How To Fix A Printer Paper Jam Error

One of the worst printer issues you could ever experience is a paper jam error.

It’s very unpredictable too.

Your printer may print several pages of paper yesterday with no issue or error, then comes this single piece of paper that gets caught inside your printer and ruins your day.

how to fix paper jam

The worst-case scenario is there is no paper there but your printer still says paper jam error.

Well, how can you fix a paper jam error if there’s no jammed paper?

Do not worry. We’re here to help you get out of this mess.

First, let’s find out why paper jam error happens in the first place and what are the things you can do to prevent it from happening again.

What Causes Paper Jam In Printers?

Paper jams inside the printer for a variety of reasons. And a paper jam error may also show up even without a jammed paper inside your printer.

Incompatible paper

The paper that you’re using on your printer should be supported by it. If not, then you could easily encounter a paper jam error that may require you to spend hours of your time fixing.

Most home printers can support a paperweight between 60 to 200 gsm or grams per square meter. This is how the thickness of your paper is measured. The higher the number, the heavier the paper is.

Using thick and heavy paper may result in the paper getting stuck inside your printer, hence a paper jam error will show up on your printer screen.

Dirty printer

Have you ever wondered how the printer picks up your paper?

They can do it smoothly because of your printer’s paper rollers or simply called rollers. The rollers are an important part of your printer because if they cannot pick up your paper, you won’t be able to print or copy any documents.

Rollers much like any other part of your printer can accumulate debris or dust. IF that happens, it may not pick up your paper or worse, cause a printer paper jam.

Heavy usage of specialty paper

Some printers are not designed to handle printing photos or envelopes every single time.

The stress caused by using specialty papers to your printer mechanism can easily cause a paper jam issue. Since most specialty papers are more than 150 gsm thick, your printer rollers may adjust to this type of paper. And once you use a different paper with lower gsm, your printer’s rollers may have already misaligned and be unable to print a regular document.

Basic Printer Checkup

The first step we recommend printer owners do before performing any troubleshooting steps on their multi-function printer is to do a basic printer checkup.

To get started with this basic printer checkup.

  1. Turn on your printer.
  2. Check your printer screen, it should not have any display problem. And your button should all work.
  3. Place a one-page document on your scanner glass,
  4. Click on the copy button. It does not matter if you copy in black or copy in color.

If you can copy successfully, then you can proceed to the steps below.

If you cannot make a copy, then you have a much bigger problem than just a printer paper jam error.

How To Remove Paper Jam From Printer

If you’re trying to print some documents and suddenly one of the papers got jammed inside, then follow these troubleshooting steps.

Time It Takes To Fix Printer Paper Jam Error 20 minutes

Find the jammed paper

The first step is to locate where the paper is jammed.

Before you look inside your printer, make sure you turn it off first. Unplug the power cable out of your printer as well.

Usually, a paper jam occurs between where your printer rollers are. All you have to do is open your ink cartridge access door, this is the place where you remove and install your ink cartridges.

Once you see your ink cartridges, look at the back of them, and you should be able to locate there your printer’s rollers. Remove the jammed paper carefully. Suddenly pulling the paper may cause more damage.

Check the printer paper tray

If your jammed paper is not there, the next place you should look into is your paper tray. Check your printer paper tray/s. Printers today either have their paper tray at the rear of the printer or the bottom.

If your paper tray is at the rear part, grab a flashlight, and check the inside of your paper tray where you put the paper in.

When your paper tray is at the bottom, pull it out of your printer, and look for any jammed paper.

Again, carefully remove the paper inside your printer, and make sure you remove all of it. Even a small piece of paper may still cause your printer to show a paper jam error.

Check the duplexer

If you have a printer fit for small businesses or a larger printer model, you may have a removable part at the back of your printer. It’s called a duplexer. Check for jammed paper in your duplexer.

You either have to push some buttons there or lift them to pull the cover out of your printer.

Once you see your printer’s duplexer, you may locate some debris there or jammed paper. Remove all of it.

Put them all back to the printer

After you checked every part of your printer, it’s time to put everything back to the way it is. And try to print a document again.

Hopefully, those steps helped you fix your printer paper jam error.

Paper Jam Error When There’s No Jammed Paper Fix

Now, for those who still see a paper jam error even though there is no clear jammed paper in your printer, then these steps might help you solve your paper jam error.

To get started, do a hard reset of your printer. Remove the power cable from your printer for at least two minutes before you turn it back on.

While waiting open your ink cartridge access door and check if you can move your printhead. You’re going to have to do this with your bare hands, so the printer must be turned off.

If it’s on the right move it to the left side of your printer.

If it’s on the left move it to the right side of your printer.

When it’s on the middle part, move it to the right side.

Reinsert the power cable to turn the printer on. Make sure you plug it in directly to a wall outlet. This way it’s able to get the maximum power it needs to operate.

Check if the printer paper jam error message still appears.

Now, if it does, then our last step would be to do a semi-full reset.

Doing a semi-full reset will restore your printer’s factory settings. It will be like you’re getting a brand new printer since you have to set everything up again including your wireless connection and printer preferences.

