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Best Printer for Cardstock and Heavy Paper in 2023

Iva Mikles
Best Printer for Cardstock and Heavy Paper in 2023

Artists, crafters, and creatives who plan to print greeting cards, wedding invitations, postcards, display cards, business cards, and other stationery on their preferred cardstock frequently and in smaller batches will enjoy printing on the best printer for cardstock at home or in the studio. 

Printing greeting cards and cardstock yourself, as opposed to an online or local printer, also gives you greater flexibility. It may also be cheaper based on my calculations comparing the cost of materials. 

But getting the best printer for cardstock is not easy! It is frustrating and sometimes even confusing because the manufacturers don’t specifically say what type of thick cardstock paper the printers support. 

To save you hours of research, in this article, you will discover what I consider is the best printer for cardstock printing for home, art studio, business cards, and stationery. It is based on my research, tests, and what I’ve heard from my artist friends. You will also understand what 110lb, 300gsm, 13mil, and 0.3mm mean and how it differs for cardstock paper types. So keep on reading!

My Picks for the Best Printer for Cardstock Printing at Home or in a Studio

This is a quick comparison of my favorite printers for cardstock. There are more picks for card stock printer in the overview below, such as eco-friendly and laser printer picks.

My Pick
Budget Pick
All-in-one Pick
Art Studio Pick
Description:

For artists and crafters who want the best price-value experience

Description:

For artists and crafters on a budget

Description:

All-in-one Printer, Scanner, and Copier for scrapbooking and card prints

Description:

For artists and studios with a steady business selling art prints and greeting cards. The 13 model is SureColor P700.

Colors:
8-color dye-based ink system
Colors:
6-color dye-based ink system
Colors:
4-color pigment-based ink system
Colors:
10-color pigment-based ink system
Max paper thickness:
Rear feed: 11.8mil (0.3mm) = ±110lb / 300gsm Cover cardstock
Manual feed: 23.6mil (0.6mm) = ±140lb / 385gsm Cover cardstock
Max paper thickness:
Rear feed: 23mil (0.6mm) = ±140lb / 385gsm Cover cardstock (manual feed)
Max paper thickness:
Bottom feed tray: 90lb - 110lb / 250 - 300gsm Cover cardstock
Max paper thickness:
Rear feed: 11mil (0.3mm) = ±110lb / 300gsm Cover cardstock
Front manual feed: 60mil (1.5mm) 😮
Paper sizes:
3.5″×5″ to 13″×19″ / A3+ (user definable length)
Paper sizes:
4″×6″ to 13″×19″ / A3+ (user definable length)
Paper sizes:
3.5″×5″ to 8.5″×11″ / A4
Paper sizes:
3.5″×5″ to 17″×22″ / A2+ (user definable length + roll paper adapter allows for panoramic prints)
Borderless printing:
3.5″×5″ to 13″×19″ / A3+
Borderless printing:
4″×6″ to 13″×19″ / A3+
Borderless printing:
On photo paper only, up to 8.5″×11″ / A4
Borderless printing:
3.5″×5″ to 17″×22″ / A2+
Paper input capacity:
Depending on paper type ±50 sheets plain; ±20 sheets thick; 1 canvas
Paper input capacity:
Depending on paper type ±50 sheets plain; ±20 sheets thick; 1 canvas
Paper input capacity:
Depending on paper type ±250 sheets plain; ±50 sheets thick (auto document feeder)
Paper input capacity:
Depending on paper type ±120 sheets plain; ±30 sheets thick; 1 canvas
Alternative:
Get Canon Pixma PRO-300 13″ Inkjet Color Printer if you want pigment-based printer
Alternative:
Get Epson Expression Photo XP-970 13″ Inkjet Color Printer if you want all-in-one budget alternative
Alternative:
N/A
Alternative:
Get Canon Pixma PRO-1000 17″ Inkjet Color Printer if you prefer Canon printers
My Pick
Description:

