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The Best Laminators for 2018

Laminators have become a valuable tool for teachers, office organization, and even for home use. It is quite satisfying to be able to make a smudge proof, coffee proof document in minutes or less. For teachers, laminators offer the opportunity to make creative and durable projects, reusable worksheets, as well as quick dry erase boards. At home, a laminator can be used to make recipe cards that can easily be cleaned after use. Students can make personal, durable flashcards that can go anywhere without worries about tears, crinkles, and coffee stains.

 

Laminator project ideas

  • Teachers: games: play cards, play money, game board, flash cards, dry erase / reusable worksheets, certificates/ diplomas
  • Home use: chore lists, recipe cards, grocery lists, calendars, placemats, photos
  • Work place: signs, posters, name tags, business cards, menus in restaurants, key cards
  • Crafts: artwork, dried flowers & leaves, bookmarks

 

What to consider when choosing a laminator

 

Use

 

For casual use, at home or at school, a less expensive laminator will often get the job done. However, for busy teachers or in a larger workplace, a heavy duty and more expensive laminator will often be the best choice.

 

Type

 

The two main types of laminators available are pouch laminators and roll laminators. We focus on pouch laminators in our review, however, roll laminators are a great option for large businesses and institutions.

 

Pouch laminators are great for home use, teachers, and small to medium sized offices. They allow for lamination of documents up to 14 inches. They use plastic pouches, or laminating pouches. You simply place your document in the pouch, then a protective carrier is used to feed the pouch through the machine. Protective carriers provide rigidity and prevent the machine from jamming. However, not all pouch laminators require you to use a protective carrier.

 

Laminating pouches come in various designs, which can be helpful for making a variety of documents. Slotted pouches are great for ID tags and luggage tags. Matte writable pouches provide a frosted finish making them great for DIY dry erase boards. Cold pouches are great if you only want to laminate a few documents, since they do not require a laminating machine. There are also sticky backed, colored and decorative pouches. Laminating pouches also come in various sizes, from small credit card sized pouches to large 12×17 menu sized pouches.

 

Roll laminators are often larger machines and are great for larger documents. They use rolls of laminating film, and are excellent for very large posters. If you plan to make only a few posters, it will be more economical to go to your local print shop, as these can be quite expensive.

 

Temperature

 

Thermal laminators work by heating the adhesive on the laminating pouch as it passes through the machine. Documents made using thermal laminators tend to be more durable. Some thermal laminators allow you to also laminate your document using pressure only, in other words, they have a cold laminating feature.

 

Cold or pressure laminators work by using pressure to seal the laminating pouch. Cold laminators are best used for sensitive documents such as photos.

 

Self adhesive laminating sheets can be used to cold laminate a document and do not require you to use a laminating machine. However, you may choose to get a laminator to achieve better quality lamination.

 

Thickness

 

Laminating thickness determines how durable your document will be. A thicker laminating pouch is recommended for documents that will be frequently handled such as a flashcard or recipe card. Whereas, a thinner pouch may be sufficient for lightly handled documents such as certificates. Not all laminators are able to handle all pouch thicknesses.

 

Laminating pouches are available in 3 mil to 10 mil thicknesses. 1 mil is equivalent to one-thousandth of an inch, therefore, you can create laminated documents from 0.003” to 0.01.” A very thick, 10 mil laminating pouch will give you a stiff document that can stand up on its own, this may be ideal for display photos and signs. A thinner, 3 mil laminating pouch will be ideal for documents stored in a binder or folder where saving space is a consideration. A 5 mil laminating pouch is often adequate for business cards. You may need to buy a few different pouches to decide which is best for your project.

 

Document Size

 

Depending on what projects you wish to use your laminator for, document size, will be an important factor to consider. Most laminators can handle small to medium sized documents such as recipe cards, business cards, and letter size papers. However, for larger documents, a laminator machine with a large entry width will be required. Laminators that use pouches are available in various widths, from 4 inches to 14 inches. For very large documents and posters, a professional laminator may be necessary. Very large 80 inch wide format laminators are available for commercial use.

 

Laminating Speed

 

Speed will be a critical factor if you plan to laminate larger quantities. With thermal laminators, the time it takes the machine to heat up will determine how quickly you can get a project done. Cold laminators don’t need to warm up, but may not be ideal for every project. The laminating speed of the machine is also important. If you need to get your documents laminated quickly, look for a laminator that heats up and runs through the document quickly.

 

Laminating Quality

The number of rollers in a laminator help determine the quality of the document produced. Most machines come with two rollers which work to press the two ends of the pouch together creating a seal. Some machines have a second pair of rollers that remove wrinkles allowing for a smooth finish.

