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How To Measure The Thickness of Paper

How To Measure the Thickness of Paper : Expert Guide

As you all know, the thickness of a paper is one of the most crucial things to consider when selecting the right paper.

That said, the thickness of paper varies from one to the next, depending on the type, quality, etc., of a given paper.

While measuring the thickness of a paper might seem impossible or a difficult task, it’s quite simple.

In our quick guide below, we’ll walk you through the two best methods of determining paper thickness (including the most accurate one).

See Also: Top Quality Paper Cutter: An Expert Picks

Determing the Thickness of Paper Using a 12-inch Ruler


The simplest way of determining the how thick a sheet of paper is involves using the 12-inch ruler. Since the divisions on this ruler are too big to measure a single paper sheet, this method will only work when you’ve got a bunch of sheets of the same paper.

We’ll also assume that all the papers in the bunch are of the same thickness.

To obtain the paper thickness:

  • We first take the thickness of the entire stack of paper with the ruler.
  • After noting down this measurement, you’ll then need to know the total sheets of paper that make up the stack.

You can count the papers one by one, but that might take a lot of time.

An easier way of getting the total number is using the number on the ream of the paper (most manufacturers indicate the number of pieces in the ream, which will make your work easy).

An Example of How to Know the Thickness of a Sheet of Paper

Let’s say that the last page in a given paper stock is 500. If you divide this by 2, you’ll get 500/2= 250 (which is the exact number of pieces).

If you’re working with a bundle with pieces of paper numbered on both sides, you’ll need to divide the total number by two to get the exact number of sheets of paper it contains.

Now, let’s say you found the thickness of the bundle to be one inch thick.

To get the thickness of a single page, divide the total thickness by the number of pages:

That is, 1/250=0.004.

The thickness of each piece of paper is 0.004 inches.

We’ve just obtained the thickness of a piece of paper with an ordinary ruler. However, this method might not be 100% accurate as there are many assumptions made.

Besides, the method might not help if you’re dealing with a single piece of paper. To know how the thickness of a single sheet of paper we can use the following method.

Measuring the Thickness of a Piece of Paper Using a Micrometer

The best way to obtain the thickness of a single paper sheet involves using a micrometerdial caliper, or a paper thickness gauge.

There are both analog and digital models, but we recommend you to use a digital model as its easier to read and will give you more accurate measurements.


These are the two methods of obtaining the thickness of paper.

As we’ve just said, knowing the thickness of a paper is quite crucial when choosing which kind of paper will meet your needs.

Of the two methods above, the ruler method is ideal when working with a bunch of paper. The second method (which is more accurate) will come in handy when measuring a single piece of paper.

Overall, the readings taken using the two methods aren’t much different when compared, meaning you can reliably use any of them.

James M. Rai has been screen printing T-shirts and other textiles professionally and as a hobby for more than 15 years. During that time, he owned and operated a small screen printing shop in northern California for more than 7 years. More recently, James has gotten involved with Cricut and other cutting machines.