The Best Laminate Flooring of 2023

Add class to the living room, kitchen, bathroom, or any other space in the house with heavy-duty laminate flooring.

By Tony Carrick | Updated Apr 13, 2023 1:12 PM

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The Best Laminate Flooring Options for the Home

Photo: shawfloors.com

Traditional hardwood flooring can be expensive and susceptible to scratches, dents, and water damage. Alternatively, laminate flooring is made from composite wood that’s been pressed together, offering the look and feel of real hardwood at a lower price.

The best laminate flooring brands manufacture easy-to-clean products that are more durable than natural wood, making them ideal for high-traffic areas and rooms that may be exposed to moisture or direct sunlight.

I conducted extensive research on more than 20 brands to narrow down to the best laminate flooring options. To make my picks, I compared the specs for each product and scoured through dozens of consumer reviews to glean feedback from customers who have actually installed and lived with these products in their homes. Read on to learn which type of flooring might be right for your home and why the following are among the best laminate flooring products available.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Pergo TimberCraft + WetProtect Laminate Flooring
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: TrafficMaster Lakeshore Pecan Laminate Wood Flooring
  3. BEST WATERPROOF: QuickStep Studio SpillRepel Laminate Flooring
  4. BEST SCRATCH-RESISTANT: Style Selections Wood Plank Laminate Flooring
  5. BEST FOR KITCHENS: Mohawk RevWood Plus Laminate Flooring
  6. BEST FOR LIVING ROOMS: Shaw Floorvana+ Repel Water-Resistant Laminate
  7. BEST FOR BEDROOMS: Mohawk RevWood Essentials Laminate Flooring
  8. BEST FOR OFFICES: Tarkett Home Menards-Exclusive Laminate Flooring
  9. BEST FOR BASEMENTS: Pergo Outlast+ With SpillProtect Laminate Flooring
Best Laminate Flooring Options

Photo: pexels.com

How We Chose the Best Laminate Flooring

We researched the most sought-after laminate flooring options in their respective categories and chose best picks based on AC rating, dimensions, number of finishes offered, ease of installation, and other special features.

The best-of list prioritizes quality, so our picks have AC ratings of AC3 to AC4. For an in-depth discussion of this term, please see the section on AC Ratings below. Each top pick also has an ideal thickness, length, and width. While some options are thinner at 7 to 10 millimeters for low-traffic areas, most come with 12-millimeter thicknesses, providing durability in high-traffic zones and absorbing sound.

To match the home and a shopper’s preference, each laminate flooring option has a range of finishes, most with individual textures per plank, and has click-in technology for easy installation. To ensure this list includes the best options, we also confirmed that most of our selections were waterproof and resistant to stains, dents, scuffs, and scratches.

Our Top Picks

These flooring products are at the top of their class for different rooms in the home, featuring some of the best laminate flooring brands in the business.

Best Overall

The Best Laminate Flooring Option: Pergo TimberCraft + WetProtect Laminate Flooring
Photo: lowes.com

With its waterproof construction and a look that is almost indiscernible from real wood, Pergo TimberCraft is one of the best laminate flooring products that can be laid in the home. It features Pergo’s WetProtect technology, which waterproofs this laminate flooring. It also has an AC4 rating, which means this laminate flooring can handle commercial use, making it suitable for even the busiest areas in the home.

Timbercraft uses Pergo’s UltraDef technology to achieve the illusion of natural hardwood flooring. This means each plank has different grains, knots, and other inconsistencies expected in real wood. And, at 12 millimeters thick, it also feels like real hardwood underfoot. Pergo’s Timbercraft line comes in a wide variety of finishes, with sizes running 54.33 inches long and 7.48 inches wide.

