Choosing between cover stock and text stock depends on your end use. Each has benefits and properties that will enhance your printed piece.
The primary difference between cover stock and text stock is the thickness of the sheet. Cover stock is thicker and more rigid than text stock. Text stock, on the other hand, is easier to fold.
All paper has weight assignments. Generally, typical office paper falls into the 20 to 24 pound category. Offset sheets (also a text stock) range from 60 to 80 pound. Cover stocks are 65 to 80 poundz, with index sheets weighing 90 pounds and higher.
Paper weight designations can be confusing. Offset paper that is 70 pounds sounds heavier than 65-pound cover; however, that isn’t the case. The numeric weight is determined by the actual weight of 500 sheets in the parent size. Different papers have different parent sizes. Offset has a much larger parent size sheet than cover stock, so 500 sheets of offset (25 by 38 inches) weighs more than 500 sheets of cover stock (20 x 26) although cover stock is much thicker.
Because of their thickness and rigidity, cover stocks are used for items, such as post cards and business cards. Text stocks are used for letters, book pages and fliers. Sometimes, publications use cover stock for the cover and matching text stock for the inside pages.
Cover stocks and text stocks come in a wide range of colors. Many paper mills manufacture both types in matching colors. Also, both are available in several finishes, including gloss, matte or uncoated.