For artists and crafters who want the best price-value experience

Colors:
8-color dye-based ink system
Max paper thickness:
Rear feed: 11.8mil (0.3mm) = ±110lb / 300gsm Cover cardstock
Manual feed: 23.6mil (0.6mm) = ±140lb / 385gsm Cover cardstock
Paper sizes:
3.5″×5″ to 13″×19″ / A3+ (user definable length)
Borderless printing:
3.5″×5″ to 13″×19″ / A3+
Paper input capacity:
Depending on paper type ±50 sheets plain; ±20 sheets thick; 1 canvas
Alternative:
Get Canon Pixma PRO-300 13″ Inkjet Color Printer if you want pigment-based printer
Budget Pick
Description:

For artists and crafters on a budget

Colors:
6-color dye-based ink system
Max paper thickness:
Rear feed: 23mil (0.6mm) = ±140lb / 385gsm Cover cardstock (manual feed)
Paper sizes:
4″×6″ to 13″×19″ / A3+ (user definable length)
Borderless printing:
4″×6″ to 13″×19″ / A3+
Paper input capacity:
Depending on paper type ±50 sheets plain; ±20 sheets thick; 1 canvas
Alternative:
Get Epson Expression Photo XP-970 13″ Inkjet Color Printer if you want all-in-one budget alternative
All-in-one Pick
Description:

All-in-one Printer, Scanner, and Copier for scrapbooking and card prints

Colors:
4-color pigment-based ink system
Max paper thickness:
Bottom feed tray: 90lb - 110lb / 250 - 300gsm Cover cardstock
Paper sizes:
3.5″×5″ to 8.5″×11″ / A4
Borderless printing:
On photo paper only, up to 8.5″×11″ / A4
Paper input capacity:
Depending on paper type ±250 sheets plain; ±50 sheets thick (auto document feeder)
Alternative:
N/A
Art Studio Pick
Description:

For artists and studios with a steady business selling art prints and greeting cards. The 13 model is SureColor P700.

Colors:
10-color pigment-based ink system
Max paper thickness:
Rear feed: 11mil (0.3mm) = ±110lb / 300gsm Cover cardstock
Front manual feed: 60mil (1.5mm) 😮
Paper sizes:
3.5″×5″ to 17″×22″ / A2+ (user definable length + roll paper adapter allows for panoramic prints)
Borderless printing:
3.5″×5″ to 17″×22″ / A2+
Paper input capacity:
Depending on paper type ±120 sheets plain; ±30 sheets thick; 1 canvas
Alternative:
Get Canon Pixma PRO-1000 17″ Inkjet Color Printer if you prefer Canon printers

Table of Contents

Overview: 7 Best Printers for Cardstock Printing

My Pick: Canon Pixma PRO-200

My Pick
Canon Pixma PRO-200 13″ Inkjet Color Printer

My Pick for Art Prints, Canvas, Cardstock, Stickers, Vinyl and Transfer paper

8-color dye-based ink system :: 4800×2400 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 13×19 (A3+) :: Max paper thickness: rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm); manual feed 23.6mil (0.6mm) :: Late 2020 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Why it’s my pick – Canon Pixma PRO-200 is my pick for the best printer for cardstock because it reproduces colors accurately and can batch-print on thick cardstock paper up to Cover 110lb / 300gsm! 

Canon Pixma Pro 200 - Sideview
Photo: Canon Pixma Pro 200 – Sideview – Source: Canon.com

Pros & Cons of Canon Pixma PRO-200 Color Printer for Cardstock

ProsCons
➕Amazing price-value experience➖Size and weight
➕Supports Cover cardstock paper➖Inks cost
➕8-color highest quality dye-based ink system
➕Vibrant and highly accurate colors
➕Batch-printing on Cover cardstock
➕Borderless prints
Canon Pixma Pro 200 - LCD
Photo: Canon Pixma Pro 200 – LCD – Source: Canon.com

Canon Pixma PRO-200 Specifications

Canon Pixma PRO-200 is the successor of, among artists and crafters, the beloved Canon Pixma PRO-100 printer model. Pixma PRO-100 has been a fabulous printer for cardstock printing, and the PRO-200 is a worthy successor.

