The best printer paper means sharper colors, bolder blacks, and an all-around better reproduction. Choosing the wrong one could result in frequent paper jams and smeared ink, resulting in lost productivity. Our evaluation focused on brightness, thickness, weight, and print quality. We also looked into auxiliary features such as production method and value. In the end, you want to get the best papers for the best printers.
After more than 6 hours of research (and printing), our top pick goes to the HP Printer Paper BrightWhite. This dynamo delivers crisp print quality with a maximum 100 brightness rating. Ink dries very quickly and works very well as copy or printer paper for multi-purpose use. Keep reading to learn more about the HP Printer Paper BrightWhite and six others that made the cut.
Top 6 Best Printer Paper Reviews
#1 HP BrightWhite Printer Paper
Award: Top Pick
WHY WE LIKE IT: This is the best laser printer paper with a 100 brightness rating. It is a great choice for the everyday printing of full-color documents.
- Best for laser printer
- Best brightness
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified (environmentally-friendly)
- May jam on some printers due to thickness
- Frustrating packaging
This printer paper’s 100 brightness rating makes full-color prints pop. In our research, we saw clearer contrasts between different shades of blue and green. Expect bolder blacks and better overall photo quality overall. It is also thick enough to absorb ink without smearing.
We like the fact it is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, a distinction granted to products that adhere to environmentally friendly production standards. All paper is made using renewable forest resources, creating a lower carbon footprint. Speaking of which, the best all in one printer will help with that as well.
#2 Hammermill Premium Multipurpose Printer Paper
Award: Honorable Mention
WHY WE LIKE IT: This thin printer paper is the best printer paper for documents, featuring a 97 brightness rating and a “99.99% jam-free guarantee.”
- Best for documents
- Great for office printing
- Great value
- Crumbles easily
- Not too smooth
This printer paper carries a 97 brightness rating, making colors come to life. While researching, we were able to detect subtle changes in the contrast between lighter shades of blue. We were really impressed with the print quality using inkjet and laser printers.
Thanks to this printer paper’s acid-free finish, it prevents yellowing, which degrades picture quality. This is especially useful when storing and archiving important documents. Bonus points for its Colorlok technology, which improves inkjet print quality and drying time through the use of additives that help absorb ink. You won’t have to worry about that stuff with the best 3D printer, but it’s nice to have it when using paper.
#3 AmazonBasics Multipurpose Copy Printer Paper
Award: Best for Copying
WHY WE LIKE IT: This smooth printer paper features a 96 GE brightness rating with an acid-free finish. It is great for everyday copying.
- Great for high volume
- Acid-free finish
- Vivid color contrasts
- Frustrating packaging
- Easy to tear
Aside from the AmazonBasics name, we really like this printer paper’s brightness, sharp with vivid colors, darker blacks, and high contrasts. Unlike lesser paper, its acid-free finish also prevents yellowing over time. A 20-pound weight makes it thinner and less susceptible to paper jams, which is great for high-volume printing.
Unlike our #2 pick, the Hammermill Premium Multipurpose Paper, this printer paper is less thin, making it better for copying. Though it offers exceptional value, its paper gets wrinkly very quickly and does not stay upright when held. Consider this the perfect “scrap paper.” So it wouldn’t be your first choice to use the best photo printer.
#4 Office Depot White Copy Printer Paper
Award: Best for Volume Copying
WHY WE LIKE IT: This copy paper comes in letter size and comes in a 10-ream case with 500 sheets per ream.
- Great as scrap paper
- Good brightness rating
- Large box
- Some users reported torn reams
- Poor double-sided printing
This copy paper is thinner than multi-purpose and photo paper, and is best reserved for copying. It works equally well on laser and inkjet printers with an acid-free finish to prevent yellowing in storage. Note that we recommend not using it for double-sided printing, as pages may appear wrinkled.
We recommend this copy paper as scrap paper. Not only can it be used for copying, but it can be used for quick sketches or note-taking to discard later on. Though it reproduces colors well, it is a bit flimsy, which makes it better suited for copying. I wouldn’t use it for the best printers.
