Paper brand – does it really matter?

Paper Brand?

I recently received an opportunity to compare paper brands.  With all things being equal – same printer, same paper specs, same lighting, does it really make a difference in paper brand?

I used paper from Boise and paper from Hammermill for my comparisons.  Both papers were 24 lb. 97 brightness, 99.99% jam free multi-purpose paper.


Opacity is the tendency for the printed content to be visible on the back of the page.  The more opaque the paper is, the less is visible on the back, which can have an impact when printing double-sided, and is especially noticeable when the paper is resting on a light colored surface.  The first picture below shows the back of the paper when laid against a white background.  The printing on the Hammermill paper (right) is slightly more visible than the Boise paper, and is especially true with the bolder image.

Paper Brand Opacity On White

Paper Opacity On White

The second picture shows the same printouts on a black background.  This time, it’s much less difficult to see the bleed-through, but again, the Hammermill is the one that is more visible.

Paper Brand Opacity Black

Paper Opacity On Black


The brighter the paper, the better the contrast between the paper and the text/images printed on the paper.  This is one of the values that is advertised on paper, and in this comparison, both paper’s are advertised at 97 brightness.

The image below shows both printouts, against a black background, and the clear winner here is the Boise paper.  The paper looks brighter, and the text looks crisper.

Paper Brand Brightness

Paper Brightness

The obvious difference in quality between two reams of paper with the exact same advertised qualities surprised me.  They may not be game changing differences, but they are enough to warrant taking a close look at the quality of the paper you use in your office.  I know I will, and I recommend you do the same.

This post is sponsored by Boise Paper. All opinions are my own