Five Ways to Prevent Paper Jams

Believe it or not, paper jams are not always the printer’s fault. In fact, low-quality paper often has inconsistent caliper, or thickness, resulting in more jams.

To make matters worse, paper jams always happen at the least convenient time – before a big deadline or client meeting. The result is frustrated employees, mishandled expensive equipment, and lost productivity.

“Paper jams are dollars out the door – wasting both time and money,” says Sarah Yedlick, Office Expert at Boise Paper. “Business owners have a million things to do to keep their office running, they shouldn’t need to worry about a jammed printer.”

Before replacing costly printers or copiers, Yedlick suggests you protect your investment and keep staff on task by following these five simple tips to prevent paper jams.

Start with high-quality paper – In addition to inconsistent caliper, low-quality paper can have tiny waves, creases, or wrinkles that cause jams. High-quality paper is manufactured to very specific standards and usually comes with a performance guarantee, which means it will give you the same results ream-to-ream and carton-to-carton. Boise POLARIS®, X-9®, and ASPEN® papers all have a 99.99% Jam-Free® Guarantee backed by third-party testing.

Match your paper with the printer – Laser and inkjet printers and copiers require different papers with specific weight, caliper, and size depending on the job. For instance, laser printers require paper designed to resist heat, while inkjet papers need a special coating that speeds drying. Some papers are designed as multi-use, but you should check the recommendations for your equipment to ensure you’re using the right paper.

Don’t mix paper types – Whether you’re printing a new business proposal, brochures, or a stack of business cards, using the correct paper type for the project is key. Eye-catching flyers should be printed on a heavy-weight color copy paper, while internal documents with limited color should be on multipurpose paper. When switching between projects, it’s important to remove one type of paper before loading another in the tray. If you don’t, the different paper weights and textures may confuse the printer and cause the rollers to slip instead of gripping.

Maintain office equipment – Paper dust can block sensors, making your machine think a sheet is stuck, or it can build up on the rollers, causing the paper to slip. Using a product with a Jam-Free Guarantee, like X-9 or Boise POLARIS, will ensure minimal dusting. However, wiping down rollers and paper trays once a month to prevent dust from accumulating in the printer is a good practice.

Properly store paper – When paper is left unused in the tray for days or stored incorrectly, moisture can be absorbed or lost depending on the environment, which leads to curling and jams. Find a warm (70–75° F), dry place to store paper in its original packaging, and only unwrap what you are likely to use during the day. If you store paper in a different room than your printing equipment, move what you need to the copy room at least 24 hours before use.

“If you’re experiencing frequent paper jams, following these simple tips should increase your peace of mind,” adds Yedlick. “The right paper and handling practices will help un-jam your business and get your office buzzing.”

For more tips, please visit


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