Best Weight & Stock Types Explained


card thickness

We have a vast range of card stocks, papers and materials in which we print. Below we have provided a very detailed explanation of most of our stocks to assist you in choosing the best cardstock for your order.

Simplified Comparison & Explanation

10pt, 12pt, 14pt and 16pt are industry standard cardstocks generally available in most printshop across the united states. Popular uses include postcards, business cards and flyers. A standard business card or postcard will 10pt to 16pt.

A business card thats twice as thick will be about 20pt to 32pt approximately depending on starting stocks being duplexed.

A business card that is 3 times as thick as a standard business card will be approximately 30pt to 48pt.

A credit card is about 26pt to 32pt

The thinnest flimsiest business cards on the market are 8pt and 10pt standard cardstock.

Dime: 20pt to 24pt

Quarter: 30pt to 40pt

Nickel: 40pt to 50pt

In detail paper & card explanation

PT vs LB vs GSM

The reason you find a weight measurement gsm (grammes per square meter) is because paper and card is sold by the metric tonne to suppliers in Europe (primarily), and so is priced to that format.

In the United States, the most popular way of measuring paper & card stock is in "lbs" or "#" (pounds) since paper & card is measured as pounds per square foot.

Card is sold using both caliper and weight to give the buyer more information. Commercially available paper/card for printing usually is only sold as pt especially when dealing with very thick stocks.

AIthough weight and thickness usually correspond, it is not always the case. For instance, an embossed card with a raised design may be thicker because of the embossing, but not necessarily heavier. So if you want a sturdy card, look at the gsm or lb measurement rather than the thickness, whenever we don't always provide the gsm or lbs on thicker stocks so it is best to come in and view a sample in person.



Are you finding paper weights to be confusing?  Why is 80 lb. "text" paper lighter and thinner than 65 lb. "cover"?  Paper math is confusing, so we will skip the math and summarize as follows:

Paper weight is measured in LBS (pounds) and GSM (grams per square meter)
BUT Paper weight alone does not adequately describe the weight of paper
The TYPE of paper is a key element
Paper comes in many types or categories, here are a few:
Bond, Book, Text, Index, Bristol, and Cover

Each category has a different "standard sheet" size known as FOLIO or "parent sheet"
Paper weight, also known as BASIS WEIGHT is measured in pounds per 500 sheets within it's category
If 500 sheets of a standard sheet in a category weights 100 lbs., then the paper weight / basis weight of that type of paper will be 100 lb.
Each category of paper has a unique “basis weight”

As a rule of thumb, the heavier a paper is, the thicker it is
The measurement of a paper's thickness is also known as it's "Caliper"
Caliper is expressed as a point size in thousandths of an inch
One point equals 1/1000 of an inch
Here is a chart to further illustrate:


Cover Stock vs Cardstock | Differences
In searching for one or the other you may be confused as to which is which. They are actually one and the same. Cover stock, more commonly known as card stock, is paper stock that is a lot thicker than normal paper, making it more durable. Read more about cover stock vs cardstock here.

What is Cardstock Used For?
Because of its thicker and higher quality nature, it is better for more formal situations than simply turning in a paper or doing homework. For example -  invitations, resumes, and even menus are all great uses of card stock. Although they aren't mandatory for any of these media, they give whatever you are passing out the impression that it is more polished rather than using your typical 8.5x11 paper.

What kind of cardstock paper is right for me?
It depends on what kinds of goals you have for your project. Are you looking for cardstock printing for wedding invitations or birthday invitations? A traditional cardstock 5 x 7 or cardstock 4 x 6 is suitable for most events that want to stay within general guidelines. If you’re looking to hand out baby announcements for your holiday ball and want to make a big statement, a 5x7 cardstock print should do the trick! You also have the option to fold any cardstock to make a classic folded invitation. The point in front of cardstock determines the thickness you will want to choose for your printing needs. It comes in a variety of thicknesses. 10pt, 12pt, 16pt and 24pt are all common thickness for cardstock prints. 12pt cardstock is one of the most popular choices for today cardstock printing needs although there are other sizes on the market.What is cardstock?