You can still get Pixma Pro-100 with some retailers or second-hand, but Canon no longer supports it if you have any technical difficulties.

Canon Pixma Pro 200 - Color Ink Cartridges
Photo: Canon Pixma Pro 200 – Color Ink Cartridges – Source: Canon.com

Canon Pixma PRO-200 uses all the newest technology, which means it prints much better art prints, including cardstock, greeting cards, stationery, and glossy prints (e.g., photographs and stickers).

The 8-color dye-based ink system ensures that the colors on the cardstock are reproduced accurately and your artworks come out beautifully. 

These improvements also translate to cardstock printing. Canon Pixma PRO-200 can easily handle many thick paper and cardstock types making it my pick for the best cardstock printer.

⭐️ Also great: Canon ImagePROGRAF PRO-300 is a great upgrade if you want a pigment-based printer for cardstock with ten colors. Get the PRO-300 here and learn more about the differences between dye-based and pigment-based printers.

Budget Pick: Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000

Budget Pick
Epson Expression XP-15000 13″ Inkjet Color Printer

Budget Pick for Art Prints, Cardstock, Canvas, Stickers, Vinyl, and Transfer paper

6-color dye-based ink system :: 5760×1450 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 13×19 (A3+) :: Max paper thickness: rear feed 23mil (0.6mm) manually :: Late 2017 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Why I like it: For a fairly inexpensive printer, it can reproduce colors quite accurately and handles heavy cardstock up to Cover 140lb / 385gsm when fed manually. 

Pros & Cons of Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Color Printer for Cardstock

ProsCons
➕Price➖Relatively slow cardstock printing
➕Supports thick cardstock➖Requires some “trial & error” depending on the cardstock type
➕Amazing print quality➖6-color dye-based inks
➕Vibrant and accurate colors
➕Batch-printing on Cover cardstock
➕Borderless prints
➕Size

Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 Specifications

The Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 is a printer that can print on very thick and heavy cardstock paper if fed manually, and at the same time, it is quite an inexpensive printer.

Its high-quality 6-color dye-based ink system can represent colors very vividly and accurately on various media, including cardstock printing. 

It can also print on a wide range of paper weights and textures, making it a no-brainer if you are just starting with cardstock printing or have a limited budget.

⭐️ Also great: Epson Expression XP-970 is a great budget alternative if you want an all-in-one inkjet printer for cardstock. Get the XP-970 here.

All-in-one Pick: HP OfficeJet 9015e 

All-in-one Pick
HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e Wireless Color All-in-One Printer

All-in-one Pick for Cardstock and Stickers, Vinyl, and Transfer paper

4-color pigment-based ink system :: 4800×1200 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 8.5″×11″ (A4) :: Max paper thickness: bottom feed tray 90lb - 110lb / 245gsm - 300gsm Cover cardstock :: Early 2021 model :: Wireless & AirPrint ::  BONUS 6 months Instant ink with HP+

Why I like it –  For an office printer, it reproduces colors quite nicely, and it can batch-process thick paper and cardstock up to Cover 90lb – 110lb (245gsm – 300gsm)

Pros & Cons of HP OfficeJet 9015e as a Cardstock Printer

ProsCons
➕All-in-one Printer, Scanner, Copier➖Lower color accuracy
➕Price➖Only four colors, but pigment-based inks
➕Supports Cover cardstock➖Max print size 8.5″ x 11″ / A4 (enough for business cards and statinery printing)
➕Batch-printing on Cover cardstock➖Limited borderless paper printing
➕Size
➕Cost-effective cardstock printing
➕BONUS 6 months Instant ink with HP+

HP OfficeJet 9015e Specifications

HP Officejet Pro 9015e represents one of the best investments in a home and office printer for an artist and crafter.

As an all-in-one office printer, it doesn’t specifically cater to artists, photographers, and crafters printing on cardstock because it doesn’t reproduce colors as accurately as the printers above. 