Product Specs 

  • AC rating: AC4
  • Dimensions: 54.33 inches long by 7.48 inches wide by 12 millimeters thick
  • Number of finishes: 15
  • Ease of installation: Easy

Pros

  • Waterproof laminate floor is durable and suitable for areas with heavy traffic
  • Slats snap easily together, providing buyers with hassle-free installation
  • Available in 15 stylish finishes with a range of light, medium, and dark wood grains
  • Pergo website offers a fantastic visualization tool that allows shoppers to view floor finish options in their space

Cons

  • Some users report a lack of waterproofing qualities, despite manufacturer claims

Get the Pergo TimberCraft+ laminate flooring at Lowe’s or Pergo.

Best Budget

The Best Laminate Flooring Option: TrafficMaster Lakeshore Pecan Laminate Wood Flooring
Photo: homedepot.com

Laminate flooring doesn’t have to come with an exorbitant cost. TrafficMaster offers quality products at a fraction of the price of other higher-end laminate floorings. Despite its budget price, this product still holds up against moderate foot traffic thanks to a scratch-resistant top wear layer.

TrafficMaster strives to make this laminate flooring look like the real thing with textured planks and designs that ensure no two planks look the same. This product is 7 millimeters thick, with planks just over 7 inches wide and around 4 feet long. TrafficMaster’s laminate flooring comes in two attractive finishes.

Product Specs 

  • AC rating: AC3
  • Dimensions: 50.63 inches long by 7.64 inches wide by 7 millimeters thick
  • Number of finishes: 2
  • Ease of installation: Easy

Pros

  • Scratch-resistant top layer makes for an affordable yet durable option for the home
  • All planks are uniquely textured, providing a realistic wood-floor look
  • Easy click-locking system is a simple way to upgrade a home’s style

Cons

  • With only an AC3 rating, this flooring is less suitable for heavy foot traffic
  • No attached underlayment; must be purchased separately for best results

Get the TrafficMaster laminate flooring at The Home Depot

Best Waterproof

The Best Laminate Flooring Option: QuickStep Studio SpillRepel Laminate Flooring
Photo: lowes.com

A common concern from shoppers regarding choosing a laminate floor is that it can be susceptible to water damage. Nowadays, though, technology has advanced far enough for several manufacturers to introduce waterproof protection to their laminate products. A great example of this is the SpillRepel line from QuickStep, offering 15 wood finishes, each with a fade-, stain-, and water-resistant finish to give owners the peace of mind that their new flooring can withstand spills without getting ruined.

This waterproof laminate’s AC4 rating is suitable for heavy use in any room in the home, including high-traffic areas like kitchens or living rooms. It can even be cleaned with a wet mop without worrying about warping. Installation should also be simple thanks to the Uniclic locking system.

Product Specs

  • AC rating: AC4
  • Dimensions: 7.48 inches wide by 47.24 inches long by 7.48 inches wide by 10 millimeters thick
  • Number of finishes: 15
  • Ease of installation: Easy

Pros

  • DIY-friendly design is easy to install using simple Uniclic locking system
  • Waterproofing technology is ideal for high-moisture rooms like kitchens or bathrooms
  • Planks come with preattached underlayment; adds convenience and limits extra costs

Cons

  • Range of finishes to choose from is somewhat limited compared to other brands

Get the QuickStep laminate flooring at Lowe’s or QuickStep.

Best Scratch-Resistant

The Best Laminate Flooring Option: Style Selections Wood Plank Laminate Flooring
Photo: lowes.com

Shoppers with busy households filled with children or pets looking to update their home’s flooring with affordable laminate should take a look at this scratch-resistant laminate flooring from Style Selections. The embossed finish adds some hardwood realism while also resisting wearing, scratching, and fading.

Note that this laminate does not come with preinstalled underlayment and will require a separate purchase. Once installed, the AC3-rating wood laminate can easily stand up to heavy residential traffic in any room in the home.

