to one layer. This means a photo, paper, poster or other object laminated using 5-mil film consists of two 5-mil layers (top & bottom), which together add up to 10 mils of total film.

Lamination FilmSo which mil thickness should you use? A lot of it depends on what you are laminating and your own personal preference. The higher the mil number, the thicker the film is going to be. Lamination film typically comes in 1.5, 3, 5, 7 and 10 mil thicknesses. Here is what you would use each thickness for.

1.5 Mil Film – This is the thinnest lamination film available. It is designed solely to provide a protective layer and a nice finish, but doesn’t provide much additional support.

3 Mil Film – This is very popular with schools that need to laminate posters, signs, banners and student projects. It is still affordable, but provides enough protection for most school needs.

5 Mil Film – This is probably the most popular film we offer. It is affordable, provides good protection and still adds some rigidity and support. Most pouch and roll laminators can be used with 5 mil film.

Laminating Pouches7 Mil Film – This is probably the least common film used. It is generally used for its supportive properties and is a good option if you want a lot of rigidity, but perhaps don’t need it as thick as 10 mil.

10 Mil film – This film is purchased for its protective and solid supportive capabilities. This film is thick enough to provide paper, posters, banners and signs with optimal support. Objects laminated with 10 mil film don’t bend and can hold up through many conditions that would damage or destroy other mil thicknesses.

At Office Zone, we stock just about all of the lamination film we offer. This means we are able to provide you with a great price and fast shipping. If you need help determining the film your laminator can handle, or if you have general questions about lamination film, please feel free to give us a call at 1-800-543-5454. You can find our entire selection of lamination film and machines here.


Why Does A Roll Laminator Need Fans?

Posted by: James on November 1st, 2012

Roll Laminators with Coolling FansSo I was speaking with a customer yesterday who was looking at purchasing a 27″ wide roll laminator (found here). The laminator in question came in a fan and a fanless version. The version with a fan could be used to laminate products up to 5 mils thick, where the fanless version could only handle film up to 3 mils thick. The customer asked me why a laminator would need fans. Here is the answer I provided him.

Most roll laminators use heat to melt the inner lining glue layer on the roll film. When this glue melts, it adheres to the object being laminated. When the glue cools, it solidifies. This seems like a fairly simple process, right? While the process is essentially simple, there are a lot of factors that can go into producing good and bad results.

Different roll laminators handle different thiknesses of film. The thickness of lamination film is referred to as the mil thickness. A mil is a thousandth of an inch (0.001″). The higher the mil, the thicker the film. Not all roll laminators can handle the thicker film. Almost all roll laminators can handle 1.5 and 3 mil film. Most can handle 5-mil film. Heavy-duty laminators can handle the 7 and 10 mil film.

This now goes back to our original question. Why do some roll laminators have rear-mounted fans? These fans are designed to help cool the film as it leaves the laminator. It just so happens that thicker film, such as 5, 7 and 10, retain the heat longer than thinner film. As a result, the film says hotter for a longer period of time. The fans help to quickly cool and solidify the laminating glue.

When the glue cools faster, the results are smoother and more professional. With thicker film, if it isn’t cooled fast enough, can become malformed, wavy or rippled as it leaves the machine. You rarely find a cooling fan system on a roll laminator that only handles 1.5 or 3 mil film as the film cools naturally fairly quickly. Laminators that handle 5 mil film may or may not come with fans. Most laminators that handle film up to 7 or 10 mils thick will have fans.

So do you need a fan? No. Is it ideal to have a fan? It is nice to have, but far more critical with thicker film. Almost all heavy-duty and commercial-grade roll laminators come equipped with cooling fans. You can find our entire selection of roll laminators here and our entire selection of roll lamination film here.

Since we have decades of experience with roll laminators, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-543-5454 to speak with one of our trained Laminator Specialists.


Best Laminating Film for Your Roll or Pouch Laminator

Posted by: James on August 29th, 2011

Pouch LaminatorsLaminators are underappreciated, and in my opinion, under used. They are used to protect, coat and preserve photos, maps, posters, business cards and more. Using the right laminating film can dramatically impact the end result. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people ask me which mil thickness is best. I will try to help answer some of the most common questions I get regarding film.

Not all laminating film is the same. To begin with, laminating film is measured in mils (thousandths of an inch). The higher the mil thickness number, the thicker the film. Laminating film is typically available in 1.5, 3, 5, 7, and 10 mil thicknesses.

Before reading on, familiarize yourself with your laminator’s capabilities. I personally recommend reading through your owner’s manual. While most laminators can handle 1.5 or 3-mil film, not all can handle 5, 7 or 10. Ten mil is probably the least common as far as compatibility is concerned. Each of these thicknesses have different uses.

1.5 Mil Laminating Film – This film thickness is used primarily to lightly protect the surface of a document. It has little to no stability. It is primarily used to add a glossy coating to posters and maps. It can also help bring out colors. This film thickness is also popular for single-sided lamination purposes.