But its strength lies in the fact that, depending on the paper type, it can batch-print on up to 50 sheets of thick paper, and it supports Cover cardstock of 90lb – 110lb / 245gsm – 300gsm.

And the scanner is the icing on the cake!

Eco All-in-one Pick: Epson EcoTank ET-8550

Eco Pick
Epson EcoTank ET-8550 13″ Inkjet Color Printer

Eco All-in-one Pick for Art Prints, Cardstock, Canvas, Stickers, Vinyl, and Transfer paper

6-color hybrid dye-based & pigment-based ink system :: 5760×1440 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 13×19 (A3+) :: Max paper thickness: rear feed 50mil (1.3mm) manually :: Early 2021 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Why I like it – As an ink tank printer, it’s eco-friendly, reproduces colors very accurately, and it can batch-process thicker cardstock and, when fed manually even heavy paper. 

Pros & Cons of Epson EcoTank ET-8550 Color Printer for Cardstock

ProsCons
➕Eco-friendly➖Relatively slow printing on cardstock
➕Price of ink➖Six colors
➕Supports Cover cardstock
➕Excellent print quality
➕Vibrant and accurate colors
➕Batch-printing on Cover cardstock
➕Borderless prints
➕Size

Epson EcoTank ET-8550 Specifications

Epson EcoTank printers deliver the most sustainable and cost-effective printing solutions.

And the ET-8550 model takes this premise further by catering to artists, photographers, and crafters who want the best eco printer for cardstock. 

It reproduces the colors accurately and can handle heavy cardstock up to 1.3mm when fed manually. It also supports a wide range of paper types, which makes it an exciting option!

Art Studio Pick: Epson SureColor P900

Art Studio Pick
Epson SureColor P900 17″ Inkjet Color Printer

Art Studio Pick for Art Prints, Canvas, Cardstock, Stickers, Vinyl, and Transfer paper

10-color pigment-based ink system :: 5760×1440 DPI :: Borderless prints up to 17×22 (A2+) :: Max paper thickness: rear feed 11.8mil (0.3mm); manual feed 60mil (1.5mm) :: Late 2020 model :: Wireless & AirPrint

Smaller version: SureColor P700 13″ Inkjet Color Printer

Why I like it – This is a true art studio fine art large format printer that can print on a wide range of media, papers, and cardstock, reproducing colors flawlessly. 

Pros & Cons of Epson SureColor P900 Color Printer for Cardstock

ProsCons
➕10-color highest quality pigment-based ink system➖Price
➕Supports Cover cardstock➖Size and weight
➕Outstanding print quality➖Inks cost
➕Vibrant and accurate colors
➕Archival prints
➕Batch-printing on Cover cardstock
➕Borderless prints

Epson SureColor P900 Specifications

The Epson SureColor series has always been very popular among artists, designers, and illustrators who print on cardstock. 

Epson SureColor P900 (17-inch version) and SureColor P700 (13-inch version) vastly improve over their predecessors and deliver the best advances in printing technology.

What can I say? Vibrant colors, absolute color accuracy, ability to print on a wide range of paper types, support of thick paper, heavy cardstock, batch-printing possibilities, and borderless prints. I could go on for days.

The only drawback is the price, but if you are buying it for your business, it’s an expense, and you can write it off!

⭐️ Also great: Canon ImagePROGRAF PRO-1000 is a great alternative if you prefer Canon printers and want a pigment-based printer for cardstock with ten colors. Get the PRO-1000 here and learn more about the differences between dye-based and pigment-based printers.

Monochrome Laser Printer Pick: Brother MFC L2710DW 

Laser - Monochromatic
Brother MFC L2710DW Monochrome Laser Printer

Monochrome Laser Printer Pick for Cardstock

Monochromatic toner system :: 2400×600 DPI :: Up to 8.5″×14″ / A4 prints :: Max paper thickness: manual feed Cover ±90lb / ±245gsm :: Late 2017 :: Wireless & AirPrint

Why I like it – This affordable and cost-effective monochromatic laser printer produces crisp black and white prints, and it can handle thick paper and cardstock up to 90lb / 245gsm when fed manually. 

