Paper Towel Smack Down: Which leading brand gives the best bang for the buck?

Paper Towel Smack Down: Which leading brand gives the best bang for the buck?
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If you're like me, you like to eat Nutella at your desk, out of the jar and offer your spoon to any busybody co-worker who walks by, looking disgusted.

On one such blissful occasion, I smeared a dollop of Nutella on my desk, to see if the desk wanted some. OK, actually, I was running a consumer experiment testing leading brands of paper towels, investigating which one gives you the easiest clean-up and return on investment. Let's meet our three challengers:

Kleenex's Viva Big Roll White Paper Towel -- single roll: $3.19: Weighing in at 70 sheets a roll, Viva has a duvet softness you can sleep in. For all you Animal House junkies, sheets of Viva even seem durable enough to make a toga -- (but don't trust me on that one.) Except they come printed in big obnoxious flowers, at least the roll I picked up.

Seventh Generation White Paper Towels -- 3 roll pack: $5.69 (roughly $1.90/roll): Weighing-in at 112 sheets a roll, Seventh Generation is made of 100% recycled paper. This certainly makes you feel better about using paper towels. Seventh Generation products have saved half a million trees and almost 1 million gallons of petroleum, according to the company Web site. The brand gets its name from the Great Law of the Iroquois: "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." I like that.

Kirkland Signature Premium Big Roll Towel - 1 roll: $1.42: Weighing in at 90 sheets a roll, this Costco staple is the obvious money saver. The product packaging promises all kinds of strength and absorbency, but can it deliver at that price?

Verdict: Ding, ding, ding, ding! Both Kleenex Viva and Seventh Generation only took one sheet to wipe up a four-inch wide dollop of Nutella -- enough to frost a larger than average cupcake. The Viva provided a smooth clean up, as though I were using a babywipe. Seventh Generation isn't nearly as smooth, but it still got the job done, with earth-saving panache. With that said, I would much rather use something that's better for the environment, and $1.29 cheaper.

How did Kirkland do? Well, it took two sheets and cleaned up messy. The more I wiped away the Nutella the more it got all over the place, including my hand.

Sorry, Kirkland. You may claim to be the money-saver, but we have to use more of you, which means we have to buy more to make it work -- just like those old-school Total cereal commercials.

Clear Winner: Seventh Generation

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