Product Specs

  • AC rating: AC3
  • Dimensions: 47.24 to 50.76 inches long by 6.14 to 8.03 inches wide by 7 to 8 millimeters thick
  • Number of finishes: 15
  • Ease of installation: Easy

Pros

  • AC3 rating means this laminate is suitable for any room in the home, even those with heavy traffic
  • Durable scratch-resistant layer means it stands up well to pets and children
  • Lowe’s will do the installation for you at an additional cost; great for non-DIY shoppers

Cons

  • Finish choice can raise the cost per square foot significantly

Get the Style Selections laminate flooring at Lowe’s.

Best for Kitchens

The Best Laminate Flooring Option: Mohawk RevWood Plus Laminate Flooring
Photo: mohawkflooring.com

RevWood Plus uses Mohawk’s WetProtect technology, which covers each plank in a waterproof finish with water-tight joints that prevent liquids from infiltrating the seams between the planks. RevWood Plus is completely waterproof, making Mohawk’s RevWood Plus line well-suited for kitchens or bathrooms.

With over 40 different finishes and a plank width of 7.48 inches, Mohawk RevWood Plus offers plenty of styles to choose from. Finishes range from the bleached look of Buff to the dark brown of Buckthorn Pine. Multiple layers of texture build up a multidimensional look that rivals real hardwood for its beauty and resolution.

Product Specs 

  • AC rating: Not specified
  • Dimensions: 7.48 inches wide; thickness and length not specified
  • Number of finishes: 43
  • Ease of installation: Moderate

Pros

  • Hydroseal technology integrated; completely waterproof laminate flooring
  • Made with multiple layers that build a realistic hardwood-flooring look
  • Selection of over 40 finishes conveniently organized under naturals, browns, and grays

Cons

  • No AC rating, so durability may come into question with this flooring

Get the Mohawk RevWood Plus laminate flooring at Mohawk.

Best for Living Rooms

The Best Laminate Flooring Option: Shaw Floorvana+ Repel Water-Resistant Laminate
Photo: shawfloors.com

It’s the top layer of this laminate that makes this product from Shaw so appealing, or in this case, repellant. That extra top layer provides a water-repellent agent that waterproofs this product. Not only does this product resist water, but it does so for an extended period—owners have 24 hours to clean spills before they begin damaging this flooring.

This product is also scratch-, stain-, and fade-resistant, ensuring it’s ready to take on all a family can throw at it. This water-repellent flooring is a good choice for living rooms and other moderate-traffic areas of the house.

Shaw’s Repel line comes in a standard width of between 48 and 50.67 inches long by around 7.5 to 7.67 inches wide. Each is 12 millimeters thick. The line includes three different styles with multiple finishes for each.

Product Specs 

  • AC rating: Not specified
  • Dimensions: 48 to 50.67 inches long by 7.5 to 7.67 inches wide by 12 millimeters thick
  • Number of finishes: 15
  • Ease of installation: Moderate

Pros

  • Extra top layer included; completely waterproof with up to 24 hours before it does damage
  • Scratch-, stain-, and fade-resistant; suitable for moderate traffic areas
  • Available in multiple popular styles and colors able to suit a range of home preferences

Cons

  • Can’t be purchased directly online from the brand site; need to visit a local retailer

Get the Shaw laminate flooring at Shaw Floors.

Best for Bedrooms

The Best Laminate Flooring Option: Mohawk RevWood Essentials Laminate Flooring
Photo: mohawkflooring.com

With its more basic planks and lack of a waterproof layer, Mohawk RevWood Essentials may seem like a step down from its vaunted RedWood Plus line, but it’s still an impressive product.

The Essentials line offers a wide selection of styles with up to 37 different finishes across a range of naturals, browns, and grays. While it may not offer the waterproofing treatment that its higher-end line offers, it’s also less expensive. This makes it a great flooring option for areas in the home that don’t see heavy traffic or require waterproofing, such as bedrooms.

