One question that the Business Supply customer service team routinely comes across has to deal with paper “weight” and how to choose the best weight for a customer’s particular needs. Based on that, we thought we’d take a crack at explaining what paper weight really is, and how it plays a role in your shopping decisions.
For starters, the “weight” of a paper isn’t actually the physical weight of the paper itself, but refers to the thickness and sturdiness of the paper. Many customers get confused about buying paper by the case as they mistakenly believe that the case of paper actually weights 20 lbs, when the 20 lbs refers to the paper weight classification (which has absolutely nothing to do with the actual weight of the paper). The smaller weight numbers refer to thinner or lighter grade paper, while the larger numbers refer to a heavier or thicker paper. Most copy papers are available in the following weights:
- 16 lb.
- 20 lb.
- 24 lb
- 28 lb
- 32 lb
The most popular weight in copy paper is 20 lb as most any copier/printer will accept a paper sheet of that weight. The higher weights (24 to 32 lb) are significantly thicker than the standard 20 lb paper, and not every copier or printer will be able to successfully print to a paper of that weight. For business uses where professional documents (contracts, resumes, etc.) are required, the heavier 24 lb paper is a popular choice. Our top selling 24 lb paper is the Hammermill Premium Multi-purpose paper.
A few things to keep in mind:
- While the 20 lb paper is the most popular, it’s also very thin, and isn’t the best choice for double sided copies.
- The lowest weight for double sided printing is usually a 24 lb paper.
- A heavier weight paper typically costs more money and may not always offer a better or cleaner printing result.
In most cases, the 20 or 24 lb paper is a great choice for most all around printing or copying needs.