Facebook Pixel

What Is GSM Paper?

What Is GSM Paper?
20 October 2023
What Is GSM Paper?

What Is GSM Paper?

The GSM paper you choose will completely alter the end appearance of your printed artwork. No pressure there then. But what is GSM paper?

At Aura Print, we offer a mega selection of GSM values, (25 to be exact). Knowing which the right one is for you can sometimes feel like taking a stab in the dark – but it doesn’t have to be! In this post, we’re going to cover absolutely everything you need to know about printer paper GSM. From the GSM in paper meaning to our GSM paper guide. When we say everything, we do mean everything!

GSM Paper Meaning: What’s It All About?

Before being able to choose the best GSM for your next business cards or bookmarks, it’s good to know what does GSM paper mean.

GSM stands for Grams per Square Metre. All paper stocks have their own unique GSM value which changes based on the properties of the paper. More on that later.

To calculate the GSM value of a paper, the total weight of a 1 metre square sheet is taken. The heavier the paper the higher the GSM value. And on the flipside, the lighter the paper the lower the GSM value. What this does mean is that GSM is NOT a measurement of paper thickness.

It’s a common misconception that GSM is equal to the thickness of paper. And sure, to some extent this is true. Heavier papers do tend to be thicker; the weight needs to come from somewhere after all. However, two different paper stocks can have the same GSM value but won't always be the same thickness.

Weigh 1 metre square to get the gsm value of paper

Same GSM Paper Value But A Different Thickness?

If two paper types have the same GSM then surely they should be the same thickness, right? Wrong!

The properties of the paper have more of an influence over the thickness than the GSM. Some papers are compact. Others contain tiny pockets of air that increase the thickness without increasing the weight. Textured papers all differ in thickness depending on the specific textures (e.g. woven, laid, recycled). Special papers can be glued to be made thicker – the list goes on.

Here is a brief overview of the properties of our four classic papers and how each can affect the paper thickness.

Paper Type Paper Properties GSM Figure
Silk Compact, no air pockets Paper is fractionally thinner
Uncoated Textured with air pockets Paper is fractionally thicker
Recycled Textured, speckled, air pockets Paper is fractionally thicker
Gloss Compact, no air pockets Paper is fractionally thinner

It’s important to remember that the paper properties only make a fractional difference in the overall thickness. It’s not something that is typically detrimental to your end print result. But, if you are planning on fitting your prints into envelopes or playing card boxes, you’ll need to know the paper thickness.

Related: Silk, gloss, or uncoated paper

What GSM Is Printed Paper?

Printer paper. We've all seen it, either in our home printers or within the filing cabinets in the office. Knowing the printer paper gsm will give you a reference to compare all other paperweights with.

Printer paper gsm tends to be anywhere between 70gsm and 90gsm. Paperweights this low can easily pass through an office printer, sometimes more than once! This paperweight is incredibly thin, especially compared to the other paperweights we're going to cover below.

GSM Paper Guide

There’s plenty to consider when choosing a GSM paper value in print. The product you want to print will be the main factor that influences your choice. Does your print need to fold? Do you want a laminate? Is your annual company meeting on the horizon and you need to impress your boss with some fancy foiled brochures?

Instead of attempting to guess which GSM for paper is the best choice, we’ve got a handy paper thickness GSM chart for you to refer to.

100gsm and 120gsm

100gsm and 120gsm are the lightest paperweights available to print with here at Aura Print. Being lightweight also makes these papers incredibly thin, allowing them to fit inside most office and home printers. This ability to be reprinted multiple times makes this group of paperweights our top choice for letterheads and compliment slips.

Can 100gsm Be Laminated? Can 100gsm Be Folded? Can 100gsm Be Foiled? Can 100gsm Be Reprinted?
No Yes No Yes

When deciding on any paper for a letterhead, we recommend ordering a sample to test. Some papers are simply not compatible with all office printers.


Printing using 150gsm keeps costs down with a lighter and thinner paper stock. If you want to print a large number of flyers or disposable menus then this is the right paperweight for you. With 150gsm, you will have to sacrifice some of the finer finishes, so make sure that your prints don’t need to be dressed to impress before picking this paperweight.

Can 150gsm Be Laminated? Can 150gsm Be Folded? Can 150gsm Be Foiled? Can 150gsm Be Reprinted?
No Yes No Yes


Posters are typically printed using 170gsm. This paperweight is slightly heavier, providing an extra bit of strength, which is useful if you’re planning to hang your posters up on the walls. As posters come in a variety of sizes, the right paperweight needs to be strong enough to support larger sizes without tearing. This makes 170gsm the best choice.