How Thick is cardstock paper - What thicknesses are available?
Although this varies from shop to shop and country by country, it is usually measured in points or mils, which is defined as how the thick the sheet is in thousands of an inch. For example, 8 mils or points is .008 of an inch. So if you're wondering how thick 16pt card stock is, then you just need to move the decimal over 3 spots to the left.

12pt card stock, or .012 mil
14pt card stock, or .014 mil
16pt card stock, or .016 mil
In the U.S., card stock thickness is usually measured in points or mils which is the thickness of the sheet in thousandths of an inch. For example, a 10 pt. card is 0.010 in (0.254 mm) thick (roughly corresponding to a weight of 250 g/m2), and 12 pt. is 0.012 in (0.3048 mm).

What are cardstock printing sizes I can choose from?
Small cardstock 5 x 7
Medium cardstock 4 x 6
Large 12x24 cardstock
And medium 12x24 cardstock is the most significant option for your cardstock printing needs.
Standard Cardstock Weight
What weight is cardstock? Although there are different definitions of cardstock across countries, in the US the typical weight is about 250 g/m. In the U.S., card stock thickness is usually measured in points or mils which is the thickness of the sheet in thousandths of an inch. For example, a 10 pt. card is 0.010 in (0.254 mm) thick (roughly corresponding to a weight of 250 g/m^2, and 12 pt. is 300 g/m^2. Of course, there are other thicknesses and therefore weights of this type of material, but these are the most common thicknesses.

What size should I choose for my cardstock?
Cardstock 5 x 7 and cardstock 4 x 6 are the most popular. If images are essential to your brand, then cardstock 4 x 6 is a great affordable way to save money— While getting your message out. Printed postcards are also affordable to send in the mail.  In 2018 postcards only cost $0.35 to mail to your clients. Printing cost is lower for smaller printed cardstock than jumbo sizes. If you want to have lots of copy on your advertising printed cardstock postcard for mailing, go big but not too big! Cardstock 5 x 7 will give you more bang for your buck in the space department. Therefore you'll have a minimal amount of extra cost. You’ll have more room to have sales copy and graphics on the right size card. Because you have plenty of room for white space, your card won't look too cluttered. If you want to promote various packages, a sale or need to educate potential customers, get the big postcard. As a result, you can get more of your message out efficiently and affordable.postcard printing

Cardstock weight for postcards
There is some confusion between cover stock and cardstock. Cardstock is generally measured by weight, and coverstock is measured by points. Many printers and people use the same measurements for both. You can read more about cardstock vs coverstock here. Cardstock weight for postcards depends on your preference. You can go with a 12pt cardstock or the thicker 24 pt cardstock if you want something a little thicker. The heavier the weight, the more durable your postcard will be.

Cardstock weight for invitations can also vary greatly
Most people opt for the thicker cardstock for invitations. Especially when it comes to wedding invitations, bridal showers invitations, graduations parties, or baby shower invitations. These are special occasions for people, and you want to make sure that your guests know it’s a big deal by having a high-quality printed invitation. This is the time to splurge and get the cardstock you love! If you are leaving your invitations flat, the thicker option is a great way to go.

What are the benefits of using cardstock?
If you want to have cardstock photo prints, you can get full-color cardstock 5 x 7, cardstock, 4 x 6, cardstock 12 x 12 or even jumbo 12x24 cardstock images. You will make a statement with your cardstock photo prints due to the heavy-weight paper. Cardstock photo prints are also a good option for businesses that want to promote their products or services. Printing cardstock is an affordable way to add a personalized touch to your business and target your customers. Printing cardstock can engage customers and remind them of upcoming sales, or a new website or product launch.

