Consumer Reports Logs Rare Blowout in Paper Towel Tests

PHOTO: With an overall score of 96, Bounty DuraTowel was 21 points ahead of the next best, Bounty Extra Soft.
P&G

The "quicker, thicker picker-upper" blew away the competition in Consumer Reports' latest report on paper towels.

Blowouts are "rare" in the magazine's tests, but Daniel DiClerico, senior editor at Consumer Reports, said Bounty DuraTowel, from Procter & Gamble, had a landslide victory with a score of 96 out of 100. The next highest-scoring product, Bounty Extra Soft, scored 75.

The third place winner was also a Bounty product, Bounty Giant, which earned 72 points.

Eighteen paper towels were tested for absorbency, scrubbing, and wet strength.

"It's always surprising when one brand dominates the top of our Ratings, the way Bounty did," DiClerico said. "And the fact that the Bounty DuraTowel is so far ahead of the pack is a credit to P&G's efforts to develop a better paper towel. Even at its high price, the DuraTowel is one to consider."

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Among Consumer Reports' lowest-scoring paper towels were store brands from Family Dollar, CVS and Home Depot.

Home Depot's HDX paper towels score 36 out of 100, earning just "fair" in the categories of absorbency and wet strength. The possible descriptions are excellent, very good, good, fair and poor.

"We were expecting more heavy-duty performance from Home Depot, but its HDX Paper Towels were real light weights in our tests," DiClerico said.

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You may get what you pay for though, as HDX paper towels are $2.14, less than half the price of the first place winner Bounty DuraTowel, which cost $5.15. But store brands often do come up at the top of Consumer Reports' other tests, such as its toilet paper report.

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Products made with recycled content, from Seventh Generation and Scotts, were "middle-of-the-pack at best," he said.

"Going green still comes with some pretty hefty trade-offs," he said.

Here are Consumer Reports' 18 ratings of paper towels, including their scores and price per 100 square feet.

96

1.
Bounty DuraTowel

$5.15

75

2.
Bounty Extra Soft

$2.84

72

3.
Bounty Giant

$2.33

71

4.
Viva Choose-A-Size

$2.85

68

5.
Great Value Strong & Absorbent (Walmart)

$2.09

68

6.
Brawny Pick-A-Size

$3.21

65

7.
Bounty Basic Select-A-Size

$2.12

65

8.
Up & Up Full Sheet Puddle Busters (Target)

$2.31

65

9.
Brawny Regular

$3.16

61

10.
Kirkland Signature Premium Big Roll (Costco)

$1.47

60

11.
Nice! Premium Ultra Quilted (Walgreens)

$2.02

48

12.
Scott Mega Roll Choose-A-Size

$2.05

42

13.
Seventh Generation Right Size

$4.05

41

14.
Scott Naturals Mega Roll Choose-A-Size

$1.83

39

15.
Sparkle Giant Pick-A-Size

$1.97

36

16.
HDX Paper Towels (Home Depot)

$2.14

31

17.
Just The Basics Paper Towels (CVS)

$2.48

30

18.
Family Values Paper Towels (Family Dollar)

$1.79

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