The IT Professional’s Guide to Buying Paper

Often, IT professionals are tasked with purchasing certain office supplies, such as the paper for the office’s printers. The right paper can make a lot of difference in your office’s print jobs, but paper quality isn’t something many people outside of publishing think about often. Fortunately, there are some simple questions that can make paper choice a little easier for the IT professional.

What Type of Printer is It? 

Most offices use laser printers and copiers for general use. Some offices, and some departments or individuals in your business, may use inkjet printers for specialized projects. Paper suppliers design paper differently for laser and inkjet printers because of the different ways the ink prints onto the paper.

  • Use inkjet printers for higher-quality projects, like photo printing.
  • If you use general purpose paper in an inkjet printer, the paper absorbs the ink differently, which makes the images fuzzy. This applies even for text.
  • You’ll want to use a higher quality paper specially designed for inkjet printers.
  • Premium paper is made using a smoother surface, which helps prevent the ink from absorbing and becoming fuzzy.
  • For images, and many other projects, coated paper works best.

Special notes include: Avoid a coated paper in a laser printer. The heat from the laser melts the coating. You do, however, want to use high quality smooth paper, especially if the printer uses multiple ink colors. More layers means the ink may spread more, losing definition. Smoother paper prevents this. For printers that use only black ink, general purpose or copy paper is usually fine.

Read more: How to Assess Your Paper Buying

How Do I Choose Paper Specifications?

Most people choose paper by weight. For general office use, 24 lb paper is probably the best bet. You can use 20 lb, but keep in mind that it is really meant only for internal print jobs, such as copies of an office memo. You may need to print letters to customers or other documents that will be seen externally, and you can evade the cumbersome process of switching paper by using only premium paper. It is better to get the heavier weight as a solution.

With Double A, colors do not bleed through the paper. This saves the added expense of choosing a heavier weight- for example 30 lb. paper. One thing you should keep in mind is that your printer is designed and tested using specific paper weights. You do not want to use paper that is too heavy – or even too light. Check the printer manufacturer’s specifications for paper weight recommendations and use those in your paper selection.

Paper brightness is easier for general office use. Use the brightest (100) paper, which allows you to print crisper images and text.

Is the Paper Affordable and Environmentally Friendly?

For general office use, the type of paper and weight plays a big role in paper selection. High quality paper helps your office’s printer and employees perform better on a daily basis. You should also consider whether the price fits in your budget. For general use, look for an affordable, but high-quality, solution. Also, look at the company’s business practices. Do they use sustainable harvesting? Do they care about the preservation of forests?

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right paper for your office. When you look at these carefully, you can select an affordable, high-quality paper that not only provides you with the best printed documents, but also provides you with peace of mind for many years to come.