What kind of finishes can I get for printing cardstock?
Uncoated: Has a high-quality look for a subtle look for your business.
Gloss: gives your 12pt cardstock a beautiful shine that will enhance your images.
Matte: Often used by luxury brands. It has a silky smooth finish and is easy on the eyes.
High Gloss UV: Has extra shiny qualities that are eye-catching and helps color pop.
Having a full-size Cardstock 12 x 12 print is an excellent way to have durable small posters to show off sales and new products in your stores. Using a matte finish will give your brand that extra edge.

What are other types of cardstock options available for my business?
Cardstock photo printing can help your business create a memorable brand that potential customers will remember. Here are the most common card stock printing types of cardstock: Textured— Thie kind of cardstock has options for texture and color. You can pick the kind that is best for your needs Colored— Many cardstock printing ideas can tie in the right color that goes in with your color scheme.


What Kind Of Paper Are Business Cards Printed On?
Classic business cards are printed most commonly on 14-point cardstock (thick), 16-point cardstock (thicker), and 100 lb. gloss cover (thin). These are the 3 most common kinds of paper used to print classic business cards. But, there are even more upgraded business card paper weight options available.

To help you visualize the difference between the 3 paper stocks: 100 lb gloss cover is thinner, less dense, and more bendable than 14 point and 16 point paper.

Today I’m going to be writing about the popular kinds of business card papers. This way you can get a better sense of what different printing companies use for standard size business cards.

Paper Types

Many small local printing companies and office supply stores will print on 100 lb. gloss cover. This business card paper weight is easier for small printing companies to print on because 100 lb gloss cover can be printed on common office copy machines. Thicker and heavier stocks like 14 point and 16 point require a heavy-duty printing press.

100 lb gloss cover is a cardstock. If you receive a lot of different business cards, you’ll notice that 100 lb gloss cover cards are more bendable and thin compared to the standard card. It works perfectly well for a convenient and cheap business card.

Let me repeat: 100 lb gloss cover feels perfectly fine, and it doesn’t feel cheap. Many new customers (coming from a small business, freelance, or personal background) show us the 100 lb gloss cover business cards they’re already using. Some are perfectly content with the thinner paper. Since they may not exchange business cards frequently, they are content with that paper.

14/16 point cardstock are the most popular business card paper types
Your business card is the first way that you will be remembered by a potential client or connection. Printivity wants to offer high-quality paper options, like 14pt Cardstock and 16pt “Extra-Thick” Cardstock, for business cards at affordable prices. Both paper options give a luxury appearance with a durable feel.

Business cards are meant to last, whether on a card holding rack, inside a person’s wallet, or even floating around in a person’s pocket or purse. 100 lb cover business cards easily get bent and rip. However, 14pt and 16pt business cards thickness can withstand more wear and tear.

Thick and Uncoated Classic Business Cards
Passing out unconventional business cards is the easiest way to make a lasting impression. There are numerous types of luxury business cards available, but sometimes a simple upgrade may be all you need! Printivity has added 2 new paper options to classic business cards: 24 point and 32 point Uncoated Cardstock. 

Unlike 16 point and 14 point semigloss cardstocks, these new paper options are thicker, more durable, and textured. What stands out the most about 24 point and 32 point classic business cards is the uncoated finish. Business cards are commonly printed on semi-gloss paper finish for the smooth feel of gloss coated with less glare. Uncoated paper doesn’t have added coating. This feature allows you to feel the natural texture and eliminates any glare or shine. The texture of uncoated paper makes it the easiest paper type to write on with a pen or pencil without smearing. 

A successful business card depends on many factors, including concise information, attractive design, and durable paper. Durability is one of the most important elements that you should consider in your business card. The longer that your business card can sustain normal wear and tear increases the probability of the customer contacting you. Show that your company is built to last when you hand over a 24 or 32 point classic business card. The extreme thickness of these business card paper weights are less likely to bend or fray compared to less thick paper types.

