Whether you want to print invitations, illustrations, or journals, feeding cardstock through a regular printer can be a nightmare. If you don’t want to jam the machine, you need to invest in a printer that can handle thick, heavy paper.
The problem is that information about the type of paper a printer can handle is rather scarce. If you don’t want to lose time, check our ranking of the best cardstock printers you can buy this year.
- #1 Best Overall: Canon PIXMA PRO-200 Desktop Inkjet Printer
- Best for Professional Printing: Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000
- Best for Hobbyists: HP OfficeJet 3830 Inkjet All-in-One Printer
- Best Wide-Format Cardstock Printer: Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000
- Best Budget-Friendly: Canon PIXMA TS9521C Crafting Photo Printer
#1 Best Overall: Canon PIXMA PRO-200 Desktop Inkjet Printer
- Enhanced 8-color dye-based ink system
- Built-in 3-inch LCD display (PPL’s intuitive interface)
- Panorama printing up to a custom size of 13” x 39”
- Prints A3 photos in 90 seconds
The Canon PIXMA PRO-200 is primarily designed for printing photographs, but it is also one of the best cardstock printers for both designers and hobbyists.
While it won’t handle the thickest types of cardstock, it can work with paper weighing up to 380 g/m² and up to 0.8mm thick. Such heavy and thick cardstock is more than perfect for lots of arts and crafts projects, including home décor prints, invitations, save-the-date cards, and other similar stuff.
It goes without saying that you can use this printer with matte, glossy, and plain paper alike. No matter what media you decide to print on, the 8-color dye-based system delivers rich, vibrant colors and high-quality images.
We also like that it pairs with Alexa, an option that allows you to receive alerts when the printer runs low on ink. The virtual assistant can even place orders for ink refills.
The only downside is the complicated setup, and some might also find it frustrating that you have to register each type of paper with the printer and then select the right type from the tiny LCD screen each time you want to print. Despite these issues, this is one of the best options if you don’t want to spend a lot and need high-quality cardstock prints.
|The PIXMA PRO-200 can handle cardstock paper up to 380 g/m².||This printer is challenging to set up, and printing can be complicated if you use multiple types of media.|
|It can print borderless images of standard or custom sizes of up to 13 x 39 inches.|
|You can pair the printer with Alexa to get notifications about the ink level and even order ink automatically.|
Check out the Canon PIXMA PRO-200 on Amazon.
Best for Professional Printing: Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000
- Can also handle other specialty media, like canvas
- The Lightroom plugin allows for quick image adjustments before printing
- Print on cardstock paper of up to 400 g/m²
- Anti-clogging technology
The Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 is the best printer for artists — and crafters — who print on cardstock for a living.
While this printer is not cheap, the premium gets you a higher-end machine that can handle paper with a weight of up to 400 g/m² and up to 0.7 thick. Beyond plain paper and cardstock, this printer can also handle other specialty media, including canvas.
Whether you want to print invitations, wall art, or photographs, a big advantage of this printer is its Lightroom plugin that allows you to adjust the contrast and color rendition to obtain more detailed and accurate prints.
Compared to other models, setting up this printer is a breeze, and we also like that you can use it with all kinds of photo paper, including non-Canon types. The printer has profiles for most photo paper brands already installed, and these options can also improve accuracy when printing on cardstock.
What we’re not so fond of is the printer’s size and weight. Once installed, you’ll unlikely be able to move it to another location by yourself. Some may also consider the maximum printable length of 47.2 inches a bit limiting for a printer in this price range.
|This printer can handle most media types, including cardstock and canvas.||The printer is bulky, heavy, and really hard to move without help.|
|The Lightroom plugin allows for quick image adjustments before printing.|
|You can use this printer to print cardstock paper of up to 400 g/m².|
Check out Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 on Amazon.
Best for Hobbyists: HP OfficeJet 3830 Inkjet All-in-One Printer
- Versatile all-in-one machine
- Easy to set up
- Exceptional color accuracy and print quality
- Comes with a 2.2" mono touchscreen display
The HP OfficeJet 3830 Inkjet is one of the best printers for hobbyists who use thin cardstock but also need a versatile all-in-one machine.
While it can’t handle the thickest and heaviest cardstock, it works with paper up to 280 g/m². You won’t get too many printing options either, but the color and accuracy are more than satisfying. Sure, this printer won’t produce the best photographs, but it is ideal for invitations, menus, and other simple projects.
Essentially an office printer, the OfficeJet 3830 is also easy to set up. It shouldn’t take you more than 25 minutes to pair it with a computer or a mobile device — the integrated Wi-Fi supports direct interaction with smartphones and tablets.
The main downside of this printer is how fast the inks drain out. Make sure to stock cartridges if you don’t want to run out of ink in the middle of a printing project.
|This all-in-one printer is ideal for hobbyists who mainly print on plain paper and thin cardstock.||It consumes a lot of ink, especially for colored prints.|
|The color accuracy and print quality are exceptional, considering this is an office printer.|
|This model is Wi-Fi enabled and easy to pair with computers and mobile devices.|
Check out the HP OfficeJet 3830 Inkjet on Amazon.
Best Wide-Format Cardstock Printer: Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000
- Print up to 13 by 44 inches
- Sprint speeds of 9.2 ISO ppm (black) and 9.0 ISO ppm (color)
- Print on a variety of different media including double-sided and transfer paper
- Ultra-wide color gamut
- Can order ink automatically
The Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 might not handle the thickest cardstock, but it is one of the best printers out there for wide-format printing.
This machine can handle paper sizes up to 13 by 44 inches, but the best part is that you can customize the length to as low as 2.2 inches. This feature makes it easy to print place cards, table cards, thank you notes, and other small stuff without wasting paper.
