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Supermarket all-stars from Consumer Reports' tests

The best of the everyday products you buy all the time

Published: July 09, 2014 03:00 PM

Charmin Ultra Strong

Stocking up on the weekly groceries doesn't require trips to multiple stores. Some of the best everyday products in Consumer Reports tests can be found at almost any supermarket. In our tests of such staples as paper towels, toilet paper, detergents, and lightbulbs, we found top-performing products from familiar brands. Here’s what to look for next time you shop and what to leave out of your shopping cart.

Toilet paper

Buy: Our top toilet paper is White Cloud 3-Ply Ultra but you can only buy it at Walmart. If you shop anywhere else, look for Charmin Ultra Strong which got excellent marks for strongness, softness, and disintegration and has very good tearing ease.
Skip: At the bottom of our Ratings is Scott 1000, which was tops in disintegration but gets poor marks for softness and fair for strength.

Facial tissues

Buy: When you’re stocking up on tissues, try Puffs Ultra Soft & Strong. In our tests, Puffs scored excellent for strength and very good for softness. And the tissues are moderately priced.
Skip: Scotties Facial Tissues, which are pretty soft but got sub-par scores for strength.

Bounty DuraTowel

Paper towels

Buy: If you’ve got a big mess, Bounty DuraTowel is your go-to paper towel. In our tests, it got excellent marks across the board for absorbency, scrubbing power, and wet strength. One drawback is that it costs more than all the other paper towel in our tests. Opt for Bounty Extra Soft for lesser messes.
Skip:  Sparkle Giant Pick-A-Size, which was subpar at absorbency and wet strength and so-so for scrubbing.

All-purpose cleaners

Buy: In our tests, Pine-Sol Original all-purpose cleaner outperformed its competitors by a wide margin. Indeed, it was the only cleanser that didn’t streak in our mirror test and it was very good at removing soap scum and stains. Plus it costs less than most of its competitors.
  Fabuloso Multi-Purpose Cleaner, another liquid cleaner. In short, it didn’t get the job done.

Tide Ultra Stain Release

Laundry detergents

Buy: For top stain-removing power try Tide Ultra Stain Release. It was very good at removing blood, sebum (ring around the collar), and grass stains.
Skip: Don’t be tempted by the homemaker maven’s brand name because Martha Stewart Clean 2X  was only slightly better than plain water at tackling stains in our tests.

Dishwasher detergents

Buy: For sparkling dishes and flatware try Cascade Complete ActionPacs, which were excellent at cleaning pots and didn’t leave water spots. Cascade was also excellent at resisting white film and very good at cleaning dishes and resisting food deposits.
In addition to costing more than most of its competitors, the Laundress Dish Detergent was only fair or worse at the cleaning tasks in our tests.

Switch 100 Bright White


Buy: We found a number of LED lightbulbs that scored 99 out of 100 in our tests.
For 60-watt replacements consider the Samsung A19 60-Watt Warm White or the Feit Electric A19/OM/800/LED. To replace a 75-watt incandescent look for the Sylvania 14W A19 75W LED Dimmable. And to replace a 100-watt look for the Switch 100 Bright White.
Skip: MiracleLED Un-Edison 60W Equivalent Frost, 60-watt replacement, which got poor marks for brightness and a 51 overall.

—Mary H.J. Farrell (@mhjfarrell on Twitter)

Find Ratings

Toilet Paper Ratings

View and compare all Toilet Paper ratings.

Paper Towels Ratings

View and compare all Paper Towels ratings.

All-purpose cleaners Ratings

View and compare all All-purpose cleaners ratings.

Laundry Detergents Ratings

View and compare all Laundry Detergents ratings.

Dishwasher detergents Ratings

View and compare all Dishwasher detergents ratings.

Lightbulbs Ratings

View and compare all Lightbulbs ratings.

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