How To Choose the Best Classic Business Card Paper Paper Weight
If you were to go through your own stack of business cards from acquaintances, the most popular paper option would be 14 point cardstock. You can feel the slight thickness difference between 14 point and 16 point cardstocks. So how do you choose business card stock that will work for you?

The first point to consider is your budget. 14 point cardstock is the more cost-effective option for business cards compared to 16 point cardstock. If you have a little more money to spend and you want to produce luxury business cards, it is recommended to choose 16 point. For an even more professional feel, consider upgrading to the 24 point or 32 point paper weight. 

The second point to consider is storage space. Business cards are usually held in wallets or briefcases so that they are readily available. If you want to hold the most amount of business cards, choose 14 point cardstock. The last point to consider is the level of professionalism that you want to exude. 14 point considered a high-quality paper, however thicker cardstocks give a higher level of professionalism and luxury.

Upgrade to a Luxury Business Card
When you want the paper to speak more about your brand than just your design, choose a luxury business card option. Printivity offers a variety of business card paper with different colors, sizes, textures, and thicknesses that are guaranteed to elevate your brand. 

Kraft business cards are a very unique paper option available because it has a natural brown color with a recycled paper feel. In addition to the one of a kind paper, this is the only paper type available that allows for white ink printing. Kraft business cards are available at 18pt cardstock for a durable business card that will last.

Appeal to your customer’s sense of touch with the raised cross-hatched texture on light-weight 100 lb linen business cards. Colorful designs stand out against the bright-white linen paper. Choose to shimmer in the light with the 14pt pearlescent metallic effects of pearl business cards. This one of a kind paper type will stand out against every other paper type available.

The next 2 business card paper options are double the size of the 16 pt original business card paper type, at 32 pt thickness. However, the way that these two options are created makes them distinctively different. 

To make it easier for our more interested and substrate trained customer, here is a list of our more popular stocks used. Please keep in mind that because we are a commercial printing company not always can we guarantee the exact stocks below, however you will receive something of comparable quality.

NameTypeCoatingCaliper OEMCaliper SOLD ASMillBrandGrade/FinishBasis WeightGSM-G/M2GrainBrightnessSmoothnessGlossOpacityCertificationProductSkuPPIItem #
10pt ucCard                  
10pt semiglossCard 9.5pt BillerudBlazer DigitalGloss Cover100 #271 g/m2 90 6899   210279661
14pt ucCard   International PaperAccent Opaque DigitalCover Smooth 271  g/m2short        188096
14pt semiglossCard 10.2pt14ptBillerudBlazer DigitalGloss Cover110 #297  g/m2 90 6899   196 
16pt ucCard                  
16pt semiglossCard                  
18pt ucCard 16pt16ptInternational PaperAccent Opaque DigitalCover Smooth120 #325  g/m2short        189030
18pt semi glossCard                  
20pt ucCard                  
20pt semiglossCard                  
22pt ucCard                  
22pt semiglossCard                  
24pt ucCard                  
24 semiglossCard                  
26pt ucCard                  
26pt semiglossCard                  
14pt laid                   
14pt linenCoverUncoated13 NeenahClassic LinenSolar White100c270 97  98FSC, green seal01777 160 
22pt cottonCover 21.5 Mohawk Fine PapersCrane's Lettra100% Cotton110297     Lignin Free Tree Free  92 
44pt cottonCover 40.30 Mohawk Fine PapersCrane's Lettra100% Cotton220 DTC595     Lignin Free Tree Free  50 
2 part ncr    AppletonNCR Superior 22  92canary and white  FSC, green seal5887   
3 part ncr    AppletonNCR Superior 22  92canary, pink, and white  FSC, green seal5900   
20# copy                   
70# text uc                   
100# text ucPaper   International PaperAccent Opaque Digital 10019.68M - 148 gm2      8.5x11=188101 / 11x17=188081   
100# text gloss