As far as the printer’s paper handling capabilities go, you can use it to print cardstock up to 250 g/m². It goes without saying that you can also use a variety of different media, including matte and glossy photo paper, matte double-sided paper for brochures and flyers, and even iron-on cool-peel transfer paper.
No matter what media you use, printing quality is exceptional. Less-than-exceptional is the buggy software that sometimes doesn’t detect the paper in the feed, or that detects jams even though nothing is stuck in the machine. You can solve these issues by cleaning the roller, but the process is annoying.
|This printer can handle wide-format paper, including A3+ formats.||Software bugs can lead to malfunctions, but the issues are generally easy to fix.|
|It can print on cardstock with a weight of up to 250 g/m².|
|This printer can handle a variety of specialty media, including double-sided and transfer paper.|
Check out the Epson Expression Photo HD XP-15000 on Amazon.
Best Budget-Friendly: Canon PIXMA TS9521C Crafting Photo Printer
- 12 x 12 printing
- It can work with cardboard paper of up to 200 g/m²
- Amazon Dash replenishment ready
Whether you’re just getting into crafts or want an affordable printer capable of handling cardstock for a one-off project, the Canon PIXMA TS9521C could be the right machine for you.
At under $200, you can’t expect it to handle the heaviest and thickest type of cardstock, but it works just fine with thinner types weighing up to 200 g/m². Besides plain paper and cardstock, you can also print on other types of media, such as matte, semi-gloss, or glossy photo paper.
The printer can’t handle wide paper formats, but it works with a maximum paper size of 12 by 26.61 inches, which is enough for most creative projects — as long as you don’t mind that the borderless printing function allows for no extension modification.
This actually means that the printer will expand the image by around half an inch to ensure the print is truly borderless. If you need to print the model in exact dimensions, you have to reduce the design size by 0.5 of an inch.
That said, this all-in-one machine is also perfect for scanning and copying. It connects to your computer via a wire or wirelessly, and you can also use it to print directly from a smartphone or tablet.
|This is one of the cheapest printers that can handle thick and heavy paper.||The borderless printing function doesn’t allow for border adjustments.|
|It can work with cardboard paper of up to 200 g/m².|
|The printer accepts larger paper formats of up to 12 x 26.61 inches.|
Check out the Canon PIXMA TS9521C on Amazon.
How to Pick the Best Cardstock Printer: Step-by-Step
When shopping for a cardstock printer, there are six main considerations for most buyers.
- Supported paper weight
- Supported paper size
- Print quality
- Ink/toner costs
- Additional functions
Let’s see how each of these factors can affect your decision-making.
Supported Paper Weight
The most important factor to consider when buying a cardstock printer is the supported paper weight — this feature also gives you an indication of the supported paper thickness. Most high-end cardstock printers should support a paper weight of up to 380 to 400 g/m². Entry and mid-range printers typically support thinner cardstock with a weight of under 300 g/m². You can find the supported paper weight for your printer model in the product’s manual, but most manufacturers typically express the weight in grams per square meter only.
Supported Paper Size
Another thing to check before buying is the maximum paper size the printer supports — this is particularly important if you want to print on formats larger than A4. While larger formats are usually supported by high-end printers only, some entry-level models can surprise with a supported paper size larger than A3. Since the supported size might not be standard, you should check the model’s specs and make sure it matches the size of your project.
To ensure quality prints, the most important factors to consider are color accuracy and the ability to adjust the contrast. Most cardstock printers are technically designed for printing photographs, and you can fine-tune the image settings directly from the printer’s software. Some high-end options even come with Adobe Lightroom plugins to ensure the best quality. However, entry-level models might not offer these options, so you’ll have to edit your prints in separate software.
Nowadays, most cardstock printers produce accurate results. However, to do that, they use a lot of ink or toner. Whether you’re into arts and crafts or running a business, ink usage can cut a deep hole in your budget. As a rule of thumb, toner printers can print more pages than the inkjet kind, and refilling the ink is also cheaper than buying inkjet cartridges. There are also differences between brands. HP printers typically consume more ink than Canon and Epson.
Beyond printing cardstock and other paper types, you might want to use the printer for scanning and copying. Some all-in-one models allow you to do that, but that’s not always the case. You should also consider whether you need a wireless printer. While wireless models are more expensive, they enable you to print directly from your smartphone or tablet.
Lastly, you should consider your budget. Affordable, entry-level models can only handle thinner and lighter cardstock. This they could suit your needs if you only want to print invitations or greeting cards. If you need to print on heavy and thick cardstock, you should save for a high-end printer. Such a model can set you back over $1,000.
What to Know Before Buying a Cardstock Printer
While many printers can handle cardstock, it is challenging to find a model built specifically for this medium. Most cardstock printers are generally built for printing photographs and provide high printing quality, but they are generally expensive.
Some office and entry-level photo printers can handle thin cardstock. You should, however, always check the supported paper weight to avoid disappointment.
In lower-end models, as cardstock sheets don’t always have a standard thickness, you should also check the maximum supported paper thickness. Using too thick cardstock could result in jams and could potentially damage the printer.
Using a Cardstock Printer: What It’s Like
Cardstock printers might not be as straightforward to use as standard printers. Since most models are built for printing photographs, they could be challenging to set up. Wrapping your head around the various settings might also take a while, especially if this is the first time you’re printing on specialty media.
Software glitches also seem to be more frequent in cardstock printers compared to the standard models. That said, as long as the printer supports the right paper weight and thickness, using a cardstock printer isn’t that different than using a standard model — and the printer’s settings usually help you achieve better, more accurate results.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©P.S_2/Shutterstock.com.