Walmart’s best and worst toilet paper
The TP challenge
Judging by our latest tests, it’s still pretty hard to make toilet paper that’s both soft and strong. Most of the softest toilet papers weren’t very strong. And some of the strongest toilet papers were too strong, which can cause plumbing or septic problems once you flush. Three varieties of Charmin—Ultra Soft, Ultra Strong, and Basic—and two varieties of Quilted Northern—Ultra Plush and Ultra Soft & Strong—took longer to disintegrate than any of the other 21 toilet papers we tested.
Not a Walmart shopper? Our next best toilet paper, Nice Premium Ultra, is sold at Walgreens and costs 33 cents per 100 sheets. It was so-so in strength but very soft and disintegrates well. We also tested toilet papers sold at CVS, Target, and Costco but they ended up in the middle of the pack or worse. At your supermarket, choose Scott Extra Soft, 20 cents, which was okay in strength and softness and excellent at disintegrating. Its brandmate, Scott 1000, 9 cents, however isn’t very strong or soft but it won’t hurt your pipes.
–Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman (@cklehrman on Twitter)
The Best Toilet Paper of 2020
Credit: Jessa Rose PhotographyBest Overall Charmin Ultra Soft
Although we’re fans of all three types of Charmin we tested, Charmin Ultra Soft toilet paper is the best toilet paper money can buy. The double-ply roll from Charmin combines solid durability with unparalleled comfort. Although the Ultra Strong roll from Charmin is more heavy duty, extended use made it clear that the supreme comfort of the Ultra Soft is more important.
In our objective testing process, Charmin Ultra Soft wasn’t perfectly durable, but it was pretty close—and thankfully it didn’t tear during use. It took just under a minute to dissolve in water, which means it will fall apart in the toilet (key for avoiding potential septic issues) but not while you’re doing your thing.
Sheer comfort and excellent durability combined make Charmin Ultra Soft the best toilet paper to use every day.
Credit: Jessa Rose PhotographyBest Value Charmin Essentials Soft
Charmin Essentials Soft is up there with our top pick when it comes to comfort, but for a truly excellent value. The surprisingly comfortable and long-lasting product certainly doesn’t cut corners just because it’s a less expensive option. In terms of texture, Charmin Essentials is closest to Charmin Ultra Strong, but it’s not nearly as durable. During testing, Charmin Essentials wore out slightly more than Charmin Ultra Strong.
Nonetheless, Charmin Essentials is a surprising favorite. While the roll isn’t the most comfortable or durable of the lot, it’s a reliable balance of the two that really works.
The only issue we had with Charmin Essentials is that a single square took nearly two minutes to dissolve in water, which means you could potentially end up with plumbing issues if flushes aren’t properly spaced out. Regardless, Charmin Essentials earns its spot as our best value pick because of its affordability, comfort, and sturdiness.
How We Tested
Credit: Jessa Rose Photography
Rubbing a single square of toilet paper over a cast iron pan helped us test for strength and durability.
Hi, I’m Kevin Oliver. For several years, I’ve tested and reviewed all sorts of products for sites like Reviewed, BGR, Freshome, and TechRadar.
To find the best toilet paper, we started with extensive research and purchased every popular brand—that’s 17 different types of toilet paper that I tested, compared, and narrowed down to the 12 products in this review.
Testing had a number of components. First, I tested toilet paper the old-fashioned way: by using it regularly over the course of multiple weeks. This kind of subjective testing allowed me to develop a less clinical opinion about the durability and comfort of each roll. I wanted to be sure that any toilet paper we recommended would be reliable and comfortable over time.
I also ran the rolls through a number of objective tests to score them for strength and durability. To accomplish this, I rubbed one square of each roll against coarse surfaces, including a cast iron skillet and rough outdoor carpet. I took note of any piling, residue, or tears that were caused by a normal amount of pressure against the coarse surfaces.
Finally, I placed a square of each roll in a container of water and swirled the paper until it dissolved to determine how long each brand would hold up when wet. However, I also paid attention to any toilet paper that took too long to dissolve, as those rolls are more likely to lead to plumbing issues.
Credit: Jessa Rose Photography
Testing also included seeing how quickly the toilet paper would dissolve while submerged and swirled around in water.
How long is a toilet paper roll?
According to MIT, the standard size of a sheet of toilet paper measures 4.5 x 4.5 inches, with the size varying by brand. That said, the size of a sheet of toilet paper is shrinking from the standard size of 4.5 x 4.5 by up to a half-inch shorter according to a recent study. A of the Los Angeles Times claims that he’s seen a “roughly 26% reduction in the surface area” of the toilet paper he buys.
On average, a one-ply roll of toilet paper provides 1,000 sheets per roll. For two-ply, you can expect roughly 500 sheets per roll. However, the reduction in toilet paper sheet size from 4.5 x 4.5 to 4 x 4 is allowing companies to quietly raise the cost per unit for toilet paper, which has increased by nearly 2% in 2013 alone. Ultimately, the environment and consumers themselves may get the most benefit from this as the narrower rolls are proving more effective for saving money as well as trees.
