Free Shipping Over $150 Lower 48 States Details

Types of Printer Paper: The Ultimate Guide

Photo Paper

Choosing the right type of paper for printing is crucial for achieving the desired output. The quality, texture, and finish of the print can vary significantly based on the paper type. This guide will walk you through the different types of printer paper, their specifications, and how to choose the best one for your needs.

Types of Paper for Printing

1. Laser Paper

Laser paper is specifically designed for laser printers, this paper is heat-resistant and can handle the high temperatures of the fusing process in laser printing.

Best for: Text-heavy documents, graphics, and professional presentations.

2. Inkjet Paper

Inkjet paper is paper made to absorb liquid inks without smudging. It has a quick-drying surface.

Best for: Color prints, graphics, and images.

3. Cardstock

Cardstock is a thick and durable paper, heavier than standard writing/printing paper.

Best for: Business cards, postcards, invitations, and craft projects.

4. Bond & Label Paper

Bond paper is a strong, durable, and available in various finishes. Often used for letterheads and stationery.

Best for: Official documents, labels, and stickers.

5. Photo Paper

Photo paper is glossy, matte finish, satin or other type of paper for printing photos.

Best for: High-quality photo prints and portfolios. Browse our selection of quality photo paper today!

6. Multipurpose & Copy Paper

Copy paper is general-purpose paper suitable for both inkjet and laser printers.

Best for: Everyday printing tasks, memos, drafts, and copies.

7. Fine Art Paper

High-quality digital fine art paper is a type of paper with a special coating for professional art prints.

Best for: Art reproductions, professional portfolios, and gallery prints.

Printer Paper Specifications


The size refers to the dimensions of the paper. Different regions and applications have standardized sizes.

Common Sizes:

  • A4: 210 x 297 mm, often used internationally for standard documents.
  • Letter: 8.5 x 11 inches, predominantly used in the US for standard documents.
  • Legal: 8.5 x 14 inches, used for legal documents and is longer than the standard letter size.


This indicates the heaviness or thickness of paper and is a measure of its sturdiness.

Measurement: Typically measured in GSM (grams per square meter). A higher GSM indicates a thicker paper.

Usage: Lighter papers (e.g., 80-100 GSM) are common for everyday printing, while heavier papers (e.g., 200-300 GSM) are used for business cards or covers.


Opacity determines how much light can pass through the paper. It's crucial for double-sided printing.

Measurement: Usually rated on a scale from 0 (fully transparent) to 100 (fully opaque).

Importance: Higher opacity means less show-through from the other side, which is especially important for double-sided documents.


A ream refers to a standard package or bundle of paper.

Standard Count: Typically, a ream contains 500 sheets of paper, though this can vary based on the paper type and manufacturer.

Usage: Buying by the ream can be cost-effective for bulk printing needs.


This refers to the composition or substance the paper is made from.


  • Cotton: Durable and used for professional documents.
  • Linen: Textured paper often used for resumes or letterheads.
  • Recycled: Made from post-consumer waste, eco-friendly paper option.

Importance: The material can affect the paper's feel, durability, and print quality.


Brightness measures the reflectance of blue light off a sheet of paper. It affects how colors and images appear.

Measurement: Rated on a scale from 0 to 100, with higher numbers indicating brighter paper.

Importance: Brighter paper can provide better contrast and make colors pop, but extremely high brightness might cause eye strain in long reads.

Coated vs Uncoated Paper

This refers to whether the paper has a finish applied to its surface.

Coated: Has a finish, like gloss or matte, which can affect the paper's feel and the appearance of printed images or text.

Uncoated: Lacks any finish, resulting in a more natural or rough feel. It's often used for everyday printing or writing.

Usage: Coated papers are typically chosen for high-quality prints, photographs, or brochures, while uncoated papers are common for books and stationery.


While white is the standard, paper comes in a myriad of colors.

Varieties: From pastels to vibrant hues, colored papers can be used for crafting, presentations, or to make a document stand out.

Importance: The color of the paper can influence the perception of the printed content, especially if color matching is crucial for branding or aesthetics.

Printer Paper Sizes

Common sizes include A4, Letter, Legal, A3, A5 and A6. You can shop a variety of sizes here and learn more about each below:


A4 measures 8.3 x 11.7 inches and is one of the most universally recognized paper sizes, especially outside of North America. It's a standard size for many office and personal printers, often used for documents, forms, and letters.

  • Metric: 210 x 297 mm
  • Imperial: 8.3 x 11.7 inches


Letter size, measuring 8.5 x 11 inches, is the standard paper size in the United States and Canada. It's commonly used for a wide range of documents, from personal letters to business correspondence and many printed materials in North America.

  • Metric: 216 x 279 mm
  • Imperial: 8.5 x 11 inches


Legal paper is slightly longer than the standard letter size, measuring 8.5 x 14 inches. As its name suggests, it's often used for legal documents, such as contracts, agreements, and other official papers that require more vertical space.

  • Metric: 216 x 356 mm
  • Imperial: 8.5 x 14 inches


A3 is double the size of an A4 sheet, measuring 11.7 x 16.5 inches or 297 x 420 mm. It's commonly used for larger documents like charts, diagrams, and drawings, as well as for printing spreadsheets, posters, and double-page layouts in publications.

  • Metric: 297 x 420 mm
  • Imperial: 11.7 x 16.5 inches


A5 is half the size of an A4 sheet, with dimensions of 5.8 x 8.3 inches or 148 x 210 mm. It's a popular choice for notepads, diaries, and booklets. Due to its compact size, it's also frequently used for promotional materials like flyers and brochures.

  • Metric: 148 x 210 mm
  • Imperial: 5.8 x 8.3 inches


A6 measures 4.1 x 5.8 inches or 105 x 148 mm, making it a quarter of the size of an A4 sheet. This size is often used for postcards, invitation cards, and small brochures. It's also a common size for personal organizers and pocket-sized notebooks.

  • Metric: 105 x 148 mm
  • Imperial: 4.1 x 5.8 inches

Choosing a Paper for Printing

As we mentioned, choosing the right printing paper is vital. When selecting the best printing paper, consider the following:

  • Purpose: What are you printing? Photos, documents, or artwork?
  • Printer Compatibility: Ensure the paper is compatible with your printer type (inkjet or laser).
  • Finish: Decide between glossy, matte, or other finishes based on your desired look.
  • Budget: Some specialty papers can be expensive.

Printer Paper FAQs

Can I use laser paper in an inkjet printer?

While possible, it's not recommended as the results might not be optimal and same vice versa of using inkjet paper in a laser printer.

How do I determine paper weight?

Check the GSM value on the paper package.

Why do my photos look different on different papers?

The paper's finish, brightness, and quality can affect the final appearance.


Choosing the right printer paper can significantly impact the quality of your prints. By understanding the various types of paper, their specifications, and their best uses, you can ensure that your printed materials always look their best. Whether you're printing a cherished photo, a professional presentation, or a simple memo, the right paper can make all the difference.

Last updated: April 05, 2024