Guide to Selecting the Correct Paper by Weight

Understanding paperweights can be difficult. Paperworks.com designed this chart in order to clarify the different terms you may hear in association with paperweight. The term paperweight, and number corresponding with each weight, refers to the thickness and sturdiness of the paper, not to the actual weight of a sheet. This is why, sometimes, the same “weight” paper may be referred to as two different things. For instance, regular everyday copy paper is most commonly referred to as a “20 lb. bond” but may also be referred to as a “50 lb. text weight.” To eliminate as much confusion as possible, they have chosen GSM as a conversion reference point because it is a definite and universal measure of the paper. GSM stands for grams per square meter, which is the actual weight of a sheet.

In order from lightest weight to heaviest…

GSM Weight Description
74 20lb bond/50lb text Most often found in your everyday copy machine.
90 24lb bond/60lb text Generally multipurpose paper used in the office printer. Also the most popular business letterhead or stationary weight.
105 28lb bond/70lb text Perfect weight for brochures and presentations. Excellent for 2-sided printing with minimal show through.
120 32lb bond/80lb text Perfect weight for brochures and presentations. Excellent for 2-sided printing with minimal show through, while being slightly heavier than the 28lb.
145 67lb Bristol Often considered the lightest of the cardstocks, great for self mailers with a flexible “soft feel” quick drying surface.
165 90lb index A durable cardstock with a smooth, hard surface for medium applications.
175 65lb cover A sturdy stock with a superb “soft feel” fast drying surface. Great for postcards, menus and posters.
200 110lb index Both 90 and 110lb index are the common weights for tabs, dividers and manila folders. The average weight of an index card for heavier applications.
215 80lb cover A heavy cardstock, your most conventional business card weight. Available in a wide variety of textures and finishes. This sheet is printed on 80lb cover.
255 140lb index For super heavy weight applications.
260 100lb cover A noticeably heavier cardstock often used for flat cards or invitations.