How long does toilet paper last?
A single roll of toilet paper can in an average-sized household. Most consumers use 8.6 sheets, per use. This adds up to 57 sheets, per day, and 20,805 sheets, per year. Each person in your home will use an average of 42 two-ply rolls per year or 21 rolls of one-ply.
Popular brand Charmin’ recently came up with “the Forever Roll,” a gigantic roll of toilet paper the company claims can last up to 2 to 3 months. The Forever Roll is likely designed for people who rent and live in tight spaces, as it is advertised as a “space saver” and is sold in two sizes: the 12-inch multi-user roll and the 8.7-inch single-user roll. Despite being touted by Charmin’ as a “space saver” we found that the Forever Roll and its accompanying kit make an apartment bathroom feel crowded, and recommend simply buying in bulk for a traditional household.
Other Toilet Paper We Tested
Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare
This single-ply roll of toilet paper is our second favorite of all the products we tested. From a texture standpoint, the roll is extremely comfortable to use. It’s also surprisingly thick and sturdy considering it’s a single-ply paper. When we ran a square of it against coarse surfaces, it tore apart more significantly than our top pick. Still, you can’t really go wrong with the Cottonelle Ultra CleanCare, which was so close to winning the best overall spot.
ADVERTISEMENTQuilted Northern Ultra Soft & Strong
This product was another favorite, thanks to its comfortable texture and strength. During regular daily use, this paper was as reliable as our top picks and almost as comfortable. When we rubbed a square of it against some coarse surfaces, it left a modicum of piling, but not much at all. Ultimately, this toilet paper was both strong and soft, but it wasn’t quite as comfortable to use repeatedly as the Charmin Ultra Soft.
Charmin Ultra Strong
Charmin’s alternate flagship product to our top pick, Ultra Soft, is exactly what it sounds like—ultra strong. This paper is the sturdiest of any product we tested. It’s also pretty comfortable to use, though not as comfortable as the Ultra Soft. When rubbed against coarse surfaces, the Ultra Strong left virtually no residue, further backing its Ultra Strong label. All in all, this is a great product that prioritizes durability and strength over softness. If a sturdy paper is more important to you than one that’s soft and pillowy, this is the product you’ll want to use.
Quilted Northern Ultra Plush
The Quilted Northern is the only triple-ply toilet paper we tested, and it really is ultra-plush. On the durability side of things, however, the paper didn’t stay intact as well as the top Charmin options did. Although it held together well on the coarse surface, it didn’t hold up perfectly on the everyday tests. It also took a minute and forty seconds to dissolve in water, making it the second longest dissolving product in our list behind Charmin Essentials.
Regardless, this was a fantastic roll of toilet paper and was ultimately one of the most comfortable rolls we tested. If you’re looking for a luxuriously comfortable roll and don’t want to go the Charmin route, we definitely recommend you try Quilted Northern Ultra Plush.
ADVERTISEMENT Cottonelle Ultra ComfortCare
In our everyday testing, this Cottonelle roll was soft and nice to use, but in our objective testing, this paper tore slightly and left some residue.
Great Value Ultra Strong
Store brands can be hit or miss, but Walmart’s Great Value toilet paper is a comfortable and sturdy roll of toilet paper.
The roll is similar in texture to our top value pick, the Charmin Essentials toilet paper, and is fairly equivalent in comfort. Throughout our everyday testing, this paper was comfortable and reliable. However, where it fell behind Charmin Essentials was durability.
When we tested Great Value Ultra Strong on a coarse surface, it left a slight residue and wore a small hole. It also dissolved in water after only 30 seconds, which means it won’t last long when wet.
Angel Soft Toilet Paper
Although it’s double-ply, we found the Angel Soft to be somewhat thin, making it less durable than the competition. In our subjective testing, we also found Angel Soft to be less comfortable after lengthy usage than some of our top brands. It didn’t hold up for long when wet, either, dissolving in just over 30 seconds. Still, even though it didn’t stack up to the competition, it’s not a bad roll of toilet paper. You could do worse.
Up & Up Soft & Strong
Target’s Up & Up Soft & Strong toilet paper was the weakest of all the store brands we compared. It tore slightly on the coarse surfaces, but still got the job done. In our personal testing, the roll was fairly comfortable but not as durable as we’d like. If you’re a Target loyalist and looking to save a few bucks, the Up & Up brand is worth trying. If not, this store brand isn’t worth going out of your way for.
This product has traditionally been a popular choice for cheap toilet paper, but frankly, Scott 1000 doesn’t cut it. The single-ply toilet paper is both highly uncomfortable and entirely lacking in durability. In all of our objective testing, Scott 1000 fell apart or tore the quickest of every roll we compared. If you’re looking to save money, skip the Scott 1000 and try out our top value pick, Charmin Essentials.
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