Coated vs. Non-Coated Paper: What’s the Difference?

Coated vs. Non-Coated Paper: What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between Coated and Uncoated Paper?

It might seem simple, but choosing the right paper can make a big difference. Beyond what you put in your printer, the right paper can be important for business cards, brochures, booklets, and more. Choosing between coated and uncoated paper can drastically change the look and feel of whatever you’re printing.

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What is Coated Paper?

Coated papers have a coating on them (typically clay), so they’re “sealed.” This restricts the amount of ink/toner that is absorbed into the paper, allowing the ink to sit on top of the paper, in a crisp defined dot. Has a crisper, sharper finish, great for solid colors

When to Choose Coated Paper

Coated stock has a surface sealant (think of varnish on wood). This is made up of various liquids and clay (and other substances). Coating allows ink to sit up on top of the surface of the paper without seeping into the paper fibers. Halftone dots and type are therefore very crisp and controllable during the printing process.

What is Uncoated Paper?

Uncoated papers do not have this coating and thus are more porous. The ink/toner saturates into the paper and has a softer, warmer appearance. Great for halftones

When to Choose Uncoated Paper

Uncoated paper is exactly what it sounds like – paper that has no extra coating or paper finishing. Since there is no coating, there is no glare on the surface. This makes it ideal for prints that have a lot of text or reading materials. … All bond stock paper is uncoated.

Great for products with lots of white, muted backgrounds and soft colors


Deciding Between Coated & Uncoated Paper

Ultimately, the deciding factors are what you’re printing and how you want it to look. 

  • Coated paper: Best for images, clear printing, smooth feel, and customizable finishes.
  • Uncoated paper: Best for text, rougher texture, and a rustic, natural look.

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