Buying the Right Variety of Printer Paper

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Buying the Right Variety of Printer Paper

Though it is not something that many people give much thought to, the type of paper that is used in the printer can have a serious effect on the quality of the print that is produced. For some people, that quality is of little concern. Some items are just used for personal use or notes around the office, and it does not seem that the quality of the paper should matter much for these.

If the choice in paper was only about quality of the print, and items being printed are not that important, the choice truly may not make that big of a difference. However, the type of paper used in certain printers very much affects the amount of other printer supplies, requiring more toner or ink over the course of time. This alone is a good reason to consider wisely the variety of paper to use. Choosing the right paper can give printed documents around the office a professional look every time, ensuring that colours are crisp, lines are sharp, and text is easy to read.

To choose the right variety of printer paper, first consider the printer being used. Choosing paper that is optimal for the printer is always a wise choice. Then consider the type of documents the paper will be used for and what features the paper should have to make those documents look their best.

Consult the Printer Manual

When making a decision that seemed like it should be so effortless, like choosing printer paper, it is often easy to overlook the obvious. Many people forget to consult the printer's manual before purchasing paper for it. Whether the information is stored digitally on the printer, on a computer file, or in the old standard paperback type user's manual, every printer sold is bound to have information and guidance to help the consumer choose the paper that is optimal for use with that specific printer.

Of course, most users will want to use a printer for many different projects, such as leaflets, posters, office document, presentation, or resumes. The owner's manual should give guidance on choosing paper for these types of documents as well. In general, while it is not optimal, most printers can use standard copy paper and produce an acceptable outcome. The most basic print jobs. Both inkjet and laser printers, however, print better and use less resources when paper that is specifically formulated for the type of printer is used.

The Benefits of Using Inkjet Printer Paper

Inkjet printers print by spraying minute droplets of ink on the paper. To enhance this effect, inkjet printer paper is produced in a way that ensures even absorption of the ink, producing crisp pictures with clear colour. This is accomplished by using a specialised coding on the paper, and these types of papers are a great choice to use in order to produce professional, high-quality printouts.

The Benefits of Using Laser Printer Paper

A laser printer works in a quite different way than an inkjet printer does. Laser printers use heat to fuse the toner to the paper, producing the image. Because of this, laser printer paper is specifically designed to withstand the high temperatures of such a printing process. When printing on a laser printer, choosing to use laser printer paper can equate to a great savings on other printer supplies such as toner.

How Different Papers Affect the Look of the Printed Document

Regardless of the type of printer used, there are several different options of paper to choose from, each of which will have an effect on the final look of the printed document. While it may not be important for some documents, in general, it is wise to choose paper that will consistently produce crisp, easy to read text, as well as images with sharp lines, solid, vibrant colours, and clear contrasts. The two things that affect that most are the paper's brightness and its weight.

Variety of Printer Paper Brightness

To most people, white is white. While this is technically true, printer paper comes in differing degrees of whiteness, and this is referred to as its brightness scale. Very bright white paper reflects light exceptionally well, and is great for use when printing colour images as it creates excellent contrast to the colours in the pictures. Lightly coloured images, however, such as those that are sometimes used in everyday office document, may appear washed out on a very bright white paper. For important documents that must look their best, consider how the brightness of the paper will affect the quality of the printed image and text.

The Weight of Printer Paper

The printer's owner's manual will give clear instructions on the best weight of paper to use in a specific printer. Most machines, though, can use a variety of different weights of paper, and choosing the right weight for the job will affect both the opacity of the paper as well as its durability.

The weight of paper is determined by how much a ream of 500 sheets of it cut to the size of 17 x 22 inches weighs. Thicker paper, of course, weighs more. The thickness of the paper also affects its opacity, or the degree to which it allows light to pass through from one side to the other. This can affect whether images from one side can be seen on the other side of the document, which is typically not something most people want to have happen, especially not on professional document.

For documents that may be handled in a rough manner, the durability of the paper may be a factor, and heavier weight papers are more durable. For many projects, heavyweight paper is just not necessary. Besides the fact that heavier paper is typically more expensive, it can also make documents more difficult to manage, especially if folding is involved.

A Variety of Printer Paper Finishes

Standard copy paper has a matte finish, as are many other varieties of paper available. Using glossy paper, however, adds a professional appearance to many documents, especially those that include images. While most paper that is produced in a mass volume is available in only gloss or matte options, speciality papers in a variety of textures are also widely available. These textures are often very subtle and add elegance or character to the printed document.

The Right Paper for the Job

With all of these different options, choosing the right variety of paper for a specific job may seem difficult. The following chart offers some basic guidelines on making a good paper choice for some of the most commonly printed office documents.

Type of Document

The Best Paper for the Job

Everyday Printing

For office memos and quick print jobs, use standard 20-24 weight, all-purpose print paper


The paper these professional documents are printed on should be elegant in its appearance and texture. Choose a mid-weight matte paper, and consider one with a light texture

Brochures or Pamphlets

Typically, a glossy finish appears more professional, with images and text crisp against a bright white background. A mid to heavyweight paper is ideal to ensure the brochures durability


A glossy finish gives a more polished look and a high brightness ensures that charts and diagrams are easy to read. A mid-weight paper is generally the best choice

There are many other documents that are printed every day in offices. Choosing the right paper for these is often a matter of considering the importance of the document. An important presentation or document deserves a carefully thought out decision on how the paper will affect the printed documents overall appearance.

Buying All Varieties of Printer Paper on eBay

Printer paper is available at a number of different shops. Office supply stores offer perhaps the widest selection of all brick-and-mortar stores. Online sellers are not limited to shelf space and can thus quite often have a much larger selection, offering papers in different brightness, weights, textures, finishes, and sizes. eBay sellers, in fact, regularly list a wide assortment of all of these different options of printer paper, and typically offer an excellent bargain.

When shopping online, it is important to remember the price of shipping when determining the overall cost of the purchase. Many eBay sellers offer free shipping, which can represent a clear value. Those that do not are often willing to combine orders to help the buyer save on shipping costs. With an item such as paper that many office require several different types of, it is wise to take advantage of this by purchasing the different varieties at the same time, having them shipped together, and thus only having to pay for shipping once.


For many people, the amount of options available to choose from when purchasing printer paper is surprising. Most people never considered the different shades of white, how the thickness of the paper will affect the way the document looks and feels, or that choosing a glossy or textured finish can change the overall appearance of the document. For general, everyday office printing jobs, these factors may not be important. Saving money on paper and printing supplies may take precedence over the quality of paper chosen.

Choosing the right paper for the printer being used, and for the document that are being printed, can equate saving money on such supplies. When the focus is more on the quality of the print, and not on saving money, all of the different options should be considered in order to produce the best quality of printed documents. These include choices concerning the papers thickness, its brightness, its finish and texture, all of which will affect the document's overall appearance. When choosing from a variety of printer paper that is available, first consider the type of document that it is to be printed. With this in mind, consider what will be the best weight, brightness, and finish of the paper to produce the desired results.

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