Quill And Fox: Understanding Paper Weight

Decoding Paper Weight and Thickness

When it comes to specialty paper, our customers often have questions about paper weight and thickness. They want to know how it feels in their hands and if they can print on it at home. It can be especially bewildering when two papers, one thick and one thin, are both labeled as 80lbs. How can that be?

Let’s break down the concept of paper weight and clear up any confusion. In this article, we’ll explain the standards used to determine paper weight, also known as paper density or the mass per unit of area.

80lb cover stock paper, 80lb text weight paper

How Can Two Papers of Different Thickness Weigh the Same?

The weight of paper is often a concern for our customers, who care about thickness and printability. So it’s natural to question how a thick card stock and a lighter, thinner sheet can both be labeled as 80lbs. Let’s answer this common question by understanding the systems used to measure paper weight.

Understanding the Metric System

In countries that use the metric system, paper weight is measured in grams per square meter (g/m² or GSM). This simple scale calculates the weight of a 1 meter x 1 meter sheet. For example, if a particular paper weighs 120 grams, its weight is 120 g/m². In this system, higher numbers represent heavier paper, while lower numbers indicate lighter paper.

The North American Approach

In North America, a different system is used to determine paper weight. It relies on each paper grade’s basis weight. Let’s define a few key terms:

  • Paper Grades: Different types of paper with specific characteristics and uses.
  • Base Ream: The size and paper count used to weigh a particular grade, determining paper density.
  • Basis Weight: The weight of a paper grade using its base ream size and count.

The basis weight system assigns different weights to paper grades based on their specific base ream sizes. For instance, cover stock paper, used for invitations and business cards, has a different base ream size compared to lightweight text paper used for letterheads. These variations in base ream dimensions contribute to the difference in weight between text weight sheets and card stock.

Paper Stock Weight Calculator

Now that you understand how paper weight is determined using different systems, you can confidently use our Grams to Pounds Calculator. This tool will help you convert between the metric and North American systems.

We hope this article has shed light on the weight and thickness of paper. At Quill And Fox, we prioritize clarity and quality, ensuring that our customers make informed decisions when selecting the perfect paper for their needs.

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