Best Printer Papers - Your Ultimate Guide for Quality Printing

Printing crisp, clear documents starts with choosing the right paper. Of course, not all printer papers are created equal, and each one has its own specific benefits and drawbacks. In this article, we'll walk you through the 10 best printer papers on the market, ensuring that you find the perfect choice to meet your unique printing needs.

When it comes to printer paper, you're likely looking for a product that's reliable, affordable, and delivers high-quality results. Whether you're printing important reports, eye-catching presentations, or cherished family photos, the right paper can make all the difference. We've researched and compiled a list of top-performing printer papers that cater to a variety of printing projects.

Years ago, I remember using a lower-quality printer paper for an important work project, and the ink smudged, leaving the pages looking unprofessional. This experience taught me the value of investing in good quality printer paper, and you'll find that by choosing one of the 10 best printer papers highlighted here, you can save yourself from similar mishaps and enjoy consistent, sharp, and vibrant prints every time.

Analyzing Your Printing Needs

Woman putting paper into a printer

Before diving into the list of the 10 best printer papers, it's important to analyze your printing needs. By understanding what you require for your specific projects, you'll be able to choose the right paper for the job.

Start by considering the purpose of your printing. Ask yourself:

  • Are you printing important documents, such as contracts or legal briefs?
  • Is your print job primarily for marketing materials, like brochures or flyers?
  • Do you need to print high-quality photos or artwork?

Once you've determined the purpose, you'll want to consider other factors that might influence your selection of printer paper:

Paper Weight

Determine the appropriate weight for your project. Heavier paper typically feels more professional and is less likely to tear, while lighter paper can be suitable for everyday printing needs. Common paper weights include 20 lb for standard office copy paper and 24 lb for higher quality print jobs.

Brightness

A paper's brightness can impact its appearance, particularly when it comes to colors. Brighter paper can produce more vibrant colors, whereas lower brightness levels might result in a more muted presentation. A paper with a brightness rating of 96-100 is considered ideal for crisp and clear images.

Finish

The type of finish on the paper can change the look and feel of the final product. Glossy finish is particularly well-suited for photos and marketing materials, while matte finish can offer a more professional look for documents.

Ink Compatibility

Make sure the paper you select is compatible with your printer's ink – or, if using a print service, verify their ink compatibility. Some papers are specifically designed for certain ink types (such as inkjet or laser), while others are more versatile.


Now that you have a better understanding of your printing needs, consider these key factors when looking at the various types of printer paper available:

  • Price:Determine your budget for printer paper, as it can vary from affordable to more expensive, depending on the quality and type.
  • Brands:Some popular printer paper brands include Hammermill, HP, Epson, and Canon. Research reviews and recommendations to find the right fit for your needs.
  • Environmental Impact:Look for paper that is sustainably sourced and produced if you want to reduce your environmental footprint. Many companies use the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification to indicate environmentally responsible practices.

With this information in mind, you're well-prepared to make an informed decision about the printer paper that best fits your needs. Keep these factors in mind as you check out our list of the 10 best printer papers, and you're sure to find the perfect paper for your next project.

Paper Type Matters

Choosing the right printer paper is essential for producing high-quality prints. The type of paper can greatly impact the final result, including brightness, color accuracy, and durability. To help you make the best decision for your printing needs, here's a breakdown of different paper types and their respective features:

Standard Copy Paper

This type of paper is common and affordable, perfect for everyday printing needs such as text documents and draft copies. It typically comes in a 20-pound weight but is not ideal for printing images or graphics, as it's more prone to ink bleed-through and is less durable.

Inkjet Paper

Designed specifically for inkjet printers, this paper type is slightly heavier (24-pound weight) and more durable. It has a multi-layer coating that allows for better ink absorption and ink drying, resulting in brighter colors and sharper images.

Laser Paper

If you're using a laser printer, opt for laser paper, which is engineered to withstand the high heat during the printing process. Available in 28- and 32-pound weights, it's heavier than standard copy paper and produces sharper text and images.

