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Choosing The Best Laminator Machine for Teachers

In this article, we’re going to look at the best laminator machine for teachers. We’ll be covering laminators from Scotch, Fellows, Swingline and Amazon Basics.

Overall, the three brands that come up the most in lists of best laminators are, in order of recommendation:

  1. Scotch Thermal Laminator
  2. Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125
  3. Swingline GBC Thermal Laminator
  4. AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator

Other alternatives include Blusmart and Apache. If you need a cold laminating machine (for temperature-sensitive materials) the Fellowes and Swingline models feature a cold setting that doesn’t use heat.

Any of these brands make a decent laminator for a classroom setting. 

The Contenders

Scotch Thermal Laminator TL901C – best for new users

The Scotchlaminator is ideal for documents up to 9 inches wide.

Weighing just 5.4 pounds, it’s pretty small and portable so you can take it with you when needed.

It warms up in less than five minutes and has a safety feature that shuts it off automatically after an hour.

If you’re looking for a faster start-up time and a bit more speed, check out the Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator.

Both Scotch models have Never Jam technology, which keeps you from accidentally feeding in a paper at an angle that could cause a jam.

Highlights:

  • Easier to “feed” their laminating pouches into the machine
  • Can laminate a page in about 50 seconds
  • Jam release lever
  • Never Jam technology to prevent jams
  • 5-foot long cord
  • port for storing the electric cord out of sight

Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125

The Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125 is a good choice for the office or classroom. It laminates thermal pouches up to 5mil and documents up to 12.5 inches wide. The Saturn even comes with ten letter-sized pouches to get started.

This laminator can handle self-adhesive and thermal laminating pouches easily, just by selecting the “cold setting.”

Highlights:

  • Ready to go in just 60 seconds with InstaHeat technology
  • Cold setting handles self-adhesive or thermal laminating pouches
  • Jam release lever

Swingline GBC Thermal Laminator

Much like Scotch, Swingline is a name brand that you know you can trust to provide the best office supplies. Their Swingline Thermal Laminator is just as awesome as their heavy metal staplers.

This model is a good choice for a classroom or small office.

It has a cold setting in addition to the standard heat setting so that the Swingline can use pouches that have adhesive.

Highlights:

  • 3-year warranty
  • Cold setting handles self-adhesive or thermal laminating pouches
  • Jam release lever
  • Ready to use in about a minute

AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator

The AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator can handle card stock and the regular paper. It takes about a minute to laminate and has two setting for eithe rpaper or card stock. The 3mil setting is better for thinner pages, while the 5mil heat setting is best for card stock.

The Amazon laminator heats up quick with just four minutes needed for preparation. An indicator light will let you will know when it’s ready for use.

Highlights:

  • Easier to “feed” their laminating pouches into the machine
  • Can laminate a page in about 1 minute
  • Jam release lever

Some Questions About Buying a Laminator

What does “Mil” mean when buying a laminator?

 “Mil” refers to how thick the film of lamination is in millimetres. Most laminators work with 3-millimetre and 5-millimetres thick pouches, but if you need to laminate thick or heavy-duty items, you’ll want to get one that handles 10-mil pouches. Check your machine’s specs before using thicker pouches, as these could damage your laminator.

What “pouch” means? I have never used a laminator but would like to. Do I need a separate pouch for each item?

The “pouch” that makes the shiny laminated surface happen. The pouch is the transparent sheets you put the paper you want to laminate inside. You have to buy them separately on some occasions, but they are easy to find sold in all Staples and other office supply stores. 

What does 2-roller system mean? 

All thermal laminators utilize heated rollers to both melts the laminating adhesive and move the laminating pouch through the machine. A “two roller system” means that the laminator has two heated rollers.

What to consider when buying a laminator?

  1. What is your budget? If you’re looking for a budget machine, consider the AmazonBasics model, it’s not the fastest or the best, but it does the job. 
  2. What will you be laminating? If you are laminating something temperature-sensitive, look for models with a cold setting like the Fellows and Swingline.
  3. What is the largest size you will be laminating? Most of these models handle up to 9 inches, though the Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125 can handle pages up to 12.5 inches.

You should have some ideas now about what is available when looking for a laminator for the classroom. 

 

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