What Is The Difference Between 80 lb and 100 lb Paper?

Close up of a stack of white papers

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?

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!

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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 brochure, flyer printing, thin posters, and the insides of print magazines and booklet printing.

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

  • 80 lb text feels similar to your standard copy paper
  • 100 lb text feels thicker and more weighty than 80 lb text paper
  • In terms of price, Printivity 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 spine of a book is more likely to wear-down faster if the pages are too heavy. Because of this, we recommend 80 text for books with high page counts. Low page count books can benefit from thicker paper. 

Graphic comparing 80 lb paper and 100 lb paper

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 more like a cardstock. It’s frequently used for the covers of books (hence the name), in brochures, 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 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 book cover choice for spiral binding and perfect bound book printing. For saddle-stitched booklet printing, 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 business cards; 100 lb cover feels thin for a card.

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Email service@printivity.com to receive a complimentary paper sample! Make sure that you are choosing the paper type will be the right fit for your project.


  1. Which is more sturdy and more durable for use, such as, a heavily used cookbook that has a spiral binding?

    Which will last longer in the area where the spiral binding cuts through the cover
    — the area that normally tears out?

    14 point card stock — or — 140 pound cover?

    Thank You,


    • Hello Ray,
      The thickest paper type that we offer for spiral bound book covers is out 16pt “Ultra Thick” Semi-Gloss. If you would like to receive complimentary paper samples from Printivity, email Insights@Printivity.com with your shipping address and we will send those to you as soon as possible!

      Thank you,

  2. Just to further confuse people here. The year before my retirement from printing it seemed that the basis weight descriptions for different types of papers was evolving from the pound weights to the metric grams per square meter (g/m2) or simply gsm. The basis weight for text, cover, and index papers are all based on their different “parent size sheet” weights. I believe that the parent size sheets are the cuts directly from the rolls of paper from the mill. These parent sized sheets are all different sizes based on the kind of paper it is. The grams per square meter is the most accurate if you can get accustomed to thinking in metrics. Most reams of paper will have both the basis pound weight and the grams per square meter or gsm. 20lb bond = 75 gsm, 60lb text = 90 gsm, 70lb text = 90 gsm, 80lb text = 120 gsm, 80lb cover = 216 gsm, 110lb Index = 200 gsm.


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