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We are living in a time of transformation accentuated by digital media. Our modern-day teaching in schools and classrooms has been redefined by the implementation of technological modernization that encourages students to connect and collaborate with others on a global scale.

However, we do well not to ignore the basic fact of our age – Paper remains the gold standard that cannot be replaced entirely by digital media. Where there is paper, there also lies the need to protect it. Each paper document used by a teacher needs protection that remains permanent and looks professional.

Laminators have been doing that work for the last five decades. Here we provide a list of the five best laminators that teachers can use. Our guide will help you to buy right!

AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator – Overall best
Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator – Best in Technology
Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125 – Best in Innovation
Apache AL9 9″ Thermal Laminator – Best in Budget
Swingline GBC Thermal Laminator – Best in Style

The first pick of our list is produced by a company that uses its platform to sell good of other companies, including our four other laminators.

AmazonBasics Thermal Laminator

Amazon is a place where great people work hard to create the best possible version of everything they sell. For this e-commerce behemoth, its “day 1 at Day 1”, i.e., each employee works as if they are on the first day of their job – trying to be their best.

Unique Specifications

  • Selectable temperature control
  • Preventive jam release
  • Correct pouch thickness

Why Should Teachers Use It?

Lightweight & Portable

With a weight of 2.6 pounds, the laminator is suitable for full-time use and can be slipped in a drawer or a cabinet after use. Teachers can comfortably laminate a variety of documents with different sizes due to the 9-inch wide feed size of the laminator. Almost all other laminators are near the 4-pound weight.

Jam Release

Nothing can disrupt a teaching session than a jammed laminator. Paper materials tend to catch moisture, and Amazon’s jam release lever helps you to clear out the jam easily and quickly.

Laminating Compatibility

Amazon has come up with an excellent option to use heat setting for laminating normal and thinner documents. Classroom posters, photos, maps, or other foldable documents can be laminated with the 3mm pouch, while manuals, charts, diagrams, etc., that are frequently handled during classroom sessions can be laminated using the 5mm pouch.

Cost

The Amazon laminator comes at an affordable price that is suited for everyday use at classrooms and staff rooms. At this price range, teachers will find it useful to have a laminator that heats up in 4 minutes straight!

Let’s Compare and Review

  • Many users have complained that the paper gets stuck in the laminator quite regularly. So while the jam release button helps, it would have done an excellent job if guides were marked on the laminator to direct the user.
  • In a wireless world, a big disadvantage with the Amazon basics is that it needs to be plugged to an outlet to use.
  • With 4 minutes, the Amazon Laminator is slow in heating up compared to Fellowes Saturn3i, which heats up in 1 minute.
  • While the 9-inch width is an attractive feature, there are other laminators like the Swingline Inspire Plus and the Fellowes Saturn3i, which provide a maximum width of 12 inches.
  • An auto shut-off function would have been beneficial for teachers who use the laminators for long hours in their classrooms.

Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator

Rushing to work while leaving the gadgets on is a common problem plaguing us all. If all our gadgets had an auto shut-off feature after certain time of inactivity, it would have made life much simpler. The Scotch PRO Thermal Laminator takes care of this need with its auto shut-off feature that helps teachers who are super-busy in multi-tasking their way in life.

Unique Specifications

  • Automatic never jam technology
  • Auto shutoff after 1 hour of inactivity

Why Should Teachers Use It?

Thermal Pouch Thickness

The laminator comes with two heat settings -a 3mil setting for standard printing paper, and a 5mil setting for photos and business cards. Teachers who are heavily into printing stuff for their classes can use it irrespective of the type of document to be printed.

Overall Design

The dimensions of the laminator allow it to look sleek and sophisticated. With the LED sensor panel, teachers can readily come to know when it is ready to use, while the folding tray comes in handy to store finished documents. With the hidden cord storage facility, teachers can easily carry it around.

Roller Feed Pages

The roller feed system of the laminator ensures that pages fed into the printer come out wrinkle-free without creases. It produces little noise during the feeding process, considering that it laminates up to 15 inches per minute.

Let’s Compare and Review

  • Teachers who struggle to use laminators and other such gadgets will find the non-jam technology of the Scotch PRO useful as it automatically prevents misfed items, compared to other laminators which require manual intervention to release the jammed paper.
  • While it seems negligible, AmazonBasics take around 4 minutes to heat up, while Scotch Pro takes about 5-6 minutes.
  • At 4.27 pounds, the laminator is quite heavy than the 2.6 pounds Amazon Basics.
  • With a 9-inch wide feeder system, the Scotch PRO won’t be applicable for larger documents and posters.

Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125

A heavy workload can pull us out of our lives. How happy we are to have gadgets that have innovative mechanisms to make life easier by bits-and-pieces. With all its wonderful features, the Fellowes Saturn 3i 125 ensures that you spend lesser time setting up the device – and lesser it means!

Unique Specifications

  • InstaHeat Technology
  • 12.5 inches width

Why Should Teachers Use It?

InstaHeat Technology

Fellowes has used the innovative InstaHeat technology that heats any conducive liquid to the desired temperature. It helps the laminator to be on the job within 60 seconds. Teachers who are on a permanent rush to get things done quickly will be pleased with this laminator. A second saved is a second earned!

