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A Comparison of Five Leading Brands
of Toilet Tissue

Copyright February 14, 2009 and January 3, 2011 and August 1, 2013 by Robert Wayne Atkins, P.E.
All Rights Reserved.


Publication History:

A link to my Toilet Tissue article appeared in a Wall Street Journal article on July 24, 2013.
A digital copy of the Wall Street Journal article can be read at the following web address:
http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2013/07/24/forget-the-nsa-toiler-paper-companies-track-something-much-worse/

After speaking with the Wall Street Journal reporter (Serena Ng) on the telephone I decided to update my article with prices as of August 1, 2013.


Introduction

Angel Soft Toilet Tissue Do not underestimate the value of toilet tissue to your personal health, hygiene, and peace of mind.

Toilet tissue is one of the simple comforts of civilization that you will dearly miss if you don't have any.

During a serious hard times event you will need to provide for 100% of your normal toilet tissue requirements because you will not occasionally be using the toilet tissue at your place of employment, or at a gas station, or at a restaurant.

This short article will review the following information that has been consolidated and updated from two other articles on my web site:
  1. A comparison of five leading brands of toilet tissue (all data updated on August 1, 2013).
  2. An alternative to toilet tissue.
This artcile will show how five leading brands of toilet tissue have gradually changed their prices and the number of sheets per roll over the past 4.5 years.


A Comparison of Five Leading Brands on August 1, 2013

One double roll of toilet tissue is equal to two regular rolls.
However, there is no agreement among the companies that make toilet tissue as to how many sheets should be in a regular roll or in a double roll.
For example, on August 1, 2013 a double roll of toilet tissue contains an average of 212 sheets, with a low of 166 sheets and a high of 264 sheets.
But 4.5 years ago on February 14, 2009 a double roll of toilet tissue contained an average of 294 sheets, with a low of 200 sheets and a high of 352 sheets.
In other words, the average number of sheets in a double roll of toilet tissue has declined by 28% from February 2009 to August 2013.

The better toilet tissue has two-ply instead of one-ply. (Note: Some brands also have three-ply.)
If you purchase the one-ply tissue then you may need a lot more of it than someone who has two-ply tissue.
Most toilet tissue brands are sold in one-ply and two-ply packages, and in regular roll and double roll packages.
Therefore you should always read the package label before you make your purchase.

For example, at the current time one Angel Soft Double Roll Two-Ply roll contains 264 sheets of tissue paper.
(264 sheets per double roll) x (24 double rolls per package) = 6,336 two-ply sheets of toilet tissue per package.
(6,336 sheets) divided by (365 days per year) = 17.4 sheets of toilet tissue per day for one person for one year.

During a hard times event a person in good health would probably discover that 17.4 sheets of two-ply toilet tissue would be more than adequate for one day.
Any daily usage that is below 17.4 sheets could be saved and then used during a time when the person was not in good health and needed additional quantities of toilet tissue for a short period of time.
You could determine if this estimate of 17.4 sheets per day is reasonable for you by simply counting the number of toilet tissue sheets you use in one day.
On the average, a male will use fewer sheets of toilet tissue per day than a female.

(Note: The Wall Street Journal article referenced at the top of this page reports that the average person makes 5.1 bathroom visits per day and uses an average of 46 sheets of toilet tissue per day with an average of 6.6 sheets per pull on the roll of toilet tissue. The survey did not specify the percent of males and the percent of females that responded to the survey. The survey also did not specify if only one-ply or only two-ply toilet tissue was being used, or if both one-ply and two-ply data were averaged together. As mentioned above, if a person uses one-ply toilet tissue then that person will probably need twice as much as another person who uses two-ply toilet tissue. You should take this into consideration if you decide to count the number of sheets of toilet tissue you use each day.)

There are three factors that should be considered when investing in toilet tissue:
  1. Softness: The feel of the tissue paper is a very personal issue. My family cannot detect any significant difference in softness among the major brands. However, some individuals have very sensitive skin or bowel movement issues and a minor difference in softness can make a big difference to these people.
  2. Strength: The tissue paper should not fall apart when you use it. The thinner lighter tissue paper will require more sheets to do the same job as the thicker heavier tissue paper.
  3. Value: The price per roll is not the most important factor. The value of the toilet tissue is related to the weight of each sheet of paper and the cost of each sheet of paper.
The following table does not consider softness because softness is a personal issue.
However, the following table does show the weight of a two-ply sheet of toilet paper and the cost of a two-ply sheet of toilet paper for five leading brands of toilet tissue.
The following table also assumes one 24 Double Roll Package of Toilet Tissue for One Person for One Year.