 

Design

 

The ideal laminator is one that is quiet, appeals to your aesthetics, and takes up little space on your work surface.

 

Accessories

 

Laminating pouches

Lamination trimmers

Protective carrier

Laminator cleaning sheets

 

Top 10 Laminators for 2018

 

Best Overall Blusmart 3 in 1 laminator

 

Best Value Amazon Basics Thermal laminator

 

Best for Small Office/ Daily Use Swingline GBC Thermal laminator

 

Best for Larger Documents/ Business GBC Thermal Roll laminator

 

Comparison Chart

 

Temperature Laminating Thickness Document size Laminating thickness Speed Price
Scotch Thermal hot 9 inches $
INTEY Thermal hot and cold $
Amazon Basics Thermal hot 9 inch model

13 inch model

10.6 inches/ min $
Blusmart 3 in 1 hot and cold 9.8 inches/ min $$
Scotch Advanced $$
Fellowes hot and cold $$
Swingline GBC Thermal hot and cold 39 inches/ min $$$
GBC Thermal Roll hot 12 feet/ min $$$$

 

Scotch Thermal Laminator, TL901C-T

 

Type: Pouch laminator

Temperature: hot

Document size: up to 9 inches wide

Laminating thickness: ideal for 3 and 5 mil thick pouches

Time to heat up: 5 to 7 minutes

Number of rollers: 2 rollers only

Jam technology: detachable input tray with adjustable guides

Dimensions: machine is 15.5 inches by 6.8 inches and weighs 3.1 pounds

Release date: August 28, 2008

Price: $

Best use: home, small office

 

The Scotch Thermal laminator (TL901SC) is a great laminator for small to medium size documents that do not require heavy duty protection. It comes in a sleek, portable design and has hidden cord storage making it easy to store. It has an indicator light to let you know when it has warmed up and is ready to use. It also has a auto shutoff safety feature.

 

It is able to handle documents up to 9 inches wide, and pouches from 3 mil to 5 mil thickness. It has 2 settings, 3 mil thickness and 5 mil thickness. It comes with only 2 rollers, so it does not have additional rollers to remove wrinkles, but their lack may not affect projects using thinner pouches.

 

It is not the fastest laminator out there, but may be enough for your needs. It takes 5 to 7 minutes to warm up.

 

It is a relatively inexpensive option for those just starting to laminate. It is available for around $30 and often comes in a bundle with a few pouches. You may be able to find it on sale from time to time. It is also a common laminator, available in various stores including Walmart. It has positive reviews on Amazon.

 

INTEY Thermal Laminator A4

 

Type: Pouch laminator

Temperature: hot and cold modes

Document size: up to 9 inches wide

Laminating thickness: up to 0.02 inches, ideal for 3 mil and 5 mil pouches

Time to heat up: 3 to 5 minutes

Number of rollers: 2 rollers only

Jam technology: ABS jam release function to manually remove jammed papers

Dimensions: machine is 19 x 40 x 10 inches and weighs 3.3 pounds

Release date: February 20, 2017

Price: $

Best use: home, small office

 

This a great inexpensive laminator with nice features. It works best for small to medium sized documents, and can handle documents up to 9 inches wide. It is compatible with laminating pouches up to 0.02 inches, however, it is ideally used with 3 mil and 5 mil pouches. It has a sleek design and is a newer model, released in 2017.

 

It may not be the best choice if you are in a hurry, since it takes 3 to 5 minutes to heat up. However, it does come with an indicator light to let you know when it is ready to use. It also has an led light to let you know the power left. To help with paper jams, it comes with a jam release design to allow you to manually remove jammed papers. A nice feature that helps this laminator stand out is the cold option which lets you laminate without heat. This is great for sensitive documents like photos.

 

This an inexpensive option for home and small office use. It also comes with a pack of laminating pouches for first time use. While this is a great laminator for light use, it isn’t the choice for heavy duty work. It isn’t meant to be used uninterrupted for 3 hours or more and can not hand very wide documents and thicker pouches.

 

Amazon Basics 13” Thermal Laminator

 

Type: Pouch laminator

Temperature: hot

Document size: up to 13 inches wide

Laminating thickness: two settings: 3 mil and 5 mil

Laminating speed: 270 mm/min (10.6 inches/min)

Time to heat up: 4 minutes

Number of rollers: 2 rollers only

Jam technology: jam release lever

Dimensions: machine is 16.8 x 2.5 x 5.1 inches and weighs 3.4 pounds

Release date: January 31, 2017

Price: $

Best use: home, small office, some crafts

 

Amazon released its own thermal laminator in 2017, and it is another affordable option for small office and home use. It stands out from similarly priced laminators with the ability to laminate slightly larger documents. It can handle documents up to 13 inches, making it more versatile than the competitors. Customer reviews indicate that it can be used for foiling gold lettering if it is thick rich black areas, making it even more useful for crafters.

