What’s The Best Toilet Paper? I Tested 5 To Find Out

woman looking at various brands of toilet paper

A Head-To-Head Test To Find The Best Toilet Paper

I’ve got another household product evaluation to share with you today, and this time we’re evaluating toilet paper. (This is an extension of the paper towel “showdown” I shared a while ago, where I evaluated several types of paper towels in a head-to-head test to determine which one was best.)

I doubt any of us will be taking toilet paper for granted any time soon, as the 2020 toilet paper shortages left quite an impression. However, that doesn’t mean we have to settle for any old toilet paper, and today’s post will give you the information you need to choose the best toilet paper for you and your family!

As with the paper towel showdown, I went into this test already having a brand I prefer, but I was curious to see how the others performed and whether they would change my mind. I also recruited my husband Dave to be a tester for this showdown, because he can be picky about these things and is always willing to air a grievance! ;-)

woman looking at various brands of toilet paper

The OGT Toilet Paper Showdown

While I’ve personally been buying Charmin for years, I made every effort to approach this test in an unbiased way. The factors that Dave and I considered for each toilet paper in our test were durability, roll size, cost, and softness (a very important factor, if not the most important!)

woman looking at various brands of toilet paper

The Contenders

I chose the following toilet papers to evaluate for this showdown:

Most of these brands are the usual suspects at grocery stores (minus the Costco brand), but I decided to add Presto! after doing a bit of research. This is an Amazon private label brand and its toilet paper had promising reviews, so I added it to my list.

woman in a bathroom looking at a roll of toilet paper

Putting Them To The Test

I won’t go into too much detail here (for obvious reasons), but I will tell you that we used each of the 5 toilet papers exclusively in our bathroom for at least one week. That means we had plenty of time to experience and consider the pros and cons of each tissue we tested.

Related: These 9 Problem-Solving Toilet Hacks Are Weird, But They Work

various brands of toilet paper sitting on a table

How Do The Top 5 Toilet Papers Compare?

Here is my personal ranking of the 5 contenders, from the best toilet paper to the worst:

  1. Presto! Ultra Soft
  2. Charmin Ultra Soft
  3. Kirkland Signature
  4. Quilted Northern Ultra Plush
  5. Cottonelle Ultra Comfort
Which Is The Best Toilet Paper: Presto

The Winner: Presto! Ultra Soft

The Presto! toilet paper definitely surprised me in terms of how much I liked it! Of all 5 contenders, these rolls were both the widest and longest, plus it was noticeably softer and thicker than the rest of the candidates. With as many pros as there were with this paper, it ended up coming out on top.

Which Is The Best Toilet Paper: Charmin Ultra Soft

The Runner-Up: Charmin Ultra Soft

My old standby, Charmin, was still as soft as ever, but it didn’t have the thickness of Presto!, and the rolls were significantly smaller too.

Which Is The Best Toilet Paper: Kirkland Signature

3rd Place: Kirkland Signature

I found Kirkland Signature and Quilted Northern similar enough that they almost tied for third, but in the end, Kirkland Signature got a bonus point for its low price—it’s the cheapest of all 5 contenders. My only nitpick about the Kirkland toilet paper was the pattern on it — as weird as it sounds, I just didn’t like it!

Update (Feb. 2023): Kirkland Signature-branded toilet paper is slightly different now than it was at the time of my initial evaluation. They made the rolls slightly smaller to keep the price low — you can read more about that here. Despite the change, it’s still one of the more affordable options and a good quality product.

Which Is The Best Toilet Paper: quilted northern ultra plush

4th Place: Quilted Northern Ultra Plush

Quilted Northern was ultra plush, so this is a toilet paper that definitely lives up to its name. Not a bad choice overall, just not my favorite.

Which Is The Best Toilet Paper: cottonelle ultra comfort

5th Place: Cottonelle Ultra Comfort

I was surprised that this brand ended up in the last place in my rankings, mainly because Cottonelle is a well-known and well-liked brand. But after extensive testing of each of the 5 contenders, it was definitely my least favorite — it seemed thinner than the others, and wasn’t nearly as soft as the winner.

Related: 3 Surprising Reasons Why You Need A Bidet (And How To Pick One)

What is your favorite brand of toilet paper?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Homekeeping Tips

  • I live in Texas and down here, we have a store called H.E.B. I buy their brand of toilet paper cheap and my family really likes it. I buy it in bulk too. I have never heard of Presto.

  • I’d stopped using “soft” tissue (Charmin) due to the copious volumes of Dust those produced, plus how easily they fell apart, and (for lack of a better word) had pilled when using them, which I’d Really Hated! I’d switched to Cottonelle Ultra Clean Mega rolls and have been Very pleased with those. That being said, I’d appreciated the above article and recommendations and will likely try Presto when I find it, and also Anita Faulkner’s recommendation of Quilted Northern Ultra Plush Mega rolls too! I’m always open to trying things having a great recommendation from actual users!!! Thanks for the info!

