Self-Sealing or Adhesive Laminating Pouches: Which Style is Right for You?

When referring to laminating film, the terms “adhesive backing” and “self-adhesive” are often used interchangeably; however, they are actually two different styles of bags that have specialized properties. In this article, we’ll discuss self-sealing and adhesive bags to help you understand the similarities and differences between the two bag styles.

Self-adhesive bags to laminate
Also called self-sealing, self-laminating, or cold-laminating pouches, self-adhesive laminating pouches are made from a pressure-sensitive laminating film and do not require heat to seal the document. Like lamination with pressure-sensitive roll laminating film, cold packs will not damage heat-sensitive documents (such as digitally printed materials). To use a self-adhesive bag film, simply peel off the backing that covers the sticky side of the bag, insert your document, and press down firmly on the layers to create a seal. This style of sleeve is considerably more expensive than traditional thermal sleeves, so if you want to laminate large amounts of documents, you may want to consider purchasing a sleeve laminating machine to take advantage of the lower price of thermal sleeves. If you are only laminating a few documents, laminating as part of a one-off project, or laminating in the field (without access to electricity), then self-laminating pouches may be an ideal option for you.

Adhesive Backed Laminating Pouches
Adhesive pouches are similar to traditional thermal laminating film in that they require heat to create a seal around the document. The unique feature of adhesive-backed laminating pouches is that they have an adhesive backing, which allows the laminated document to be stuck to a folder, bound presentation, sign, or any other smooth surface. After placing the document inside the bag and running it through your laminator at the proper temperature, simply peel off the release liner on the back of the film to expose the adhesive and affix as desired. Although the cost of the added adhesive backing is reflected in a higher retail price compared to standard thermal bags, adhesive backed laminated bags are much less expensive than self-sealing bags.

In Review
Although the terms adhesive and self-adhesive may sound similar, the products they refer to are actually very different. Self-adhesive (cold) pouches use pressure-sensitive adhesive to encapsulate documents without using a thermal laminator. Since they don’t require the use of a thermal laminating machine, these pouches are a great choice for small laminating projects or for laminating heat-sensitive documents. They require more manual labor and cost considerably more than thermal pouches, so if you plan on laminating a large volume of documents, you’ll definitely want to consider purchasing a machine that allows you to use thermal laminating pouches. Adhesive pouches are thermal lamination sleeves that have an adhesive backing, allowing users to stick them to any smooth surface. Like any other thermal lamination pouch, they must go through a laminator to achieve a seal. The additional adhesive backing is priced slightly higher compared to standard thermal bags, but is still substantially less expensive than self-sealing bags.

If you are looking for a laminating bag that can be sealed without a laminator, a self-sealing bag will fit the bill. If you want to adhere a heat seal bag to a bound presentation or store display, then a glue bag is a great option.

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