 

While great for most projects, it does not have a cold function and takes a bit longer to heat up. It also can not handle thicker pouches. The nice sleek design and affordable price may make it a winner for most beginners.

 

Amazon Basics 9” Thermal Laminator

 

Amazon also has a 9” thermal laminator is probably the most cost effective option.

 

Blusmart 3 in 1 Blusmart OL288 Laminator

 

Type: Pouch laminator with 3 in 1 function: laminator, paper trimmer and corner rounder

Temperature: hot and cold functions

Document size: up to 230 mm wide

Laminating thickness: 160 mic and 250 mic (3 mil and 5 mil) pouches

Laminating speed: 250 mm/min (9.8 inches/min)

Time to heat up: 3-5 minutes

Number of rollers: 2 rollers only

Jam technology: ABS jam release design

Dimensions: machine is 15.3 x 5.5 x 3.9 inches and weighs 1.98 pounds

Release date: May 10, 2017

Price: $$

Best use: home, small office, crafts

 

If you are willing to pay a little more, this laminator is a great value for the functionality. It has all the features of the entry model laminators and it also comes with a built-in paper trimmer and corner rounder.

 

The warm up speed is similar to that of the inexpensive laminators, with 3 to 5 minutes to warm up. It does however have the additional cold laminating feature, making it useful for heat sensitive documents like photos. It is said to produce less noise.

 

The paper trimmer has 3 different cutting patterns: straight, perforated and wave. It can cut up to 3 sheets at once. The maximum width it can handle is 310 mm. The machine also has a removable corner rounder, allowing you to add a professional finish to projects.

 

GBC Thermal Roll Laminator

 

This is a roll laminator which is great for larger projects. It can laminate documents up to 27” wide. It has an EZload feature, simplifying loading of the roll of laminator film. It warms up in 6-9 minutes and can handle film up to 3 mil thick. Despite the slow warming time, once started it laminates documents quickly with a speed of up to 12 feet per minute.

 

The GBC roll laminator comes with the usual convenience features including auto standby and auto shutoff as well as an indicator light to let you know when it has heated up. This is a heavy duty laminator that works well for larger offices, schools or businesses and for those who need to laminate larger documents frequently. Like many other larger laminators it is quite heavy (116 pounds) and not portable.

 

This machine is more expensive than the smaller, portable laminators. However, it is more functional and worth the investment for those requiring a heavy duty laminator. It uses laminator film which is often less expensive than lamination pouches, especially when used for larger more complex projects.

 

Scotch Advanced Thermal Laminator, Extra Wide 13-Inch Input, 1-Minute Warm-up

 

This portable laminator stands out from the competition with its quick warm up time, and ability to handle documents up to 13 inches. Like many other portable laminators, it comes with a few convenience features including cord storage, auto shut-off and a carry handle. Besides heating up in only 1 minute it also laminates documents relatively quickly at 11.8 inches/min (300 mm/min).

 

Like many other portable laminators, it works with 3 mil and 5 mil pouches and has 2 rollers. If you need a portable thermal laminator that works quickly this may be the best option for you.

 

Fellowes Laminator Saturn3i 125

 

This is another portable laminator that works quickly and is great for those in a hurry. It warms up in 1 minute and works relatively fast. It works with 3 mil and 5 mil pouches and has 2 rollers. It can accommodate documents up to 12.5 inches wide. It also comes with a cold function, allowing you to use it to laminate heat sensitive documents. It has the common convenience features including an indicator light and auto shut off. It also comes with a release lever, so that papers can be re-centered or removed.

 

Swingline GBC Thermal Laminator

 

This laminator is great for use with thicker pouches as it can handle up to 10 mil pouches. It accommodates up to 12” wide documents. It also heats up quickly, about 1 minute, and has a fast laminating speed of up to 39” per minute. This is a great option for those interested in crafts, making laminated covers and more durable signs and flashcards.

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When Little Ones Get Sick and How Scary It Can Be

Friday night was one of the scariest nights that I have had as a parent to date. I have never felt so worried, panicked and scared for my little boy as I was at that moment. I wanted to share what happened so it may help another Mummy or Daddy and stop them for feeling that fear that I did.

