How to Choose the Perfect Paper for Your Printer and Printer Cartridges

15-07-2014 by

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Not all paper is created equal, and not all paper is up to specific printing tasks. From glossy to coloured, matt to bright white there is an endless supply to choose from when deciding on which paper to use for your specific print job. We take a look at the types of paper out there and help you choose the right paper for your printer and printer cartridges.

Photo paper

Getting the right photo paper to print out your pictures can mean the difference between professional looking holiday snaps and grainy, blurry pictures. With the multitude of different brands to choose from, where do you even start?

Most printer manufacturers would recommend that you use their specially created photo paper as the printer, paper and ink cartridges have been designed to work together to create the perfect photo. And they’re right.

The paper has been formulated to work perfectly with the ink to make sure there is no ink bleeding and that the finish remains glossy. Using branded photo papers with your printer will make sure your photos last longer.

But there are still many options to choose from, especially if you’re using Epson ink cartridges and printers. Their huge variety includes DuraBrite, Premium Glossy, Photo Quality Glossy and ColorLife. It’s enough to make your head spin. In general, you should use the Premium Glossy paper for photos you plan to frame or give away, but you should make sure your paper matches your ink cartridges. Use DuraBrite paper with DuraBrite ink cartridges for the best results.

To create professional quality photos with your HP ink cartridges and printers, use HP’s Premium Plus photo papers. For everyday photo printing, you can use HP Premium photo paper. If you’re using Canon ink cartridges and printers, you’re in luck as Canon photo papers are the easiest to figure out.

Look for the coloured stripe down the centre of the package: papers with a gold stripe are intended for the highest quality prints, while the bronze stripe indicates that the paper is an everyday variety.

Copy paper

This is the most common paper type for everyday use. It can be used in both inkjet and laser printers with the minimum of fuss and the most consistent results. Any brand of copy paper will do, as long as it’s not too thin or dull. Typek and Mondi Rotatrim papers work the best and you usually won’t get ink bleeding through to the other side (which is good for double sided printing).

However, copy paper shouldn’t be used for presentations, photos or promotional materials. For school projects and the like, it’s best to use premium copy paper as it is smoother and looks slightly more professional.

Matt paper works best for laser printers and toner cartridges, as the toner powder is more likely to stick to the page than it would on paper with a glossy finish. For the best results, look for paper that is designed to work with laser printers. It will be slightly heavier and brighter than normal copy paper.

To make sure your documents last, you should also look for paper that is acid free. Acid free paper does not yellow as badly or get as brittle over time.

Speciality paper

To make sure those presentations, promotional materials, certificates and projects stand out, you’ll need to use speciality paper. There are a variety of speciality papers available, everything from coloured cardboard to glossy coated paper.

There can be some problems with these, though. Some thicker papers won’t go through the rollers in a laser printer smoothly and may cause paper jams, while others can cause ink to bleed into the paper too much.

The best thing to do here is to check which printer types the paper manufacturers recommend their paper be used in. If you’re in any doubt about whether or not you can use that paper in your printer, it may be best to go speak to someone at a professional copy shop or have your documents professionally printed.

When shopping for paper, there are two important things to keep in mind: brightness and weight. The brighter the paper, the more vibrant your colours and the clearer your text. Heavier paper lends an air of professionalism to your prints.

Most paper manufacturers will give an indication of paper brightness and weight on the packaging, but as a general rule a weight of 80 gsm (or 80 g/m or 80g/m2) and a brightness of 160 CIE is best.

Nic Venter

About the author

Nic Venter+

 is the founder and director of He started the business in 2009 with the idea to sell ink and toner cartridges online and to provide you with a quality product, value for money and convenience. He regularly blogs on about printing and technology. Part of his philosophy is having fun and making sure that he and his team think everything ink, so you don't have to.

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