Pros & Cons of Brother MFC L2710DW Laser Printer for Cardstock

ProsCons
➕Price➖Not for fine artwork and high-quality photographs
➕All-in-one Printer, Scanner, and Copier➖No borderless printing
➕Crisp black and white prints➖Cover cardstock through a manual feed only
➕Cost-effective with a very high yield
➕Auto Document Feeder

Brother MFC L2710DW Specifications

I wouldn’t personally choose a laser printer for my work because I don’t do black-and-white art, and my work is a lot about color blending, so I need a very accurate color resolution.

But I see the appeal among people who need to print big batches of cardstock and cards, for example, display cards, business cards, and stationery.

Brother printer MFC L2710DW is a solid printer that can print crips black and white prints on cardstock up to Cover 90lb / 245gsm, which makes it quite an interesting laser printer for cardstock.

And did I mention it also has a scanner so you can scan and copy, too?

Why I like it – This is a reasonably accurate laser printer that can print on cardstock in high volumes up to Cover 80lb / 220gsm, and it also prints duplex on Cover 60lb / 160gsm

Pros & Cons of Xerox VersaLink C400 Laser Printer for Cardstock

ProsCons
➕Cost-effective with a very high yield➖Not for fine artwork and high-quality photographs
➕Supports heavy cardstock➖No borderless printing
➕Acceptable color accuracy➖Older technology
➕Duplex printing on cardstock 60lb Cover
➕Big tray capacity for batch-processing
➕Auto Document Feeder

Xerox VersaLink C400 Specifications

Similar to the monochrome printer above, I wouldn’t choose a laser printer because of the nature of my artwork.

However, if you need to print big batches of cardstock, e.g., display cards in color, Xerox VersaLink C400 may be a good choice.

It reproduces colors quite nicely to a certain extent and supports thicker cardstock up to Cover 80lb / 220gsm. It can even print duplex up to Cover 60lb / 160gsm. That’s super useful in some situations.

Get Cardstock Paper Cutter and Scoring Board, too

Photo: Cutting and scoring cardstock – Source: Art Side of Life

If you print on cardstock, for example, greeting cards and, for that matter, any type of cards, and haven’t gotten a quality paper cuter, scoring board, or electric creaser yet, you need to get one. 🙂

It will make your life so much easier!

For the cardstock paper cutter and trimmer, get either my budget or premium pick below:

Budget Pick
Firbon A4 / 12″ Paper Cutter

Titanium Paper Trimmer Scrapbooking Tool with Automatic Security Safeguard and Side Ruler for Craft Paper, Coupon, Label, and Cardstock

Premium Pick
Rotatrim Pro 24 Inch Paper Cutter/Trimmer

Precision Rotary Trimmer with Self-Sharpening Precision Steel Blades and Twin Stainless Steel Guide Rails

A scoring board is sufficient if you don’t crease too many cards or don’t mind it. I’d recommend this one:

Budget Pick
Vaessen Creative Easy-Imperial-Scoring Board 12″×12″

It can be used to make perfectly crisp folding lines for greeting cards. The board comes with a bone folder and a useful separate measurement guide with instructions for working with various paper sizes

Get an electric creaser if you have too many orders or don’t like scoring cardstock.

I’d recommend this one:

Premium Pick
VEVOR Electric Creasing Machine 18″

3-in-1 Paper Creasing and Scoring Machine with Heavy Duty Metal Present Multi-function

Main Criteria for Choosing the Best Printer for Cardstock

Supported Paper Weight – Heaviness and Thickness

TL;DR – As a rule of thumb, I recommend getting a printer for cardstock that supports higher paper thickness (mil/pt, mm) to ensure you are flexible regarding your creative ideas. 

Paper thickness is the most critical criterion for selecting the best printer for cardstock.