Photo Paper

For printing high-quality photos, choose photo paper, which has a glossy or matte finish that enhances the vibrancy and sharpness of images. It comes in various thicknesses, so be sure to check your printer's requirements.

Paper TypeWeight (lb)Ideal for
Standard Copy20Basic printing
Inkjet24Images/Graphics
Laser28, 32Sharp text/Images
PhotoVariesPhoto printing

Brightness & Opacity

Other factors to consider when choosing paper include brightness and opacity. A higher paper brightness (measured on a scale of 1-100) results in whiter paper, which can enhance contrast and color vibrancy. Opacity is a measure of how see-through the paper is; higher opacity means less ink will show through to the other side.

Acid-free paper

In addition, acid-free paper is an excellent option for archival purposes, as it's less likely to yellow and deteriorate over time. Choosing an environmentally friendly option, such as recycled or FSC-certified paper, is another consideration to keep in mind.


Remember, paper type matters, so consider the purpose of your print job and select the best-suited type to ensure optimal results.

Top 3 Printer Paper Brands

Choosing the right printer paper can make a significant difference in the quality of your prints. A subpar paper will lead to poor results, and that's not what you want when it comes to your important documents and photos. To help you make an informed decision, we've gathered the top 3 printer paper brands that consistently deliver superior performance.

1. HP Paper

HP Paper is a well-known and respected brand, and it's not surprising that they produce high-quality printing paper. Their 'Everyday Printing' paper series provides excellent results both for text and images.

Here are some key features of HP Paper:

  • Made with ColorLok Technology for more vibrant colors and sharper text
  • Acid-free, ensuring long-lasting prints
  • Available in various weights and finishes, allowing you to choose the perfect fit for your needs

2. Hammermill

Hammermill is another popular brand that offers an excellent range of printer paper options. Their 'Premium Inkjet & Laser' paper is specifically designed for use with inkjet and laser printers, providing consistent print quality.

What sets Hammermill apart from the competition:

  • Contains 30% post-consumer recycled content, making it an eco-friendly choice
  • Comes with a 99.99% jam-free guarantee, ensuring a smooth printing process
  • Features a brightness level of 97, allowing for clear and crisp prints

3. Staples

Staples might be best known for its office supplies, but they also produce some of the best printer paper on the market. Their 'Sustainable Earth' series not only provides high-quality print results, but it's also environmentally friendly.

The key benefits of Staples printer paper include:

  • Manufactured from 85% post-consumer recycled materials
  • Uses vegetable-based inks for printing, reducing environmental impact
  • Offers an optimum blend of performance and sustainability

In summary, these three printer paper brands—HP Paper, Hammermill, and Staples—consistently deliver exceptional print quality across their range. By selecting paper from these brands, you'll ensure that your prints turn out exactly as you want them to. So go ahead and choose the best paper for your printing needs, knowing that quality and performance will be taken care of.

HP Premium32 Paper

When it comes to printing important documents, HP Premium32 Paper should be at the top of your list. This high-quality paper offers both strength and vibrancy, ensuring your prints stand out. You'll find it's the perfect option for a variety of applications, including presentations, reports, and resumes.

One of the key features of HP Premium32 Paper is its weight. At 32 lbs, it provides a sturdy and professional feel that's suitable for a wide range of projects. Let's take a look at the notable specifications:

SpecificationHP Premium32 Paper
Weight32 lbs
Brightness Rating100
Sheet Size8.5" x 11"

Here's what to expect when using this top-notch printer paper:

  • Exceptional brightness:Boasting a brightness rating of 100, HP Premium32 Paper ensures your prints have that extra pop of color and contrast. It also enhances black-and-white images, resulting in crisp and clear print quality.
  • Acid-free formulation:One critical aspect is its acid-free composition, which prevents yellowing or crumbling over time. Your documents will stay looking their best for years to come.
  • Compatibility:You'll appreciate its compatibility with various printer types – from inkjet to laser. So, you can confidently use this paper in several devices without compromising quality.

