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What is the difference between 80 lb and 100 lb paper?

Published time: 2014-05-18 11:51

The rule of thumb difference between 80 lb and 100 lb paper is that 80 lb paper feels thinner and lighter than 100 lb paper.

But this is the important follow question:

  • Do you mean: 80 lb TEXT vs 100 lb text?
  • Or do you mean: 80 lb COVER vs 100 lb cover?

Today, I’m going to describe the feeling of the paper based on the kinds of paper you’re familiar with. A disclaimer for my fellow paper aficionados: this is a loose description to help describe paper over the Internet; it is not a technical description!

The difference between 80 lb and 100 lb TEXT

First, what is TEXT weight paper? Text weight paper is like regular paper—it’s thin and bendable. It’s slightly thicker than the “standard copy paper” that you find in Staples/your local office supply store.  It’s used for brochures/flyers, thin posters, and the insides of magazines and books.

Second, what’s the difference between 80 lb and 100 lb text?

  • 80 lb text feels similar to your standard copy paper
  • 80 lb text is heavier than your standard copy paper
  • 100 lb text feels thicker and more weighty than 80 lb text paper
  • In terms of price, MGX Copy charges very little in difference between the two weights of paper

My takeaway for the two text weights: For the purposes of printing, you could really go with either. I personally like prefer 100 lb. text for use in flyers and booklets because it feels “weighty” and substantial. On the other hand, 80 lb. text feels more delicate and light.

Thickness also matters: 100 lb text can substantially increase the thickness of a book over 40 pages. If you’re looking for a thin book, choose 80 lb. text.

The difference between 80 lb and 100 lb COVER paper

What is COVER weight paper? Cover weight paper is sometimes called cardstock—it’s thicker, stiffer, and feels like a card. It’s frequently used for the covers of books (hence the name), in business cards, and postcards.

So what’s the difference between 80 lb and 100 lb cover? This question is especially tricky to answer over the Internet, so bear with me:

  • For reference: most business cards and postcards are printed in 100 lb cover or thicker (i.e. 14 pt cardstock is thicker than 100 lb cover)
  • 80 lb cover feels like a thin cardstock
  • 100 lb cover feels more like a “regular” cardstock

My takeaway for the two cover weights: I’d recommend going with 100 lb cover for most book applications, because I prefer the substantial feeling. 100 lb. cover is good for perfect bound & spiral bound book covers. For saddle-stitched booklets, I’d lean more towards the 80 lb cover because they tend to be thinner books.

For those people printing cards (business cards and postcards), the rules are different. I recommend going with 100 lb cover or thicker. I recommend printing 14 pt cardstock for cards; 100 lb cover feels thin for a card.