The standard type of paper used in a laser printer is copy paper, 20lbs letter size. You can use many different types of paper in a laser printer. In my experience matching your print job with an appropriate paper has the best results.
For example, using letterhead paper for everyday printing is a waste of money. It won’t ruin you printer or the paper to use it for a non specified use. The manufacturers are just giving you a guideline for what it can be used for. Each paper type for a laser printer is designed for a purpose.
Paper types acceptable for laser printers include Bond, Cover, Index, Book, and Text. These papers are made the same way. Various tree fibers and fillers produce different types of paper.
Though I don’t ever see these types advertised in a store. Instead I’ll see copy, laser, multipurpose, photo, card stock, etc.
Most of the paper used in laser printers is Bond type paper but with different finishes, coatings, or thicknesses. These differences account for the diverse names of paper.
The finish is determined by how fine of fibers were used to make it. Finish is also how smooth a paper feels. I’ve found holding paper up to the light reveals how uniform the finish is too.
The left is copy paper. Inconsistent fibers show as dark and light areas. While the right is laser paper. Homogeneous fibers make a uniform texture. In my experience color printing has the best results with laser paper, also known as color paper.
Besides finish, another factor is coating. There are coatings for inkjet printers and laser printers. Photo paper has a thick coating specifically for inkjet printers. Which will get ruined from the heat used by a laser printer.
Coatings for laser printers are thin and hardly noticeable. But premium color laser paper has a coating specifically for laser printers. Not all paper has a coating.
Lastly, thickness is determined by the amount of fibers used to build the paper. As a rule the more fibers used to make paper the heavier weight it will be. There are one or two exceptions, such as paper with cotton added.
Different types of paper alter their finish, coating, and thickness to produce all the various names paper you see paper is sold as.
In my experience Bond is the most common type of paper used in laser printers. Followed by Cover then Index paper. Other types are commonly used for commercial printing.
A Paper For Every Purpose
The kinds of paper suitable for laser printers are named after their purpose. In your laser printer you can use:
- Copy paper
- Multipurpose paper
- Laser paper
- Letterhead paper
- Cover paper
- Index paper
Copy paper is made for everyday printing is copiers or laser printers. They doesn’t use refined fibers or many production processes to make it. Which makes it less bright, less thick, less smooth and overall cheaper than other papers.
Multipurpose paper is made for, of course, multiple purposes. It’s made for inkjet and laser printers. It’s slightly better than copy paper. You can use it for any printing purpose.
Laser paper is for color printing in inkjet or laser printers. It’s made from refined fibers and offers more brightness, smoothness, and costs more than the others. Laser paper is also better than multipurpose and copy paper. It typically has a light coating suitable for inkjet or laser printers.
Letterhead is also bond type paper suitable for any printer. It’s similar to multipurpose paper only thicker. It’s a heavier weight paper for important documents such as resumes or letterhead.
Cover is a type of very heavy paper. Construction paper is different colors of cover paper. Which you can use in your laser printer. It’s good for business cards, signs, menus, etc.
Index is also very heavy paper. Similar to cover only stiffer. You can use it for post cards, greeting cards, invitations, etc.
All paper is made the same way. Various tree fibers and fillers produce different types of paper. Paper with distinct finishes, coatings, and thickness are called by different names.
These types of paper are suitable for a laser printer. The type of paper you need for your laser printer is determined by the use you have in mind.
Photo paper for inkjet printers has a special coating not compatible with the heat inside a laser printer.
You will have the best results using premium color laser paper to print photos on a laser printer.
Multipurpose paper is suitable for inkjet or laser printers. While multipurpose paper can be used for printing photos, it will produce average quality.
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.