Not all printers can print on thick paper, and it’s essential to know if the one you choose can do so because otherwise, you risk jamming your printer and causing a lot of headaches.

Fortunately, a good selection of consumer-grade printers print on heavy cardstock, the most common being Cover 65lb / 180gsm, 80lb / 220 gsm, 100lb / 270gsm, and 110lb / 300gsm and Index 110lb / 200gsm. 

You are likely asking what’s up with the “Cover,” “Index,” “lb,” and “gsm” when we talk about cardstock.

Without going into too many details about paper production, here is what I learned from reading paper guides, watching YouTube videos, and my own experience.

There are five types of paper:

The “lb” and “gsm” are the units for measuring paper’s and cardstock weight:

You normally see the gsm and lb on the paper packaging:

Neenah-cover-cardstock-110lb-300gsm-copy
Graphic/Photo: “lb” and “gsm” on paper packaging – Source: Amazon.com

When selecting the printer for cardstock, the most confusion comes from the fact that the printers’ specs usually list the supported lb and gsm only for common copy paper, also known as Offset or Text paper. And sometimes they don’t specify what type of paper they are referring to at all!!

Why is this important?

It’s important because 100lb Offset / Text paper (Copy paper) is not the same as 100lb Cover paper or 110lb Index paper (cardstock). They are very different, indeed. For example, 100lb Offset paper is only 56lb Cover and 83 Index. Quite a difference, right?!

But wait, there is more! 

Sometimes the manufacturers don’t mention the “lb” and “gsm” at all and refer to media support of up to, e.g., 23mil or 0.3mm.

This is the paper and cardstock thickness. It is measured in “mil” or “pt” and “mm,” and it’s a proxy unit for paper density:

You might have seen these units on the paper packaging too.

Epson Ultra Premium-10mil-192gsm
Graphic/Photo: “mil” on a paper packaging – Source: Amazon.com

There is a slight catch with thickness, though.

Paper density and, thus, thickness depend on the paper and cardstock production method and finish.

Not all papers are created equal; sometimes the “mil”/” pt” is approximate, and 10mil paper from one manufacturer is not exactly 10mil from the other.

Take the example above. Epson doesn’t specify what type of paper or cardstock this is, so let’s use the conversion table below. 10mil is 10 pt which puts it at 90lb Cover and 135lb Index; however, the 192gsm is lower than 245gsm in the table. In such a way, we need to approximate and assume it’s about 75lb Cover or 110lb Index.

That can be satisfactory for some creative projects but not for all. 

Despite minor differences and standard deviations, paper thickness is usually the same for all paper types regardless of weight. And that’s why I also like to use it when selecting a new printer.

To make your life easier, I’ve put together a handy conversion table you can use if you ever need to check if the printer is good enough for your needs:

Paper Weight Conversion Table and Printing Guide

Please note: The data in the table are approximate and greatly depend on the paper brand, type, and finish

Bond (a.k.a Text / Copy / Plain)Cover (cardstock)Index
(cardstock)
Thickness
mil/pt
Thickness
mm
Grammage
gsm
50lb28lb42lb4mil / 4pt0.01mm75gsm
110lb60lb90lb7.4mil / 7.4pt0.19mm160gsm
120lb65lb97lb8mil / 8pt0.2mm175gsm
135lb75lb110lb9mil / 9pt0.215mm200gsm
145lb80lb120lb9.5mil / 9.5pt0.235mm220gsm
165lb90lb130lb10mil / 10pt0.24mm245gsm
185lb100lb150lb11mil / 11pt0.29mm270gsm
200lb110lb165lb13.5mil / 13.5pt0.34mm300gsm
240lb130lb195lb16.5mil / 16.5pt0.4mm350gsm
Table: Approximate paper weight and thickness conversions for plain paper, cover cardstock and index cardstock – Source: jampaper.com

To be clear, it is sometimes possible to print on cardstock thicker and heavier than the manufacturer recommends. 

You can do it by using a manual input tray and exercising patience, gently pushing the paper into the printer. But if you print a lot, I don’t recommend it because you may jam and damage the printer and decrease its lifespan.

