Paper Weights: PT, LB, GSM – Comparison

Paper Weights: PT, LB, GSM

If you are looking for good card cover stocks, our stocks are measured in PT which stands for Points, and LB which stands for pounds or the thin papers. We have a lot of cover stocks which are used for brochures and letterheads. In this article, we will be giving you more information on these two types of measurement and we will also give you more information on GSM, a widely used paper measurement.


GSM which simply stands for Grams per Square Meter is one of the widely used standards of paper measurement. You may be wondering how it is calculated. In this measurement, the weight of one square meter is equal to so many grams. Most times when people are printing, they often refer to the GSM standard whenever their clients are looking for how to print with different paper qualities. While printer, you will see when the GSM number is high, the paper will be heavier and thicker. When you print with a paper that the GSM is high, it is considered a high paper quality

While printing with GSM, it is important to note that a paper with a high GSM does not mean that the paper is good for the job. While printing, other factors need to be considered and these factors are the number of pages that will be in the final piece of the printing job. When you are choosing paper stock, you need to know that exact GSM or GSM range that gets the job done for you.  By doing this, you will know the exact type of paper you need.

There are a lot of GSM ranges that you need to know to determine which is best suited for your project.

  • 35 GSM to 55 GSM is the thin types and they are used to print various items such as newspapers. They are ideal in the printing of newspapers.
  • 90 GSM to 100 GSM is used for the papers found in your homes, offices or copy centers. They are often referred to as copy papers used for simple jobs with less ink.
  • 120 GSM to 140 GSM are used for posters due to its durability. It is heavy and used for bulletins, flyers, and posters.
  • 210 to 300 gsm are mainly for fanciful fliers and brochures. They are mostly used for magazines and booklets


PT is another great standard of printing used by a lot of printers. It is a way of calculating the thickness by using the paper caliper. Paper manufacturers will use a micrometer and measure the caliper and it is gotten in a thousandth of an inch. The measurement is gotten as a point where one point is equal to 0.001 inches.

When it comes to shipment, the measurement is used to calculate the paperweight and the thickness to determine the machine in which the stock will be printed on. When the points are high, the paper thickness will be higher. Though the GSM and point measurement can vary due to the type of stock.

There are various conversions when trying to compare points and gsm.

3 to 6pt is equivalent to 60-120gsm.

9-14pt is equivalent to 199-300gsm.

14pt and above will be 310gsm and above.

LB (pounds)

The pound is also a great way in which printers measure the paper they are using. If you want to know the weight of the paper, the paper will weigh 500 sheets in its uncut form. The higher the number in pounds, the thicker the paper. Text papers will weight 20pounds and card stock will be from 65 pounds and above.

When you are choosing the right paper for your project, you have to know whether the paper you want to work with is coated or uncoated. These different types of papers finish and absorb ink differently.

Uncoated paper has been seen to absorb the ink more than the coated paper. People have used it and they say that it produces a softer look but one of the reasons why people do not often use the uncoated paper is that most of the sharpness of the work is lost while printing.

Coated stocks, however, are the uncoated paper coated with materials such as matte or semi-gloss. It is used for making details come out of the work. It is also very durable.

Rigid Paper Vs Soft Paper

A rigid paper is usually very slow if it is held. This is because the paper is usually denser and because of this, it provides a rigid behavior. While choosing a more rigid paper, you have to measure the actual thickness based on the caliper. With soft papers, they have thinner fibers are they are more delicate. It may be a long process to choose the right paper but once you understand the terms, you will achieve the desired piece.

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