Last Updated on October 18, 2020 by Aether
It isn’t a hidden fact that teachers LOVE to laminate. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were laminating rituals being conducted behind closed doors, to initiate new teachers into their fantastic career choice. If you’re looking for the best laminator for teachers, either for yourself or a gift, you’ve come to the right place.
Teachers usually fall into two categories. They either love laminating, or they love laminating but hate using their provided laminator. Notice a key theme going? Laminators get a lot of use in an average classroom. Everything from single words to pictures gets laminated and for a good reason. It’s not a hidden fact that children bounce off of the walls, even if they are reasonably well behaved; that’s just what kids do.
As you can imagine, (seeing as you’re reading this), it’s becoming common for teachers to take matters into their own hands to obtain a laminator worthy of their class. Regardless of your budget, we have rounded up the best laminators for teachers that can be purchased online. We are positive that you will find something that meets your specific needs and budget requirements in our list below.
Best Laminator for Teachers – Our Picks
Now, onto the meat of the subject. Below we have selected a wide range of laminator models. Whether you are on a tight budget or need to laminate hundreds of documents every week (poor you!), there will be a product perfect for your needs.
Best Overall Laminator: Fellowes Laminator Jupiter 2 125
If the price of this model has startled you, please don’t panic. There are multiple models listed below that are significantly cheaper. If the highlight of your day is laminating a verity of documents, then this is the product for you.
The Jupiter 2 is a real beast. It has the capability of laminating pouches that are up to 10mm thick. Thick paper and cardboard will pose no issues when being fed through. The maximum width for things to be laminated is 12 inches, and you may use hot or cold pouches.
This laminator has six in-built rollers that aid in creating a seamless laminating experience. I don’t know about you, but I’ve used a few cheap laminators in my time. There is nothing more frustrating than aligning everything correctly and then noticing crinkles in the final product, quite a common occurrence with more affordable models.
If you do plan on using this laminator to its full potential, you’ll be delighted to know that it can automatically detect the thickness of the pouch that you are using. No settings need to be tinkered, pop your document into a laminating pouch, and away you go.
Have you ever accidentally fed your laminator slightly wonky, resulting in it jamming? I have, and it’s infuriating. Luckily, Jupiter 2 has an easy to use reverse mode, so you’ll never get a document stuck again and have to take the machine apart.
Finally, this machine will automatically turn off when not in use. For a classroom, this is a convenient feature. It can be quite easy to forget that the laminator is on if you’re getting bombarded with questions from students.
- Laminate up to 10mm
- 12-inch lamination width
- Automatically detect thickness
- Easy to use reverse mode
- High price
Best Budget Laminator: AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator Machine
On the complete opposite scale to the Jupiter 2, we have the Thermal Laminator from AmazonBasics. For teachers on a budget, this machine is unbeaten. It’s incredibly cheap and perfect for the occasional lamination job of paper and thin cardboard. There aren’t a lot of features to sing home about, but as a basic laminator, it does its job very well.
You will be able to laminate documents up to 9 inches in width. There are two laminating settings, 3mm and 5mm. The former is ideal for regular papers and photos, whereas the latter is perfect for thin paper.
Just in case you weren’t aware, the millimeters refers to the thickness of the lamination pouches, not the documents themselves.
The machine takes approximately 4 minutes to heat up, which isn’t too bad, considering it’s a budget option. The Jupiter 2, for comparison’s sake, only takes 1 minute.
Although you’ll still need to tug and pull, this laminator does have a jam release lever. I’d never recommended a product without one.
- Best option on a budget
- Small and compact
- Ideal for occasional use
- Takes a long time to heat up
- Poor aesthetics
Best All-In-One: ABOX A3 Thermal Laminator Machine
We can appreciate that space can be an issue in a classroom or office. We can also understand that what you want to laminate might not always be the correct size from the getgo. This is why we have added the ABOX A3 to this list. While it is one of the bigger machines on the market, the features that it has are fantastic.
Firstly, it is equipped with an in-built paper cutter, which will allow you to trim your documents before laminating. It’s advisable to do this before you laminate, rather than after. If you do it after, it will break the seal. You needn’t have any safety concerns, as the paper cutter locks.
Another nifty feature is that this product comes with a corner rounder. Laminated edges are sometimes surprisingly sharp; I’ve cut myself a couple of times over the years. The rounder will allow you to make each corner as round and smooth as the corners of your cell phone. I’d say that rounding the edges is essential for documents that are being handed to children under the age of 6.
Concerning document size, this laminator can laminate documents up to 13 inches wide – which is very substantial. It takes roughly three minutes to heat up, but considering its size; we think that’s a fair trade.
