Not all papers are equal
It’s easy to assume that all papers are equal. The truth, however, is they’re far from it.
To find out how paper differs we need to get scientific (bear with me – it’ll be worth it). The three main ingredients that go into a sheet of paper are pulp, water and filler, which is calcium carbonate.
Filler is added to the paper to increase the opacity, while at the same time sometimes enhancing the smoothness of paper.
It’s not all good news!
Opacity and smoothness can be a good thing, so, with that in mind, you’d better rush out and buy a batch of paper packed full of filler, right? Wrong!
Rather than being beneficial, filler can be costly in the long run. Filler is cheaper than wood pulp so, if you’re buying low value paper, chances are it will have a higher proportion of filler.
So why is this a negative? Well, the main problem is that calcium carbonate is abrasive so, if you’re pushing cheap copy paper through a machine consistently, the drums will wear out much faster than when using premium paper. That means saving a few pence on a ream of paper can be a false economy.
Choosing the right paper doesn’t only reduce the risk of undue wear and tear on printer parts. It can also help ink and toner perform better. Multipurpose ‘one-size-fits-all’ paper can cause ink cartridges to bleed and smudge over time, while specific inkjet paper keeps them running clean. The same can be said for the toner cartridges in laser printers. Since printer problems are one of the most common technical issues that arise in office environments, anything that can be done to keep the office MFP running smoothly is helpful.
Once again, it’s worth emphasising that not all papers are created equal. For example, laser printer paper is smooth and hard and the surface is designed to handle the high temperatures used to bind toner. It therefore yields clearer, sharper prints than other ‘general’ paper. Premium papers, which have a higher pulp content and a smaller amount of filler, are less prone to curling, discolouration and sticking together, once again keeping devices running as smoothly as they should be.
As with so many things in life, you get what you pay for. Only in this case, spending a bit more on good quality paper can save money and ensure offices run as smoothly as possible.