Three Things to Know Before Stocking Up on Printer Paper

There’s more to it than the paper just being white and the right size.

HP printer
Printer sold separately.Pixabay

Did you know that a ream of paper is 500 sheets and takes approximately six per cent of a tree to produce? Or that US office workers get through an estimated twenty reams each every single year? Here’s what to look for the next time you’re purchasing printer paper.

AmazonBasics Multipurpose Copy Printer Paper - White, 8.5 x 11 Inches, 8 Ream Case (4,000 Sheets)

Economical Option

Standard sized for all sorts of printing assignments, USA-made and available in smaller volumes if you don’t have storage space.AmazonBasics

You probably never thought to weigh your paper, but the thickness and opaqueness of paper is designated by a weight. Standard copy paper is usually around 20lb—which curiously relates to the fact that before it’s cut to the right size, 500 sheets of this type of paper weigh 20 pounds. So, confusingly, a 500-sheet ream of 20-pound paper actually weighs 5 pounds. Want swankier paper for invitations or official letters? Go for a heavier paper.

Hammermill 20lb Copy Paper, 8.5 x 11, 8 Ream Case

Supporting Local

Available in a huge range of sheet sizes, including pre-punched options, and volumes.Hammermill

When we’re talking about white paper, it would be easy to think that, well, it’s just white. But actually, one of the numbers that you need to look for if you want perfect colour reproduction and a whiter than white background is the brightness. Measured on a scale from 0 to 100, the higher the number, the more light it reflects. The more light it reflects, the more defined your print will appear. For everyday use, a brightness of around 92 is pretty standard, but if you’re printing important documents and want to impress, you might want to head towards 96.

HP Printer Paper 8.5x11 MultiPurpose 20 lb 5 Ream Case 2500 Sheets 96 Bright Made in USA FSC Certified Copy Paper HP Compatible 115100PC

Environmental Choice

Brighter than most, for higher quality print, this premium product comes from sustainable sources and is acid-free to prevent yellowing over time.HP

If you’re getting through a lot of paper and want to make sure that you’re not tearing down too many trees in the process, look out for paper that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This is a non-governmental organization that ensures that products made from trees come from well-managed sources (where trees are replanted to replace those that are being cut down) or are from recycled sources.