Laminating is a great way to protect your documents and keep them looking new. Teachers often need to laminate things for their students like worksheets, projects, note cards and so forth. There are many different types of laminators on the market today that can be used in all sorts of situations.
Let’s go over some best practices for choosing a laminator and provide reviews of some popular models that teachers should consider adding to their classrooms or homeschool supply list. In general, your options as a teacher are to go to a stationary store to have your paper laminated for you or to purchase a laminator yourself.
If you know you’re going to be regularly laminating paper on a monthly basis it makes a lot of sense to just buy budget laminator for classroom or home office use. Sure, these are not industrial strength laminators for high volume use, but you don’t need some big complicated device.
So what are the best laminators for teachers who want to laminate different sizes of paper? If you’re looking to buy a laminator here are somethings you should consider.
Laminators are devices that are quite affordable but they do have a wide range in prices. From entry level laminators that can have prices around the $20-50 mark all the way up to an industrial device made for large projects that can cost well over $1000. It simply depends on your needs.
When looking to purchase a laminator you want to get the most cost effective device and this purchase guide will help you. From our use, we found budget laminators to be mediocre in terms of reliability. Not to say any one device was bad, but it’s worth purchasing a mid range laminator.
Sheets or Pouches?
Laminator sheets need to be taken into consideration. A laminator sheet can come in 3 mil or 5 mil. “Mil” is simply an indication of thickness. Laminator sheets can have a wide range of prices due to the machine they are designed to work with as well as their size.
One of the first considerations you should make when purchasing a laminator is what type of film it will use. Pouches are preferable to sheets when you want to provide a thicker, sturdier cover to protect fragile documents than sheets can.
Laminators can vary in size, weight and the type of paper they can laminate. Some laminators are for home use and can only laminate paper that is 9 inches in width. Other laminators can laminate paper up to 13 or 14 inches. Large commercial laminators can laminate up to 27 inches wide.
The 8 Best Laminators for Teachers
We have reviewed various options as a way to compare their price, performance and size. The 6 best laminators for teachers are:
- Scotch Thermal Laminator
- Blusmart Laminator
- Fellows Laminator
- Apache AL13 Thermal Laminator
- Abox Laminator
- Crenova A4
- UALAU Laminator Machine
- GBC Foton
Scotch Thermal Laminator – Best Starter Laminator
The Scotch Thermal Laminator is your best starer laminator. If you’ve never owned or uses a laminator before, this device is ideal because it is simple to use and easy to setup.
This laminator is designed for home use and can laminate paper up to 9 inches in width at 3 mil or 5 mil depending on your laminating sheet. If you have a home office and are wanting a laminator for light use, the Scotch Thermal Laminator is a great choice.
- Excellent starter laminator for home use.
- Designed for light, casual use in a home office.
- Works as well as more expensive laminators but only for a short time due to over heating.
- Designed for home use. If you’re wanting to laminate multiple pieces of paper this not a good choice as it works fine for 9 to 12 minutes before over heating.
- When it starts to over heat it warps the laminating sheets.
- The actual lamination is of mediocre quality.
Fellows Laminator – The Best Laminator for an Office
We find the Fellows Laminator to be the best option overall for an office setting where you will be laminating on a regular basis. While we liked the Amazon Basics Laminator as a budget friendly option, the Fellows Laminator is designed for work related purposes more than home use.
The Fellows Laminator has a max size of up to 12 inches. When using it please make sure to have enough space for the laminated paper to safely come out. What we liked about this laminator was that you’re able to do a lot of consecutive lamination without the machine over heating.
Even if it was to overheat it has a built in shut down system to prevent you from breaking this device. As previously stated it can laminate paper up to 12 inches in width at either 3 mil or 5 mil.
- This laminator is designed for a school where you’ll be laminating on a regular basis.
- This laminator can laminate paper up to 12 inches or smaller.
- Durable design with safety features built in to keep it working in top order.
- Uses more expensive laminating sheets
4 in 1 Laminator – The Best Laminator For Teachers
This 4-1 laminator is the best laminator for teachers who need a multi-purpose device. It’s designed for both professional and personal use which makes it the perfect laminator for a class.
This laminator is a multi-purpose device that can laminate, be used as a paper cutter, has a built in hole puncher, can round corners and it can laminate paper that is 15 inches or smaller.
If you’re in the market for a quality laminator that can be used to make flash cards, create laminated items with rounded designs and is large and powerful enough to take on DIY projects as well as more professional documents like legal documents or passport photos, the Busmart is our top choice on the list.
- Has a 13 inch design so it can laminate paper of all sizes at both 3 mil and 5 mil.
- Built in paper cutter so you can trim what you laminate with ease.
- Has a hole puncher which is perfect for creating flash card books and other handy learning tools for class.
