Paper Towel Overload!

How many times have you stared at the paper towels or toilet paper, looking at the various options and wondering what’s the best deal? It’s not even just which brand is best, but does it really make a difference if you buy double rolls or triple rolls or stock up or not? Do you get out your calculator to figure it out or do you just shut your eyes and grab the closest package?

For years, my husband and I played the calculator game. We had an idea that Angel Soft was the cheapest brand, besides the Walmart store brand and possibly some 1-ply options. Then we did the math at Sam’s Club and started buying the POM brand of paper towels and toilet paper.

Recently, I wondered if POM was still the best deal out there, so I wrote down a bunch of different brands, packaging options, and prices at Walmart and Publix. Now, prices vary from store to store and week to week, and sometimes you can find sales or coupons that will make a big difference. This chart is a start, at least.

This chart compares prices of toilet paper and paper towels based on square footage per package.

Data collected in April 2013


As you can see, POM still wins for best price, but it’s close. If Publix has a sale or coupon for its Greenwise brand, it could tip the scales.

You’ll notice that I took the price per square footage out to four decimal places. When I first started the chart, the POM was coming up at one cent per square foot, and everything was two or three cents. I knew all the others couldn’t be exactly the same price, but it takes hundredths of the penny to see the difference.

The final column shows you the difference between the product on that row and the POM price per square foot. Is it worth paying just over a penny more per paper towel to buy Brawny’s Pick-A-Size towels and be able to easily tear off half a sheet if that’s all you need? My mom uses either Bounty or Brawny paper towels and they’re definitely a little thicker and nicer.

This chart has made me more likely to try some different brands to see if it’s worth paying just a little more for a better product.

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About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have three cats and a husband.
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