#5 Printworks 100 Percent Recycled Multipurpose Printer Paper
Award: Best Recycled
WHY WE LIKE IT: This multipurpose paper is made using 100% recycled materials with a 92 brightness rating.
- Excellent print quality
- 100% recycled
- Very bright
- High cost
- Flimsy paper
- Not suitable for double-sided printing
This printer paper works very well with high-volume printing and copying. With a respectable 92 brightness rating, it produces sharp contrast and bold blacks. In our research, inkjet prints replicated a magazine cover to a tee with no smudges or run-off. Ink drying was also quick, with no smudges.
Thanks to its 100% recycled fiber, it is a lot more environmentally conscious than similar offerings made using 30% recycled fiber. Aside from the Printworks name, we really enjoy this company’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions across the globe. The best home printer should use the best paper, which we like. What about printers that are designed for students? Read our best printer students guide.
#6 Canon 7981A004 Photo Paper Plus
Award: Best Budget
WHY WE LIKE IT: This printer paper comes in a budget pack of 50 sheets with a matte finish. It is an excellent choice for Canon Pixma photo printing.
- Great for photo printing
- Very bright images
- Instant dry prints
- Some users reported grainy photos
- Lacks stiffness
- Feels like card stock
Unlike traditional glossy photo paper, this matte photo paper is less polished, producing no smudges and glare. While researching, building and furniture shots were replicated very well. We enjoyed holding the finished product without worrying about collecting fingerprints.
This printer paper is compatible with Canon Lucia & ChromaLife100+ inks. Bonus points for its lightfastness rating of 15 years, which measures the photo paper’s resistance when exposed to light. Speaking of ink, read about the best printer ink.
How We Decided
In determining the best printer paper to buy, we explored weight, brightness, type of paper, and eco-friendliness. Weight (based on 500 sheet reams) is an important factor, with 20 pounds reserved for lower-quality copier paper and 24 pounds working best with multi-purpose projects, such as photo and letterhead printing.
Brightness levels translate to crisp and clear images with sharp contrasts. The brightness rating is measured based on how well light reflects off the surface, assigned from 0 to 100. The higher the brightness rating, the sharper the image. We also factored in eco-friendliness, with our #5 pick, Printworks 100% Recycled Multipurpose Paper, winning top honors.
Printer Paper Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
Printer paper ranges from 20 pounds to 24 pounds. Weight refers to how much a 500-sheet ream of paper weighs.
- 20-pound paper is best for copying and simple prints.
- 22-24 lb paper works best with photo and multi-purpose printing for presentations and official documentation. Moreover, if you’re using a small portable printer for photos, you’ll want to get glossy photo paper.
- With that said, make sure you have the right p[printer for the paper you’re using, which means getting a great 11×17 printer for long paper, a printer for heat transfers for T-shirt printing, and a leading printer for art prints with canvas or matte paper.
Brightness refers to the amount of light that reflects on the page, which you can find on some of the popular photo paper size A4 that’s perfect for photos.
- The higher the brightness number, the brighter the paper is, especially on white paper.
- For photo and multi-purpose printing, look for a minimum 92 brightness rating.
- The matte paper will work, as will a top printer for crafting for craftwork.
- On the other hand, you can get by with a solid inkjet printer for home use.
- Type of Paper
Several types of printer paper include copies, presentations, photos, and letterhead. the type you use depends on what fits your needs. For more info on paper types, read our guide to what is printer paper size. And, if you want to know the best paper for a laser printer, you’ll want to read this guide.
- Moreover, each paper type has its own criteria in terms of weight and brightness based on how vital sharper colors and bolded blacks are to the overall presentation.
- And, don’t forget, if you’re going to print on heavier papers, then you’ll also want to check out great printers for printing on cardstock.
- Moreover, if you’re unsure of which paper works best with duplex printing, you’ll want to read our guide about how to print double-sided.