Some additional benefits you can expect with HP Premium32 Paper include:

  • Smooth finish:A velvety surface allows for even ink distribution, reducing smudges or streaks. Your prints will look flawless and professional every time.
  • Quick drying:The quick-dry formulation means less time waiting for prints to dry, avoiding the risk of ink smudging.
  • FSC certified:This paper is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, indicating it's responsibly sourced from well-managed forests.

To maximize the performance of HP Premium32 Paper, make sure you're using genuine HP ink or toner, as these products are specifically designed to work together.

In summary, HP Premium32 Paper remains a top contender for professional documents, delivering impressive results that'll make your prints stand out. Don't hesitate to give it a try and experience the difference it can make in your printing projects.

Hammermill Premium Inkjet & Laser Paper

When you're looking for high-quality printer paper, Hammermill Premium Inkjet & Laser Paper should definitely be on your list. This paper offers excellent print quality, so you can expect vibrant colors and sharp images every time. Since it's designed specifically for inkjet and laser printers, you can trust that it'll work well with a variety of printers.

What sets Hammermill Premium Inkjet & Laser Paper apart is its ColorLok Technology. This advanced feature ensures that the ink dries faster, preventing smudging and allowing for richer, more vibrant colors. The 24 lb. weight gives the paper a sturdy feel, making it suitable for professional and personal use alike.

Some of the key advantages of using Hammermill Premium Inkjet & Laser Paper include:

  • Guaranteed performance:The 99.99% jam-free guarantee ensures that you can print without worrying about paper jams.
  • Versatility:The paper works flawlessly with both inkjet and laser printers.
  • Eco-friendly:Hammermill is committed to sustainability, as their products are sourced from responsibly managed forests and made with renewable energy.

Here's a quick overview of the Hammermill Premium Inkjet & Laser Paper specs:

SpecificationValue
Paper Weight24 lb.
Sheet Size8.5" x 11"
Brightness97
FSC CertifiedYes
Acid-FreeYes

To help you get an even better idea of why this paper is a top choice, check out these additional features:

  • High brightness:With a brightness score of 97, your prints will be crystal clear and easy to read.
  • Acid-free:The acid-free construction ensures that the paper won't yellow or crumble over time, preserving your documents.
  • FSC certified:The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification shows that Hammermill is committed to protecting forests and the people and animals who depend on them.

So when you need excellent print quality and reliability, Hammermill Premium Inkjet & Laser Paper is a fantastic option. From professional documents to personal projects, you can count on Hammermill to deliver top-notch results every time.

Epson Presentation Matte Paper

Your presentation documents deserve the best quality, and Epson Presentation Matte Paper provides just that. This high-quality matte paper ensures that your reports, charts, and other crucial project items are presented in a professional and appealing manner. With Epson's excellent quality standards, you can trust that this paper will deliver a superb print result every time.

Weight & feel

One of the defining characteristics of this paper is its heavyweight and durable feel. It's perfect for situations where you need your documents to stand out and remain crisp for a long time. Moreover, the brilliant white background enhances the contrast, making images and text sharper and more readable.

Here are some key features:

  • 45 lb (167 g/m²) paper weight
  • Matte finish
  • 8.5 x 11 inches (Letter size)

Color reproduction

Epson's technology ensures that the paper has impeccable color reproduction. This allows for a wider color gamut and a more accurate representation of the content you're printing, whether you're printing vivid graphics or text documents. As a result, your projects will impress clients and colleagues alike.

Ink compatibility

Another benefit of this presentation paper is its compatibility with various inks. It works well with different inkjet printers, including, of course, Epson printers. The paper is specifically designed for optimal results with DURABrite Ultra Inks, Claria Hi-Definition Inks, and UltraChrome Inks. Here's a compatibility table highlighting different inks and printers:

Compatible InksRecommended Printers
DURABrite Ultra InksEpson WorkForce, Stylus
Claria Hi-DefinitionEpson Artisan, XP series
UltraChrome InksEpson SureColor, Stylus Pro

Using Epson Presentation Matte Paper can give you an edge over competitors who rely on standard paper. With its high-quality finish and professional appearance, your presentation materials will undoubtedly capture attention. However, it's essential to consider the purpose of your print project and whether a matte finish aligns with your desired outcome.