  • I hate ALL toilet paper made over the past several years, ever since regulations require it to break up almost instantly. Don’t get me wrong, that was a very good moe for sewer and septic, just horrible for using TP. So we buy Kirkland as one of the cheapest around here, and don’t use much in favor of bidets. We have had bidets for decades and need to use very little TP.

  • I get my toilet paper delivered, I get bamboo toilet paper from Who gives a crap. No plastic, which is very important to me and the paper they wrap each roll in normally comes in the most amazing designs. I got a celebrate box and saved the paper to wrap all my Christmas presents. They also give 50% of their profits donated to clean water and sanitation non-profits. I will never go back to plastic wrapped toilet paper from a supermarket again

  • I love Members Mark from Sams Club. It is thick, soft and a very good value. Since we also use it in place of Kleenex, it is a very good value for us. I spend about $35 a year for it.

  • I’m picky about my t.p. so thanks for doing this. I have never heard of Presto and checked it out. But it appears to be more expensive than Charmin. At Walmart Charmin is $14.97 per 12 count mega roll. Presto is $16.84 (or $16.00 if subscribed) for 12 count mega roll.

  • I am a Scott’s TP user. When living at home it was a septic system and with 8 children I’m sure we went thru a lot of TP. It has carried over with me as an adult and I can’t say I want any other kind in my house. We had less clogs with the children growing up compared to some friends who were always cleaning up nasty clogs from their children. I found that a plus along side the fact it is reasonably priced and lasts for quite some time on the roll.

  • I agreed with commenter from a few months ago. I would have liked to see an evaluation of paper products that use recycled material. I have been a Cottonelle Clean user for years. But then we moved to a new house with a septic system and also I realized that virgin trees are used for Cottenelle, Charmin, Kirkland and other brands. We all need to step up and use more products that use recycled materials. I use TP that is recycled paper. Is it as good as Cottonelle. Not really, it is quite different and something to get used to. In a comparison, it is definitely not going to rank like the super plushy brands but recycled TP and paper towels should be considered.

    • It’s actually good for the environment to thin forests by cutting virgin trees to prevent massive wildfires. More forests & trees, animals, and animal habitat are lost and completely destroyed by forest fires than had Ever been lost by prudently thinning & carefully maintaining forests. Not only is it better for forests and better for wildlife, but it also reduces the fine particulate matter from getting into the air via wildfire smoke which travels great distances and causes serious air pollution & serious lung conditions too, including asthma.

      • True, but thinning isn’t how most paper products are sourced. Forests are clearcut, which is good for nothing except profit. And it’s always good to recycle materials. If you want to thin forests, buy from FSC-certified sources and for products that can be recycled. Single-use paper, like TP, is incredibly wasteful.

  • I tried Presto on a previous recommendation from you and I don’t think it comes anywhere near Charmin. The squares are noticibly smaller, the roll is not as wide, it disintigrates faster and it’s not as soft. I’m putting the rolls I have left in my guest bathroom since I don’t want to use them everyday.

  • If you purchase Amazons Presto brand on Subscribe and Save you will get a 15% discount for each month you purchase it. You can get it for as many months as you need, skip months, order more than one set. It’s very flexible. And once you set it up and figure out how often you need it, it’s nice because you don’t have to remember to order it. All your subscribe and save items come on the same day each month that you choose.

  • I am a Quilted Northern Ultra Plush MEGA roll fan. Mega is important because I hate changing TP. I think it was the only 3-ply of the TP you tested. This keeps it from shredding and you can use less. My father worked at a paper mill all his life and we were only allowed to use Scott at home. Now, at almost 70 years old, I havebprused every brand out there and I always come back to Quilted Northern Ultra Pkush Mega rolls for both comfort and durability. I love that it is available from Amazon Subscribe & Save.

  • Sam’s Club is the Best and the Best price. Now I don’t live near one, just a Costco, and their Kirkland toilet paper is like a spider’s web! So thin and you have to use much more! Costco should buy their toilet paper from the same place Sam’s Club does.

