Printer paper is one of those essential items that people often think little about. Both laser and inkjet printer paper clearly have their place. After all, manufacturers produce both types for the respective printers. The question for printer owners, then, is what kind of printer they have. Nevertheless, customers can choose all sorts of printer papers, including those considered multi-purpose, but they should also remember that doing so can stifle the performing potential of a particular printer.
Characteristic variations between inkjet and laser papers reflects the differences between the two printing processes. Inkjet printing directly propels ink droplets onto the surface that forms the text or digital image. The more complex process of laser printing involves an electrostatic action that indirectly transfers dry powder onto the paper via a laser beam.
Laser Printer Paper
Laser printer paper is generally heavy and bright in tone, with relatively high gloss. However, laser printer photo paper is available in matt, gloss, or semi-gloss. Laser paper requires high strength characteristics to survive the high temperatures from the printer rollers when printing. A smooth surface allows the powder laser toner to more efficiently burn into the paper's surface, creating the fusion between toner and paper.
Inkjet Printer Paper
Inkjet printer paper features varying degrees of tooth depending on type. This is to hold and absorb wet ink that sprays directly onto the paper from a series of tiny nozzles. As inkjet printing involves no heat application, inkjet paper does not need to be as heavy or strong as laser paper. Indeed, some inkjet paper is made from recycled pulp which is inherently weaker. General purpose inkjet paper has a matt finish to optimise liquid ink absorption, but inkjet photo paper includes an emulsion coating which may be matt, semi-gloss, or gloss.
Choosing the Right Paper
People sometimes mistake copy paper for printer paper with typically disappointing results. Although copy paper may print, its thinner and lighter weight makes it less than suitable. When used for printing it sometimes causes the printer to draw in several sheets at a time which can cause the printer to jam. Consumers should use laser, inkjet, or at very least, a generic printing paper they can use for common printing purposes. Those using a home printer should also understand that using laser printing paper in an inkjet printer will produce inferior print quality, but using inkjet paper in a laser machine can result in serious printer damage.
On determining which type of paper a consumer needs for their particular printer, the next consideration is the type of printing they wish to do. For common document printing, cheap recycled paper is a good economical option. However, a consumer should always choose a high quality paper for formal documents that require special presentation. The grain and tone, along with appropriate weight, then become important considerations.