What’s the best printer to print Metallic Cardstock Paper?

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Is one printer type generally better than another?

With so many printers on the market, the choices can seem overwhelming. But if you knew that you wanted a certain type, be it laser, inkjet, or an all-in-one inkjet, you could eliminate the other categories and be left with a less complicated decision. We have extensive experience printing metallic papers and card stock and we're ready to share our findings and test results. Our goal is to help you make a wise decision based on your printing habits.

laser printer

Laser Printers

Toner-based laser printers apply sharp, crisp, dark, well-saturated text on metallic paper. However, the toner may be prone to very subtle flaking and breaking from the non-porous paper surface. After the metallic sheet has printed, there's virtually no drying time to consider. You can handle the paper right away.

inkjet printer

Inkjet Printers

While inkjet printers excel in their versatility, especially if photo printing is something that interests you, in general, printed text is not as sharp as that of laser printers. Challenge inkjet printers with the task of printing on metallic paper and results are hit and miss, depending on the particular printer and the composition of the sheet's metallic finish. More printing limitations arise from wet ink sprayed onto the metallic paper surface. Because the ink cannot bond to the metallic finish as quickly as toner, the printed result is not as precise or as dark as laser printing. And inkjet printed metallic paper always needs extra drying time--sometimes up to 24 or 48 hours--where the paper cannot be handled.

 
all in one printer

All-in-One Printers

Essentially inkjet printers with extra functionality, all-in-ones are limited to the same issues as detailed in the Inkjet Printers section: bleeding and less-precise text, lighter, less-saturated black ink, and a mandatory period of drying time. The added scanning and faxing features don't excuse the fact that wet ink is being sprayed onto a metallic finish paper surface.

Although inkjet printers are at a disadvantage, don't rule them out!

Extra drying time is unavoidable, but we have heard from customers who've achieved great results from their inkjet printers. Jennifer of Red Monkey Press in Minneapolis, MN shares her experiences printing on Stardream metallic paper:

I inkjet print on Stardream paper a lot. I have found that certain Stardream colors take the ink better than others. For example, Opal prints like a dream, but Crystal takes a bit longer to dry. You can usually tell the problem colors by the way the cardstock feels; rougher-textured paper doesn't absorb the ink as quickly as one that feels smoother.

Read more about inkjet printing on Stardream Metallic Paper


Paper thickness can be a factor.

Whether you go with laser or inkjet, research the printer's paper specifications to find the heaviest paper weight the printer can accept. You wouldn't want to invest in a printer and then find out it can't handle the metallic card stock that you want to print.

For example, 2 of the 5 printers that we tested for this article could not handle the weight of our metallic card stock so we had to use lighter text weight sheets for testing.

Need help with cover vs. text weight and paper weights in general? Watch our video, Learn About Card Stock Paper Weight & Paper Density.


Metallic Print Test Results from 5 Different Printers

Our Testing Methods:

We printed wedding program wording onto 8 1/2 x 11, 81 lb, metallic text weight paper--Aspire Petallics Spearmint to be exact. Our program wording was printed with Microsoft Word software and used the Edwardian Script ITC font which is more challenging for our printers than a non-script font.

After printing, we scanned the metallic sheets at 600 dpi using the Canon CanoScan 9000F scanner. Images were cropped close to show detail, but not no further editing was performed.

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Ready to see the printing results and read our analysis?

Open our LCI Paper In-House Test Printing Results PDF file to see comparative printing results from each printer.


Printing Results Summary:

HP LaserJet P4015tn laser printer

HP LaserJet P4015tn laser printer

  • Robust, black & white laser printer, networked for an office setting
  • $800 - $1,200
  • HP does not recommend printing cover heavier than 74 lb

Conclusion: Text is sharp, crisp, and true black, making for almost perfect printing on text weight metallic paper. Unfortunately, since the printer can only print up to 74 cover, it cannot handle the heavyweight metallic card stock brands like Stardream and Aspire Petallics.


Canon Pixma iX7000 inkjet printer

Canon iX7000 inkjet printer

  • 13 x 20 wide format business inkjet printer with networking
  • $190 - $380

Conclusion: Although not as sharp as laser printing, delivers great printing performance from an inkjet printer, especially on text weight sheets. With three paper trays, you'll be consulting the manual on which papers, based on weight & size, load into which trays. We noticed slightly less black ink saturation the heavier the paper we printed.

Full Review: Canon Pixma iX7000 Large Format Ink Jet Printer


HP Envy 100 inkjet printer all-in-one

HP Envy 100 inkjet printer

  • Stylish, wireless, web-connected printer/copier/scanner
  • $190 - $250
  • Cannot print cover over 75 lb

Conclusion: Strong printing performance on text paper, comparable to the Canon iX7000. Not quite as sharp as laser printing. Cannot print cover over 75 lb which eliminates the ability to print heavy card stock like Stardream & Aspire Petallics cover.