  • Statistics can be fun!! Another consideration is the dimensions of each sheet. Sounds nuts, although as a “baby boomer”, I grew up using TP that has larger sheets (4.25 – 4.5″ x 4.25 x4.5″ as I recall). As prices have increased, companies have decreased the dimensions or total count of their paper to compensate, in an attempt to minimize price increases. Kirkland, for example, used to have 36 rolls, now has 30 rolls (this is in TN. When I traveled to CA, I also noted the Kirkland brand wrapped each roll in paper, rather than bundling by 6 packs). The 5 TPs in your study had sheet dimensions as detailed in row 2 of the brand comparisons:

    1. Brand Presto Charmin Kirkland Northern Cottonelle
    2. Ply 2 2 2 3 2
    3. Sheet Size (in) 4 x 4 3.92 x 4 4.5 x 4 3.8 x 4 3.82 x 4
    4. # Sheets per roll 308 264 380 284 325
    5. Total Sq Ft per roll 34.2 28.75 47.5 29.9 34.3
    6. Tot’l Sq Ft per 6 pk 205.3 172.48 285 179.8 205.8
    7. Cost per 6 pack* $6.46 $7.21 $4.56 $5.46 $6.24
    8. Cost per sf 3.15¢ 4.18¢ 1.6¢ 3.04¢ 3.03¢

    *Using cost per 100 sheets data from OGT

    I tried to attach a photo of the above table, since it did not “stay” in the alignment I entered when writing this, but it was not accepted by your site. To me, how many sheets (“squares”) of TP one uses has much to do with the size of each sheet, in addition to the overall “feel” and strength of the product. With that in mind, Kirkland is superior in sheet size, and cost – both in sq ft and 6 roll units.

    It is also worth mentioning that OGT costs were based on total package sizes of 24 – 36 rolls. To be consistent, I used your pricing, rather than looking up actual 6 pack prices (some brands are not available in that size, notably Kirkland).

    In all categories above, Kirkland came in the clear “winner” so to speak, when looking at value vs cost. Having used that brand for years, and “forced” to try other products (Charmin, Walmart, Amazon “institutional” brand) when the pandemic was at a peak (why do people always make a run on TP when they think disaster is imminent??) we concluded it was the best value in strength, comfort and length of time it takes to use a roll, compared to other brands.

    Thank you for your post. It really got my “research” brain going, ha-ha!!

  • Members Mark from Sams Club was not tested. It’s the brand we buy all the time. It appears that they may have changed suppliers or their supplier has changed their manufacturing process, as the paper is no longer embossed with the little flower pattern. Doesm’t matter, however as the paper is still extremely soft yet durable. Also, for those who own campers and have to use paper that is quick to break down, this is the paper you want. It breaks down very quickly in the swirling water, so you don’t have to buy the grossly overpriced “camper” paper at the camper supply stores. And something you need to watch out for that some manufacturers have done to short change you on the t.p.you buy is to make the rolls noticably narrower, so you are not getting the same amount of paper that you used to get with their “mega” rolls. Sneaky, aren’t they? It’s all academic to me anyway, as I use a bidet.

  • If thickness kept you from voting Charmin the winner, all you have to do is get Charmin Ultra Strong. It’s so thick, you only need like four squares! — Plus you don’t get, um, crumbs, shall I say, which I’m surprised wasn’t one of your considering factors because that’s a biggie for me. Oh, and also, Charmin helps the environment too.

  • I am very disappointed that not one of these brands were from recyclable paper.Most brands are manufactured using trees from virgin forests. We need those trees to save the planet not to make toilet paper!!!!!

  • We like a brand called Flora. It may be.a regional brand as we live in the Midwest. We didn’t like Charmin or Cottonelle because they’re 1 ply and felt kind of thin. My sister does like the Costco brand that comes in the huge box. Kind of a thin tp brand. But part of it is their young kids use a lot .

  • I love these types of articles Jillee! Thank you for all the hard work you put into this. We’ve tried all of these brands at one point or another. I would like to point out that if you put the Presto on subscribe and save and you have 5 or more items along with it, you get (or used to get) 15% off your order on Amazon.

    We’re fans of Walmart’s Great Value brand ourselves.

  • My personal favorite is Members Mark from Sam’s Club. It’s strong, soft and durable. It’s also cheaper than the ones that you tested. My husband even likes it a lot. Best of all with my Plus membership it’s shipped to my via FedEx for free! I also use the Members Mark paper towels for the same reason, otherwise I would use the original Viva.

  • We use Charmin Super Mega rolls. They have more sheets per roll so I’m not changing the TP roll every single day!

    I’m willing to try the Presto brand though.

  • Years ago we did a science project to figure out which brand dissolved the fastest – thus making it better for the septic system. Kirkland won. Charming and cottonelle took forever!
    We are on septic. We only use Kirkland.

  • Different TYPES of the same brands you have tested there will probably yield different results. Cottonelle makes 2 kinds, A softer one that you got, and then a STRONGER one that I use called CLEAN. Possibly trying the stronger one would make a difference. Next I’m going to try that Amazon one but I usually find that if the emphasis is on ‘softness’, the paper usually falls apart before completely doing its job and you end up using more just to get clean. Good comparisons!

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