Choosing the Right Printer Paper and Photo Paper
For the best results, use the right type of photo and printer paper for the specific needs of your project. Using the right kind of printer paper helps keep your machine in good condition. In addition, with the correct paper, you're more likely to get the quality images that you're looking for. Understanding the different types of paper and when to use them helps you to achieve the best possible end results, whatever your printing needs are.
Printer Paper Features
Plain, uncoated printer paper is most suitable for non-photo applications. The main difference between the different types of printer papers is weight. Everyday-use paper for most printers is 20 pounds, referred to as "20#." This weight scale extends to 110#. Generally speaking, paper quality improves with heavier weights. Heavier paper—such as letter printer paper—is ideal if you plan on creating professional documents, newsletters, and flyers. In addition to quality, heavier options are also more reliable. In some cases, thicker sheets ensure your machine works efficiently, without jamming issues.
Advantages of Photo Paper
Photo paper, the best paper to use when printing pictures, is available in two types: cast coated or microporous. Ink penetrates cast-coated photo paper when you're using dye-based ink. On the other hand, the ink sits on the surface of cast-coated paper when you're printing with pigment ink. When you use microporous paper for printing photos, the ink embeds itself into the microscopic pores in the paper, resulting in increased color definition and durability. Photos dry instantly with microporous paper, which means you can put them into standard picture frames right away, as soon as they pop out of the printer. Although cast-coated paper has improved in recent years, many people still regard microporous photo paper as the superior option.
Specialized Photo and Printer Paper
Your printer may also have an impact on what paper you choose. Inkjet printers spray ink onto paper, whereas laser machines use toner, which is a specialized type of powder. It's always best to use paper especially designed for your machine. Other options include metallic photo paper, which features a glossy finish. You can print extremely realistic, sharp images with this kind of media. If you want to create murals or large signs, consider printing with banner paper. If you need to create building schematics, plans, blueprints, and building surveys, consider wide-format roll paper, especially designed for engineering and construction jobs.
If you're looking for top-quality printer and photo paper, head to B&H Photo and Video; you'll find many options, including letter and fiber paper.