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Inkjet vs Laser Paper – Which Paper Should You Use?

The most important thing you need in printing a design is the suitability of the transfer paper with the printer you have. In this world of printing images onto the transfer and subsequently, to the substrate, the transfer paper and printer type play a role in the effectiveness of printing and the quality of print.

We usually use inkjet or laser paper to print designs on transfer paper. For you, we have very important information on the specificity of transfer paper to the printer. There is no way that you can use laser paper to print on an inkjet printer and vice versa. Inkjet and laser printer papers have a specific coating that suits only their respective printers. Further, if you have a laser jet printer, you will not find any paper suitable for this model.

What is Inkjet Paper?

Inkjet papers are fiber and non-fiber-based papers having special coatings, which accept dye or pigment ink. Inkjet transfer papers are of matte or glossy finish. Silica and polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) are the finishing material of matte paper. With glossy paper, the lamination paper is multi-coated with resin.

What is Inkjet Paper

Quality inkjet papers have acceptable dimensional stability, are bright, smooth, and with no curling characteristics. To counteract the spreading of ink, inkjet papers are porous. Unlike photographic papers, inkjet papers are insensitive to light. The specialty of these papers is that the ink dries instantly, which prevents smudging, blur, or rub off the print.

What is Laser Paper?

Laser papers do not have coatings but have toner powder which on heating with a beam of light transfer image onto paper. It can stand high temperature, very little smearing, and creates prints fast. The polymer toner fuses with the paper to produce images and text on the transfer paper. The texts appear sharp and are easily readable.

laser paper for printer

Laser papers are suitable for laser printers only. If you use laser paper in an inkjet printer, it will destroy the printer. The weight per pound of the laser printer paper varies; it can go beyond 60 pounds expressed as g/m2. However, with the thickness of the paper, the fusion of the ink may not be correct in each sheet.


Inkjet Versus Laser Paper Printing

The inkjet and laser papers are adjustable for inkjet and laser printers, respectively. However, both printers can print in uncoated papers. In inkjet, the papers coats with inks and toners, the properties of the papers changes. For printing on laser, coating the glossy paper smears the ink, and does not comply with the paper. The manufactures use specific coating formulations as per the requirement of the customer.

There are 5 differences you need to look at when you are choosing paper for inkjet or laser printing.

  • The Weight of the Paper

Used by inkjet and laser printers varies in weight. The weight refers to the thickness of the paper. The standard paper of number 20 of 500 sheets weighs 5 pounds. The weight of bond papers ranges from 24 to 71 pounds. Lighter-weight papers are preferred for text documents. Photo printing requires heavier paper. Although heavy papers produce crisper text, consider the fact that inkjet and laser printer have the limitation of taking the maximum paper thickness.

inkjet paper vs plain paper

Inkjet printers do not prefer the weight of the paper to go beyond 60 pounds, which is okay for laser printers.

  • Brightness or Contrast

The brightness or luster of the paper determines the contrast in prints. The more the whiteness of the paper, the sharper does it look as the black text stands out when levels are high. The scale of measuring brightness is from 1 to 100, the higher the number, the brighter is the paper. The desktop printers and copy machines have a figure of 80. The brightness required for photos is usually above 90. Both, for inkjet and laser printer, the brightness of the paper creates the sharp look of the print.

best paper for laser printer

  • Opacity

The opacity determines the ability of light to pass through a material. The light papers are translucent compared to heavier papers that are opaque. Opacity ranges from 0 to 100 percent. The see-through papers are 0% and transparent whereas the greeting card papers are opaque.  Inkjet photo papers have a higher opacity of 94 to 97 than ordinary inkjet or laser printer paper.

  • Finish

The finish of the printing papers is of 2 types, matte and glossy.

i. Matte Finish

Unlike glossy, lustrous finish papers, matte paper is smooth. The photos do not glare in a matte finish and produce high-quality text. Images do not glare and give a soft look. Matte finish paper is good for both inkjet and laser printers. Matte finish paper is thicker than glossy and is usually the preferred type.

printer paper finishing

ii. Gloss Finish

The glossy paper produces a shiny finish on photos. The amount of shine comes with high gloss, semi-gloss, gloss or soft gloss. The glossy papers have few layers to allow absorption of ink. Some have two layers on top to aid in ink absorption; a layer beneath to prevent bleeding. As the coating of the transfer, paper absorbs ink readily, while using an inkjet printer look for the finish with quick-dry characteristic.

glossy paper

  • Premium Paper

Some papers are premium, that prints and copies in any kind of machine. These papers produce bright and durable prints.


Inkjet and laser paper printing are both popular methods of printing with inkjet and laser printers and their respective papers. The papers of the two printer types have two different techniques, so you can only use inkjet paper with an inkjet printer and laser paper with a laser printer.

This write-up is an attempt to differentiate the two types of papers and their suitability to the printers that we apply to transfer prints and texts. Both are efficient, although the inkjet paper has a special coating, unlike the laser printer. The cost of an inkjet printer is less than the laser but the ultimate cost of printing is less in laser as it requires no replacement of ink. We hope this information is helpful when you have to choose inject or laser paper for your printing job.

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