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Hot and Cold Laminator by Purple Cows

{reported by Emilie Ahern}

I have previously owned a laminator made by Purple Cows and was quite happy with it for quite a while. It was a hot laminator and came with a variety of pouch sizes. I used it SO OFTEN, much more than I would have anticipated upon first getting it. But then, after 2 faithful years I put something into the feed crooked and the thing got jammed...permanently.

I was so sad that my Laminator died that I hopped online to replace it and, what do you know, they have a new model with better features and an anti-jam button! Woot! And it laminates both hot and cold. Seems great! So I snatched one up and started in. Here was my experience with this product.

Our family holds a weekly devotional called Family Home Evening.
I made and laminated this chart with movable photos as assignments change.

Supplies Software: Adobe Photoshop CS2, Tool: Purple Cows Laminator on Medium Heat,
Ribbon: Bo Bunny, Other: Adhesive backed velcro

First off, it can't get much easier to use. You plug it in, select the temperature you want...either cold, warm or hot. A green light glows when it's heated and ready to go (in 5 minutes) and you feed items into the slot. I did not find anything particularly complicated about this machine. My 5 year old could probably use it (on the cold setting of course).

Here's something which is also cool. The old Hot Laminator which had just one feature, laminating, cost the same as the current model with its extra features and improvements. I am really impressed that Purple Cows made it better without make it more expensive.

I made and laminated this personalized luggage tag in
no time using Photoshop and my laminator.

Supplies Software: Adobe Photoshop CS2, Tool:
Purple Cows Laminator on High Heat, Ribbon: American Crafts

I laminated four different items with this laminator. I tried the cold setting, which had a few air bubbles. I ma not really sure what one would use this setting for, unless it was to laminate old documents that were possibly heat sensitive. I tried the warm setting, which is recommended for one to layers of paper. It also turned out fine, with just a few air gaps around the edges of the paper. I ran it through again and those edges sealed. I also laminated thicker items with the hottest setting. This setting produced no air pockets.

It is NOT recommended that you use this product on items thicker than 1 cm. And I would probably say even less than that. I tried three layers of mid-weight cardstock and got a lot of air gaps.

Because we live far from family, I cook our Thanksgiving Dinner each year. I printed our favorite holiday recipes, organized them by which recipe should be started first (the Turkey) and laminated the entire thing. This way I don't have to dig through a recipe book and I can spill stuff on the recipes and then wipe clean.

Supplies: Cardstock: WorldWin DoubleMates, Software: Adobe Photoshop CS2,
Tool: Purple Cows Laminator on High Heat, Other: clip art, binder ring

What I liked:

- I liked the convenience of having a laminator at home. I ended up using it a surprising number of times for various projects and home crafts.

- It is sleek and not too bulky, lightweight and portable if needed.

- I especially like the new features. They really improved this from the last version.

- The price is pretty good. I think for the amount of use I have gotten from this machine, how durable it seems and the additional features that $60 is pretty darn reasonable. Also, these are hitting JoAnns stores in your area as we speak and I am sure you could probably use a 40% off coupon to make it really affordable.

- I could really see myself using this a lot. This weekend my daughters are having a joint birthday party with a ROCK STAR theme and I am creating and laminating a back stage pass for each guest. It's so convenient to do it at home with so much else to plan.

What I disliked:

- There was some air pockets in nearly every project I made. This was easily solved by sending through the machine again, but should you have to?

- As with ALL laminators, some of my projects got a slight bow in them as they came out of the laminator feed. I sent them through again, upside down and that solved the problem. Maybe this is wishful thinking, but I kind of wish they had included a sort of extender arm, like those that catch paper coming out of your printer. If they had one on the front and one on the back which could be retracted, it would solve the slight curling problem, but I think that may be asking a bit much from such a small and home use laminator.