Different printers have different ways on how to initiate a semi-full reset. You may contact us with your printer brand and model, so we can send you the right instructions.

Printer Tips To Avoid Paper Jam Error

Use compatible paper

As mentioned earlier on what causes printer paper jam error, you should only use compatible paper with your printer. These are papers that are supported by your printer.

Using thick papers may ruin the alignment of your rollers that may cause more printer issues.

The most important measurement here is the gsm or grams per square meter of the paper you’re using. If you want to know more about gsm, check out our FAQ section at the end of this guide.

If you’re just doing printing simple text documents, we highly recommend using these HP Multi-Purpose paper.

Clean your rollers

You should clean your rollers whenever you can, but it’s advisable to do it at least once every two months.

To start cleaning your printer rollers, you may use a piece of clean cloth. Never use tissue paper as it may leave small residue in your printer.

You may refer to your product manual if you need further assistance with cleaning your rollers.

There are also printer cleaning sheets available to help you remove dirt and debris on your printer rollers easily.

Clean your printhead

Cleaning your printhead can help clear debris inside your printer.

You may clean your printhead using your printer display screen by going to your printer settings/setup tab. Look for Printer Maintenance or Tools, and select Clean Printhead. You can also do this on your printer software on your computer or laptop.

Cleaning your printhead be done at least once a month or whenever you change your ink cartridges. This helps in removing air and debris from your printhead that may cause paper jam errors, print quality issues, or ink system failure.

Cover your printer

Whenever you are not using your printer, make it a habit to put a cover on it. This helps prevent dust and dirt to accumulate on your printer.

Having a printer cover may also lessen the time you should do printer maintenance. You may even get away with cleaning your printer rollers once every six or eight months with the help of a printer cover.

Frequently Asked Questions About Printer Paper Jams

What are the different paper types?

Home printers are compatible with papers with a weight of at least 60 gsm up to 200 gsm. For that specific range, there are a variety of papers you can choose from.

For Text Documents

Printing on text documents does not require specialty papers, and can be done with the usual matte papercopier or laser printer paper, or plain old inkjet paper.

These are papers you could buy in bulk in your local store and would range from 60 to 100 gsm in paper weight.

They’re perfect for text documents as they’re able to dry fast when used, lightweight, and are very affordable.

For Photos

When printing pictures or photos, then we recommend using a glossy paper. These types of paper product-rich and vibrant printouts make them an excellent choice for printing photos.

The drawback is that they often dry slowly as they don’t hold ink that well. It’s better for you to avoid touching the glossy part of it for a few minutes after printing.

For Brochures

Glossy paper can also be used to print brochures. Those that weigh about 130 gsm are highly recommended as they are relatively resistant to aging.

Another good type of paper for brochures is matte-coated paper, If you don’t like the glare that comes with printing on glossy paper, then you may opt to use matte paper on your brochures instead. Matte paper still has enough shine to make your photos and text look great.

For Business Cards

The best type of paper for business use is bright white paper. These specialty papers have a non-textured surface and a brilliant white color to match, making them a perfect fit for professional or corporate use.

GSM or grams per square meter measures how much a paper weighs. Technically, it’s a ratio of how much the paper weighs to its overall area.

Are papers with higher GSM better for printing?

It actually depends on what type of document you are trying to print. You also have to factor in the material of the paper that you will be using.

The higher the GSM number, the heavier the paper weighs. And the heavier the paper, usually the thicker it is.

But that’s not true in all scenarios.

Since paper can be made from different types of materials, two papers can have the same weight but not the same thickness.

What’s the best paper GSM for my printer?

Most printers can print up to 200 gsm papers, but it should only be used sparingly and not every time to avoid damaging your printer rollers.

The ideal paper weight for printing several sheets of text documents is 90 gsm. If you’re into printing photos and brochures, then you should consider using 170 gsm paper.

How to fix printer paper jam error?

Fixing a paper jam in your printer is not as simple as it may seem.

First, your printer may be showing this error with or without jammed paper.

For our team, it’s easier to fix a problem if you can see it.

So to get started, let’s discuss how to remove jammed paper in your printer.

Locate where the paper got jammed. It could be in between your printer rollers, your paper tray, or your duplexer (if you have an office-type printer).

Remove the jammed carefully as pulling it out suddenly may damage your printer. You may have to get a set of tweezers to remove small pieces of paper that may be stuck in your printer.

For printer paper jam errors that are more of a system issue than a physical one, we recommend doing a semi-full reset. This resets your printer to its factory defaults.

How to do a printer hard reset?

If you’re having some printer issues, then hard resetting your printer may help you fix your printer.

To hard reset a printer, you have to unplug the power cord in your printer to turn it off. You don’t have to press the power button to turn it off. Just unplug and leave it that way for at least two minutes.

Afterward, connect the power cord back to your printer and make sure that your printer is connected directly to a wall outlet and not a power extender.

Press the power button to turn your printer on and see if everything’s fixed.

Those are the steps to hard reset your printer successfully.

How to do a semi-full reset on my printer?

Unfortunately, printers have different ways to do a semi-full reset depending on their brand and model. You may send us a message of your printer brand and model, so we can assist you with your paper jam error.

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