Comparison of Five Leading Brands of Toilet Tissue
All Packages Contain Double Rolls of Toilet Tissue
All Packages Contain 2-Ply Toilet Tissue
All Data Collected on August 1, 2013

(Note: The Weight Per Roll and the Weight Per Sheet Includes the
Weight of the Cardboard Tube and the Plastic Wrap Around the Package.)

The numbers in parentheses are the percent change over a 2.5-year period
from January 3, 2011 to August 1, 2013.
A minus sign indicates a decrease and a plus sign indicates an increase.

Brand NameWeight Per RollWeight Per SheetSheets Per RollSheets Per DayCost Per RollCost Per SheetCost Per Pound
Angel Soft3.96 Ounces (-14%)0.0150 Ounces (-3%)264 Sheets (-12%)17.4 Sheets (-12%)$ 0.4706 (-6%)$ 0.00178 (+7%)$ 1.90 (+10%)
Charmin3.66 Ounces (+20%)0.0208 Ounces (+20%)176 Sheets (Same)11.6 Sheets (Same)$ 0.5808 (-5%)$ 0.00330 (-5%)$ 2.54 (-21%)
Cottenelle2.92 Ounces (-8%)0.0176 Ounces (-2%)166 Sheets (-6%)10.9 Sheets (-6%)$ 0.5808 (-7%)$ 0.00350 (-1%)$ 3.18 (+1%)
Northern3.22 Ounces (-30%)0.0169 Ounces (-12%)190 Sheets (-21%)12.5 Sheets (-21%)$ 0.5539 (-3%)$ 0.00292 (+24%)$ 2.75 (+40%)
White Cloud4.01 Ounces (+2%)0.0152 Ounces (+20%)264 Sheets (-14%)17.4 Sheets (-14%)$ 0.4817 (+5%)$ 0.00182 (+22%)$ 1.92 (+3%)

Review of the Above Data Collected on August 1, 2013

Sheets per Roll and Sheets per Day: Four of the brands reduced the number of sheets per roll and the sheets per day (columns mathematically related to one another).

Cost per Roll: Four of the brands reduced the selling price of their rolls by a small percent to create the illusion that we are now getting a better value than 2.5 years ago. But they decreased the number of sheets per roll by a greater percentage to offset the small decrease in the price per roll.

Cost per Pound: Four brands increased the price per pound of their toilet tissue.

Summary of the August 1, 2013 Data: On the average the cost per pound of toilet tissue has increased by approximately 7% over the past 2.5 years. However, the companies that make toilet tissue were able to obscure this price increase by reducing the number of sheets per roll. In other words, we are getting about 7% less toilet tissue for our money compared to 2.5 years ago. If we look further back then the average cost per pound for toilet tissue is about 21% more when compared to 4.5 years ago.

Different Ways to Compare the Cost of the Major Brands of Toilet Tissue:

Some people like to compare prices based on the cost of the entire package.
Some people like to compare prices based on the cost per roll of tissue paper.
Both of these measures ignore the number of sheets of toilet tissue per roll and the strength (or weight) of that tissue.

A better way to compare prices is the use the cost per pound of toilet tissue.
This includes the price of the entire package, and the price per roll, and the weight (strength) of the tissue paper.
The cost per pound is a more reasonable way to evaluate the true value of a package of toilet tissue.
The cost per pound (or per ounce) is also the way that most people compare food prices.


A Comparison of Five Leading Brands on January 3, 2011

Comparison of Five Leading Brands of Toilet Tissue
All Packages Contain 24 Double Rolls (or 48 Regular Rolls)
All Packages Contain 2-Ply Toilet Tissue
All Data Collected on January 3, 2011

(Note: The Weight Per Package and the Weight Per Sheet Includes the
Weight of the Cardboard Tube and the Plastic Wrap Around the Package.)

The numbers in parentheses are the percent change over a two-year period
from February 14, 2009 to January 3, 2011.
A minus sign indicates a decrease and a plus sign indicates an increase.

