Saving with 6abc: Paper towels tested

Click Play for Nydia Han's report
March 11, 2014 3:09:33 PM PDT
The average household goes through at least one roll of paper towels a week. Those costs can quickly add up, so you want a paper towel that gives you your money's worth. Consumer Reports tests to find the best.

Paper towels are great for cleaning up spills and messes around the house and one of those everyday products we all rely on. Consumer Reports tested 18 paper towels, including some from Bounty, Viva, and Brawny. Plus store brands like Costco's Kirkland Signature and Walmart's Great Value.

"You want a paper towel that picks up a lot of liquid, and that doesn't fall apart when you use it. So we test for all that," Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman of Consumer Reports said.

First a simple absorbency test. Testers weigh a dry paper towel, dunk it in water, and then weigh it again to see how much water it can hold. To test for strength, testers use this machine. It measures how much force it takes to break through a wet paper towel.

And then there's the scrub test. A paper towel is strapped onto this machine. Then passed over a rough surface. Some can handle lots of scrubbing. Others, not so much.

Bounty's DuraTowel rated excellent in all of Consumer Reports' tests. "They aced the scrub test, so they're great for tougher messes. But they are expensive ? around twice as much as other paper towels," Lehrman said.

Consumer Reports' tests turned up some other good choices -- Some from Viva and two others from Bounty. Great Value Strong and Absorbent from Walmart was the best of the cheaper paper towels.

You shouldn't use a paper towel for everything. They'll scratch your glasses, your TV screens, and camera lenses. You're better off using a microfiber cloth instead. You can find those with the cleaning supplies in stores like Walmart and Target.