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How to Select the Right Laminating Roll Film
How to Select the Right Laminating Roll Film for your wide format laminating project.

How to Select the Right Laminating Roll Film

Thermal Hot Laminating Film vs Cold Pressure Sensitive Laminating Film vs Low Melt Laminating Film

Thermal laminating film, also referred to as standard laminating film, hot laminating film, or premium laminating film, requires the use of heat to activate the glue on the film in order to stick, seal, and adhere to the media or material you are laminating.  Thermal laminating films generally have a melting point temperature between 230 degrees and 270 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pressure sensitive laminating film, also referred to as cold laminating film, is a self adhesive film, similar to tape, that will stick and adhere to media or material without the use of heat.  Pressure sensitive laminating roll film is best used when the material you are laminating is sensitive to the application of heat or high temperatures.

Low melt laminating film is a type of thermal laminating film that will provide the crystal clear laminating benefits of thermal laminating but has a lower melting point temperature than standard laminating films.  Low melt laminating film generally have a melting point temperature between 180 degrees and 230 degrees Fahrenheit.

Gloss Finish vs Matte Finish vs Luster Finish

Gloss laminating film finish gives a “shiny” finish that gives finer and crisper detail, brighter and more vibrant color, and a smooth slick touch to your media.

Matte laminating film finish does not show glare or reflect light.  Matte finishes also have a tendency to leave a grainy textured finish and also does not show fingerprints or smudges.

Luster laminating film provides the best of both matte and gloss finishing.  Luster laminating film will provide a bright, vibrant image without the glare and also provide smudge and fingerprint protection.

Application Examples According to Roll Film Type

Thermal Laminating Roll Film

Pressure Sensitive Laminating Roll Film

Low Melt Laminating Roll Film


Digital Prints

Digital Prints


Ink Jet Prints

Ink Jet Media

ID Cards


Offset Prints

Banner Graphics

Vinyl Banners

Commercial Artwork

Display Graphics

Vinyl Signs


Education Materials

UV Protection for Outdoor Graphics



POP Displays


Place Mats

POS Displays


POP Displays



Legal Documents



Graphics Displays




Cast Laminating Film vs Calendar Vinyl Laminating Film

Cast and calendar laminating film get their names from the two different manufacturing processes of these films. 

Cast laminating films are generally of higher quality and have less shrinkage and higher durability than its counterpart calendar film.  Cast films are generally more expensive due to the higher quality and more sophisticated manufacturing process of the film.  Cast films are ideal of applications that require the media to stretch and fit around contours, like vehicle wrapping.

Calendar films are considered an economical type of laminating film that is easier to produce in bulk, resulting in lower costs for consumers.  It is naturally stiffer and thicker making it easier to handle and it is more resistant to abrasions than cast film.

Laminating Film Thickness, Laminating Film Width, and Laminating Film Core Sizes

Always pay attention to the film thickness, measures in mil, and film width and film core sizes of the laminating film you purchase.  Purchasing laminating film that is compatible with your roll laminator specifications is important to ensuring professional laminating.

Laminating roll films come in thicknesses ranging from 1.2 mil to 10 mil.  Roll laminators will specify the film thickness compatibility in its product specs.

The roll laminator you are using will determine the maximum width of laminating film you should purchase.  Generally, you do not want to purchase laminating films that are wider than the maximum width laminating capacity of your roll laminator.

The most common laminating film core sizes are 1”, 2.25”, and 3”.  Core sizes refer to the diameter of the cardboard core that the laminating film wraps around.  Roll laminators will specify compatible core sizes in its product specifications.