For fountain pen users, paper plays an important role in the overall enjoyment of writing. If you’ve read this site for any amount of time, you probably know that I am somewhat obsessed with paper and am always looking for good, fountain pen friendly paper and notebooks. Unfortunately, nice paper can be quite expensive. Fortunately, there is some nice paper to be found at a reasonable price. One of my favorites is HP Premium32 paper.
I’ve been using this paper for almost as long as I’ve been using fountain pens. While it may not be the most exciting paper out there, it is certainly very fountain pen friendly and, more importantly, cheap! Recently, a friend asked if I had ever tried the HP Premium28 paper. Surprisingly, I hadn’t. I had always been happy with the Premium32 and had never thought about trying the more lightweight Premium28 paper. Curiosity eventually got the best of me and I picked some up. Today, I want to give a brief rundown of each paper and compare them to each other.
HP Premium32 Paper
Let’s start out by taking a look at the Premium32 version (formerly known as HP 32lb LaserJet). The weight of most paper that I look at on this blog is measured in grams per square meter (gsm), but you’ll notice this is measured in pounds (lb). You might remember from my article about the best paper for fountain pens that I discuss paper weight and have a link to a chart that converts paper weight in pounds (bond weight) to gsm. You’ll see that 32lb paper is the same as 120gsm paper. That’s some thick paper, especially considering that the average weight for fountain pen friendly paper is 80gsm.So we know that Premium32 paper is thick. That’s doesn’t necessarily mean that it is fountain pen friendly. Fortunately, in this case it is very fountain pen friendly. It has almost no bleed though and extremely fast dry times. I don’t know if I can remember the last time a pen feathered while writing and, mainly because of how thick it is, there is no ghosting. Due to the fast dry times, there isn’t a lot of sheen and average shading, but that’s usually the price you pay. It is also very smooth to write on. It may not be as smooth as Clairefontaine, but I would say it is smoother than Rhodia. Ink also looks great on it. Lines are crisp and colors are saturated.
One of the best things about this paper is how easy it is to find and how inexpensive it is. Most office supply stores carry it, so there’s a good chance you could go out and buy some right now. It is sold by the ream, which means you get 500 sheets at a time. That’s a lot of paper! Now what do you do with that much paper? Since it’s so inexpensive, you won’t feel bad about using it for scrap paper. It is wonderful to take notes on and you can cut it into smaller pieces that you can keep around your house. It’s also nice to write letters on, but because it is so thick you’ll want to be careful about using too many sheets at once.
HP Premium28 Paper
Now that you have an idea of what makes the Premium32 so nice, let’s take a look at the Premium28. As you can probably guess, it has a weight of 28 pounds, which converts to 105gsm. It is still a heavier paper than most that you’ll encounter, but is noticeably lighter-weight than the Premium32.Many people have suggested the Premium28 as an alternative to those who don’t like how heavy the Premium32 is. I expected it to be the exact same paper, only not as thick. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The very first thing I noticed when writing on the Premium28 is that my writing looks softer. The line is not as crisp as on the Premium32 and the colors are not as saturated. I was completely shocked to find that it was so different.
As for how it handles ink, the results are as different as you’d think. I mentioned that the line does not look as crisp and I believe that is due to slight feathering. There is also some ghosting, which makes sense because the paper is not as thick as the Premium32. In fact, some inks were on the verge of bleeding through, while others did actually spot through to the other side. While there may be a tiny bit of sheen on the Premium32, the Premium28 has no sheen that I could see. It does show some shading, but again, less than the Premium32. It’s almost like the paper is low-contrast.
Although the HP Premium32 paper is a higher-quality paper than the HP Premium28 in every way, they cost about the same. In fact, you can usually find the Premium32 for less than the Premium28, making it an incredible value. At only about $0.02 per sheet, it’s hard to go wrong. Is there any situation when I’d recommend the Premium28 over the 32? Only if you plan to use it as printer paper and not write on it with a fountain pen.
The HP Premium32 is a high-performing, fountain pen friendly paper that you can buy in bulk at a very low cost. While it may not show much sheen or shading, it handles fountain pen ink very well and is a pleasure to write on. I would highly recommend picking up a ream of it the next chance you get.
If you’d like a bit more information about how I test papers and notebooks, I wrote an article about my paper rating system.
Interested in trying this paper before buying a ream? Head over to my shop and pick up a paper sample pack.
HP 32lb Laser Jet
Fountain Pen Love Overall Rating
Pros: Extremely inexpensive, very fountain pen friendly
Cons: A little boring, quite thick
Value Rating: 3.71 Stars, Cost per A5 sheet: $0.02
Who this paper is for: Anyone who wants something better than crappy printer paper
Upgrade to this paper from: Cheap paper that isn’t fountain pen friendly
Upgrade from this paper to: Premium writing paper like that from Midori, Clairefontaine or G. Lalo.
I second your recommendation. HP Premium28 is a great paper for Ink or Laser Jet printing. It has a brightness that makes printed documents pop and a weight and texture that implies understated quality. It’s also a good ballpoint paper. But it’s not a very good fountain pen paper.
