From time to time I’m asked whether laser printers use special paper. I’ve worked an many types of printers and only a few types require special paper. For example, thermal printers require special thermal paper.
While special paper is not required for laser printers, there are certain paper types to avoid. Such as paper made for inkjet printers or thermal paper for thermal printers. The coating on paper made for inkjet printers will get ruined from the heat in a laser printer. The heat in a laser printer will also produce an all black page from thermal paper.
Regular paper can handle the heat and electrical charges used in a laser printer without being damaged. Laser printers are designed for letter size 20 lbs plain paper. Still, they can handle other standard paper sizes and weights.
Static electrical charges don’t flow through heavier paper as well as standard weight paper. Heavier paper also draws off heat faster than it can be replaced in a fuser.
Laser printers have a limited range of paper weights. Unlike inkjet printers which can print on extremely heavy paper.
I’ve been working on printers a long time and few printers actually require special paper. But by and large laser printers can use any paper suitable for printers.
Paper Suitable for a Laser Printer
Laser printers can use various categories of paper including:
- Plain paper
- Letterhead paper
- Card Stock paper
- Heavy paper
Copy, laser, printer, and multipurpose paper are all plain paper to a laser printer. While there are differences between them, they’re all bond type paper. Letterhead is also made of bond type paper but falls into another category for a laser printer.
Card stock is heavier paper but suitable for a laser printer. Colored card stock is also known as construction paper.
Similar to plain paper including several types of paper. Heavy paper is includes a broad range of paper types such as cover or index paper.
In my experience, setting a laser printer to heavy type paper has the best results if you’re not sure which to choose. I’ve seen it work better for envelopes too.
Envelopes are also suitable for a laser printer. In my experience, laser printers have more issues with envelopes than any other paper type. Envelopes jam more often than plain paper. Fusers tend to wrinkle envelopes.
If your laser printer is equipped, you can flip a lever in the fuser to adjust pressure just for envelopes. More expensive laser printers and copiers can automatically adjust the fuser pressure for envelopes.
Certain envelopes are not suitable for a laser printer. Envelopes with a window, tie string, metal clasp, or self-sealing are not appropriate for a laser printer. Either the laser printer or the envelopes will get damaged.
Labels and stickers are suitable for laser printers. In my experience labels with rounded corners are less likely to jam inside a laser printer. While ones with sharp corners are easier to peel off, they’re also easy to peel off inside a laser printer.
Manuals and printer drivers list glossy paper as an option for laser printers. This doesn’t refer to glossy photo paper for inkjet printers, it refers to laser paper, also known as premium color paper. Laser paper has a smoother surface, brightness, and coating as compared to copy or multipurpose paper.
Printer paper is a general term for any paper a printer can use. It covers any paper an inkjet or laser printer can use.
Better papers made for laser printers will say glossy. But this refers to the kind of finish in general, not the specific coating found on inkjet photo paper. Meaning the paper is as smooth as can be with a coating suitable for laser printers.
Laser printers can’t produce glossy photos like inkjet printers with this paper. But it will have better results than copy or multipurpose paper.
Inkjet and laser printers can use many of the same types of paper. However, some paper types are not interchangeable. Waterproof paper for laser printers is not suitable for inkjet printers. Glossy photo paper for inkjets is not suitable for laser printers.
The only obligation for a laser printer is setting the paper type before printing. Not setting it won’t harm a laser printer but it improves the results.
Paper for inkjet printers has a special coating which will get ruined from the heat in a laser printer.
Laser printers can print on just about any paper. Exceptions include photo paper for inkjet printers or thermal paper for thermal printers.
The Copier Guy, aka Dave. I’ve worked on scanners, printers, copiers, and faxes since 1994. When I’m not fixing them I’m writing about them. Although, I’m probably better at fixing them. I’ve worked with every major brand. As well as several types of processes. If it uses paper I’ve probably worked on one.