Can 170gsm Be Laminated? Can 170gsm Be Folded? Can 170gsm Be Foiled? Can 170gsm Be Reprinted?
No Yes No No


200gsm rounds off the lighter end of the paperweight spectrum. What makes this paperweight special is its ability to be able to fold more than once. Whether you would be liking a half fold, tri fold, or open gate fold, 200gsm is the right choice. All paperweights above 200gsm are too heavy to fold more than once and remain folded.

Can 200gsm Be Laminated? Can 200gsm Be Folded? Can 200gsm Be Foiled? Can 200gsm Be Reprinted?
No Yes No No


From 250gsm and above, a new range of stellar finishes are now unlocked. From our in-house favourite soft touch laminate to shimmering metallic foiling, being able to customise your prints got a whole lot better. As 250gsm is still on the light to midweight end, you don’t have to worry about your prints being too bulky.

Can 250gsm Be Laminated? Can 250gsm Be Folded? Can 250gsm Be Foiled? Can 250gsm Be Reprinted?
Yes Yes (One Fold Only) Yes No

300gsm and 350gsm

Want to know what GSM is card? How about playing cards? Menus? Bookmarks? Brochure covers?

300gsm and 350gsm are the jack of all trades within the printing world. These paperweights can be found across a variety of different printed products; you’ve probably already interacted with these paperweights without even realising!

What makes this duo of paperweights so popular are the qualities they possess. Being a midweight card, these paperweights can fold with ease, whilst still holding that premium card appearance. These paperweights can be laminated, foiled, creased, perforated, and drilled – you name it, this paper can do it!

If you are ever unsure as to which paperweight you should choose, 300gsm is always a safe choice.

Can 300gsm Be Laminated? Can 300gsm Be Folded? Can 300gsm Be Foiled? Can 300gsm Be Reprinted?
Yes Yes (One Fold Only) Yes No


400gsm (otherwise known as the business card GSM) is, you’ve guessed it, our top pick for business cards. The heaviest of all the single-thickness papers, 400gsm will boost your business cards to be ahead of your competitors.

We all know that the appearance of your business cards plays a huge role in its success. So avoid cheap-looking business cards and go with a 400gsm paperweight. Your clients are bound to be impressed!

Can 400gsm Be Laminated? Can 400gsm Be Folded? Can 400gsm Be Foiled? Can 400gsm Be Reprinted?
Yes Yes (One Fold Only) Yes No

540gsm, 600gsm, and 700gsm

Double thick papers are made by gluing two sheets of paper together. This makes this group of paperweights twice the thickness of the next paperweight down. All our classic papers, as well as our eco-friendly and colorplan paper types, can be doubled up so there’s no limit to the choice.

What’s great about double thick papers are the edges. Not only are the edges so much thicker but they can also be painted with a range of colours – from neon green to metallic gold.

Our top picks for double thick paperweights are business cards and wedding invitations. If your designs will benefit from bulking up, then this is the GSM for you.

Can 700gsm Be Laminated? Can 700gsm Be Folded? Can 700gsm Be Foiled? Can 700gsm Be Reprinted?
Yes (Recommended) No Yes No


Dwarfing all others beneath it, 800gsm is a triple thick paper. Yes, you heard that right, this GSM is made using three layers of paper! Both the top and bottom layers are white, allowing you to print your creative designs without any issues. The middle layer is made using coloured card stock to add a funky strip of colour around the edge of your prints.

800gsm is a hardy paper stock - being made from three layers sure does add some strength. Due to being so thick, a laminate is generally recommended to help protect the paper layers when they are guillotined.

This paperweight is very popular for business cards. With the coloured edge and incredible thickness, 800gsm cards stand out for all the right reasons.

Can 800gsm Be Laminated? Can 800gsm Be Folded? Can 800gsm Be Foiled? Can 800gsm Be Reprinted?
Yes (Recommended) No Yes No

Want To Know More About GSM Paper?

Reading about paperweights is never as good as seeing the real thing! When deciding to print, we always recommend ordering a sample of your chosen paper stock and weight, to be sure that you’re making the best decision. Our paper sample pack includes all our papers, along with our wonderful special finishes, all for your viewing pleasure. Or, why not speak to a customer service representative about picking the perfect GSM paper today.

Related posts