The problem with inkjet paper is not a lack of choice. Not at all. Where most people feel utterly confused is with the huge variety of inkjet papers on the market today. Which paper is which?
The choices are mind boggling. Plain paper, heavy plain paper, glossy, matte, super glossy, t-shirt transfer, bright white, business card paper, recycled…. well the list just goes on and on.
Which inkjet paper is right for you? Ask a salesman that question and he’ll pick up the fanciest, most expensive paper he can find and hand it to you. A far more important question to ask yourself is “What do I want to achieve with my inkjet paper?” Your wants and needs are very different things. We always tend to want the more expensive item when in reality we only need the plain jane model.
Your first consideration is paper weight. All printer paper, inkjet included, is measured in gsm or grammes per square meter. A very lightweight paper for your inkjet printer would be 60gsm. When you walk into any store and buy a ream (500 sheets) of inkjet paper you’ll find that the stock on display is 80gsm. This is a general purpose weight paper suitable for photocopiers, inkjet and laser printers.
What if you need a heavier weight paper? This shoulnd’t pose a problem in any well stocked office supply or computer store. Inkjet paper also comes in 90gsm, 100gsm and higher grades. You’ll find that heavier papers give you crisper text and less ink bleed also. Do bear in mind that every inkjet printer has a maximum paper thickness it can handle. If you’re buying paper in weights of 110gsm – 125gsm consult your printer documentation before you feed very heavy paper through it – otherwise you risk seriously damaging your printer.
Apart from the weights you also have a wide variety of styles. Paper for your inkjet printer can also be purchased in bright white variants. These are designed for single sided printing of important documents or presentation pages. This type of paper is more expensive but if your goal is to impress then it’s money well spent as ther results are truly impressive.
Last but not least we have the photographic and high resolution inkjet papers. When you want to print a photograph, digital or scanned, then photo paper is your best choice.
Matte photo paper has a smooth, almost velvety, finish to it. Any image printed to a matte paper will have a richness of color and overall softness to it but won’t resemble a lab processed photograph. An image printed on matte photo paper will dry pretty quickly.
Glossy photo paper is next up. If you want the best possible results in terms of color richness, clarity and sheen then glossy inkjet paper is the way to go. This type of paper has several layers within each sheet. There are top layers to help with ink absorption and then intermediate layers to store the inkjet and prevent bleeding. This complexity leads to a higher price and some name brand glossy photo papers can be quite expensive. If you want high quality results be prepared to part with a bit more cash.
Before you shop analyze your wants versus your needs – it’ll save you a lot of cash.