Printing on cardstock is not as daunting as you think. With the correct printer, you can have those cards or invitations looking like they came from a pro!
Inkjet printers with continuous pass-through are best for 300gsm. The top cardstock printers are Canon PIXMA Pro Series and the Epson SureColor p700.
These printer models are expensive. It all depends on what the print job is, do you need it long term or is it just for one or two jobs. Let’s look at the options available.
Printers for 300gsm (110lb) card
When selecting a printer for 300gsm stock there are a few things to look for:
- Ability to print cardstock
- Overall cost, including cartridges
- Print Size
- Laser vs inkjet
The best printer in my opinion is the Canon PIXMA Pro series. The latest version the Pro 200 has taken over from the Pro 100. It can print on any cardstock up to 400gsm. This is incredible for a home printer, but it does come with a relatively high price tag at $600. It has a rear-fed tray, which means the card doesn’t have to bend or turn while printing. Most home printers are top fed which requires the card to do a full 90 degrees internally to leave the printer. Cardstock doesn’t do so well when it has to bend.
The Pro 200 also has borderless printing which results in wider card – up to A3.
It has 8 separate ink cartridges which result in greater clarity and color and has a resolution of 4800 x 2400. Although 8 cartridges make for better output – there are 8 cartridges and this makes replacing the inks more expensive. They currently cost around $100 for the set. It’s relatively new to the market and so generics are not currently available. But this will change as its popularity grows. The Pro 200 is an inkjet printer.
The Canon PIXMA Pro 100, the Pro 200 predecessor, is still a great machine. It also has the ability to print cardstock. The price is somewhat cheaper than the 200 at $500 but to be honest, if you’re going to go for the Canon you should spring for the extra cash and choose the latest version available. The Pro 100 also has a wide feed capable of 13” but the speed per page is much slower. The cartridges don’t last as long as the 200, however, there are generic versions available which considerably reduce the cost. The Pro 100 is an inkjet printer.
Epson SureColor P700 is another fantastic inkjet printer. It can also handle 400gsm cardstock. However, the cost is significantly higher at $1600. The Epson has a great size capacity also at 13”. The resolution is enormous at 5760 x 1440, however, this is reflected in your cartridge life at only 20 A3 sheets at this resolution. Cartridges that are exorbitantly expensive at $400 per set.
Although an excellent printer, it needs regular use. The print heads get clogged if it lies up for any length of time and your ink will drain even more quickly as it will do a self-clean between each use if it’s not being used.
Canon PIXMA TR8620. This is a printer that is much more cost-effective for a home printer. Although it doesn’t have a cardstock option in the dropdown menu it does have a rear feed which makes printing on cardstock possible. The cost is less than $200 and the cartridges (5 in total) are available in a generic brand and cost less than $30. It will print much more slowly than the previous printers but for home printing small jobs it’s ideal.
What are you printing?
This is always relevant. I have been a graphic designer for over 25 years and in that time I had a wedding stationery business. Nowadays many couples design and print their own invitations and because home printers have become so great this is a really good solution. Printing has progressed so much that you can’t tell the difference between home printing and a print shop job. (Not good news for print shops!)
The important things to remember are picking the correct cardstock for the job but also the correct settings on your computer. Try not to use all your ink in the first 10 invites. If your job is only printing in one color, try and make the color a blend of all your cartridges. Even if it’s black – try and make it True Black, instead of 100% black. You will preserve your ink life much longer.
If you are printing invites, I suggest you only print on one side. Sending your card through the printer a second time can lead to smudges and paper jams. Ideally, print your inside as a separate leaf (100gsm) and insert it into the cardstock with double-sided tape. It will save you a lot of heartache and look much more professional.
Not all cardstock is the same. Not all cardstock is suitable for home printers. As I say it depends on what you are printing. But it’s very important to choose the correct stock. Most craft shops, both in-store and online offer a wide variety of stocks. Before you hit the print button, be sure that your card stock is not going to damage your printer.
What do I mean? ANy handmade papers that are very fibrous will jam your machine. Tiny fibers end up on the print heads and clog them. And the ink may not adhere to the paper or it may bleed like blotting paper. This is also usually the case for any iridescent papers. Ink tends not to stick, it just wipes off like a powder. Iridescent papers are better suited to a laser printer.
Many online wedding/invitation stores offer a DIY choice. This is a great option as the cardstock they provide will be correct and will travel through your printer with no problem.
How to print on Cardstock?
Depending on what printer you have chosen may or may not have a cardstock option. Most of the more expensive or even the mid-price range ones will. When you select the Cardstock option the rollers separate slightly to prevent jamming. Never pull a sheet backward in your machine, and only if completely necessary pull through the front, very gently. If you pull backward the rollers and print heads can be irreparably damaged. (I know this from experience!)
Always feed through the rear tray. As I say, the less card has to bend the better for everything concerned.
I would recommend the Canon PIXMA Pro 200. Canon make fantastic printers. Although the model is pricier, it will produce print-shop quality. If you are only asking which printer is good for 300 gsm for a one-off job I would suggest you get quotes from a print shop. It possibly will be much more cost-efficient by the time you factor in ink and the time spent watching your printer.
Here are some other posts you might find useful: