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Best Laminate Flooring (2024 Guide)

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Default Author Icon Written by Angela Bunt Updated 06/20/2024

Real hardwood floors are expensive. Laminate flooring can achieve the same look at a more affordable price. This flooring is thick, durable, water-resistant, and widely available. 

Many flooring brands offer laminate flooring. It’s important to look for companies that produce easy-to-clean, scratch-resistant flooring backed by solid customer service and strong warranties. We spent countless hours researching the flooring industry to compile this guide to the best laminate flooring. Learn more about our top-recommended brands and get shopping tips below.

See our list of top flooring companies based on in-depth research.

Select the company that best meets your needs.

Get a free, no-obligation quote for your home.


Top Laminate Flooring Brands


Empire Today: Most Convenient

  • Our rating: 96 out of 100
  • Price range: By quote only

Empire Today is a well-known name in the flooring replacement industry. The company offers some of the most convenience and best customer service. For example, Empire Today gives homeowners a personalized, at-home consultation process and provides an all-inclusive price estimate that eliminates surprise hidden fees. 

You can view Empire Today’s flooring samples and compare options under your home’s lighting by scheduling an appointment. The company also provides digital tools, including the ability to browse its massive laminate flooring selection by color or style.

Pros
Provides in-home estimates that allow you to view flooring samples in your home
Offers a visualization tool to see your new flooring before it’s installed
Supplies all-inclusive quotes, including the costs of labor, materials, and removing old floors
Cons
Doesn’t provide sample pricing online
Requires installation with any flooring purchase, so you can’t opt for DIY

Learn more: Empire Today Review

Free quote: Get your quote from Empire Today


The Home Depot: Most User-Friendly

  • Our rating: 96 out of 100
  • Price range: $1.49–$3.49

The Home Depot is a recognizable name that provides excellent laminate flooring and installation. It carries popular flooring brands such as Pergo as well as its own laminate flooring TrafficMaster. The company’s straightforward website helps you determine which laminate flooring option best suits your wants and needs, including options for an antimicrobial coat, water resistance, and laminate for a kitchen or bathroom

The Home Depot will provide an accurate in-home assessment and professional installation. It includes a limited lifetime warranty when you opt for its in-house installation.

Pros
Offers affordable flooring options with professional installation
Has collections with long planks and textured laminate flooring for more sturdy or luxurious options
Maintains a user-friendly website with how-to guides and accessibility tools, such as a photo search app
Cons
Isn’t as eco-friendly as other brands
Eliminates resale value, since its warranty only applies to the first owner

Shaw Industries: Best Selection

  • Our rating: 90 out of 100
  • Price range: $2.86–$2.98 per square foot

Shaw is the second-largest flooring company globally. It’s part of Mohawk Industries and is a staple in the laminate flooring market. Shaw offers more than 200 flooring styles and colors, including standard options such as its beige Forge flooring in the Simplicity Plus collection. The company also offers more striking laminate options in red and orange tones, such as the Pioneer options in its Monarch Plus collection. 

You can search Shaw’s products by plank size through its user-friendly website. Long plank sizes are more durable and high-quality, making them ideal for high-traffic areas such as the kitchen or living room.

Pros
Includes a limited lifetime warranty
Offers various plank sizes, including extra-long planks for a smoother finish
Has a massive selection of styles, colors, and finishes
Cons
Doesn’t share its flooring’s AC rating, so it’s difficult to gauge durability
Doesn’t include integrated underlayment, so you have to buy underlayment separately

Flooring Coverings International: Most Eco-Friendly

  • Our rating: 84 out of 100
  • Price range: By quote only

Flooring Coverings International has many eco-friendly options to reduce your environmental impact. It encourages using cork or bamboo for maximum eco-friendliness but offers recycled and sustainable flooring products throughout its collections. 

Flooring Coverings International partners with multiple flooring manufacturers, such as Shaw Industries, to provide an extensive catalog of laminate flooring options. It offers enhanced textures, smooth dark finishes, and light and medium shade options, plus high gloss and hand-scraped choices. Additionally, the company provides in-home consultations to let you view a wide variety of its flooring samples.

Pros
Provides environmentally friendly flooring collections and products
Lets you view numerous flooring samples before buying
Has an online gallery of its laminate flooring collections in various rooms
Cons
Provides a limited 10-year factory-direct warranty
Doesn’t provide pricing information online

Learn more: Flooring Coverings International Review

Free quote: Get your quote from Flooring Coverings International


LL Flooring: Best Hardwood

  • Our rating: 76 out of 100
  • Price range: $0.69–$3.99 per square foot

LL Flooring was founded in 1993 under the name Lumber Liquidators. It’s since rebranded and become one of America’s largest hardwood flooring retailers.

LL Flooring produces high-quality, water-resistant laminate flooring that replicates the look of solid and distressed wood, such as acacia, hickory, maple, oak, and walnut. The company also offers an attached pad laminate for easy installation. This option is ideal for do-it-yourself (DIY) laminate flooring installation, as it uses a built-in pad that helps to smooth out minor imperfections in the subfloor. This pad also absorbs sound to create a softer footfall.

Pros
Offers various laminate flooring options
Provides online tools to plan your project before you buy material
Supplies laminate flooring options geared toward DIY installation
Cons
Customer service may vary by location, based on customer reviews
Some displayed products aren’t always in stock

Learn more: LL Flooring Review

Free quote: Get your quote from LL Flooring


Mr. Handyman: Best Floor Repairs

  • Our rating: 63 out of 100
  • Price range: By quote only
Pros
Includes a one-year labor warranty
Can pair flooring services with other installation, repair, and home improvement projects
Supplies services quickly due to its expansive network
Cons
May vary availability by location
Doesn’t provide any cost information up-front

Pergo: Most Experience

  • Our rating: 57 out of 100
  • Price range: $2.19–$3.49 per square foot

Pergo is operated by laminate flooring inventor Perstorp, which has been working with laminate flooring since its conception in 1977. The company offers four laminate collections with more than 100 colors and crisp, wood-like finishes. It also offers wide laminate planks that look like travertine, marble, or slate. Pergo’s products have an AC4 rating, making them excellent for all-around laminate flooring. (Read below for more information on AC ratings).