HP Premium32 is a very good fountain pen paper. It probably has, by far, the best price/performance ratio of any fountain pen friendly paper. Does it perform like Clairefontaine Triomphe? Of course not; don’t be silly. But does it perform well enough or better? You bet!
While some people may not care for the weight (it is a heavy paper) and others its super-bright white color, if these are not objectionable to you, this can be your everyday paper. And BTW, it’s also a fantastic printer paper. I’ve created 8.5×11 sized images for myself of: dot grid (5mm, 7mm, 8mm), lined (7mm, 8mm – vertical and horizontal), and grid (5mm, 7mm, 8mm) which I print on HP Premium32 when I want a particular pattern. All in all, I’m quite happy with this paper; I do more writing on it than all my other (expensive) papers combined.
Thanks for chiming in, Joseph! I have to agree that HP32 is also great printer paper. I’ve used it quite a bit for both color and b/w printing and everything looks great on it. Years back I printed some writing drills on it so I could practice my writing with a fountain pen. Best of both worlds!
Thank you for great review.
Is there any plain 120gsm paper that is even better for fountain pens than HP Premium32? Price is not important. Doesn’t have to be exactly 120gsm, 110 to 130gsm range is also fine.
You are very welcome, Perla! I honestly don’t think there is any paper that heavy that is better than HP32. I suppose, though, it depends on what your definition of “better” is. There might be some watercolor paper or mixed-media paper in that range that shows more shading and sheen.
I read this article just a few months back, and had planned on getting a ream of HP Premium32. I hadn’t at the time because I didn’t have any fountain pens at the time either. However, my FP situation changed right after the first of the year. I bought a 4-pack of Jinhao 250s along with a bunch of other stuff. But a ream of that HP paper wasn’t among the purchases. What was, was a collection of Gullor ink cartridges. I already had a couple of partially-used reams of Georgia-Pacific paper, 20lb. I can’t write straight on blank paper to save my life. So I lined my own. I started with 1/4″, and that was a bit tight, even for my small writing. So I tried 3/8″, and that was a little too much. Wasted space, as far as I’m concerned. I tried splitting the difference at 5/16, and that actually works pretty well. I made a master copy to run off a few sheets at a time until I can get a document set up on my computer. All that to say this: the Gullor black and blue inks do great on that paper. No bleeding, virtually no feathering, and not enough ghosting to worry about. I’m not real concerned about the sheening and such right now, as I just staryed to use the paper to write my first drafts of my books, and a couple of letters. And since my first drafts won’t be for the general public, there’s no need for me to be too awful fancy. But I’m still going to get a ream of that Premium32. Soon, hopefully. Thanks for all the reviews and recommendations you do. Sorry this is so long.
Thanks for stopping back by to let everyone know about your experiences, David. I’ve never used Gullor ink before. Glad to hear it behaves on your GP 20lb paper! Happy writing!
Do you have any experience with a Pilot Metropolitan on HP Premium32 paper? The Fine nib with Noodler’s 54th Massachusetts writes very wet on Georgia-Pacific 20lb paper, that much I know. I’m going to try a few other inks in the Metro. Just curious if you have used one on the Premium32.
Hi David, I have used a Metro with a Medium nib on the Premium32 and it works great. I’m sure there are going to be some particular pen/ink combinations that give it trouble, but I’ve never had an issue with the Metro.
Thank you much. I have a ream of it arriving tomorrow, so I’ll get to do a little experimenting with it before Svengoolie comes on.
I bought that ream of HP Premium32 to try with my fountain pens. I liked how it worked so well that I ordered three more reams of it. That’s what I’ll be using for my manuscript first drafts. Thanks for all the info.
That’s great to hear, David! Glad it works for you. Best of luck with your manuscript!
Thanks for the 32 pound review…….needing something to feed my printer and not wanting to put the good stuff, the Austrian made Mondi 100g color copy in it, all my wife could find was HP Home&Office 80g….which has a woolly line. Looking it up, stumbled across here.
Her is some very good paper, and some heavier papers. someone did mention lack of cost. (ha!)
Considering the cost, E-40 for a hundred sheets of Gmund Blanc Beige 170g cause me to dither for 4-5 years.
I did not like the Original Gmund as much at E40 for 50 sheets.
Gmund Blanc Beige, Cream 170g was second best in a four year dithering with semi-flex and regular flex pens with @ 20 inks. The best was Blanc Beige, Beige 120g. but liking heavy paper pushed the button for 170g at the last second. (could have ordered white but wanted to see what other colors of paper did to inks.)
Original Gmund Didital, matt tactile, creme at 150g was good; but #3, & $$.
Have Gmund send you a list of their fountain pen friendly papers, in they also make art papers which are no good for fountain pens. I paid with discount, E4.00 for some 9 papers. (Then E 0.85 a sheet)
You can join the dither party, applying all your nibs and inks to see which you must have, which would be nice to have.
I hate to admit it, but for me second best will have to do….unless the lottery is hit. The difference between the 120g & 170g was a years worth of minuscule.
Thanks for the comment, Bill! I’ve been checking out Gmund and will definitely be ordering some samples. It’s definitely more expensive in the US, but I’m always on the search for something new!