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Which color printer paper is best?

Paper can play a major role in the quality of the printing job. Using high-quality paper for color printers offers several benefits, including better resistance to fading, fewer paper jams and outstanding image quality. You can get color printer papers that are coated or textured for special finish or protection for the printed sheet. If you want crisp and vibrant colors, with a smooth finish, the Hammermill Premium Color Copy Paper is the best choice. 

What to know before you buy color printer paper


The A-size papers are the most widely used printer papers. The smallest size is the A10, while the A1 is the largest. The A4 size measures 8.5 inches by 11 inches and is the most widely used printer paper. If you are planning on printing legal documents, you might need 11 inches by 14 inches of paper.  


Color printers papers can be multipurpose or designed for specific applications or types of printers. You can get paper made for laser, inkjet or both types of printers. There are also glossy or matte versions of paper. If you are planning on printing cards, you can go with card-stock paper that is sturdier and stronger than standard color copy papers. Another commonly used type of paper is resume paper which has a slightly off-white or cream tone to emphasize its importance. 


The weight of printer paper is generally measured in grams per square meter. The thinnest printer papers are around 35GSM to 55GSM, while the heavier versions are around 300GSM. The everyday office paper printer is 80GSM. A heavier printer paper offers better resistance to translucency, has a smoother finish and is better for double-sided printing. The downside of heavier printer paper is that it can be thick, leading to printer jams. 


Make sure the color printer paper you buy is compatible with your printer, as there can be compatibility issues. You can consult the media compatibility chart for your printer for reliable information on the type and size of paper you can use.  

What to look for in quality color printer paper


The coating on the printer paper can play a major role in the finish. You can choose a gloss coating if you want the colors to stand out or a matte coating for a dull appearance. You can also choose a satin coating, a slightly shinier version of matte-coated papers. There are UV-coated printing papers that offer extra protection to printed sheets. Similarly, the aqueous coating helps minimize fingerprints and other types of markings. 


A high-quality color printer paper should have a uniform texture throughout the sheet. The smooth textured printer paper is the most commonly used paper. Other textures are available such as embossed papers that have slightly raised detailing that can be felt and seen. There is cockle textured paper that offers the appearance and feel of handmade paper. Please note that not all printers are compatible with textured or coated sheets. 

Environmentally friendly 

Some manufacturers have shifted to sustainable sources for producing printing paper. Some are even certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as environmentally friendly. Printing papers made from recycled materials is environmentally friendly and typically cheaper than standard paper. 


The brighter the printer paper, the crisper the printed image. Brightness plays a more significant role in a color copy than monochrome printing. The best quality color printer papers have a brightness of at least 90 to 100.  

How much you can expect to spend on color printer paper

For high-quality color printer paper, you can expect to spend $8-$11 per ream. Specialty printer paper can go up to $50 per ream. 

Color printer paper FAQ

What is the best way to store my color printer paper? 

A. You should store printer paper on a flat surface. You should not be stored in direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. Keep the printer paper in its original packaging until it is required to be used. 

What are specialty printer papers? 

A. Specialty papers are manufactured for a specific application or have certain features, such as how fast they biodegrade. They are typically available in smaller volumes and are more expensive than standard color printer papers. There is a wide range of specialty papers including vintage, perforated, granite and parchment. 

What’s the best color printer paper to buy?

Top color printer paper

Hammermill Premium Color Copy Paper

Hammermill Premium Color Copy Paper 

What you need to know: These are high-quality color printer papers that resist jams and offer vibrant colors. 

What you’ll love: They can be used with laser or inkjet color printers. You can buy in multi-pack or single reams. These papers are made in the USA and they are FSC certified. 

What you should consider: They don’t offer double-sided printing. The packaging is not very secure, as some users have reported receiving damaged papers. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top color printer paper for the money

Amazon Basics Multipurpose Printer Paper

Amazon Basics Multipurpose Printer Paper

What you need to know: With their affordable price and 92 GE brightness, these papers are ideal for everyday color printing. 

What you’ll love: Not only are these papers compatible with color printers, you can also use them with copiers and fax machines. These papers are acid-free which means they resist fading or yellowing over time.  

What you should consider: The papers are thin and prone to becoming jammed. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Epson Premium Paper

Epson Premium Paper 

What you need to know: These high-quality printer papers by Epson offer two-sided printing ideal for printing brochures, catalogs, greeting cards and portfolios. 

What you’ll love: These papers offer double-sided printing. The papers have a premium feel with their 9.7 mil thickness. The manufacturer claims the color won’t fade up to 72 years. 

What you should consider: These papers are designed to be used with inkjet printers.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 


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Ali Azhar writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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