Product Specs 

  • AC rating: Not specified
  • Dimensions: 7.48 inches wide by 47.24 inches long; thickness not specified
  • Number of finishes: 37
  • Ease of installation: Moderate

Pros

  • Ample finishes to choose from; suitable for most home styles
  • Ideal for installation in rooms with low to medium traffic
  • With fewer features than their more advanced versions, this flooring is more affordable

Cons

  • Not waterproof laminate flooring; not suitable for heavy traffic areas

Get the Mohawk RevWood Essentials laminate flooring at Mohawk

Best for Offices

The Best Laminate Flooring Option: Tarkett Home Menards-Exclusive Laminate Flooring
Photo: tarketthome.com

Whether it’s a home office or a professional office that sees a lot of traffic, Tarkett Home’s Menards-exclusive laminate flooring offers the dent and scratch resistance needed to handle high foot traffic and heavy office chairs. It includes a melamine layer that makes it scuff- and stain-resistant. Depending on the chosen finish, this line has an AC3 or an AC4 rating.

Although this Tarkett Home line offers fewer styles than some other manufacturers, it includes classic walnut and oak finishes suitable for an office. Each plank is 47.64 inches long by either 8.03 or 8.07 inches wide. Installation is easy with Tarkett laminate flooring thanks to its Angle Lock and UNIFIT lock system.

Product Specs 

  • AC rating: AC3 or AC4, depending on the chosen finish
  • Dimensions: 47.64 inches long by 8.03 to 8.07 inches wide by 8 to 12 millimeters thick
  • Number of finishes: 13
  • Ease of installation: Easy

Pros

  • Suitable for high-traffic areas; dent-, scuff-, scratch-, and stain-resistant
  • AC3 and AC4 ratings mean shoppers can trust the durability of this flooring
  • Angle Lock and UNIFIT lock system for easy installation

Cons

  • Limited number of finishes to choose from compared to other brands

Get the Tarkett Home laminate flooring at Tarkett Home.

Best for Basements

The Best Laminate Flooring Option: Pergo Outlast+ With SpillProtect Laminate Flooring
Photo: lowes.com

Constructed to be impervious to water, Pergo Outlast+ is a great option for basements. Two proprietary technologies are combined in this product: Uniclic joint technology and Spill Protect, which prevent liquid from infiltrating the joints, making it completely waterproof.

It’s rated AC4, meaning it’s tough enough to handle commercial settings. This makes it ideal for basements, kitchens, and bathrooms. This product also features Pergo’s SurfaceDefense technology, which resists scratches, stains, and scuffs.

Outlast Plus comes with a 2-millimeter-thick underlayment attached to the 10-millimeter thick plank, making installation easier and the flooring quieter when combined with an additional layer of underlayment. Pergo also eliminates the telltale look of cheaper laminate products with designs that include realistic wood grain and random wood knots that add character.

Product Specs 

  • AC rating: AC4
  • Dimensions: 47.24 by 54.33 inches long by 5.23 to 7.48 inches wide by 12 millimeters thick (includes 2 mm underlayment)
  • Number of finishes: 44
  • Ease of installation: Easy

Pros

  • SpillProtect integrated; completely waterproof and ideal for basements
  • AC4 rating makes this flooring suitable for high-traffic areas
  • SurfaceDefense technology; scratch-, stain-, and scuff-resistant
  • Extensive range of finishes, tones, and patterns to select from
  • The Pergo website offers a useful tool to visualize the flooring in shoppers’ homes

Cons

  • Higher-quality,water-resistant flooring like this comes at a higher price than other options

Get the Pergo Outlast+ laminate flooring at The Home Depot or Pergo.

Jump to Our Top Picks



What to Consider When Choosing Laminate Flooring

There are a few considerations to take into account when shopping for quality laminate flooring, including location, thickness, plank size, and ease of installation. Read on to learn which laminate flooring might best fit your needs.

Types of Laminate Flooring

When considering laminate flooring, there are two choices: engineered wood and plastic laminate.

