Americans use million of tons of toilet tissue a year. No wonder toilet-paper makers are plying consumers with more sheets, more layers, and the added sanitation of wet wipes. More rolls made from recycled products also promise to be softer and greener.
But extensive tests by Consumer Reports show that some promises are mostly puffery. Our latest tests of the biggest national and store brands of toilet paper show that you don't have to pay the most for rolls that are strong yet soft.
Mixed results for ‘green' products. Several new products answer the call for greener toilet paper. One brand, for example, says it's made of paper from responsibly managed forests, is chlorine free, and is packaged in environmentally responsible plastic wrap. In our tests, it was soft, but lacked strength and its tearing ease was poor. Toilet papers made from recycled content fared worse. Several are at the bottom of our Ratings because of their roughness and middling strength and tearing ease. At least they offer excellent disintegration, making them an option for larger households or those with clog-prone plumbing.
Missing the tube. Rolls that do away with the cardboard tube seemed the latest thing in toilet-paper marketing when one brand debuted it. But when we put it on a standard toilet-paper holder to take it for a "spin," it wasn't as easy to unravel, and the paper didn't tear off as easily. The roll was also harder to place on the holder.
The incredible shrinking roll. As commodity costs have risen, downsizing has become a common way for manufacturers to avoid a direct price increase. Often, it's hard to tell that a package has gone on a diet.