We all have unique opinions when it comes to the cleaning products and tools we use, so the best paper towels may not be your favorite paper towels, and vice versa. But keeping an open mind is never a bad thing, and checking in with your own preferences from time to time can certainly be worthwhile!
The question of which paper towels are best was brought to mind when the paper towels I received through my Amazon Subscribe & Save order were wildly different than the cloth-like Viva paper towels I’d come to love so much, and have even recommended for use in DIY wipes and other projects.
Have Viva Paper Towels Changed?
My question was: what gives? It turns out that Viva now makes two kinds of paper towels. The new one is Viva’s Multi-Surface Cloth, which, according to the brand, is better for cleaning cleaning stone countertops, windows and mirrors, and stainless steel.
The cloth-like paper towels I have come to love so much are still around, but they’ve been re-branded as Viva Signature Cloth. You can find more details about the differences between the two styles on the Viva FAQ page under “Product specific questions”.
The OGT Paper Towel Showdown
That paper towel switcheroo got me thinking about whether there might be a better paper towel out there that I was ignoring in favor of sticking with my old preference. To find out, I decided to test some of the most popular paper towels in a head-to-head showdown.
I ended up choosing the following paper towels for my test:
- Viva Signature Cloth (4.9 cents per square foot)
- Viva Multi-Surface Cloth (4.9 cents per square foot)
- Bounty (6.0 cents per square foot)
- Brawny (6.7 cents per square foot)
- Kirkland Signature (2.0 cents per square foot)
I chose these brands because they’re popular and widely available. You can certainly find cheaper or more environmentally-friendly paper towels, but for this comparison, I was more focused on evaluating quality and performance.
To sum it up, the question I wanted to answer was “Which paper towel is best?”
Putting Them To The Test
I did a few different tests at the studio, and the paper towels seemed quite similar. They were all very absorbent, and none of them broke down when scrubbing a mixture of ketchup, syrup, and baking soda.
The differences I noticed were fairly small—the Bounty paper towels seemed the most durable, even when saturated with water, and the Kirkland paper towels had the largest sheets.
But I couldn’t confidently declare a winner from those tests alone, so I took the paper towels home and put them to the test over a long weekend of cleaning. After using them in several “real world” tests at home, I can now confidently share my paper towel power rankings!
Which Paper Towels Are The Best?
Here’s my personal ranking of the 5 contenders, from best to worst:
The Winner: Viva Signature Cloth
Unsurprisingly, Viva Signature Cloth remains my favorite of the bunch. I just love the cloth-like feel of them and they work as well as any other paper towel I’ve tried, so I would have been shocked if another paper towel had been able to beat them out for the top spot!
The Runner-Up: Viva Multi-Surface Cloth
Surprisingly, though, the Viva Multi-Surface Cloth was my second favorite. I had felt duped when I got them in my Subscribe & Save order, but once I figured out that the old ones still exist, I was able to evaluate these more objectively. In the end, I do like these paper towels—they’re strong and still a bit softer than some of the other options.
3rd Place: Brawny
Brawny was a close third to the Viva Multi-Surface Cloth. I like the Tear-A-Square option, but you can technically do that with any paper towel. I also had to consider that Brawny was also the most expensive option of all of them.
4th Place: Kirkland Signature
The Kirkland Signature paper towels have the largest sheets, but they’re also very thin. The cost is their most redeeming quality—these paper towels weren’t my favorite of the bunch, but they are the cheapest by far and they performed well enough in my tests.
5th Place: Bounty
The Bounty paper towels were so stiff, they almost felt like really thin cardboard. While I’m sure it’s the reason for their durability, I found that I just didn’t need that much strength or stiffness. They didn’t clean any better than the softer options, so I didn’t find it to be that beneficial.
What are your favorite paper towels?