Pergo didn’t rank as high as other companies on our list because it has a sparse website and doesn’t offer additional services, since it’s mainly a manufacturer. However, Pergo is foundational to the laminate flooring industry, and the company continues to produce some of the highest quality laminate flooring on the market. If you’re interested in Pergo’s flooring, we recommend connecting with an installer who’s certified for their products.

Pros
Includes a lifetime warranty
Has an extensive history and expertise in laminate flooring
Offers laminate flooring with no formaldehyde emissions
Cons
Doesn’t include underlayment
Can’t be refinished, so it must be replaced when damaged

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What Is Laminate Flooring?

Laminate flooring is an affordable and durable alternative to wood flooring. It’s more high-end and longer-lasting than vinyl, which can also mimic the look of wood. It’s made of a multi-layer composite of organic and synthetic materials to replicate the appearance and feel of real wood without the complicated installation or high up-front cost. 

Most laminate floors have three main layers. The first is underlayment, which helps to seal out moisture and provides a more comfortable feel underfoot. The second is a base layer of high-density fiberboard or wood composite that creates the floor structure. The final top layer is known as the image layer, which provides a realistic-looking layer of natural wood in your selected color and style. This layer uses a pressed board fused with a repeating printed image of wood.

Some products incorporate a fourth layer, the wear layer, which is a transparent layer applied to protect the floor from damage.


How To Choose the Best Laminate Flooring

The following factors will help you determine the best type of laminate flooring for your home.

AC Rating

AC rating stands for abrasion criteria. This rating measures laminate flooring products’ durability and impact-resistance. Laminate floors typically range from AC1 to AC5, but there are some AC6 products on the market as well. The higher the number, the more resistant to wear the flooring is:

  • AC1: Light home foot traffic, ideal for dining rooms and bedrooms
  • AC2: Moderate home foot traffic, ideal for home offices or living rooms
  • AC3: Heavy home foot traffic, ideal for entryways and kitchens
  • AC4: Light commercial foot traffic, ideal for office spaces
  • AC5: Heavy commercial foot traffic, ideal for grocery stores

Function

Consider the function of the room you’re placing your flooring in. For example, if you have kids, pets, or lots of visitors, you’ll want to find a low-gloss or distressed finish that will hide damage from scratches and general wear and tear. We recommend looking for laminate flooring planks with a scratch-resistant protective layer so your floors will look better longer.

Underlayment

Laminate flooring requires an underlayment. This prevents the floor from damaging the subfloor, making it feel softer and more comfortable. Some laminate flooring includes a preattached underlayment, but others don’t. Choosing flooring with attached underlayment makes planks easier to install if you’re completing the project yourself. Check with your local laminate flooring company to determine the best type of underlayment for your laminate flooring.

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Our Conclusion

Empire Today is one of the best laminate flooring providers available. The company supplies high-quality laminate flooring and full-service installation, plus helpful online tools and a reputable customer service team. Shaw Industries also has one of the best selections of laminate flooring styles and designs. We recommend The Home Depot if you want a DIY laminate flooring option.

Request at least three quotes from local flooring contractors to find the best deal. This allows you to compare costs, style options, warranties, and extra benefits, such as scratch-resistance layers.

FAQ About Laminate Flooring

What thickness of laminate flooring is best?

We recommend looking for laminate flooring that’s 8–12 millimeters (mm) thick. Thicker laminate flooring doesn’t mean it’s more durable, but it can be more resistant to warping and other wear and tear.

What is the downside to laminate flooring?

The most significant downside of laminate flooring is that it’s not moisture-proof. This makes it unsuitable for bathrooms, laundry rooms, basements, and kitchens unless it’s specifically designed for those areas. Light surface water for cleaning shouldn’t cause issues, but saturation should be avoided.

Which is better, laminate or luxury vinyl?

Luxury vinyl and laminate are similarly priced, but laminate flooring should be restricted to light traffic and low-moisture areas of your home. Luxury vinyl flooring is ideal for areas that get a lot of moisture.

Can you mop laminate flooring?

You can carefully mop laminate floors every two months. We suggest using damp mops (also called microfiber mops), as they provide a gentler cleaning experience.

Our Rating Methodology

We are committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and data to support our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for flooring providers is on a 100-point scale based on six factors:

  • Flooring options (24 points): We browse each provider’s catalog to learn which flooring options it provides, checking for wood, engineered wood, tile, laminate, vinyl, carpet, concrete, or linoleum. The more options available, the higher the score. 
  • Installation process (25 points): We check if the company provides full-service installations, in-home estimates, and next-day installation. Companies that have all three score higher.
  • Customer service (15 points): We check if the company provides a phone line or online request form. We also check if the company provides 24/7 customer support. Finally, we weigh whether the company offers custom flooring options for a more personalized experience. The more features the company provides, the higher the score. 
  • Reputation (15 points): We check the provider’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) score and accreditation. The higher the BBB score, the higher the company’s score. We also research each company’s history to determine what expertise they bring to homeowners and understand any previous legal disputes the company experienced, if any. 
  • Warranty options (15 points): We analyze the provider’s warranty options to understand its stipulations and limitations. We also note whether a labor warranty is included.
  • State availability (6 points): We evaluate how many states the company services. The broader a company’s availability, the higher the score.