3 Mil Laminating Film – This film thickness has a little bit of stability, but is still mostly used for coating documents or to add a glossy appearance. It can help bring out colors and is often used for coating business cards, photos and posters.

5 Mil Laminating Film – This film is probably the most popular used today. This is due to its universal capabilities and reasonable price. It provides medium stability while still protecting and preserving. This film is used for signs, banners, posters, photos and other material.

7 Mil Laminating Film – This film is often used, rather than 10-mil film, because it is less expensive than 10-mil film while still providing almost as much stability as 10-mil film. This is used to add stability, protection, bring out color and more for posters, presentations, signs, restaurant menus and other documents.

10 Mil Laminating Film
– This is the thickest “common” laminating film available. It still coats, protects and enhances color, but is primarily used for its rigidity. Double-sided lamination (pouches or 2 rolls of film) uses a sheet of film for the top and a sheet of film for the bottom of a document. When using 10-mil film, the top and bottom combined equal 20 mils. This thickness is just 10 mils shy of a credit card thickness (30 mils).

In my experience, I have to say that the 3 and 5 mil film thicknesses are probably the most popular. When a person speaks with me, having no idea what they should use, I typically recommend a 5-mil film simply because of its universal qualities.

Office Zone offers laminating film for both pouch and roll laminators. You can find our pouch laminating film here and our roll laminating film here. Most of Office Zone’s film has a glossy finish to it, which is what 90% of our customers use.

If you are in the market for a laminator, you can find our pouch laminators here and our roll laminators here. If you are still having trouble tracking down a film, or simply need a few answers to some questions, please post your question here as a “comment” or call one of our Laminating Specialists at 1-800-543-5454.


How To Clean A Roll Laminator

Posted by: James on May 19th, 2011

Properly Cleaning Roll LaminatorLaminators can be extremely easy to use.  However, cleaning them can be quite tricky, even dauntingly scary if you haven’t done it before.  Why could it be considered scary?  There isn’t much damage you can do to yourself, but more than one laminator has been ruined due to improper cleaning.  It’s also important to note that cleaning your laminator is crucial.  It allows your laminator to last a lot longer, as well as making sure your laminated material comes out as smooth as possible, absent bubbles or creasing.  This article will explain how to clean your roll laminator properly, easily preserving it for years and years to come.

First things first: make sure to never try and clean your laminator without first turning off the laminator and giving it time to cool off (about 5-10 minutes).  Not only can you accidentally get burned, but it will make it much easier to clean.

The next thing to do is to remove the lamination rolls.  Make sure to put the machine in reverse to get all extra lamination out of the machine.  Forgetting this step can, unfortunately, can cost you precious time.

Now for the most important part.  You’ll most likely be cleaning off burnt film that was a result of leaving on the laminator too long, or turning up the heat too much.  Never, never, never use a knife, scissors, or any cutting tool on the Teflon coated boots or the silicon rollers.  Too many roll laminators have nicks on the rollers, which will cause creases in your lamination and permanent (yes permanent) damage to the crucial rollers.  Also, make sure to not use standard rubbing alcohol, as it can potentially dry out the rubber rollers and cause cracking, again making them useless.  Now that you know what pitfalls to avoid, it’s time to clean.

How To Remove Excess Film

Start by warming up the laminator to a mildly warm setting, then turning off the power again.  This will heat up the excess just enough to make it much easier to clean.  Use a clean cloth to rub off the film, turning the rollers manually as you do so.  Another great tool is to use a rubber rejuvenator substance that helps break down the glue for easier removal.  You can find more information about the rejuvenator here.

Laminator Cleaning KitAnother smart choice is a laminator cleaning kit, which can be found here.  This inexpensive tool is definitely worthwhile, and will save you a lot of time.  With this you’ll be able to avoid the indecision of what to use while cleaning the rollers.  It includes foam cleaner, non-abrasive pads, and a course-cleaning pad.  Use the non-abrasive sponge pad for cleaning off heat shoes and the coarse pad for cleaning the rubber rollers.

How often should you clean your laminator?  A good rule of thumb is every roll change.  It’s an easy thing to let the build up continue, but if you are consistent in cleaning each time you change the rolls, the process seems much easier.  Not only will your end product look crisper, smoother, and more professional, it will preserve your roll laminator for many years to come.

If you are still having trouble cleaning your laminator, or it’s just to the point of desperation, you can always contact our service department at 800-543-5454 x 129.  They will be able to coach you through the process, or, if necessary, have you send in the laminator for cleaning.  While we are primarily based in Utah, we also have technicians spread throughout the U.S. that can come to your location within 48 hours.

If your laminator is truly beyond the point of no repair, you can find our wide selection of new roll laminators here.


GBC Pinnacle 27″ Roll Laminator Review

Posted by: James on May 10th, 2011

GBC Pinnacle 27" Roll LaminatorHave you been looking at roll laminators for days and days, not quite sure which one to go with?  Let me make the decision a little easier for you with this review on the GBC Pinnacle 27″ Roll Laminator.

