I use this laminator "occassionally", not "commercially".
My primary use for this laminator is for 8.5 X 11.0 sheets for large-print recipes printed on them for use in the kitchen and "no parking" signs in my alley.
After one year I can report the following:
- I fully recommend this Scotch product for non-commercial use (although I noticed my neighborhood pack-n-mail store uses the same product for their lamination for a dollar a sheet - so at 30 sheets I have paid for the unit!). - I have had no mechanical or electrical problems after one year use - light use. - I have had no problems laminating, say, 12 items one after the other. I have not tried to laminate 100 sheets in succession. Someone else reported overheating at 40 sheets. - You have to wait a few minutes for the unit to heat up before starting but it is just a couple of minutes, no problem. - It is for general/residential use/volume. It is not for commercial or high volume use. For instance, 500 laminated sheets would be an all day project to do (slow speeds and probably some "cool down" periods). - Yes, it has a slight smell from the heat as it "melts" the sheets into place. - I have had no problems with the sheets coming apart (just be sure to wait for the unit to reach full temperature before starting - the "ready" light comes on). - If you let the items sag as they come out then it will be permanently curved down. If you lift up on the item as it comes out it will be permanently curved up. If you hold it perfectly level as it comes out it will lay perfectly flat. If you allow it to come out on the desk/counter it will curve up slightly. I place it at the edge of my desk and hold the item perfectly straight as it comes out and it remains perfectly flat once it cools within seconds. It retains whatever curl it has or doesn't have as it cools within seconds. - The laminated sheets are impervious to water and soap (for instance, I use the recipe sheets in the kitchen and then wash them afterwards with zero problems, I also use them for "no parking" signs in the alley in the rain with no problem - perfectly tight lamination). I have not left them in the sun for extended periods of time to see what the sun would do to the lamination. - See the other reviews for class room use: apparently highly recommend for classrooms by the teachers and that seems very reasonable to me from my home use. I could see laminating 30 items for 30 students - great price for non-commercial use like this. I looked at commercial laminator units - I could buy and wear out 10 of these for the price of one commercial laminator. - Amazon has the best price I found after seeing this unit on Amazon and two or three brick stores. - I have had no problems with the sheets provided with the unit or with Scotch sheets purchased afterwards. I don't understand how others have had any problems with the Scotch brand products made for this Scotch brand unit. Am I missing something here? - Yes you can laminate thin or thick paper (say 18 to 24 pound paper and photographs easily). I have not tried poster board thickness but I wouldn't hesitate to do so - maybe give poster board a little extra room at the edges is all. - Yes you can trim it down. For instance, 5X7" pictures laminated for 8.5" X 11.0" paper then trimmed with scissors. I have had zero problems with the seal after trimming these down. Let the unit fully heat up before you laminate and then let it fully cool down before you trim it. It only takes seconds, not minutes, for it to completely cool down before you can trim it as you like. An extra 5 seconds of patience makes all the difference. - Read the little manual for hassle free usage. (duh!) - Warm up: I just tested it. It took 6 minutes to warm up in a 70 degree room with 3ml lamination selected. In that time I still haven't found my lamination sheets. I have never never found the warm up time to be a problem. I walk into the office to laminate, I hit the on button, and before I find my sheets and carefully insert my item the unit is ready for lamination. After that, I just leave the unit on until I am finished with my laminations for the day. It smells a bit like hot electrical wires - especially at the 3 minute mark after months of being turned off. - I would never leave the unit turned "on" for any length of time for safety reasons - I only turn it on when I need the unit. I basically turn the unit off when I', done with the job and leave my den. - The unit handles 3 ml sheets and 5 ml sheets. The 3 ml sheets seem plenty thick for everyday use. I have not used 5ml sheets yet. Not sure why I would ever need 5ml sheets - heavy duty garage usage maybe? I would probably let it warm up a little longer for 5ml just to make sure it is hot enough to melt the sheets together. - I have never really needed the "release" lever - when it drops the sheet it's done and ready for the next sheet. Wait, now I remember, I have used the "release" lever when I insert the item completely and utterly cock-eyed and I just want to pull the whole thing out and start over because it is going in at such a weird angle that it will soon jam at one edge or the other...duh! This is a human problem - not a product problem. Oh, by the way, I like the little "flip-down" entry door on the back with guide bars. Close it and it saves space. Open it (and use the guide bars!) and it works just fine to line up the sheets perfectly for entry. - Make sure you have your paper lined up inside the lamination sheets just as you want it before you insert the item for lamination - once you start, let it finish. If you have some "rare" item you are laminating I would practice first before laminating it. You could always cut it loose if you don't like the results such as placing your item in crooked or something. I have done this and all you do is cut it out and just toss one lamination sheet - no big deal, easy to do. - The cord is 5'3" long. It is not retractable but there is a place to wrap any extra length you may have. I just discovered this and wrapped up about a foot and half of extra cord length off my desktop. - Standard USA 120v two-plug, no 3rd ground plug required. - Made in China. - United Labs listed. - Off white color.