Say the word “laminator” to any teacher, and you’re likely to get one of two responses: “I LOVE laminating stuff!” or “I LOVE laminating stuff, but the laminator at my school is always unavailable or broken!” So it’s no surprise that over time, many teachers give in and buy their own personal laminators, which may not be able to deal with giant items, like posters, but do just fine for labels, signs, and the million other things teachers need to laminate. Whether you’ve got a little or a lot to spend on one, we’ve rounded up the best laminators for teachers that can be bought on Amazon. You’re sure to find one that fits your budget and your needs.
Note: This post has Amazon Affiliate links. If you buy using these links, we receive a small percentage of the purchase price, but we only recommend items we really think you’ll like.
Even the best laminators require some basic know-how. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- The cost of a laminator doesn’t include the plastic laminating pouches you’ll need (other than a few that include some samples in the box). Fortunately, AmazonBasic’s 3-mil pouches are ideal for most jobs, get tons of great reviews, and come at an unbeatable price.
- Most laminators work with 3-mil(limeter) and 5-mil thick pouches, but if you need to laminate thick or heavy-duty items, you’ll want to get one that can handle 10-mil pouches. Check the machine’s specs before using thicker pouches, or you could damage your machine.
- Always take the time to line up your laminating pouch properly before sending it through the machine. Even the best laminators will jam if the pouch is misaligned.
- Most personal laminators these days don’t require a special folder to hold the items like older models did. But the rollers can still get dirty occasionally. Clean them by running a plain piece of printer paper through the machine to get rid of any glue that might have accumulated.
Best Basic Laminator: AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator Machine
At a glance: This little gem is very reasonably priced, but it has more than 3,200 five-star reviews on Amazon. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but it gets the job done and done well. The model shown laminates documents up to 9 inches wide, but for a few bucks more you can get a model that will work on docs up to 13 inches .
Real teacher review: “I can’t tell you how much I love this laminator! I am a first grade teacher and I do a lot of lamination… This little gem has saved me an immeasurable amount of time and frustration. I no longer have to wait for the school laminator to heat or be re-filled with laminating film. I am able to laminate right in my classroom when I have an extra minute and hang items immediately. What a time saver — and any elementary school teacher knows that every second we can save during our work day is worth our weight in gold!”
Best for Newbies: Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator (TL906)
At a glance: The best laminators are the ones that don’t jam with your prized papers inside. This model from Scotch has Never Jam technology, which keeps you from accidentally feeding in a project at an angle that could cause a jam. It laminates pages up to 9 inches wide in about 45 seconds.
Real teacher review: “I am preschool special education teacher and am constantly laminating to preserve items for years to come. I should also say that I put my laminators through the ringer!… LOVE! It surpassed my expectations. Its nearly silent! … It also laminates fairly quickly! I would absolutely recommend.”
Buy it: Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator
Best for Bargain Hunters: Mead Laminator M1701862
At a glance: At less than the cost of a week’s worth of Starbucks runs, this little machine is definitely a bargain. It laminates items up to 9 inches wide and comes with a starter pack of pouches.
Real teacher review: “If you are a teacher, you need this. Perfect size, easy to use and does quick laminating! Way better than fighting with everyone else over the school laminating machine!”
Buy it: Mead Laminator M1701862
Best All-in-One: ABOX 13’’ OL381 Thermal Laminator Machine
At a glance: If you’re ready to step up to a bigger machine, this ABOX model laminates docs up to 13 inches wide. It heats up fast and includes a built-in paper cutter so you can trim your projects all in one place. The paper cutter locks, too, so no worries about little fingers finding their way into it!
Real teacher review: “This baby is AMAZING!! This is my first big purchase as a new teacher and it has made me very popular (haha). I love that it is so easy to use and small enough to lock in my desk… You can tell that this is a high quality product by how quickly it works. It took hardly anytime at all to heat up! This is the perfect item for my new job!
Buy it: ABOX OL381 Thermal Laminator
Best Laminator for Frequent Use: Fellowes 5736601 Laminator Saturn3i 125
At a glance: This laminator is a little more expensive than others on our list, but it’s ready to use in about a minute and works fast, too. It can handle hot or cold seal pouches up to 12.5 inches wide and has an auto-shut-off feature.
Real teacher review: “I need a laminator that handles long running time and lots of materials being done. I’ve used several machines in the past and this one performs wonderfully. Warms up super fast. Great machine!”
Best Warranty: Swingline GBC Thermal Laminator, Fusion 3000L
At a glance: For a slightly larger investment, you get a machine that laminates docs up to 12 inches wide and comes with a whopping THREE-YEAR warranty, much longer than any of the other models on our list. GBC is a respected brand in the laminator industry, too—they make a lot of the large commercial models used in schools.
Real teacher review: “I have been getting good use out of this product in preparation for my school year. It is a good laminator. It’s not at all complicated, so I haven’t wasted any laminating sheets due to mistakes in handling.”
Best Laminator for Heavy-Duty Jobs: Fellowes Laminator Jupiter 2 125
At a glance: This is the highest-priced machine on our list, but it’s the only one that can laminate items up to 10 mil thick. That means you can send thick cardstock and even thin cardboard through. The resulting product will hold up longer, even in tough environments. It laminates items up to 12 inches wide, using hot or cold seal pouches.
Real teacher review: “What a cool machine! I bought this for a friend who is a teacher… she wanted to use thicker laminating sheets and thicker paper card stock to extend the longevity of the items laminated… It is well made, heavy and appears to be a professional machine that I believe will give her years of service. She is super happy with it and has reported to me that it is super easy to operate, the sheets regardless of ml come out perfectly laminated. Thanks, Fellows, for producing a great machine a teacher can rely upon to create projects, and educating tools for her second grade classroom.”
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