GBC is one of the most well-known office companies around, with roots stemming all the way back to the 1800s.  They have offered a wide variety of machines since then and, to be fair, I’ve seen some good ones and some bad ones.  Out of all those many machines, I will have to rank the Pinnacle 27″ roll laminator as one of their best ever.

What makes the GBC 27″ Pinnacle one of the best?

Here are some of the many reasons that this machine ranks among the best GBC has ever produced:

  • – The EZ Load laminating film.  If you’ve ever worked with roll laminators in the past, you’re experienced with the difficulties (often annoying and tedious) of changing the film rolls.  With an innovative design, the Pinnacle makes changing the film foolproof, making the process a matter of seconds instead of minutes.  The EZ load is an option, but since the price is the same, there really is no reason to go with the regular version.  Unless, of course, you have a stock pile of lamination film from your previous laminator.
  • – Built-in trimmer.  Most laminators do not come with this feature, making the constant search for the zippy cutter, or yet another long search for a separate paper cutter even more laborious.  You will also avoid the possibility of cutting into your laminated material.  I’ve done this on older models and, trust me, it’s not fun.
  • – Variable speed and temperature settings.  With 10 different settings, and speeds up to 12 feet per minute, this laminator will get the job done quickly and efficiently.  It also adds versatility to what you can laminate by giving you the option to adjust how hot the temperature is.
  • – Footage counter.  This is another option not seen with most laminators, allowing you to always know how much you’ve laminated.
  • – Auto shut-off.  Believe it or not, a laminator has burned down a building or two . . . or three.  This will not be an issue with this model, though.  Not only will it save your building from going up in flames, but it will also save you money on your power bill.  Additionally, it will prolong the life of your laminator.
  • – Modern design.  The sleek appearance of the Pinnacle fits perfectly in any setting.  The one-touch key pad makes changing all the settings quick and easy.  It also features a fast warm-up time (less than 10 minutes), a reverse switch, and a ready indicator.

Whether you’re a school, a church, a local print shop, or anyone else needing to laminate your precious materials up to 27″ long, the Pinnacle 27″ from GBC is a great choice.

If you want to end your search for the right laminator and need to make a purchase, be sure to visit Officezone.com.  You can find more information on the GBC Pinnacle 27″ roll laminator here.


What’s the Best Laminator for you? Roll or Pouch?

Posted by: Morgan on March 9th, 2011

Roll LaminatorThe best type of laminator ultimately depends on how much you want to laminate. Both roll and pouch laminators have many similarities. For example, both types of machines can process a wide range of film thicknesses. Both can preserve and protect documents and photographs for decades on end.There are some significant differences between these two types of laminators, however.

Pouch Laminators are ideal for people who typically only laminate a few items in a day. If you plan to do a high-volume laminating project, a pouch laminator can only laminate one item at a time. You typically save significant time when using a roll laminator.

Pouch laminator film requires more of an investment when compared to roll film. Several pouch laminator models work best when you use a protective carrier. A carrier ensures optimum performance and longevity. You do not need to use a carrier with a roll laminator.

Roll Laminators are best for anyone who plans to laminate in large quantities. Most of our customers who choose a roll laminator include schools (from elementary to universities), government offices and business. Roll laminators are fully capable of laminating more than one item at a time. This can translate into significant time and supply savings.


Can the Easy-Lam School Budget Laminator Create Outdoor Signs?

Posted by: Morgan on January 7th, 2011

Easy-Lam School Budget LaminatorQuestion


I just have a couple questions about the Easy Lam School Budget 27” Roll Laminator. Does this come with a roll of film? And after laminating, can the signs/posters be hung outside and be protected from rain/snow?

We are a non-profit and we make a lot of signs, and thought this may be the way to go. How much is a roll of the film if we need to purchase additional rolls? I have one other question – does it laminate both sides or just one side? If it is just one side, can it be put back in to laminate the other side?

Thank you!

Kari F.


The Easy-Lam School Budget Laminator from Banner American will help you effectively laminate posters, signs maps, documents and more. This laminator is affordably priced, and was designed with schools in mind. This model also includes several high-end features typically found in more expensive models, such as heated rollers (vs. heat shoes) that more evenly distribute heat, thus ensuring better overall results.

No, the Banner American Easy Lam School Budget Roll Laminator does not come with a roll of film. You will have to order that separately. After laminating your signs and posters you will be able to display them outside. The lamination film will protect your signage from the elements. We recommend you use UV lamination film for your outdoor materials. UV film will protect and preserve your signs by filtering out harmful UV rays that fade color.

For the Easy Lam roll laminator, a typical roll of film costs about $40. This is for a 27-inch wide roll of clear lamination film that’s 3 mil in thickness. This is the most popular thickness that most of our customers choose. If you want to go with the UV film, then the cost requires a slightly higher investment. The current price for 3 mil, 27-inch UV lamination film is $67 per roll. You must order two rolls of film for this machine so that both sides of your document are laminated. This is not a single-side laminator.