Printer Tips and Tricks

Paper Matters In Laser Printing : What To Look For In Paper?

Printout quality does not only depend on toner formulation but also on the type of paper fed to the laser printer for a particular print job. Toner powder was designed to adhere to paper fibers – following fusing, where pertinent paper characteristic such as weight, opacity and coating dictate the outcome of laser printed copies.

All these will be vital to the selection of paper to match pertinent applications and produce the desired printouts as well. To this end, this post will briefly discuss the distinctive attributes of paper and likewise provide a rundown of paper types that is suitable to a particular application.

Weight defines the thickness of paper measured in pounds (#). A 20# offset paper would work well with everyday printouts such as academic reports, photocopies and drafts. It would be more appropriate to use thicker paper, say 24# for business correspondence such as letters and business papers.When buying paper products for your laser printer, you will need to be familiar with 4 basic features particularly weight, finish, opacity and brightness.

Finish pertains to the texture of paper which could either be coated or uncoated. Coated paper has been treated with certain compounds to achieve that glossy, smooth surface. Uncoated paper meanwhile has not been subjected to treatment and retains that dull, unreflective surface. Coated paper works best with laser printers as its surface luster will emphasize printed text and images. This will further enhance the readability of the document and likewise produce an aesthetic appeal.

Opacity refers to the transparency rating of paper. Prints are often visible on the reverse, unprinted side of a transparency when a paper of minimal thickness and weight is used for laser printing. While weight is a major factor of opacity; absorbency and paper fiber components also affect how much of printing shows through on the reverse side. When using laser printers with duplex printing capabilities or merely intending to print on both sides of paper; transparencies with higher opacity will be useful for these print jobs.

Brightness determines the amount of light that paper reflects. Typically, around 60% to 90% of light is reflected by paper which has differing impact on image quality. Images and text are usually more vivid when laser printed on paper with a higher brightness rating. For the printout of everyday documents and reports, brightness ratings of 92 and below will suffice. Meanwhile for collaterals such as brochures, flyers and newsletters among others, a brightness rating of 94 and above is recommended.

Operating a laser printer does not only entail the prudent sourcing of consumables, i.e. toner cartridges, toner refill kits and other compatibles but also the proper selection of transparencies to achieve good quality, laser printed copies.

Credits: FreeImage.com

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