Clark Howard: It’s hard to find a bargain on toilet paper

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Toilet paper is magically shrinking before your eyes, so now it makes more of a difference than ever to get the best deal that you can.

When I talked about this a couple of years ago, there were a few companies reducing the size of packages by doing tricks like making the tubes fatter and putting less paper on the roll.

Now The Dallas Morning News reports the average square of toilet tissue has been reduced by 26 percent.

I was at Costco the other day and I wanted to see if this downgrade was universal. Turns out it is. It seems everybody has reduced their sheets to a 4.5-by-4-inch rectangle — down from a perfect 4.5 inch square just a few years ago.

Sizing issues aside, do you think you have to spend a lot for high-quality toilet paper? Think again.

Consumer Reports says the best toilet paper in America is a Wal-Mart exclusive — White Cloud 3-ply Ultra Soft and Thick. At 25 cents per 100 sheets, White Cloud got a high score of 88 based on softness, strength, disintegration and tearing ease.

In second place, Charmin Ultra Strong got a score of 71 and costs 41 cents per 100 sheets. In third place, Quilted Northern Ultra Plush scored 70 and costs 38 cents per 100 sheets.

Two store brands — Target’s Up & Up (20 cents per 100 sheets) and Wal-Mart’s private label Great Value Ultra Strong (27 cents) came in fourth and fifth.
Costco’s Kirkland Signature checked in with a mediocre score of 51 though it only costs 12 cents per 100 sheets, almost the cheapest brand sampled.

The absolute cheapest option was Scott 1000, which cost 8 cents per 100 sheets, but had the lowest score of all on the Consumer Reports tally — a 24. Ouch.

Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website

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