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The best store brand paper products

Bargains on paper goods at Walmart, Costco, Target, and CVS

Published: November 12, 2013 03:15 PM

Week after week you spend good money on such throwaway products as paper towels, tissues, and toilet paper. Buying store brands may be one way to save, as they’re often cheaper than the big brands, but are they a good deal? Consumer Reports tested 61 different brands of toilet paper, paper towels and facial tissues. The best toilet paper was a store brand but when it came to the worst paper products, some store brands landed in the bottom spot too.
 
Attention Walmart shoppers
Toilet paper. White Cloud 3-Ply Ultra Soft and Thick was the best of the 25 toilet papers in our tests, with superb softness and superior strength and disintegration. Walmart’s Great Value Ultra Strong and White Cloud Soft and Thick are also recommended but aren’t as strong.
Tissues. Great Value with Lotion tissues were soft, but not as strong as the top tissue picks. Puffs Basic tissues cost a little more and were better.
Paper towels. Great Value Strong & Absorbent paper towels came close to making the top picks list and were absorbent and strong when wet, making them a money-saving choice.

Best and worst at CVS
Toilet paper. CVS Premium Ultra toilet paper made our winner’s list. It was soft and excellent at disintegrating, but not as strong as some brands and cost more than the other top picks. CVS Earth Essentials was the worst toilet paper in our tests.
Tissues. Total Home Ultra Soft Lotion with Aloe & Vitamin E tissues weren’t as strong as other brands and cost more than most we tested, including the top-scoring Puffs Ultra Soft & Strong.
Paper towels. In our paper towel tests, Just the Basics was one of the worst—Family Values from Family Dollar was slightly worse—and Just the Basics was pricier than Bounty Giant, a top pick.

No bulls-eyes for Target
None of Target’s Up & Up brand paper products made our recommended lists. The Up & Up toilet paper and Up & Up Aloe & Vitamin E Lotion tissues are soft but not as strong as the top picks. Among paper towels, the Up & Up Full Sheet Puddle Busters were absorbent and strong when wet, but not ideal for scrubbing.

Costco’s Kirkland middle of the pack
The Kirkland Signature paper products weren’t as strong as the top picks, but they are among the cheapest in our tests. The tissues and toilet paper were soft, and the toilet paper was excellent at disintegrating. The Kirkland Signature Premium Big Roll paper towels were superb at absorbing spills and the least expensive we tested but they fell short on scrubbing and wet strength.

Do you shop at Walgreens or Whole Foods? Our ratings of tissues, toilet paper, and paper towels include their store brands too, and our paper towel Ratings will show you how Home Depot’s HDX brand scored.

—Kimberly Janeway

   

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