I looked at a ton of laminators at ISA a year or two ago...GFP was the best purchase for the money. There's plenty of better laminators out there but they are only superior in ease of use or other convenience features. Any laminator at the end of the day outputs the same quality finished product for the most part, so it's a matter of how convenient/easy to use and load. The Kala was a kick butt unit but was significantly more costly than the GFP, and though superior not worth the extra dough IMO. The GFP offers a top heat roller which is nice for certain substrate/lam combos but not totally necessary for most shops, and I do think the GFP is a little less solid than say a Seal or Kala, but it's inconsequential to the end product. I did not at all like any of the Royal Sovereign laminators we looked at. They seemed really clunky to operate and price tag wasn't great. I ended up with a GFP top heat and it's been great.
Mmm. We use a Royal Sovereign daily, but we did demo a really nice Seal. I can't say we love our RS - it's not the most... sturdy, and we find the rubber on the arm that holds the laminate core doesn't always grip it well, leading to problems with tension. We aren't confident to run long projects. The Seal was a clearly nicer product - bigger rollers, heated option for them, fed nicely, much easier to load.... but not worth the price to switch over. I think if we we could go back in time and buy the Seal first, my boss probably would have.
That being said, most of the problems we find with our laminator have tended to go away with both practice and a thicker or better quality laminate. Really makes a difference to use a nice Orofol etc. And sometimes rubber bands added to feeding arm
Kate said it well, the RS will do the job but for the same money you can get GFP or anything else that's a little better. The biggest problem I had along with all the stuff Kate mentioned is the size of the rollers on the RS...they are a smaller diameter that was industry standard say 10-15 years ago, in 2020 I don't see any excuse for such small rollers. Smaller rollers = less time in the nip and results in a poorer finished product and is more difficult to get right. Any laminator should run any laminate, so if you're changing laminates to cater to your laminator then the machine isn't up to par and should be replaced by anything better lol. With that said the RS I used years ago was functional enough for me to make a lot of money for my employer!