Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

What’s on your toilet paper roll?

April 8, 2009

tp1Consumer Reports is watching your behind.

The magazine, which rates everything from televisions to coffee, has taken on toilet paper and found that shoppers could save up to $130 a year by switching brands.

Consumer Reports rated Georgia-Pacific’s Quilted Northern Ultra Plush, which costs 29 cents per 100 sheets, best for strength and softness, but said that store brands Kirkland Signature (Costco) and White Cloud (Wal-Mart) offer the most performance for the price of 12 to 15 cents per 100 sheets.

“Either of these CR Best Buy rolls could save a family of three roughly $130 per year,” the magazine said.

Kimberly-Clark’s Cottonelle Ultra also scored well in tests for strength and softness, but at 37 cents per 100 sheets, it was not the best value, Consumer Reports said. The company’s Scott 1000 brand sells for about 6 cents per 100 sheets — delivering the most sheets for the lowest price — but “its individual sheets were thinner than that of most other brands tested.”

The jury is still out on Scott Naturals, an eco-friendly paper with 40 percent recycled fiber that hits stores this month.

Now that you have the facts, will you be switching?

(Photo: Reuters\Lisa Baertlein)


Actually, I’ve switched from toilet paper to toilet CLOTH (sometimes called “family cloth”).It’s soft, absorbent, durable, recyclable, cheap, doesn’t require trees.. Toss into a lidded bin, launder with soap & oxygen bleach, reuse.Guests can use the paper. Our family will be staying with CLOTH!

Posted by W | Report as abusive

I find it’s important to strike the right balance between cost per sheet and quality. Scott 1000 is so thin that I need to use roughly three times as many sheets as I would with a value-priced two-ply toilet paper such as Angel Soft or White Cloud. At the high end of the spectrum, the three-plys and lotion-infused toilet papers may be luxurious (and even enjoyable to use), but they are too costly and wasteful of resources for my taste. It would be nice to have a few recycled toilet papers to choose from, including 100% post-consumer recycled sheets in one- and two-ply.

Posted by Aaron | Report as abusive

I can tell you one thing. If the label says “eco-friendly” I won’t be buying it. Everything associated with the eco movement has proven to be bad so I am actively boycotting anything with an eco or green label. I already have 200 regular light bulbs in the closet just so I don’t have to buy a CFL for years. I am now stocking up on dish washing soap because of the phosphorus ban makes the new stuff useless. I am also boycotting companies that claim they are helping to stop global warming sense global warming is a lie those companies must also be lying.


I think I’ll pick whatever feels best on my bum. This is silly that it’s even a news story.

Posted by Gregg | Report as abusive

I welcome an objective report on toilet paper quality. I typically shop for it by locating the cheapest offering and then trying to intuitively figure out whether it will be, ah, agreeable in usage. If not, I locate the next cheapest brand, etc. I have no brand loyalty in this area, but I don’t have an accurate metric, either. I’ll probably buy this issue of Consumer Reports so that I really can “have the facts.”

Posted by Brad Eleven | Report as abusive

The “bottom” line is to keep your “bottom” happy at any cost.


Good article, and I LOVE saving resources – and money. We use a 5G bucket, filled by the warming water in the shower, for a free flush. (grrr. Why are gallons of water required to flush a liquid?)That said, at 30 cents/100, that is like 3 sheets for a penny. As a guy, I doubt if I use 6 sheets a day.My wife, on the other hand, used a fist full each time – regardless of the quality.Sorry… TMI?

Posted by jj | Report as abusive

I agree, Robertg. How can you bring yourself to use a computer or anything that runs on electricity, anyway… do you really believe there are electrons moving 186,000 miles per second (while changing directions 50-60 times per second too) inside the wires when you can’t SEE them doing so? And we don’t need to worry about toilet paper since that newfangled indoor plumbing is just a fad… corncobs work best in the outhouse and are totally organic. The lilacs will be blooming soon to cover that odor released by the spring thaw.Seriously, I’ve gradually replaced incandescents with CFLs since they came down to reasonable prices ($6 for a 4-pack at Lowe’s, Home Depot, et al), and was able to get different color temperatures (e.g. 5500K ‘daylight’ instead of soft white’s 2700K) for fixtures around the bathroom mirror. I’m still buying regular lamps for dimmer fixtures, but as soon as I see dimmable CFLs for reasonable prices I’ll buy those too. Like all fluorescent lamps, they contain a tiny amount of mercury so they should be returned to the store where you bought them (most will collect and ship them to a location that recovers the mercury during recycling) when they finally burn out. But they really DO use 60% less power and will reduce your lighting costs by that much.When choosing toilet paper, also consider your drainfield. Most of the lotion-infused tissue is NOT suitable for private systems. Lay a strip on the water’s surface, wait a minute then urinate on it. If it doesn’t break up like that it likely won’t break down in your septic tank, either. If connected to a public sewage system, you probably don’t have to worry about that, as they have machinery to remove the detritus (condoms, tampons, kleenex, et cetera) that won’t compost anytime soon, for landfilling.Ignorance is curable; stupidity is terminal. ;-)

Posted by Darr247 | Report as abusive

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