Also, if you are trying to do business, you probably don’t have much time to do this anyway. 

💡Pro tip: I think the ideal cardstock is Cover 100lb and 110lb (270gsm – 300gsm). It feels premium, but it’s still easy to cut and score.

Inkjet Printers vs. Laser Printers

TL;DR: Get an inkjet cardstock printer for creative cardstock projects that involve a lot of color blending (e.g., watercolors) and require vibrant colors (e.g., photographs). Get a laser printer for less color-intensive projects like business cards and stationery.

When it comes to cardstock printers for art quality prints and cardstock projects, there is a lot of discussion about whether you should get an inkjet printer or a laser printer.

Inkjet cardstock printers can blend colors much better than laser printers, and that’s why they are the best for image-heavy projects, such as artwork and photo prints. 

Additionally, they can print on thicker cardstock (up to 11mil / 0.3mm, or Cover 100 – 110lb / 270 – 300gsm) and more types of paper and mediums – for example, vinyl and transfer papers.

If you plan to print mostly in black, a monochrome laser printer supporting cardstock can also be a good choice. Remember that most consumer-grade laser printers don’t usually support cardstock heavier than Cover 80lb / 220gsm (9mil / 0.2mm). 

💡Pro tip: Color profiles are among the most critical settings to accurately reproduce colors with your printer. You will find a wide range of color profiles in any modern photo printer. In addition, many professionals also create custom profiles you can purchase.

Colors and Ink System

TL;DR: The more colors and ink cartridges the cardstock printer has, the more flexibility it has to reproduce the colors from your artwork and photograph accurately.

Color accuracy is the difference between the colors you used in your artwork or the colors represented in your photograph and those you printed on cardstock, art paper, canvas, or other art media.

It is as much about the paper as it’s about the printer. Not all paper and cardstock types are made for color printing, and you should always verify if the paper and cardstock you want to use are intended for inkjet or laser printing.

You need to ensure you are getting “inkjet-friendly” cardstock that has proper ink absorption and shows the colors of your artwork accordingly. There are only a few things more heartbreaking than seeing your artwork come out of the printer all washed out and dull! 

The photo printers from Canon and Epson all have excellent color accuracy scores because they all have 6-, 8- or 10-color ink systems.

That makes them perfect for art, cardstock, and photography printing jobs.

💡Pro tip: The number one way to damage your printer is by using 3rd party, non-original ink cartridges. Don’t risk it; write off the cost – it’s a business expense! 

Support of Batch Printing through the Rear Feed Input Tray

TL;DR: If you have an art business with a steady inflow of orders and don’t have time to feed your printer manually, get a cardstock printer with a rear feed input tray that supports batch printing.

As any small business owner knows, doing business is challenging. 

And unless you love it, waiting for your printer to finish the cardstock printing job could be wasted time.

You could spend it, for example, on creating new artwork, new cards, taking new photographs, engaging with your community, or just taking a nap because you need it.

Of course, it’s not entirely possible to make your cardstock printer run without any supervision. Still, batch processing through an auto document feeder helps. 

Printers capable of printing on cardstock make auto feed possible through a rear feed tray because, in this way, they don’t bend the paper, so it’s less likely they get jammed. And the cardstock doesn’t get damaged either.

Canon and Epson photo printers have a dedicated rear feed capable of feeding cardstock.

The office printers from HP and laser printers from Brother and Xerox have auto-feed options; however, they usually only support smaller and thinner cardstock sizes. 

💡Pro tip: To batch-process even more and save up, try printing copies of your artwork on larger cardstock and then use a cutter, scoreboard, or electric creaser to get the size you want.

Support of Borderless printing

TL;DR: Most modern inkjet photo printers support borderless cardstock prints. Check the printer’s spec sheet to ensure it supports the paper sizes you use for your cards.

Depending on the artwork and photographs, the borderless cardstock prints, art prints, and photographs usually feel more premium. They are a true hit with customers.

