When printing a document at home your printer shows options for what type and weight of paper that is used. Are you unsure about the best paper to use and for what purpose? Here is a short guide detailing everything you need to know about choosing the right paper for your printing needs.

What does Paper Weight mean?

Paper Weight is the term used to refer to thickness. Paper weight or density is measured in “gsm” which stands for grams per square metre, and this refers to how much the paper weighs. The higher the gsm, the heavier and generally the better quality the paper.

The thickness of paper you use should be greater when doing double sided printing or presentations that require a professional look and feel. There are many other situations in which it may be necessary to use paper with a greater thickness or weight. In cases where your printed material requires a longer lifespan such as an annual report or marketing brochure, it may be best to use paper with a higher gsm measurement.

The lightest paperweights

The lightest paper weights can be used for writing pads and are almost transparent.

The next category of light paper weights are often used for copy machines, faxes and in your office printer. They tend to be about 70-90gsm.

Generally 80 – 90 gsm paper should be used in most printers and copiers. To use lighter paper will cause issues with jamming and paper roller pickups. Stay away from anything under 75 gsm and you will thanks us in the end.
There are a number of paper manufacturers that produce good quality copy paper, such as Reflex, Fuji Xerox, and Double A, and these tend to be the most popular in the market. You can rest assured that their paper products will be reliable. There are other brands whose 80gsm paper fail the test when put through an office copier or home printer, so it’s important to be careful when choosing the right brand of paper for your print job. Cheaper paper is often lower in quality. In such cases manufacturers sometimes produce paper with a rough feel to it which copiers and printers may reject. You should stick with a paper brand you know and trust as it is much more likely to provide a reliable outcome.

Epson, Canon and HP have the best ranges of specialty papers and it is definitely worth checking out what they have on offer.

Medium paperweights

For presentations and brochures, a higher paperweight can be used so that any double-sided printing won’t be seen on the opposite side of the page. In this case, a 100 –160gsm paper is generally used. Paper manufacturers really excel in this area with a really smooth feel and slight sheen being apparent. This is particularly suited to a presentation paper. Printing on this type of paper can really impress a potential client.

Between 140 – 160 gsm paper is still very flexible and the feel is quite soft.

Paperweights in the medium spectrum are often used for cardstocks and for mail outs.

For more durable cardstocks, with a harder surface but one that is still smooth, 210gsm is the general paperweight. These weights are often used for menus, posters and postcards.

Heavier paperweights

When using photographic inkjet paper, the best result can be achieved from a coated paper that has either gloss or matte properties. The gsm for these is a great deal higher – up to 300 gsm. Take care when using these in an inkjet printer as they may need a straight paper path to be successful.

The heavier paper will produce the best and more durable print result and this is especially true when using inkjet photo papers. This thickness of paper is used for dividers and manila folders, and is also 300gsm weight.

Heavier cardstock is used for business cards. These come in different finishes and textures and tend to weigh about 350gsm. Usually when getting to this size of thickness a commercial printer is required as the thickness of the paper will be too much for a home or office printer.

Finally, a 400gsm weight might be used for flat cards or wedding invitations. This paperweight is extremely heavy and this is why it should be sent to a commercial printer.

Inkjet and laser paper

Inkjet and laser papers are also different and inkjet coated papers should NEVER be used in a laser printer, as it will cause a major breakdown. Take care when choosing inkjet and laser specialty papers as their gsm and specifications are different.

Inkjet paper comes in different sizes, as a well as gsm. There are also different finishes available including Photo glossy, Semigloss, Matte and special archiving paper. The different options in the range should be considered carefully, especially if you wish to keep photos or are creating special presentations.

Now that we’ve covered all you need to know about the different paperweights out there, we hope that the next time someone asks you what paper weight you’re after you know what to say!

For all your copy and photographic paper needs, don’t hesitate to contact us at TonerInk.