- Can round corners if you choose instead of having pointy, sharp laminated corners.
- Like most mid range laminators, this uses more expensive laminating sheets.
Apache AL13 Thermal Laminator – The classroom option
The Apache 13 inch laminator is a good option for larger pages. It comes with 20 pouches, has high quality parts and two silicone rollers to move the pouches through the machine. It has a power and ready LED light making it quick to use. As it uses pouches, it’s more ideal for use with more important documents.
For light-duty projects, this laminator is an overall great choice. It is lightweight and accommodates 3 mil or 5 mil pouches. It creates thermal bonds materials fast and efficiently, yet it’s mild enough to use for most standard, everyday teacher tasks.
- Excellent mid range choice for teachers.
- Works well with good durability.
- The inclusion of 20 pouches is a nice benefit.
- It’s good, but lacks professional level quality. Totally fine for teachers though.
GBC Laminator – Best high performance consumer laminator
The GBC Laminator is large, heavy laminator that can laminate paper up to 10 inches or smaller. This laminator is an excellent option for both the classroom or home office and is the best choice if you’re going to be doing lamination on a weekly basis.
This device has a proprietary double roller design that enables this laminator to laminate paper with minimal noise (and smell). It warms up in just over a minute and can crank out 40+ documents in just 10 minutes.
If you’re needing a high productivity laminator then we strongly suggest looking at GBC. While it does not laminate particularly large pieces of paper, it is an excellent choice if you’re looking for something for standard A4 paper for the home office as it can take care of both work and school related tasks.
- Consumer grade laminator. Perfect for the home office as it can take on multiple projects.
- The actual lamination is high quality. No warping or peeling. Just quality lamination.
- It is a 3 in one device enabling you to take care of all your lamination needs in one easy device.
- The paper cutter is of low quality and a cheap paper cutter would do much better than the one included with this device. The Busmart’s paper cutter for comparison is better.
Crenova A4 – The 4 in 1 Laminator
The Crenova laminator is great for smaller jobs like you would do in a classroom, thanks in part to it’s easy-to-use design and thermal sealant. It also has helpful pro features like a corner rounder and a paper trimmer.
Crenova’s 4 in 1 thermal laminator is a great choice for educators because of its user-friendly settings, portability and variety of features. It comes with 20 self-sealing laminating pouches to protect papers from dirt, moisture and wear. The 9 inch opening will make it easy to use the full width of the machine to fully laminate regular sized documents.
For teachers looking for fast turn-around time when it comes to laminating, this machine will do the task well enough. Faster than most other machines on the market today at 2500 mm/min, not only is it quick for if you need heavy-duty lamination, it’s built with ABS rather than PVC which prevents jamming from occurring.
- Fast an effective. Most consumer level machines take time to warm up.
- 4 in one device. The corner rounder and included pouches are a great addition.
- Not for A4 paper.
UALAU Laminator Machine – A great multi-function option
The UALAU Laminator is one of the best laminators because of its incredibly long use time. It can run for up to 30 minutes without needing a break, thus allowing teachers that need it to complete everything they would like to in a reasonable amount of time without having to wait for the machine to cool down.
This Laminator features two rollers instead of one and includes an ABS button to clear out paper jams. This is an overall great thermal laminator for teachers with limited time during the busy school day. It goes at 250 mm/minute and only takes about 5 or 6 minutes minutes to warm up.
- Large, easy to use laminator.
- Like a lot of mid range laminators, it’s multi-function. Cutting, rounded corners as well as measures paper.
- Does not get so hot it’s dangerous to touch.
- Only works with large sheets which can be a waste of money if you have smaller documents.
GBC Foton – The Heavy Duty Laminator
This is professional grade laminator. It’s a step down from a commercial grade laminator. As such this device is the best laminator on the list for large projects but is a bit excessive for for most buyers.
The GBC Foton laminator really excels at ease of use. With other laminators, the actual lamination process is slow and time consuming as you need to keep feeding the paper and lamination pouches in.
With the GBC Foton you can simply put a stack of up to 30 pieces of paper you want laminated into the back feeder and the GBC Foton will take care of the rest.
If you have a small business where you’re laminating paper on a regular basis and you need a laminator for large projects the GBC Foton is your best option. This thing is designed to make laminating large projects easy.
- Ease of use. You can place up to 30 documents you want laminated, press start and you’re done. The GBC will do the rest.
- No pouches. This devices uses auto threading film cartridges that are easy to replace.
- This is a professional grade laminator and it could be a bit price prohibitive for some.
The Best Laminators for Teachers
So there you have it. Those are the best laminators for teachers. We covered a wide range of options from the most budget friendly, to laminators designed for one off use, to the ideal laminator for a small business.
For most teaching professionals, creative types and those with a home office the best laminator would be the Blusmart. It’s the right combination of size, performance and features.