In summary, Epson Presentation Matte Paper offers remarkable print quality, durability, and compatibility with various inks and printers. It's an excellent choice for all your professional projects that require a top-notch and lasting impression.

Specialized Printer Paper Options

When you're looking to print high-quality images, professional documents, or stunning presentations, selecting the right paper is crucial. With a variety of specialized printer papers available, it can be challenging to know which one suits your needs the best. To help you out, here's a rundown of some popular specialized printer paper options you can choose from:

Photo Paper

If you're printing photos, you can't go wrong with high-quality, glossy photo paper. These papers are optimized for inkjet printers and provide sharp, vibrant images. There are various weights and finishes available, including:

  • Glossy
  • Matte
  • Semi-gloss

Remember, heavier options provide better durability and a more professional feel.

Inkjet Brochure Paper

Creating eye-catching flyers, brochures, or pamphlets is easy with this specialized paper. It's heavier than standard paper and has a smoother texture, giving your printed materials a polished appearance. Available in different finishes to match your preferences:

  • Glossy
  • Matte
  • Semi-gloss

Resume Paper

You'll want to make a lasting impression with potential employers, so choosing high-quality resume paper is a must. This specialty paper is heavier and thicker than standard paper, giving your resume a professional edge. Choose from a range of subtle colors like:

  • White
  • Ivory
  • Cream
  • Gray

Cardstock

If you want to print impressive business cards, invitations, or postcards, cardstock is the way to go. It's a heavier paper option with excellent durability that comes in several weights like:

Weight (in lb)GSM
65 lb176 gsm
80 lb216 gsm
100 lb270 gsm

Available in various colors and finishes, you're sure to find something that fits your needs.

Transparency Film

For overhead projectors or transparent crafts, transparency film is an indispensable choice. Compatible with both inkjet and laser printers, these sheets can produce crisp, clear images.

Fine Art Paper

Crafted for exceptional quality prints, this luxurious paper is perfect for printing artwork and comes in a variety of textures:

  • Smooth
  • Textured
  • Velvet

When selecting specialized printer paper, consider the desired outcome of your prints, the printer you're using, and the type of ink. With these factors in mind, you'll be equipped to make the right choice for your printing needs.

Importance of Paper Weight

Selecting the right paper weight for your printing needs is crucial to achieving high-quality results. While lightweight paper has its advantages, like lower cost and easier handling, it might not always be the best choice for your project. Consider the following factors when determining the importance of paper weight for your specific needs:

Print Quality

Your print quality can significantly improve with the right paper weight. Thicker paper often holds ink better, reducing the likelihood of bleeding or show-through. This is particularly important for double-sided printing, where having a heavier paper can reduce the visibility of text or images from the other side.

Durability

Heavier paper is typically more durable than its lighter counterparts. This added strength ensures that your final product will not only look better but also withstand wear and tear, especially if it'll be frequently handled or displayed for extended periods of time.

Paper Finish

Different paper weights can affect the surface texture and finish of your prints. Glossy and matte finishes perform differently on varying weights. For instance, heavy paper tends to accentuate glossy finishes, while lighter papers may favor a matte look by absorbing more ink.

Presentation

Using the appropriate paper weight can make your documents, presentations, or prints feel more professional. You'll want to choose a heavier weight for printing important materials, such as business cards, brochures, or resumes. On the other hand, lightweight paper might be more suitable for everyday prints, like letters or internal documents.