That’s why most inkjet printers for photography and cardstock prints usually support borderless printing in many paper sizes and specify them in the specifications.

It’s a different story with laser printers, mostly targeted for office and business use (such as business cards and stationery) and don’t usually support borderless printing.

💡Pro tip: When printing borderless cards, clean the print head regularly because some of the ink gets over the edge, builds up on the print head, gets mixed up with the paper dust, and can cause smears and other issues. 

Support of Duplex or double-sided printing

TL;DR: Most inkjet photo printers don’t have the input tray supporting automatic duplex printing. You will usually find this feature in office printers and laser printers.

And the ones that do, don’t usually support heavy cardstock of Cover 100lb – 110lb / 270gsm – 300gsm.

It is, however, possible to print double-sided manually. Make sure you use double-coated cardstock suitable for duplex printing.

💡Pro tip: To read about more criteria important for choosing an art printer, such as cost of ink cartridges, model’s age, and ink types, read my article about the best printers for artwork and art prints.

FAQs – Best Printer for Cardstock Printing

What printer works well with cardstock?

Inkjet or Laser printers that can handle paper weight higher than 80lb / 220gsm Cover work well with cardstock paper. My pick for the best printer for cardstock is Canon Pixma PRO-200

What is the thickest card that will go through a printer?

Based on my experience, depending on the paper type and the printer, the thickest card that will go through a consumer inkjet printer manually is Cover +140lb / 385gsm. Some printers can batch-print on Cover cardstock up to 110lb / 300gsm.

Can any printer use cardstock?

No, not all printers can use cardstock. But there is a good selection of consumer printers that print on thick cardstock, the most common being Cover 65lb / 180gsm, 80lb / 220 gsm, 100lb / 270gsm, and 110lb / 300gsm and Index 110lb / 200gsm. 

Can I use cardstock in my HP printer?

This depends on the model you own. For example, I think HP Officejet Pro 9015e is the best HP inkjet printer for cardstock because it prints on Cover cardstock 90lb to 110lb (245gsm to 300gsm) thick.

Can I put cardstock in my Epson printer?

This depends on the model you own. I think the best Epson printers for cardstock are Epson Expression XP-970, XP-15000, EcoTank ET-8550, SureColor P700, and SureColor P900 because they all support printing on heavy cardstock.

Can cardstock go through a Canon printer?

This depends on the model you own. My favorite dye-based printer for cardstock is Canon Pixma PRO-200, and the pigment-based alternatives are Canon Pixma PRO-300, and PRO-1000. They all print on thick cardstock.

Conclusion

Photo: Floral cardstock – Source: Art Side of Life

To sum up, here are my recommendations for the best printers for cardstock:

If you are already printing and selling art prints, greeting cards and other cardstock can be an excellent addition to your creative business. 

When it comes to art prints, there is a limited number that customers can put on their walls. Moreover, not all art prints are suitable for every room. For example, cute animal prints are fantastic for kids’ rooms, but many customers don’t want to hang them in their living rooms. 

So to reach new customers and ensure your current customers buy from you more often, making cardstock prints and selling greeting cards and other stationery makes sense. 

And when you print greeting cards yourself, as opposed to outsourcing to an online or local printer, you benefit from greater flexibility in experimenting with different cardstock. You may also make a more significant profit when comparing the cost of materials. 

I hope my research has made it easier for you to get a new printer for cardstock, and you will have a lot of fun with your creative projects. 

Visit my blog – Art Side of Life, for other artists’ guides, online courses, articles, and other resources.

Sources

Other articles in the Printers and Scanners series:

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Iva

Hi, I am Iva (rhymes with “viva”). I am a full-time self-taught artist behind Art Side of Life® and a Top Teacher on Skillshare. I have 15 years of experience in the creative field as a concept designer, illustrator, art director, and now freelance artist, content creator, and art instructor. My goal is to help you get your creative groove on with Procreate and make awesome art through practical classes, tutorials, Procreate brushes, and guides on art tools, supplies and resources. About me »