- This product could have MUCH better instructions in the manual that comes with it. As previously stated, it IS very easy to operate, but I tried pushing the release button a few times (which is supposed to fix jams) and it didn't seem to be doing anything. I wasn't sure if that should be pushed while the machine is running or after you turn it off. They also don't give clear recommendation on which heat settings to use for which types of projects. This can be figured out based on experience and I will probably just rock the hottest setting every time.

Where and How Much
Product Name:
13" Hot and Cold Laminator
Manufacturer: Purple Cows
MSRP: $59.95
Currently only available at: or in JoAnns stores.

Okay, so I have not been a huge fan of all Purple Cows products in the past (remember this article?), so you know I am being straight with you, I really love my laminator. I have used it quite a bit, I love the convenience, the pouches come in a good variety of sizes and are reasonably priced and it works pretty well. I would definitely recommend it to a friend and have already recommended it to a Kindergarten Teacher friend of mine.

What do YOU think? Can you see yourself using a laminator very often? Do you think the price is reasonable? Have you tried other laminating systems?


Unknown said...

I use a laminator I bought from BJ's. It's a Scotch laminator and was only $30.00. I never get bubbles and it's fast and easy! It has two heat settings as well. I use it all the time for Church handouts and around the house. Can you tell I'm a type-A personality :).


Savannah O'Gwynn said...

I've had a laminator since I was about it is almost 10 years old. It is very small--but I love using it. I do wish I had another one that was bigger and better at laminating...sometimes I have to put it through the machine three times before it seals. Great to use for several projects!

Natalie said...

I have a Xyron cold laminator and I don't use it much. Tape doesn't stick to it (so using it for preschool - which is why I bought it - is null and void), you can't put an 8.5 x 11 paper in it because it doesn't cover them completely with extra on the side and there's always bubbles/wrinkles. :P I haven't really thought about getting a new machine... but I appreciated this review. It's good to know what's out there. :)

Kate Block said...

I do not have a laminator. I have tossed the idea around a few times but I always find something I feel I need more. The price for this seems pretty reasonable though.

A little note reguarding the "cold" setting. This COULD work for laminating ultra sound pictures. I know a few years back one of the guys I worked with brought in the first ultra sound images of thier first child and was going to laminate them. It was a heat laminator and pictures were printed on thermal paper. The ultra sounds pics turned black. Maybe a "cold" setting would have prevented that.

Thanks for the review. If I can pick one of these up at JoAnns with a 40% coupon...I just might do that.

Rebecca Geile said...

I cannot imagine needing a home laminator. I just don't see the point, so I would definitely not pay $60 for it. But the projects you have done are nice. Just not for me.

Kelly Massman said...

I don't have a laminator but I can see how I would love to have one. There are so many uses for them! Thanks for your review!

heather said...

A lanimator is one of those tools that I have often thought about getting but somehow never took the plunge.

I like that this does both hot and cold. I would use the hot much more often but cold has it's uses as well.

I checked their website and was very impressed with the prices very reasonable. I also like that it does 12x12 pages.

Mary O said...

THANK YOU for being honest-I had begun to think with some of the other reviews (not yours) that this site had just become a love fest of favorites. I used to use a laminator when I worked for a school and loved it and I can see the benefits to have one-I might have to look a little more closely now :-)

Thank you again for giving it to us straight

Joni Parker said...

I'm ready for a new laminator. Thanks for the review of this makes shopping a bit easier. (JoAnn's here I come!!)

Unknown said...

I use my Purple Cows Laminator all the time, I have never had air bubbles yet anyways :) But I always put a piece of cardstock underneath the project for stability as it runs through. Great review I agree it is a must have project, I love laminating my travel cards (along with my luggage tags) so I have phone numbers and important info that stays nice and crisp and if something spills on it I don't care.
I also make bookmarks for my childrens' class treasure boxes. I never thought I would use a laminator, I thought it was just for teachers but I use it in scrapbooking all the dang time!

Oh and making clear embellishments for my projects! Hello!! perfect!