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Paper Weight Guide With Pounds to GSM Conversion Chart

Paper size reference metric to US chart


What Does Paper Weight Mean?

The weight of paper is a measurement or description of the density of the product. It is not the same things as paper thickness although a paper's weight can be correlated with how thick a paper will be.

Pounds to GSM Paper Weight Conversion

Use the chart below to compare inkjet paper weight in pounds to the metric GSM (grams per square meter) measurement. 

While weight and thickness are related, you should not use the weight to assume thickness. Check both data points when deciding on an inkjet paper to purchase.

There are a number of standards used when measuring paper weight.  The most prevalent in the United States are the Cover basis and Bond basis weight. Grams per square meter (GSM), is the "worldwide" standard for paper weight. GSM is an easy way to quickly compare the weight (density) of papers.

BOND WEIGHT - The pound basis used by Red River Paper. It is defined as the weight of 500 sheets of 17x22.

COVER WEIGHT - A basis used often in graphic arts. It is defined as the weight of 500 sheets of 20x26.

METRIC WEIGHT - A basis used around the world. It is a superior scale because it uses a single standard. The weight of a square meter of paper.

COVER Weight (pounds) BOND Weight (pounds) Metric Weight (GSM) Thickness example Notes / Examples
22 16 60
24 18 68
28 20 75 4.5 mil Copy paper weight
33 24 90
39 28 105 5 mil 26lb. ColorJet
40 29 109
45 31 116
46 32 120
48 35 132 5.5 mil Flyer / book weight - 32lb. Premium Matte
50 36 135
54 39 146
56 40 150
60 43 162
61 44 166
65 47 176 8.5 mil Sturdy brochure - 47lb. Premium Matte
74 53 199
75 54 203
80 58 218
90 65 245
93 67 252 10.4 mil Photo weight - Polar Gloss Metallic 255
100 72 270 10.4 mil Photo weight - UltraPro Satin
105 76 286  
114 82 308
120 87 312 21 mil Palo Duro Etching 315
146 105 385


Paper Thickness

  • As a rule of thumb, the heavier a paper is, the thicker it is
  • Heavier paper grades are also referred to as "cardstock"
  • The measurement of a paper's thickness is also known as it's "Caliper"
  • Caliper is expressed as a point size in thousandths of an inch
  • One point equals 1/1000 of an inch

Papers of Different Weight Have Different Uses and Characteristics

Light weight Paper:

Medium weight Paper:

Photo weight Paper:

Cardstock (Heavy weight) Paper:

Related Paper Weight Resources