Easy To Use Functions

The buttons on the laminator are clean and large enough to be located easily even through strained eyes. As soon as the laminator is ready to use, beep signals are given. After a short period, the laminator will go on standby mode, thus helping in power consumption.

Width

The capacity of 12.5 inches allows teachers to laminate a wide variety of documents, including posters, drawings, chart papers, etc. Considering the large sizes of documents that can be laminated, Fellowes has also installed a release lever that can allow the user to release the pressure between the rollers and adjust the documents if needed.

Let’s Compare and Review

  • Compared to all other laminators in our list, Fellowes Saturn wins in terms of the document width of 12.5 inches. Teachers who double as supervisors in their schools or colleges won’t need to hunt for other laminators to laminate big-sized degrees and report cards.
  • The heating time of 60 seconds is another best feature compared to all other laminators that take up to maximum 4-6 minutes to get ready for use.
  • Great features translates into higher prices. Fellowes is not suitable for budget-constrained teachers.
  • Teachers who use thermal printed documents can benefit from the cold lamination setting (with self-adhesives); a feature which is not available with AmazonBasics and the Scotch PRO.
  • A feature that may deter people looking for portability is the absence of cord storage (which is available with the Scotch PRO laminator).

Apache AL9 9″ Thermal Laminator

As with every profession, teaching is a job of small beginnings. You are forced to begin with a modest budget and hope to invest your hard-earned money in the correct venture. Wherever you decide to spend, a laminator should be the least of your worries, cause the market is brimming with devices like the Apache AL9 9” Thermal Laminator that provides excellent features at the best possible price.

Unique Specifications

  • Silicon rollers
  • Premium-grade motor

Why should teachers use it?

Four roller system

The four-roller system ensures that proper adhesive is applied to the paper while it passes through the feeder. The teacher will find themselves less frustrated as most of their documents will pass through successfully at the first go.

Silicon rollers & Premium-grade motor

Apache has used premium quality motor and heating elements with two silicon rollers that give a perfectly laminated output. Teachers can rely upon the laminator’s dependability and durability due to its superior build.

LED Indicators

The laminator is equipped with 2 LED indicators to help the teacher know whether it is ready to use. Like the AmazonBasics, it is also equipped with an ABS jam release button that can be used to remove sheets stuck in the feeder.

Let’s Compare and Review

  • At 2 pounds, the Apache AL9 is a winner in our list in terms of weight. It weighs slightly lower than the 2.6 pounds AmazonBasics and way lower than other laminators that weigh around 4-5 pounds.
  • The all-black design looks sleek and sophisticated compared to other laminators that use light shades that tend to discolor over time.
  • Its 9-inch width makes it a common-use budget laminator, not to be compared with the 12.5 inches wide Fellowes Saturn, which is high-priced.
  • It takes 2.5 minutes to get ready – better than Scotch Pro and Amazon Basics, which take around 4-5 minutes to get set for use.
  • Teachers who are not gadget-savvy may be put-off with the lack of a user guide. Feeding the pouches will become an issue, and that is where the 20 free pages come in handy.
  • Separate switches for heating elements and motor (like the Amazon Basics) would have been useful for new users.
  • The Apache certainly qualifies as the best budget laminator with better features than others of the same price range.

Swingline Inspire Plus Laminator

Continuing our list of affordable laminators, here we have another laminator that combines the two most important parameters each of wants – budget and style. Dave Ramsey famously told – ‘you need to tell your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.’ With the Swingline Inspire Plus, you are assured that your money is well spent.

Unique Specifications

  • User-friendly design
  • Attractive color scheme

Why should teachers use it?

User-friendly design

The laminator is easy to use due to its single power setting with no need to switch the setting. With a standard pouch thickness, teachers can use it for 3 or 5 mil pouches depending upon the document size – making it a versatile laminator.

Attractive color scheme

The 4 color option of the laminator gives it an attractive and sleek look. It adds a dash of style and flare to your workstation. It also has a curve on top of it with a logo on it in a handwritten font.

Heat setting

The laminator has a superior quality heating coil, which means that it can laminate more documents without the need to wait to let it warm up again. So while it takes 5 minutes to warm up, it also saves the break time and the lamination time.

Let’s Compare and Review

  • Compared to Apache, AL9’s 20 free pouches, Swingline Inspire only provides 5 free pouches.
  • The laminator speed is 9 inches per minute, which is much less than other laminators like the Scotch PRO which gives a speed of 15 inches in a minute.
  • It doesn’t come with an exit tray, so the document needs to stay flat to avoid folds or creases.
  • Many users have complained that the laminator is a cheap-build device. However, at a budget price, the motor of the Swingline works well for its value.
  • While the Swingline comes at a 9-inch Swingline, it also comes in a 12-inch model to help teachers with differing needs.
  • Some reviewers complained that the LED indicator light is deep in the panel and may not be visible in bright lights.

The technological world is becoming better every day. Hence, there is no such thing as being the best in this digital world. Each laminator that we have reviewed enshrines this basic principle. Each new day witness’s new product launches to tap untouched markets. However, each of the brands that we have reviewed has unique traits that cater perfectly to the everyday needs of a teacher.

Are you a teacher who has used a laminator from our list? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.

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