As we have come to see many people are confused when searching for the best printer for cardstock. We have seen many people asking about this in online forums. The answers to this question that we came across seemed a little incomplete. Or at least different from our explanation here. We thought we would add our 2 cents.
Whether your purpose is to print business cards, playing cards, holiday cards, scrap booking, brochures, menus or a number of other possible activities when choosing a printer you will need to look at the specifications of the printer.
3 tips on buying the right printer
Compared to every day office paper, as you already know cardstock comes in a variety of dimensions and thicknesses. This means the printer you use must be able to handle these different measurements. On this page, we have provided a few of examples of what we think our some of the best printers for cardstock. However, if you do not like these choice then we do want to explain more on why dimensional (L x W) and thickness of the cardstock vs knowing the printers specifications is so important.
Tip #1 – Thickness
This will be confusing if you do not already know. When we say, “thickness” we are not actually referring to actual thickness. Instead we are referring to a term defined as “paper weight” which actually isn’t the weight… If you are confused, we don’t blame you, Here is a good explanation of this along with a table with paper weight values.
Notice the table provides the “paper weight values” in both lbs. (pounds) and GSM (grams per square meter). If you know the range of paper weight of the cardstock you will be using then you want to make sure the printer you buy is able to handle the highest value in this range. To find this information, sometimes it is in the product description but more times than naught you will need to look in the owner’s manual for the specific printer model you are interested in. Many times in user manuals “paper weight” will be referred to as “recommended weight”. I would just Ctrl +F the word weight to come across this information.
One printer we like a lot is the Canon iP3600 Inkjet Photo Printer its great for photo printer but also handles cardstock of various thickness very well (110 to 130 lbs). There are a lot of other great features that come with this model. The one drawback is replacement ink can be a little pricey.
If you need to print very thick the Canon PIXMA Pro 100 Inkjet Printer has been known to handle 165 lbs cardstock. This beats all other printers recommended. However, one thing you need to be aware of is this is one page at a time. Don’t load the tray with 50 of these super thick pages and set to print. You will need to feed these by hand one page at a time.
Tip #2 – Dimensions
This is more straight forward but still very important. You do need to know the maximum dimensions (L x W) of the cardstock you will be using. If you know this then you just have to make sure the printer you buy can work with these dimensions. But what makes it easy is you probably will not need to search through a user’s manual for the answer these dimensions are usually one of the first properties mentioned when you visit any particular printer models page at a site like Amazon or the manufacturer’s website.
If you are looking for a wide format printer for cardstock the HP Deskjet 9800 is an excellent choice which is able to print 19-inches in width. It prints in beautiful colors and 1200 x 1200 dpi resolution. Also it performs very well with thickness up to 140 lbs. The model is a little pricey but provides excellent performance.
Another wide format model which can handle 19 inch width cardstock but less expensive compared to the HP Deskjet 9800 mentioned above is the Epson WF7520 all-in-one printer. Being an all-in-one this means it can also be used as a copy machine and fax. From my experience these usually print a bit slower vs models specifically dedicated to printing.
Tip #3 – Feeding and folding
A printer that folds the cardstock as little as possible will give the best results. This is usually best accomplished by models which are capable of “rear or back feeding” which sends the carstock on a smaller loop causing less bending when compared to feeding the through at top or in a front drawer. All the models recommended on this page have the rear feeding capability. Another example would be the Epson Artisan 1430 printer
Tip #4 – Templates
You probably are already aware of this but to be clear if you are new. Whether your printing business cards, playing cards, holiday cards, scrap booking, brochures, menus or a number of other possible activities you must remember to have the printer set to the right template for each specific job. Our favorite place to find these templates for free is at Avery.com.
Best printers for cardstock – conclusion
On this page we provided at top 5 choices for printers. Have you owned one of these? If so, please leave use feedback in the comment section below. Finding the best printer depends on three main criteria
- Rear feeding for less bending
Before buying any printer make sure you are familiar with the maximum thickness and dimensions of the cardstock you will be using so you can find the printer which best matches your requirements. Here again, is the link provided above with information helpful to understanding thickness or paper weight.
Also remember as far as bending goes you will want to consider a printer that allows you to feed the cardstock in the rear as this will decrease the amount of bending when compared to feeding it through the top or in a front drawer.