Full Review: HP Envy 100 e-All-in-One Inkjet Printer


Epson Stylus Photo R1900 inkjet printer

Epson Stylus Photo R1900 inkjet printer

  • Wide format 13 x 44 inkjet printer
  • $300 - $540

Conclusion: The ink is certainly not as black as the others and the bleeding is also a bit worse. But it can print heavy card stock and was able to print the metallic 105 cover we tested.

Full Review: Epson Stylus Photo R1900 Ink Jet Printer

Note: R2000 replaces this model. Worth considering


Epson Artisan 50 inkjet printer

Epson Artisan 50 inkjet printer

  • Compact, basic inkjet printer
  • $120 - $150

Conclusion: Although the black text is more saturated than the Epson R1900, the bleeding is a bit worse. Overall, the printing quality falls short of the higher rated Canon Pixma iX7000 and HP Envy 100. A plus is that it can print heavy metallic card stock.

Full Review: Epson Artisan 50 Inkjet Printer


Editor's Pick

We've barely scratched the surface in testing just 5 of the hundreds of current home printer models so we certainly hope you'll get out there and research on your own, testing whenever possible. But, based on this test, with a focus on which is the best printer to print metallic paper, we can offer our opinion. At only $190, the Canon Pixma iX7000 inkjet printer is a great value. Not only does it print on metallic paper with exceptional quality considering it's an inkjet, it has the ability to print metallic sheets up to 11 x 17. With three different paper input trays, there is a bit of a learning curve, but we think the savings is worth the extra effort.


Need more help? We're here for you.

We hope we've made you more aware of some important areas to consider when choosing a printer for metallic paper. If you have any further questions, let us know. We are happy to help.
 
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9 Comments

  1. Theresa Riley says:

    Thank You so much. I have experienced some problem printing with the metallic paper; I decided on the laser printer and the problems seemed to vanish. This explanation and demonstration was very informative and I’m sure it will help many customers. I wasted many sheets of expensive metallic paper and maybe that will be avoided in the future. Thanks again!

  2. Katie says:

    Great article. Thanks for the info.

    Can you do an article on printing metallic inks (if there’s such a thing)?

    K

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Katie,

      Unfortunately you can not print metallic at home. You can only foil stamp, silk screen, or offset print with metallic.

  3. Brenda says:

    Hello,
    Thank you for your demonstration on metallic cardstocks. I have a Canon Pixma MG5320 with color dye ink cartridges and black pigment ink cartridges. I can print out an invitation on Stardream, Curious Metallic or Shine metallic cardstocks up to 137# with no problem. The printing looks very good, and the ink dries, but it is just on the surface and even days later I can wet the tip of my finger and swipe the ink and it smears. (It does not do this on matte cardstocks) Do you have this problem with the Canon Pixma?? Any tips to help me?? Thank you so much. Also does the Laser printer smear after drying? I don’t want to buy one if I would have the same problem. Surely all ink on metallic cardstock cannot smear I would think, or it wouldn’t be used so often. I appreciate any help. I love the look of the metallic cardstocks!

    • Larry Chase says:

      Inkjet printers just do not handle metallic cardstock papers too well. We have found for best results you should print using a laser printer. Color saturation is superior and the toner bakes into the paper better. To get the best image you may need to fiddle with the paper settings, but overall the laser will give superior results. If purchasing a new laser printer look for one with either a straight feeder or gravity feeder and make sure it can handle the paper weights you require. Metallics, typically, are heavier gsm papers.

  4. liz says:

    I’m interested in purchasing the 11 x17 metallic card stock. I would be using a Canon 5051 (Image Runner Advance). By anyc chance do you know how that paper would manage using that printer…do you have an option for customers to order sample paper and see sample swatches for the metallic?

    Thank you

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Liz,

      Though we have never tested a Canon 5051 on any of our metallic papers, from our in house test prints, we have found that laser printers give better results than ink jets on metallics. However, as with any of our papers, we recommend ordering a sample to know for sure.

      You can order samples of all of our products right on the site. Depending on the type of page you are on, you will find an order samples tab or link.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  5. Emma says:

    Hi,
    I received an email from Kirsten – below – thanks for your help.
    I think I will go down the route of buying a laser printer, do the Ricoh models print well onto card stock??

    Thanks for your help
    Kindest regards
    Emma

    Hello Emma,

    Thank you for your interest in LCI.

    That video and blog post you are referring to discusses which ink jet printer works best with metallic papers (if you have access to just an ink jet) but if you have a choice to buy any printer, laser printers work the best on metallics and envelopes. Lasers also print sharper text on matte papers as well. The only time they are ineffective is on heavily textured papers.

    Ricoh makes a good color laser, though as I have not used one in recent years, I can not recommend one in particular. If you would like to stick to an ink jet for texture purposes, any Canon pro model should do well. Again, as we do not have one on hand to test out, I can not give you a specific model number unfortunately.

    I’m sorry I could not be more specific, but I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Best,
    Kristen

    • Kristen says:

      Hello Emma,

      Ricoh does well with most heavier weight card stocks, yes, but as all models are different, we always recommend consulting manuals and doing test runs.