Engineered Wood

Engineered wood consists of multiple layers of material pressed together to form a plank. The bottom and core layers consist of three to 12 layers of fiberboard, plywood, or unfinished hardwood. The veneer, which is the top layer, consists of a very thin piece of natural wood.

Engineered wood closely mimics the appearance of real hardwood because the top wear layer is actual hardwood. Depending on the thickness of this top layer, engineered wood can be sanded and refinished up to three times to refurbish the flooring.

Plastic Laminate

Unlike engineered wood, plastic laminate flooring is completely man-made and consists of several layers. The backer, which is the bottom layer, serves as a moisture barrier. The core layer consists of high-density fiberboard that resists dents and serves as the backbone of the flooring.

On top of the inner core is the design layer, which includes a high-definition photographic image. While most images attempt to simulate wood, there are also stonelike laminates. The topmost layer is a clear coat that protects the surface from damage, including fading and scratches, often known as the wear layer.

Although laminate flooring lacks the natural look and feel of hardwood flooring, it is tougher, making it a good option for homeowners with young children and pets. It’s also less expensive. A mid-tier grade of laminate will run about $2.50 to $4 per square foot versus $5 to $10 a square foot for hardwood flooring, according to Home Advisor.

DPL vs. HPL Laminate Floors

As long as the proper underlayment insulation requirements are followed, shoppers can use laminate flooring in kitchens, bathrooms, and even on walls thanks to its water-resistant qualities.

When shopping for flooring, the terms “high pressure” and “direct pressure” may crop up.

  • Direct-pressure laminate (DPL) flooring consists of four layers: a stabilizing layer, a core layer, a decorative layer, and a wear layer. The layers are fused together with 300 to 600 pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure. The majority of laminate for residential use is DPL.
  • High-pressure laminate (HPL) flooring includes a fifth layer that consists of kraft paper treated with a resin that gives it stiffness and strength, making it suitable for commercial use. The layers are fused at a significantly higher pressure of 1300 psi or more, resulting in a harder product that resists moisture, heat, wear, dents, and scratches. High-pressure laminate is typically used in high-traffic commercial settings.

AC Rating

The Abrasion Criteria (AC) rating is invaluable when determining the durability of a laminate flooring product. “AC” is the abbreviation for the Abrasion Criteria rating, which is based on a scale of one to five, with five being the highest. Most residential laminate flooring will have a rating of AC3 or AC4.

  • AC1floors are only strong enough to handle light use, such as in a bedroom or guest room.
  • AC2 floors are appropriate for moderate foot traffic in areas like living rooms and dining rooms.
  • AC3floors are suitable for busy areas, including kitchens and foyers.
  • AC4floors are tough enough for use in bathrooms and kitchens and are also ideal for commercial use.

Plank Length and Thickness

Laminate flooring varies in thickness between 7 and 12 millimeters. Thicker laminate flooring covers uneven areas in the subfloor as it resists bending and feels more like a real hardwood floor. Thicker laminate also does a better job of absorbing noise. Keep in mind that some manufacturers will include the underlayment in the listed thickness of their flooring, while others may not.

Most laminate flooring planks are about 4 feet long and range in width from narrow planks that are only 3 inches wide to wider planks up to 7 inches wide or more. Keep in mind that wider planks are notoriously more challenging to install than narrower planks. They are harder to snap together with end joints that resist staying flush with each other.

You’re more likely to feel gaps under the planks with wider boards, especially if the subfloor or concrete pad is uneven. Use narrower planks to help open up smaller rooms, while wider planks are better suited for larger spaces and open floor plans.

Texture/Finish

The goal of the texture and finish of laminate flooring is to look as much like real hardwood flooring as possible. Engineered hardwood flooring does the best job of mimicking natural hardwood flooring because it uses actual hardwood as its topmost layer. Thus, it possesses the actual wood grain and texture that makes hardwood so attractive.