When it comes to choosing the right paper weight, it's essential to be aware of the available options. Here are some common paper weights along with their popular uses:

Paper Weight (gsm)Common Uses
60-75Notebooks, Drafts
80-100Letters, Flyers
120-150Brochures, Posters
160-200Business Cards, Invitations
220+Menus, Luxury Prints

Keep the following tips in mind as you decide on a suitable paper weight for your project:

  • Consider your printer's capabilities:Make sure your chosen paper weight is compatible with your printer. Heavier paper may require a professional-grade printer to achieve the best results.
  • Factor in mailing weight:If you'll be mailing your prints, be mindful of the postal weight limits and extra costs associated with shipping heavier paper.
  • Test print:It's always a good idea to do test prints before committing to a large order. This will allow you to determine if your chosen paper weight meets your expectations and is compatible with your printer.

By carefully considering the importance of paper weight, you'll be more likely to achieve the desired outcome for any print job, from business cards to presentations and beyond.

What to Look for in Eco-Friendly Paper

When hunting for the perfect eco-friendly printer paper, keep some key factors in mind. By choosing environmentally friendly options, you're not only contributing positively to the planet, but you'll also find that many of the sustainable options have additional benefits.

Recyled content

First and foremost, consider the recycled content of the paper. The higher the percentage of post-consumer recycled content, the better for the environment.

  • 100% recycled content is ideal
  • At least 30% post-consumer recycled content is a good starting point

Envrionmental practices

Take a moment to research the manufacturer's environmental practices. Are they responsibly sourcing their materials? Do they participate in responsible forestry management? Look for certification logos such as:

  • FSC (Forest Stewardship Council): Ensures that the paper is sourced from responsibly managed forests
  • SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative): Verifies that the paper meets high levels of environmental standards

Paper whitness

Another aspect to keep an eye on is the whiteness of the paper. Surprisingly, the level of whiteness affects its eco-friendliness. This is because of the bleach and chemicals needed to achieve a bright white appearance. Opt for:

  • PCF (Process Chlorine Free): Paper made from recycled material and not re-bleached with chlorine
  • ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free): Paper bleached utilizing a less harmful chlorine derivative

Paper weight & thickness

When comparing papers, check the thickness and weight as well. Eco-friendly options typically have thinner and lighter characteristics. Heavier and thicker papers require more resources to produce and may not be as sustainable.

Packaging & shipping

Also, consider the packaging and shipping methods of the paper. Minimal packaging and efficient shipping methods like group shipping can reduce the overall environmental impact.

Greenwasthing awareness

Lastly, be aware of greenwashing - false, misleading, or exaggerated marketing claims about a product's environmental benefits. Thoroughly research the companies and products to distinguish between genuine and non-genuine eco-friendly products.


By taking into account these key factors, you'll be well on your way to selecting the best eco-friendly paper for your printing needs. Remember that each conscious choice you make is a step towards a more sustainable future.

Final Thoughts on Choosing the Best Printer Paper

Selecting the right printer paper may initially seem like a simple decision, but it's crucial to understand that different types of paper serve various purposes. When making your choice, always consider factors such as the project's purpose, the printer's compatibility, and the desired print quality.

Remember, it's essential to differentiate between printer paper types:

  • Inkjet paper:Best suited for inkjet printers. It's designed to absorb ink well, allowing for high-quality prints with vibrant colors and sharp images.
  • Laser paper:Specifically made for laser printers. It has a smooth surface, which ensures a better toner transfer resulting in clean and crisp prints.
  • Photo paper:Ideal for photo printing, available in a range of finishes (glossy, matte, or satin). A high-quality option when printing photos that should stand the test of time.

In addition, weight and brightness play a significant role in making an informed decision:

  • Paper weight:Measured in pounds (lbs) or grams per square meter (gsm). The higher the weight, the thicker the paper.
  • Brightness:Usually rated on a scale of 1 to 100. A higher number indicates a brighter, whiter paper that often results in sharper prints.

Here's a reference table for you to compare the weights and brightness of different printer papers:

TypeWeight (gsm)Brightness
Standard copy75-9092
Inkjet90-12094
Laser90-12096
Photo190-30098

Lastly, always consider the environment when you choose your printer paper. Many companies now offer eco-friendly options made from recycled materials or sustainable sources.

You're now equipped to make an informed decision when selecting the perfect printer paper for your needs. Happy printing!