- Built-in paper cutter
- 13-inch lamination width
- Free corner rounder
- Takes three minutes to heat up
Choosing the Best Laminator for Teachers – Our Buying Guide
Our buying guide has been created to help guide and inform you when selecting a laminator for your school or classroom. As with all things in life, laminators are not equal. You also may be thinking that laminators don’t require research, but you have to remember why you’re on this page in the first place. You care enough to be searching for the best laminator for your school, so why not educate yourself on what makes a good laminator, and what makes a poor one.
Laminators come in all sorts of sizes. The size usually dictates how wide your documents can be too. If you are restricted on space, you must be considerate of where you intend to set up your machine, or where you intend to store it. It’s all well and good purchasing the best laminator that money can buy, but if you have to perch it on the edge of a table, it will likely get knocked over and break eventually.
On the other hand, if you foresee yourself processing large and thick documents, you can’t opt for a small budget machine. If you select the appropriate size the first time, you won’t have to buy twice.
Some of the reviews above you would have noticed that we talk about lamination pouch thickness. The thicker the document, the thicker you want your laminating pouch to be. There are a few reasons for this, but ultimately the thicker the pouch, the more robust and durable the final product will be.
Of course, using 10mm pouches on a thin piece of paper is a complete overkill. Just in the same way as using 3mm pouches on thick cardboard won’t do much.
Think about what kind of documents you intend to laminate, to help you decide if you needed a more substantial laminator. For the majority of projects, 3-5mm is fine.
In school, the safety of the students should be of primary concern. Kids are mischievous and curious by nature, even more so when they think an object is off-limits. If you do leave a laminator unattended while it’s on or cooling down, you ideally want a machine that does have some safety features built-in. Mid and top range laminators will usually have an internal timer that will turn off after it’s been idle for a predetermined amount of time.
For machines that have additional capabilities, like paper trimming, you want to ensure that there are safety locks present.
In an ideal world, you’ll never leave your laminator unattended. However, we all make mistakes, which is why if you have peace of mind that your equipment can mitigate risks by itself, then that’s one less thing to worry over.
The time it takes for the laminator to warm-up probably isn’t a crucial consideration. However, I don’t know your circumstances or daily schedule. More expensive and robust products usually have a warm-up period of 1-2 minutes, whereas cheaper or smaller models can take up to 5 minutes to heat up.
If you do require on-demand lamination capabilities, make sure you read up on these times.
Classroom Ideas on What to Laminate
I probably don’t need to explain in detail why a teacher might want a laminator. However, for those of you who might be struggling to justify the cost, I’ll give you a few things to think over.
As a teacher, you are always busy. Whether it’s during class, prepping for a class, or grading homework. Due to your busyness, the last thing you want to worry about is having to redo handouts because they’ve been ripped or damaged.
Having an easy-access laminator in your classroom can save you a lot of time and effort in the long-term. You won’t need to laminate stuff in a shared office or at home. Also, you’ll be showing your students how much thought you’ve put into your handouts, as well as saving you money by not having to create new ones.
Laminating essential documents and projects is a fantastic way of making them last. Although haggard, I remember there were a few laminated cards at my school when I was a kid that was at least a decade old.
If a tight budget restricts you, you will want only to laminate something once. Do it right the first time, and save money in the long run. If you’re not sure what you should laminate in your classroom, we’ll list a few ideas below.
- Name tags are a great use of a laminator. It’s unlikely you will want to give all of your students a name tag to wear, but using them on lockers, desks, and coat hooks, is an excellent way of managing space.
- Displays are standard in all classes. Whether it be visual aids, or the times table, having laminated display pieces are a great way of filling your classroom with useful informative.
- Folder inserts. Teachers, regardless of whether they love or hate them, will be inundated with folders. To keep folders organized and separated efficiently, having laminated pages is a great way to stay on top of your important documents.
The above ideas are just scratching the surface with what you can use your laminator for.
Conclusion: Picking the Best Laminator for a Teacher – How to Make the Right Selection
If you’ve made it this far, then you really are one of the infamous laminating-mad teachers that we’ve all heard about. For that, I applaud you. Not just for loving laminators so much, but for caring enough about your students. A passionate teacher does change lives, which, as a result, makes the world a better place.
Hopefully, I have covered every aspect of laminators that you could ever dream about, which in turn should hopefully enable you to select the perfect machine for your needs. I used a very cheap laminator for a couple of years as a military teacher, and it annoyed me to no end. The quality of the laminated documents never looked top-tier, but it didn’t matter that much to me. They were mostly discardable, created in bulk.
Nevertheless, regular teachers want a finished product that they can be proud of, or their students can be proud of, so please make sure you pick-up something worthwhile.