Plastic laminate doesn’t use actual wood, so manufacturers have to get creative to give it the appearance of real wood. Thanks to modern technology, designers can use high-definition printing and embossing techniques to replicate natural wood and stone. Laminate flooring won’t make people sneeze as it doesn’t hold dirt or dust like carpet and is resistant to mold and bacteria.

Similar to traditional hardwood, most laminate flooring comes in a variety of finishes, including walnut, cherry, hickory, chestnut, pine, maple, and oak.

Installation

Laminate flooring is perfect for anyone with a do-it-yourself attitude. This product is thin, lightweight, and easy to work with. Laminate flooring uses a snap-and-lock installation process, which eliminates the need for nails or glue. “Float” laminate flooring can also be used over existing floors, with the exception of carpet, eliminating the headache of having to tear up old flooring. As long as the subfloor is smooth and clean, most DIYers can update their flooring in just 1 day.

Remember, underlayment must be installed over the subfloor before laying down the laminate flooring unless the flooring itself includes an underlayment layer. If choosing to install the flooring as a DIY project, shoppers will need a chop saw and a table saw to make the necessary cuts for proper laminate flooring installation.

Note that some brands offer laminate flooring with preinstalled underlayment already attached to the planks for easier installation without the hassle of purchasing separate items.

For shoppers not looking to take on such a daunting project as installing their own flooring, many stores offer laminate flooring installation services at an additional cost, such as Lowe’s or The Home Depot.

The Advantages of Using Laminate Flooring

Although traditional hardwood flooring certainly has its appeal, there are quite a few advantages of choosing laminate floors. Because laminate flooring consists of pressed wood that resists dents, scratches, and moisture, it’s more durable than standard hardwood. Some laminates are even waterproof, allowing this product to be used in areas that may get wet such as laundry rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms.

Laminate flooring is also easy to clean with a broom and a damp mop, and there’s no need to buy special wax or other floor-cleaning products.

Laminate flooring is significantly cheaper than hardwood flooring and easier to install. Most wood floors cost between $12 and $20 per square foot installed, compared to $2 to $8 a square foot to install laminate flooring, according to Fixr.

  • Laminate flooring is resistant to dents and scratches.
  • Some laminate flooring is waterproof, making it a good pick for bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
  • Laminate floors are easy to clean.
  • Laminate flooring is significantly cheaper than hardwood flooring.

FAQs 

If you still have lingering questions about installing laminate flooring, here are some frequently asked questions to help.

Q. Which direction is best to lay laminate flooring?

While it’s possible to lay laminate flooring in any direction in a room, the accepted way of doing it is to run the boards parallel to the room’s longest wall. Diagonal installations can add some wow factor to a space, but it’s typically more difficult to accurately cut and install on an angle.

Q. How do you install laminate flooring?

Installing laminate flooring is easier than you might expect. With the right tools, this is a job most DIYers can accomplish in a weekend. Most brands feature a simple click-and-lock system that easily connects the planks together.

Q. Where should you not put laminate flooring?

It is recommended that you avoid laying down laminate flooring in any place with excess moisture, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, or wet rooms of any kind in your home.

Q. How soon can you walk on laminate flooring?

To ensure that the laminate flooring remains laid properly and will last long term, it is recommended that you wait 24 hours after installation before walking on it. This gives the flooring time to acclimate to the environment and settle.

Q. Can you mop laminate flooring?

It is always safe to mop laminate floors. However, it is recommended that the mop should be damp rather than wet, as any excess moisture could damage some finishes. Some laminate flooring options are waterproof, though, and can handle moderate moisture from a wet mop.

Q. How do you remove laminate flooring?

Removing many types of flooring is a laborious process, but removing laminate flooring is a comparatively easy task.

Q. How long does laminate flooring last?

The life of laminate flooring depends on various factors, including the amount of traffic and the quality of the flooring. That said, laminate flooring should last between 15 and 25 years.

Why Trust Bob Vila

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.