We love our laminators! But we also hate waiting to use the shared one in the teacher workroom (plus, why the heck is it broken so often?). So it’s no surprise that over time, many of us give in and buy our own personal laminators. These smaller machines can’t handle giant items like posters but do just fine for labels, signs, and the million other things teachers need to laminate. Here are are our favorite picks for the best laminators for personal use, in every price range.
(Just a heads up, WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
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).
- 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 it.
- 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 as 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.
1. Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator (TL906)
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, after a five-minute warm-up time.
Real Review: “I am a 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. It’s nearly silent! … It also laminates fairly quickly! I would absolutely recommend.”
2. Mead Laminator HeatSeal Pro
Looking for a slightly larger personal laminator? This Mead model can handle pouches up to 12.5 inches wide, so it’s excellent for artwork or bulletin board decorations. With a quick three-minute warm-up time, it’s faster than some of the others on the list too.
Real 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!”
3. Scotch Thermal Laminator TL901X
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, in 3 mil or 5 mil pouches. It has thousands of five-star reviews too.
Real Review: “I made bathroom passes, dry-erase exit tickets, etc. This thing is amazing. It heats up fast, completely seals the first time, and doesn’t get jammed … I like that it is tabletop, easily transportable (It fits in my teacher bag!), and cools down quickly for easy, safe storage. I can also report that this is the number-one recommended laminator in my teacher Facebook group. Some teachers have had theirs for 3+ years!”
4. Sinopuren 3-in-1 Personal Laminator
Save space with this all-in-one option, which boasts both a built-in slider-style paper cutter and hole punch. The machine itself heats up in three minutes and has a quick-release button in case of paper jams. The bundle also includes a corner rounder punch and a pack of ten letter-size laminating pouches.
Real Review: “I’m a first-year teacher. Our school laminator usually goes out of use every other week. I can now use a laminator at home without the task of using one at school! Instructions are very clear and easy to use. … It’s really straightforward and easy to use if you make sure you use it correctly. I’m loving my laminator!”
5. Merece Laminator
For the price, this laminator bundle gives you a whole lot of options. The machine can work with hot or cold seal pouches and handles paper jams with a quick-release button. The bundle adds a paper cutter, a corner rounder punch, and 20 assorted-size laminating pouches.
Real Review: “I’m a teacher and I have now laminated over 100 sheets. It is extremely awesome! It laminates within 1 minute per sheet.”
6. Amazon Basics 12-Inch Thermal Laminator
This thermal laminator has a quick, four-minute warm-up with LED light indicator. It also includes two heat settings for normal documents and photos and another for thinner papers.
Real Review: “I’m a teacher and have access to a laminator at work, but wanted something at home for family items. This is awesome and works really well—can’t believe the price! The laminating film is much sturdier than what I’m used to at work, so I feel like things will last for a long time. Great purchase!”
Image source: @thesciencecubby
7. Crenova A4 Laminator
This machine has so many five-star reviews, we had to put it on our list of the best laminators. Bundled with a paper cutter, corner rounder, and 20 laminating pouches, it handles 8.5-inch-wide items with ease.
Real Review: “I am a teacher and although we have a laminator at school, this Crenova Laminator is just perfect for my use here at home for school projects. In fact, it does a better job laminating than my laminator at school does. The Crenova doesn’t jam, the quality of the laminated product is much better, the preheat time is fast, and it is compact and very easy to use! I highly recommend this product for your home office!”
8. Swingline Inspire Plus Laminator
If colors draw you in, this pink one might be for you! This handy laminator is lightweight, heats up quickly, and has a cold feature for sensitive papers. Plus, you can also get it in white or blue.
Real Review: “I needed my own little laminator at my home office (to protect materials I was sending out to my students). This unit was so easy to use! It made a great seal with the quality weight plastic sheets that were included in the package.”
Image source: @glitterandglue4k2
9. Fellowes 5736601 Laminator Saturn3i 125
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 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!”
10. Fellowes Laminator Jupiter 2 125
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 card stock 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 mil come out perfectly laminated. Thanks, Fellowes, 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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Need a paper cutter to go with your laminator? Here are our favorites.