Which printer paper is best?
You might be under the impression that it doesn’t matter which kind of printer paper you choose, but if that’s your strategy when buying printer paper, you might be denying yourself printer paper that gives you the best results.
There are thousands of different printer paper products out there, so it’s important to consider a few things, like the brightness, coating and weight, before making your purchase.
What to know before you buy printer paper
The higher the number of the printer paper, the brighter the printer paper. When you buy printer paper with a higher number, you are more likely to get a sharply printed image with crisp rather than muddy colors. It’s important to find white paper that has a brightness level between 92 and 100 for the best results.
Weight of paper
Five hundred sheets of 20-pound paper weighs 20 pounds, and 20-pound paper usually works well for general use, like printing emails and making copies. If you need top-quality printer paper for professional use, then you should find 22 to 24 pound paper for presentations and proposals.
Most people use standard printer paper, which is 8.5 inches by 11 inches. You might need 11- by 14-inch printer paper for legal use or 11- by 17 inch printer paper if you are printing booklets, since this kind of paper folds down to 8.5 by 11 inch paper.
What to look for in quality printer paper
A traditional ream of printer paper is about 500 pages, but many manufacturers offer less than 500 pages to keep the price down. Make sure that the printer paper you are considering buying clearly marks the amount of printer paper included in the package so you know exactly how much paper you are getting.
Printer paper comes in a few different shades, including white, off-white and other colors. You might want to choose off-white or colored paper if you are looking for a special effect.
Some printer paper on the market is heavily textured. Keep in mind that some printers have trouble printing crisp images on textured or uneven paper, so make sure your printer can accommodate textured paper before buying it.
How much you can expect to spend on printer paper
Printer paper ranges in price, depending on the perceived benefits and quality. The most basic lightweight printer paper goes for $5-$6 per 500 sheets, while heavier or brighter paper costs $7-$9 and recycled or colored paper starts at $11. Photo paper, cardstock and paper made from plant fibers go for about $20-$50 per ream.
Printer paper FAQ
Is textured printer paper an option?
A. You need to be careful when using textured printer paper. The coarse texture of the paper might slightly distort the image on an inkjet printer, and it might not work on a laser printer.
Laser printers use toner, which is a fine powder made from magnetic particles, wax or plastic. The powder needs to be heated to a high enough temperature so that it melts into the paper, and thick or textured printer paper might give you bad results when used with a laser printer.
What is acid-free paper?
A. Regular printer paper contains lignin, which is an acidic substance important in forming cell walls in bark and wood. The lignin causes the paper to turn yellow, become brittle and deteriorate over time. The acid-free paper is treated during the manufacturing process to neutralize these naturally occurring acids and help extend the life of the paper.
Why isn’t recycled paper less expensive than virgin paper?
A. Recycled paper costs more than virgin paper for a couple of different reasons. There is a misconception out there that recycled paper is easier to make than virgin paper, since it was already paper, but this is not true. Recycled paper is challenging to make, because it’s collected in small amounts from a large number of different places.
After the recycled paper has been collected and sorted, the contaminants need to be removed and the paper needs to be de-inked and ultimately bleached. In addition to this lengthy manufacturing process, the demand is not as high for recycled paper as it is for virgin paper, which impacts the price of recycled paper. One of the best ways to reduce the price of recycled paper is to get more recycled paper products to increase the demand.
What’s the best printer paper to buy?
Top printer paper
What you need to know: This comprehensive printer paper from Hammermill is great for daily use, whether you print with a laser printer or inkjet model.
What you’ll love: This durable Hammermill printer paper is available in both single and multi-pack reams, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and thick enough to decrease the see-through of most ink. It’s also durable and resists paper jams.
What you should consider: This printer paper won’t work for all of your double-sided printing tasks.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top printer paper for the money
What you need to know: This versatile and affordable printer paper from Amazon Basics is perfect for everyday use.
What you’ll love: This budget-friendly Amazon Basics printer paper will give you plenty of bang for your buck with an acid-free design that prevents crumbling and yellowing over time and a 92 GE brightness rating that provides better contrast.
What you should consider: It’s important to consider that this printer paper is very thin and tends to get jammed in the printer.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This double-sided printing paper from Epson is perfect if you are looking for professional-grade quality paper for important projects.
What you’ll love: The double-sided design on this Epson premium presentation paper is great for putting together items like invitations, newsletters and brochures. It also works well for printing with an inkjet printer.
What you should consider: Keep in mind that this printer paper is fairly expensive, and you only get 50 to 100 sheets per package.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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