So on Friday Bubba had been to my mother in laws, had been as good as gold and was in a really good mood. I picked him up when I finished work, we came home, he was playing and I started to sort things out for mine and hubbys night away (see this post if you don’t know what I am talking about)and everything was normal. Hubby came home, Bubs had his mad half hour like he always does, he had his bath and went to bed just like every other normal night. Hubs & I went to bed at about 10.30 and I had literally just dropped off when bubba started coughing. Hubs went into him and then that was when we knew something wasn’t right. Bubba started making this sound that I have never heard before. It sounded like a mixture of coughing, barking and gagging and it was terrifying. What was even worse though was that when he wasn’t coughing, he was struggling to catch his breath and was making a noise that I can even really describe every time he breathed in. As soon as I heard this strange noise I jumped out of bed and was in bubbas room like a shot. I really thought he was going to be sick so I took him off of bubba and tried to calm him down. As I was cuddling him I could feel the rattling in his chest and could hear him struggling for breath. This was when I started to get scared.

I and Hubs gave him a few minutes to calm down to see if the noise would stop and he would go back to normal. We honestly thought he had something stuck in his throat so checked his dummy, all in his cot and even shone a torch down his throat but couldn’t find anything. After waiting about 5/10 minutes and not seeing any improvement, Hubs got on the phone to the 111 service. I don’t really know what was said but next thing I know, Hubs was telling me to take bubs downstairs and within minutes we had 2 paramedics at the door.

As soon as they walked in and they heard Bubba one of the ladies said ‘Right, he has croup’. In my head, I was thinking..”what the hell is croup and how had my little boy got it?? He was fine a couple of hours ago?!?!”. Then the paramedics starting talking about nebulizer and getting him into the hospital so I quickly ran to get changed as I was still in my PJs, grab bubbas bags and shoved in his water, a bottle, the iPad , Dmoose and  his mickey teddy and some snacks and off we went.

5 hours later, after a lot of tears from Bubs, 2 coffees for me and hubby, some lovely nurses, a lot of walking around a&e with bubba waving at everyone and a steroid syrup thing for bubs..we went home. He did have croup and need the steroids to help relax his wind wipe and help him breath again. Whilst we were waiting for things in the hospital, I had a read up about croup on the NHS website and the symptoms were just spot on to what bubs had:

A child can get croup at any time of the year, although it’s more likely to occur during late autumn or early winter.
This may be because there are more viruses, such as colds and flu, around at this time of year.
Typical symptoms of croup include:
  • a bark-like cough
  • a hoarse or croaky voice
  • difficulty breathing
  • a harsh grating sound when breathing in, called stridor
Stridor is often most noticeable when the child cries or coughs. But in more severe cases of croup it can also occur when the child is resting or sleeping.
Symptoms tend to be worse at night.
Some children have cold-like symptoms for a few days before developing croup symptoms.
These cold-like symptoms can include:
  • a sore throat
  • a runny nose
  • a cough
  • high temperature (fever)

The above is taken from the NHS website and it described Bubba to a tee! The only thing that was different was that he had to an awful cough and stridor first and then got the cold like symptoms afterward. Croup is generally pretty harmless to children but sometimes (and in the case of Bubba) children may require medical attention as their windpipes and/or throat can get very swollen and cause breathing problems.

I really wish I would have heard of this before as I wouldn’t have panicked anywhere near as much if I would have to know that things were actually okay and Bubba was going to be fine. We defiantly did the right thing by calling 111 though and all the staff at the hospital were just brilliant!

So that was our Friday night! And…needless to say…we didn’t end up going for our night away as we didn’t want to leave Bubba when he was poorly and also we were shattered after getting only 3 hours sleep. Bubba is starting to get better but is still very snotty and has an awful cough. I am writing this on Sunday night and bubs have only been in bed for 2 and a half hours and we have already been up to him 4 times…I have a feeling it is going to be a loooooonnnnggggg night.

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Does Technology hinder a child’s education?

A child’s learning Begins the day that they are born. These first couple days the first couple years of their lives are really important for discovery, learning, imagination and what not. As we grow and mature we learned a lot about ourselves and the world we live in.

Technology today allows us to teach her kids in many different ways. We no longer are limited to teaching them with her all the time you can use tools around us to help and aid in teaching our kids. One of these examples or musical books, these books play different rattles Bells beads that really get the child’s brain going, make connections and go beyond the basics. There are toys that play phrases, sing lullabies, teach ABCs and 123s.  Television and young children is a touchy subject and has a lot of debate around it,  some people say it’s okay with people highly discourage it  I’m not going to speak on the matter of Television but that there are a lot of different educational shows that that really do teach your kids something whether they get them repeating phrases, words Etc.

Role of a parent in the development of a kid and the role of technology in the education of a kid is an interesting topic. Parents can use technology to maximize a child’s learning, parents can also use technology to hinder kids learning.  Middle schoolers and teenagers have a hard time in school due to video games computers social media and other distracting devices.