Coated Versus Uncoated Paper

Have you ever noticed how a piece of scrapbook paper feels different than a piece of photo paper? That’s because photo paper is coated, and scrapbook paper generally isn’t. What’s the difference? Let’s find out.

Coated Paper

Coated paper is – you guessed it – coated with another agent. This coating fills the tiny pits between the fibers that make up a sheet of paper in order to create a uniform surface, so coated paper is often very smooth. It may be available in fewer textures than uncoated paper, but it is available in a variety of finishes like glossy (which is very shiny, like a photo), or matte.

Coated paper offers a couple of advantages over uncoated paper:

  • The shinier printed image can appear more professional.
  • It’s more durable than uncoated paper because the coating helps it resist dirt, moisture, and general wear and tear.
  • Because the coating prevents ink from seeping in to the paper fibers, printed images appear sharper and more vibrant.

Common uses for coated paper include magazines, book covers, and photography. 

For every other use, take a look at our full selection of coated paper, including one-side coated paper and two-side coated paper

Uncoated Paper

Uncoated paper is not always as smooth as coated paper, but it is available in a wider variety of textures and finishes. For this reason, uncoated paper is a little more versatile than coated paper. Different weights and finishes are better suited for different uses, but uncoated paper can often convey feelings of prestige and wealth that coated paper can lack.

Uncoated paper is used for most everyday activities, including general home and office use, letterheads, and other stationery.

Shop our selection of uncoated paper.

Should I Use Coated or Uncoated Paper?

A good rule of thumb is to use coated paper when you want vibrant color reproduction. If you’re not printing in color or you want to communicate feelings of elegance and refinement, an uncoated paper might be your best option.

One More Tip

Because uncoated paper absorbs the ink, its ability to reproduce colors is slightly different than coated paper. Here’s a good explanation about why this happens:

Pantone – the international standard for color – indicates which colors are intended for printing on coated or uncoated paper. If the Pantone color you’re interested in ends with a “C”, it’s intended for coated paper. If the code ends in “U”, that color is intended for uncoated paper. Easy peasy!

To Coat Or Not To Coat?

Whether you should use coated or uncoated paper depends entirely on your project. Coated papers may be perfect for printing photos, but they’re certainly not ideal for sending a letter! Whatever your project is, we have the perfect paper.

Check out our selection of coated and uncoated papers.

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