Paper's weight vs. Printer's lifespan

Kitros

Golden Member
May 6, 2000
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Simple enough.

Does (standard) paper weight affect the lastability of a printer? Thicker = harder on a printer, etc.?


Cheers!
 

Paperdoc

Platinum Member
Aug 17, 2006
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Within a reasonable range, no effect. A common Basis Weight of general-purpose copier paper (also suitable for laser printers) is 20 lb. They also sell 24 lb and 28 lb, each of which feels different - thicker and stiffer. But both should work just fine in most printers in terms of feeding through, etc. Now when you get to much heavier papers like a file folder stock, that definitely can be a problem. They are so stiff they simply will not feed through many printers that have tight turns in the paper path. For that kind of job I use an old HP LaserJet 4. You can use the fold-out secondary paper feed tray and open the cover on the back intended for clearing jammed paper out. That actually gives you a straight-through paper path. Only problem is, there's a sensor that detects the open back panel and prevents it from printing. I found a way to place a letter opener in the sensor and fool it for my special heavy-paper projects.

Every printer or copier is designed to handle paper within a certain range of stiffness. Something much heavier, OR even much lighter and more bendable, will not work. But most will handle papers from 16 lb to 30 lb with no trouble.
 

0roo0roo

No Lifer
Sep 21, 2002
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assuming the point of first failure is the paper drive mechanism of course.
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
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Originally posted by: Paperdoc
Within a reasonable range, no effect. A common Basis Weight of general-purpose copier paper (also suitable for laser printers) is 20 lb. They also sell 24 lb and 28 lb, each of which feels different - thicker and stiffer. But both should work just fine in most printers in terms of feeding through, etc. Now when you get to much heavier papers like a file folder stock, that definitely can be a problem. They are so stiff they simply will not feed through many printers that have tight turns in the paper path. For that kind of job I use an old HP LaserJet 4. You can use the fold-out secondary paper feed tray and open the cover on the back intended for clearing jammed paper out. That actually gives you a straight-through paper path. Only problem is, there's a sensor that detects the open back panel and prevents it from printing. I found a way to place a letter opener in the sensor and fool it for my special heavy-paper projects.

Every printer or copier is designed to handle paper within a certain range of stiffness. Something much heavier, OR even much lighter and more bendable, will not work. But most will handle papers from 16 lb to 30 lb with no trouble.
That's interesting. The only printer I've ever owned is an HP Laserjet 4. Still chugging along great, it's lightly used. Been through maybe 1/2 dozen cartridges. I'll keep your little trick in mind in case I need to print some very thick stock.

I've got some thick stuff, a few sheets. I almost always use 20 lb., have a pack or two of 24 lb. I use the manual feeder when I want to duplex. I'm not sure I'm not screwing up the printer when I do that.
 

JackMDS

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 25, 1999
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Originally posted by: Kitros
Simple enough.

Does (standard) paper weight affect the lastability of a printer? Thicker = harder on a printer, etc.?


Cheers!

Sure it affects, the rollers, the engine the friction on the print head.

However the question is by how much.

I have few printers some use only 20lb paper and some only 24lb.

Both work for years with No trouble at the end it probably would amount (as an illustration) that one will hold for 5 years and the other 4 years and 10 months.

In other words Use what you need to use, longevity consideration as a factor of paper usage within the allowed range is rather silly.
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
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I suppose heay stock such as 110 lb. can stress the rollers, etc. I do heavy photo paper on my Deskjet 6800, and it doesn't seem to mind. But, I always do single sheet feed in such cases. My laser is the HP 4000, and it has a straight through path that I use for heavy card stock and envelopes. It's been chuggin away for several years now. I had a Brother laser years ago, and the feed started getting messed up because the rubber rollers dried out. It got replaced by the HP 4000. :)
 

Muse

Lifer
Jul 11, 2001
37,468
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Originally posted by: Paperdoc
Within a reasonable range, no effect. A common Basis Weight of general-purpose copier paper (also suitable for laser printers) is 20 lb. They also sell 24 lb and 28 lb, each of which feels different - thicker and stiffer. But both should work just fine in most printers in terms of feeding through, etc. Now when you get to much heavier papers like a file folder stock, that definitely can be a problem. They are so stiff they simply will not feed through many printers that have tight turns in the paper path. For that kind of job I use an old HP LaserJet 4. You can use the fold-out secondary paper feed tray and open the cover on the back intended for clearing jammed paper out. That actually gives you a straight-through paper path. Only problem is, there's a sensor that detects the open back panel and prevents it from printing. I found a way to place a letter opener in the sensor and fool it for my special heavy-paper projects.

Every printer or copier is designed to handle paper within a certain range of stiffness. Something much heavier, OR even much lighter and more bendable, will not work. But most will handle papers from 16 lb to 30 lb with no trouble.

Maybe someone can speak to this: One thing that annoys my about the HP Laserjet 4 is the slowness for pages to be ready to print. Some print jobs print as fast as the 8 PPM drive will deliver the pages, but often I have to wait minutes for the printer to get all the data it needs (or else the slow processor is working on things). The printer's On Line light flashes when it's ready to print. If I'm using Manual Feed, I have to watch for that light to start flashing. I wish there were a beeper in the printer that would let me know that it's ready to print. Maybe there is and I just haven't activated it. Is that the case or is there a workaround for this?
 

JackMDS

Elite Member
Super Moderator
Oct 25, 1999
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That is probably a Win Engine Printer.

At a certain point, years ago, the Printer's manufacturers reduced the cost of printers by taking out of the printers parts of the processing chipset and moving the function to the computer's CPU and Windows.

So Windows prepares the printing material through the Spooler and when it is ready it starts to go out to the printer.

The initial preparing takes time because the computer multitasks.
 

Kitros

Golden Member
May 6, 2000
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Thanks Jack - good to see you're still around. Thanks to the other posters.

I am asking to settle a debate with my boss who knows little more than what he hears re: electronics.

I was hoping for some hard figures, testimonials will work just as well. Regardless, I was going on a whim and responding out of experience when I told him that worrying about weight is, indeed, silly.
 

corkyg

Elite Member | Peripherals
Super Moderator
Mar 4, 2000
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Laser printers are page printers. In other words, the print does not start until the complete page is created in the printer. The speed of that process can relate to the amount of memory in the printer.

An ink jet prints from a spooler, and can start printing as a line printer, so it starts faster in many cases.So, for a single page, the ink jet sometimes wins - but for sustained multiple copies, the laser will spit out copies based on the loaded page faster than an inkjet.