What is a good, small laminator that I can use for my home, preschool, or homeschool?
I purchased the Scotch Thermal laminator in July 2012 and have had it for 6 months now. I bought it to laminate a bunch of activities from the Letter of the Week curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler. Since I bought it I have used it to laminate the whole Letter of the Week curriculum, playdough mats, pattern blocks mats, bookmarks, handwriting pages, chore charts, and more.
Overall, I LOVE this laminator. It has been so nice to be able to laminate things for school and for our home. I honestly don’t know what I did without it. Actually, I do know. I used contact paper and packing tape. I thought contact paper and packing tape worked well and didn’t really think I was missing a laminator, but I can tell you now that I was wrong. I love having a laminator. It is so much cleaner looking and stronger than contact paper and packing tape ever were.
Pros of the Scotch Thermal Laminator
- It only takes about 7 minutes to heat up and then it can be used for hours. I have used it for 3 hours in a row, but not longer than that. It worked well for the full three hours. I do let it heat up for another minute or two after the light turns blue because it isn’t quite ready when the blue light turns on.
- It works perfectly with the laminating sheets that I buy from Sam’s Club ($20 for 200 sheets!)v. The laminating sheets come with a white cover that you are supposed to put over the laminating sheet before putting it into the laminator. I do not use the white cover because the sheet doesn’t seal all the way when I use it. Instead I just put the laminating sheet straight into the laminator. I have not used the scotch thermal pouches, but they probably work wonderfully since they actually go with the laminator. ;)
- It is easy to operate. I found it very easy to put together the first time. Now, I just have to plug the laminator in, unfold the tray for the laminating sheets, and press the button to turn on the laminator. Once it is heated all the way, I put the laminating sheet (filled with whatever I want to laminate) into the laminator.
- The laminator has always sealed the laminating sheets completely. The only time it didn’t was when I used the white cover, but I never use that now and it works great.
Cons of Scotch Thermal Laminator
- The edge of the laminating sheet does occasionally stick on the inside of the laminator on its way out. If I notice it right away, I can grab it and just use my fingernail to straighten the place that it got stuck. If I don’t notice it right away, it gets more and more stuck and the end result is bumpy. I have tried to use an iron to smooth out the bumpiness and I have tried to run it through the laminator again. Neither method worked. Unfortunately, if it gets bumpy, it is stuck like that. Fortunately, I have only had it get stuck a few times.
- This next con is more for the laminating sheets I use, not for the laminator. The laminating sheets do not work well with dry erase markers. It is very difficult to erase the dry erase marker from the laminating sheet. The longer the marker has been on the laminating sheet, the harder it is to erase. Luckily, crayons work well on the laminating sheets. I use a cloth diaper to erase the crayon. Dry erase crayons work even better with the laminating sheets. You can use a cloth or a diaper wipe to erase the dry erase crayons.
- The laminator can only laminate things 8 ½ x 11 or smaller. To buy a bigger laminator costs a lot more than I am willing to spend. Besides that, almost anything I want to laminate is smaller than 8 ½ x 11 anyway, so this doesn’t really bother me.
I love my Scotch laminator and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for a personal laminator, a small laminator for a home preschool, or a laminator for homeschools. I have laminated close to 1,000 sheets since getting my laminator and it is still going strong. I love this laminator and definitely recommend it.