Choosing the right paper for business printing

Choosing the right printer or multifunction product (MFP) for your business needs is only half the battle. To get the best out of your printer, it’s vital you use the right type of paper.

It’s a decision that’s shaped by a number of factors – partly by the type of printer you’re using, and partly by the types of document you wish to print. We’ll talk you through the basics.

The first big decision about paper is really one that's made for you. If you’ve decided opt for a laser printer, either because of your requirement for printing high volumes, or because of its low cost per page, then you’ll need to use paper specifically designed for laser printers and photocopiers.

Laser printers work by electrostatically charging the surface of the paper to attract the fine toner powder, which is then ‘fused’ onto the surface using heat.

Everyday laser printer paper is inexpensive and generally lightweight, ranging from around 80 grams per square metre (gsm) to 100 gsm. The heavier the paper, generally the more opaque it is, and the less ‘show-through’ of text from one side to the other.

Heavier varieties of paper are available for printing brochures and other high-quality documents using colour laser printers – but ensure your paper is laser printer-compatible before using it. Using the wrong type of paper can cause damage to your printer.

Inkjets can also use standard office paper for printing everyday printing - but because this type of paper is generally uncoated, it's usually fairly absorbent. This absorbency can cause ink to bleed into the paper. So while it’s fine for everyday text-based documents at Draft quality, it’s unsuitable for printing dense area of colour and photographs.

For better results using inkjet printers, you need to choose inkjet papers that are specially formulated to resist this type of bleeding. These include matt-finished papers of 100 or 120gsm intended for multi-purpose business use, which can enable modern inkjets to produce text-based documents that are almost inditiniguishable from those produced using a laser printer.

For more specialist jobs such as flyers and marketing materials, you'll find heavier coated papers in a range of finishes. Heavier specialist photo papers are also available in a variety of gloss, semi-gloss and matt finishes that also improve the light-fastness of the final image, ensuring years of fade-resistance.

This article was brought to you as part of THINQ's Business Printing Hub in association with HP.