Add affordable style to your home with the best easy-fit laminate flooring
If you want a floor that can handle everything life throws at it while still looking gorgeous, you need to check out our top laminate flooring picks. Not only will the best laminate flooring need minimal cleaning and maintenance – no sanding, scrubbing or oiling – it’s a cost-effective way to get the look of wooden boards or stone without the price tag.
It’s also incredibly durable, and thanks to the new printing techniques and advances in manufacturing, the simulated knots, grains and veins are now ultra-realistic, complemented by bevelled edges and authentic textures. Many designs now have click-together installations systems, too, so laying your laminate floor doesn’t have to be an all-day exercise in frustration.
Choosing the right laminate flooring is never easy, so we’ve put together a buyer’s guide to help you out. Meanwhile, check out the reviews below to find the best laminate flooring for your living room, kitchen, bedroom or bathroom.
How to choose the best laminate flooring for you
What features should I look for in laminate flooring?
Laminate might look and feel like wood or stone but it’s actually constructed like a sandwich. There’ll usually be a high-density fibreboard core with a printed decor on top (resembling either wood or stone), with a durable wear layer on top, which may be textured. The benefits of this construction is that laminate boards don’t expand, contract or warp like timber, so most can be used with underfloor heating and in kitchens.
Some waterproof varieties are even suitable for the bathroom, though you should check compatibility before you buy. And if you have or plan to have underfloor heating, make sure your chosen flooring can handle that too.
The thickness of laminate ranges from basic 6mm planks to a more premium 8-12mm, which will resist impact better. Each will have a durability rating, too, known as Abrasion Criteria. This ranges from AC1 to AC5 for domestic use.
For example, you could choose a lower rating for rooms that don’t have a lot of foot traffic, such as AC3 for a bedroom, opting for AC4 for a busy hallway or kitchen. How long or wide the boards are changes the appearance of your floor. For example, wide or long boards will create a more luxurious look.
Choose a design that has an easy fit system if you’re installing it yourself – most have locking grooves that click together without the need for glue or nails. Finally, you need to think about the underlay. A compatible underlay makes your floor more comfortable to walk on, absorbs shock and noise, and insulates to help trim your energy bills.
For example, underlay for kitchens and bathrooms will be designed to be damp-proof, while thicker varieties can muffle noise. Find out which underlay is suitable for use with your laminate flooring before you buy the latter, as you might find it blows your budget.
READ NEXT: The best kitchen flooring to buy
How much should I spend?
If you’re on a tight budget, thinner 6mm boards can cost as little as £6 per sq m, but be aware that they won’t have the longevity you’d expect from a more expensive floor. For 8-12mm boards, expect to pay from £12-15 per sq m. Decorative bevels between planks, textured surfaces, realistic designs and colour variation may all nudge up the cost. More expensive laminate will often come with a longer warranty too.
What kind of maintenance does laminate flooring need?
Laminate flooring requires minimal care – a sweep or a vacuum every so often followed by a slightly damp (not dripping wet) mop should suffice. Be sure to wipe up spills straight away and if there is any water ingress, replace the affected boards. While it’s generally durable, laminate can scratch, so lift furniture rather than drag it and sweep up any debris that could cause damage over time.
READ NEXT: Best flooring for bathrooms
The best laminate flooring to buy
1. B&Q Eurohome Dartmoor Oak effect Laminate flooring: The best value flooring
Price: £19 per sqm | Buy now from B&Q
For a smoky grey wood effect combined with a smart matt surface look no further than this design. One thing you’ll notice is that it’s thicker than many planks, which helps to make it feel more like a real wood floor, especially when combined with its bevelled V-groove edges.
However, there are plenty of benefits over real wood, from its 1clic2go fitting system, which means you can install it with ease, to its antibacterial coating and anti-static technology, for a smart blend of hygiene and easy cleaning. It’s not as robust as some with its AC4 rating, and it’ll only be compatible with UFH up to 28 degrees but unless you need something to withstand major footfall and heat, it’s a great buy.
Key specs – Size (L x W x D): 1,285 x 192 x 12mm; Installation method: Click; Features: Embossed matt surface; UFH-compatible: Yes; Warranty: 20 years
2. Quick-Step Exquisa EXQ1553 in Ceramic White: The best stone-effect laminate flooring
Price: £25 per sq m | Buy now from Quick Step
Don’t be fooled by this floor’s opus-style random tile pattern and multi-toned design – it’s a clever laminate lookalike. Part of the Exquisa collection, the planks have extra-deep joins to mimic grout lines, two or three ‘tiles’ per piece and a tactile surface, so you can create a stunning ceramic tile-effect floor, free from the hassle of adhesive and spacers.
This one’s scratch-resistant and water-resistant, so you don’t need to worry about ingress from spilt drinks or splashes, making it ideal for compact kitchen areas, adding a light blend of creams and pebble tones. There’s also an option of matching skirting boards. Installation is easy thanks to a quick click system of interlocking grooves.
Key specs – Size (L x W x D): 1,223 x 408 x 8mm; Installation method: Uniclic Multifit click; Features: Four grooves, bevelled edge; UFH-compatible: Yes; Warranty: 25 years
3. UK Flooring Direct Aqualock 8mm Laminate in Stable Oak: The best laminate flooring for bathrooms
Price: £28 per sqm | Buy now from UK Flooring Direct
Featuring innovative water-resistant technology that can cope with splashes and spills and a tough, scratch-resistant surface, Aqualock’s laminate is ideal for a fuss-free bathroom floor. Not only is it rated AC5 so it’s extra durable on top, it has UV resistance against fading and each board locks to the next, so it’s a fast fit if you’re laying it DIY.
This design is a classic oak board that’s neutral enough to be used in any style of bathroom, plus it features a textured top that follows the wood grain for a more realistic look. Plus, if you’re concerned about hearing anyone stomping around your bathroom, simply combine it with the recommended premium underlay (a far more expensive £37.50 per sq m) and it’ll reduce the sound by 18dB.
Key specs – Size (L x W x D): 1,380 x 191 x 8mm; Installation method: Click; Features: Textured surface, bevelled edge; UFH-compatible: Yes, water only; Warranty: 35 years
4. Carpetright Corinthian Palacade Laminate: The best laminate flooring for families
Price: £32 per sqm | Buy now from Carpetright
Part of the House Beautiful range, this laminate might cost a little more than the brand’s budget buys but it’s worth the investment. For starters, the boards are waterproof and can be used with underfloor heating, so are a good choice for kitchens and bathrooms.
However, it’s the heavy embossing that gives the surface a more authentic, distinct look, that, along with the washed oak wood grain and bevelled edge, create a floor guaranteed to impress. It’s also easy to clean, slip- and scratch-resistant and excellent value for the price – meaning you can fit out an entire small room (approximately 3 x 4m) with underlay and beading for just over £450.
Key specs – Size (L x W x D): 1,380 x 190 x 8mm; Installation method: Click; Features: Embossed, bevelled edge; UFH-compatible: Yes; Warranty: 25 years