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Inkjet paper for everyday printing

I print many more pages of my blog, other web pages, receipts and miscellaneous stuff than I ever print fine art images. For everyday content, I’m looking for a paper that gives me pleasing text and decent image quality—spending $5.00 on paper alone to print 10 pages of a web site with perfect color makes no sense at all.

My paper of choice has been Epson Photo Quality Ink Jet Paper, a relatively lightweight paper with one printable side yielding the aforementioned “decent” results. When I ran out of paper yesterday, I drove to my local camera store only to find that they did not have it in stock. I drove to another store which I usually try to avoid like yesterday’s smelly socks (Fry’s Electronics) and the selection was much better. I purchased four inkjet papers for comparison to see if the premium-priced Epson paper was worth the roughly 40% higher price.

I printed 3 pages on each paper with the Epson R2400 that were representative of the types of general printing I typically do (mostly text and some images, such as this blog). The black ink used in the R2400 was the matte black. I examined the results under a 4700°K Solux desk lamp—typical reading conditions for me. The results are summarized below.

Inkjet Paper Prices, Performance and Comments
Brand Price Comments

Epson Photo Quality Ink Jet Paper

27lb, brightness = 98, 100 sheets

Slightly yellow look, very similar to the HP paper, but a slightly dingy off-white compared to the HP paper.

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InkWorks Premium Matte Inkjet Paper

??lb, brightness = 100, 100 sheets

A close match for the Epson paper, but at 71% of the price. A shade more yellow than the Epson paper. My least favorite.

Canon High Resolution Paper

28lb, brightness = unspecified, 100 sheets

Very bright white—brightest of the four papers, text is very high contrast and easy to read.

Note: HR-101N might be different than HR-101 (not sure). HR-101 is more expensive.

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HP Premium Presentation Paper Matte

32lb, brightness = 98, 150 sheets, double-sided

Very similar to the Epson paper, but printable on both sides, and brighter white. And 62% of the price of the Epson paper.

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The upshot is that any of these papers will produce pleasing results for the casual printing of text, web pages, etc.

My favorite was the Canon High Resolution Paper for its high-contrast easy-reading text, with images at least as good as the other papers. My 2nd choice would be the HP Premium Presentation Paper Matte; printed single-sided, it’s the cheapest of the bunch, and printed double-sided, it’s 1/3 the price of the Epson paper, and 1/2 the price of the other papers. I did print on both sides of the HP paper with very good results, even with mixed text and dark graphics.

The price savings are a bit silly to worry about unless you do a great deal of printing. But I go through about 2000 sheets per year. Saving $0.04 per sheet is worth $80—not bad if you actually prefer the cheaper paper! And if the brand one prefers is out of stock, then it’s good to know that all these papers provide good results. Neither store had the 500 sheet ream of Epson paper, which is what I’ve bought in the past; prices can be much lower in quantity or on the web.

No doubt the archival Ultrachrome K3 inks of the Epson R2400 are “wasted” on these papers, but my R2400 does double-duty for both fine-art and everyday printing.

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