The paper weight you choose for a project makes a big difference in your presentation: 20 vs. 24 lb. paper. It’s all about form and content. The better the form, the more weight given to the content.
In the business world, we use text or bond paper of various weights. Bond paper got its name in the late 1800s when the US government printed US Bonds on 20lb sheets of paper.
Should you then use 20 lb bond paper for everything since it is inexpensive? Is 24 lb bond paper better? You’ve come to the right place to find out more about paper weight. Read on to learn what you need to know about 20 vs 24 lb paper.
Paper Weight: The Five Most Common
You thought you had to choose between two weights, but now you have to consider three others as well.
In the wide-formant world, the following are the most common paper weights: 20 lb, 24 lb, 28 lb, 36 lb, and 46 lb. These are typically referred to as copy paper or bond paper.
One of the thicker paper types is 46 lb paper, which might be used in brochures, menus, and posters. Even thicker, 46 lb paper, feels quite stiff and can be used for any of the previously mentioned projects.
How Paper Weight Gets Determined
The different paper numbers do indeed refer to the weight of the paper. The higher the number, the heavier the paper (which tells you the thickness).
The weight of most common paper sizes gets determined by the weight of 500 sheets of paper when in its original size of 17×22. So, 500 sheets of 20 lb 17×22 paper weigh 20 lbs.
Sometimes you see 60 lb paper. This paper feels and weighs the same as 20 lb paper. The only reason the paper industry refers to it as 60 lb paper is due to the original sheet it gets cut from being 25×38 inches.
LB vs. MIL vs. GSM and Roll Paper
You might also see paper weight designated using the metric system, measured in grams per square meter. 20 lb to 24 lb paper translates to about 75 and 89 gsm.
You might notice the paper thickness given in mils. A mil is 1/1000th of an inch. Do not confuse this term with millimeters.
Plotters and other commercial printers tend to print from roll paper. As it sounds, this is paper sold on a large roll.
Which to Use? 20lb vs. 24lb?
When printing memos and office papers that are not meant to be permanent or for presentation, save money and use 20 lb paper. This is also a great choice for check plots.
The best uses for 24 lb paper are for presentations and reports, and formal documents, such as blueprints. 24 lb paper looks more formal, looks and feels stronger, and is a little more tear-resistant than the 20lb.
When printing on both sides of the paper, also choose 24 lb due to its thickness helping to prevent bleed-through.
So, why not use 36 lb paper when the presentation needs to be the best possible? This becomes a matter of preference. 36 lb paper feels stiffer and more substantial to the touch, and the eye as well. For most printing of importance, however, 24 lb paper presents perfectly well.
More to Paper Than Meets the Eye
Details matter. Choosing 24 lb paper weight over 20 lb paper for an important report puts your work forward on the right foot. When dealing with information, all those considerations matter. The marginal extra cost of 24 lb paper will help give your important work the gravity you desire.
Paper quality differs too. You want the right paper weight and great quality paper. If you buy from the best, you will never get disappointed. Order today from Plotter Paper Guys, and receive the right paper the first time. Need custom-sized paper? We do that, too!