Choosing the right printer paper
Once you have decided which printer and ink cartridges best suit your needs, you will need to think about which kind of paper to use in the printer. Many people think the kind of paper they use in their printer isn’t important. To ensure you get the very best results from your printer you should choose your paper based on the kind of printing you do. Not all paper is suitable for all printers. Inkjet and laser printers can print on a variety of surfaces such as photo paper, labels, business cards, stickers and T-shirt transfers. One of the benefits of laser printers is their ability to print on almost any paper. Although most printer paper is up to the task, your prints can be better if you utilise paper specifically created for inkjet printers. When buying inkjet printer paper there are a number of important facts to consider. These include the brightness, absorption, weight and the purpose it was designed for.
The brightness of the paper refers to how well the paper reflects light. Many people confuse whiteness with brightness. The higher the brightness rating of the paper, the more vibrant and alive the colours will appear. The brightness rating could be the difference between a dull looking picture and a picture that is so alive with colour it could jump out from the page. The whiteness refers to the actual shade of colour on the paper and how close it is to pure white. Also, paper which is advertised as being brighter than average will also be smoother. The smoother your paper the better your print will appear.
If your printer paper absorbs less ink, your document will look better. As the paper absorbs the ink, small dots on the page could spread outside their borders. This might cause the perimeters of text and images on the paper to look fuzzy and unclear. To overcome this problem, quality printer papers are coated with a waxy substance which prevents the absorption of ink by the paper. A well coated paper will produce more precise and clearer print outs. Overall, the majority of printers on the market will print at the next resolution on waxy coated paper than on normal paper.
The heavier the paper rating, the thicker each sheet of paper will be. Heavier printer paper will feel more substantial and stiff in your hand. Many people choose slightly heavier paper over normal paper as it has a more professional feel to it. You are less likely to have a paper jam in your printer if you use a slightly thicker paper. When it comes to photo paper, the most common weights are between 120gsm and 280gsm. If you are printing in bulk then 120gsm should be sufficient and cost effective. If you are printing images at home you should consider 160gsm to 200gsm. If you require shiny photographs you will need to purchase glossy paper, if shine is not an issue you should consider matt photo paper.
To obtain the very best results possible you should choose your printer paper based on what you plan to do with it. All purpose paper is generally the cheapest kind of paper available, but this will tend to give you poorer results when printing images or colour. Printer paper which is designed specifically to go through inkjet printers will perform better in an inkjet printer than general purpose paper will. This will be slightly more expensive but the results will speak for themselves. Inkjet paper is also usually treated with a special coating which enables the colours to stay bright and vibrant.
You need to remember that the majority of branded photo printer paper from well known manufacturers is only appropriate for printing at 1440 and 2880 DPI. There are some important points to consider when purchasing your photo paper. You should always check the DPI (Dots per inch) of the photo paper. The DPI is an indicator of how much ink the paper will absorb per inch on the page. If you use a low DPI paper for prime resolution printing this will result in lower quality prints. Often, if the seller does not state the DPI of their inkjet photo paper, then it usually means it is very low and therefore a low grade paper. You need to also check that the photo paper is instant dry. Some cheaper photo papers might not be designed to dry instantly, and this can lead to colours running or smudging whilst the ink is soaking into the paper. Once again, if the seller does not advertise this feature, it is likely it won’t be instant dry.