Brand NameWeight Per RollWeight Per SheetSheets Per RollSheets Per DayCost Per RollCost Per SheetCost Per Pound
Angel Soft4.63 Ounces (-12%)0.0154 Ounces (+3%)300 Sheets (-15%)19.7 Sheets (-15%)$ 0.4992 (+3%)$ 0.00167 (+21%)$ 1.72 (+16%)
Charmin3.04 Ounces (-11%)0.0173 Ounces (+1%)176 Sheets (-12%)11.6 Sheets (-12%)$ 0.6100 (-4%)$ 0.00347 (+11%)$ 3.21 (+8%)
Cottenelle3.17 Ounces (-16%)0.0180 Ounces (+48%)176 Sheets (-43%)11.6 Sheets (-43%)$ 0.6238 (-2%)$ 0.00354 (+71%)$ 3.15 (+16%)
Northern4.63 Ounces (-18%)0.0191 Ounces (+1%)242 Sheets (-19%)15.9 Sheets (-19%)$ 0.5692 (Same)$ 0.00235 (+24%)$ 1.97 (+22%)
White Cloud3.92 Ounces (-11%)0.0127 Ounces (-11%)308 Sheets (Same)20.3 Sheets (Same)$ 0.4575 (-3%)$ 0.00149 (-3%)$ 1.87 (+9%)

Review of the Above Data Collected on January 3, 2011

Weight per Roll: All five brands reduced the total weight of their rolls by approximately the same amount from 11% to 18%.

Weight per Sheet: Three of the brands maintained almost the same weight per sheet. However, Cottenelle significantly increased the weight of each sheet of tissue paper by 48% which was a quality improvement but this was accomplished by reducing the number of sheets per roll by 43%. White Cloud significantly reduced the weight of their tissue paper by 11% which was a decline in quality.

Sheets per Roll and Sheets per Day: Four of the brands reduced the number of sheets per roll and the sheets per day (columns mathematically related to one another).

Cost per Roll: Three of the brands reduced the selling price of their rolls by a very, very small percent to create the illusion that you are now getting a better value than two years ago.

Cost per Sheet: Four brands increased their cost per sheet. Only the White Cloud brand decreased the cost per sheet by 3% and they were able to do this by making each sheet 11% lighter than before which means they reduced the quality of their paper. Therefore, this is an illusionary price reduction because they decreased the quality of their paper by a higher percent than they reduced the price.

Cost per Pound: All five brands increased the price per pound of their toilet tissue.

Summary of January 3, 2011 Prices: On the average the cost per pound of toilet tissue increased by about 14% from 2009 to 2011. However, the companies that make toilet tissue were able to obscure this information by reducing the number of sheets per roll and by reducing the total weight of the package while keeping the package selling price almost the same. In other words, we are paying about the same amount of money per package as two years ago but we are getting about 14% less toilet tissue for our money.


A Comparison of Five Leading Brands on February 14, 2009

The following table shows the data that was originally collected on February 14, 2009.

Comparison of Five Leading Brands of Toilet Tissue
All Packages Contain 24 Double Rolls (or 48 Regular Rolls)
All Packages Contain 2-Ply Toilet Tissue
All Data Collected on February 14, 2009

(Note: The Weight Per Package and the Weight Per Sheet Includes the
Weight of the Cardboard Tube and the Plastic Wrap Around the Package.)

Brand NameWeight Per RollWeight Per SheetSheets Per RollSheets Per DayCost Per RollCost Per SheetCost Per Pound
Angel Soft5.25 Ounces0.0149 Ounces352 Sheets23.1 Sheets$ 0.4863$0.00138$ 1.48
Charmin3.42 Ounces0.0171 Ounces200 Sheets13.2 Sheets$ 0.6350$0.00313$ 2.97
Cottenelle3.75 Ounces0.0122 Ounces308 Sheets20.3 Sheets$ 0.6392$0.00207$ 2.72
Northern5.67 Ounces0.0189 Ounces300 Sheets19.7 Sheets$ 0.5692$0.00190$ 1.61
White Cloud4.40 Ounces0.0143 Ounces308 Sheets20.3 Sheets$ 0.4721$0.00153$ 1.72


Conclusion

Over the past few years my family has used four different leading brands of toilet tissue.
Northern Toilet Tissue
  1. For about ten years we always used Charmin brand tissue. Then my family became dissatisfied with the quality of that brand. I do not know if the quality of the brand actually decreased. I just know that my family became unhappy with it.
  2. For about two years we used the White Cloud brand.
  3. For about one year we used the Northern brand.
  4. For the past 4.5 years we have been using either the Angel Soft Brand or the White Cloud brand depending on which one was on sale. The reason is because we cannot detect any quality differences between those two brands and the more expensive brands. Since toilet tissue is a disposable product it just doesn't make sense to pay more for it than necessary.
You will need to make your own brand choice based on what your family believes is acceptable.

Some people have made the decision to not store very much toilet tissue because they believe it takes up too much space. However, based on the above, one 24 Double Roll Package of toilet tissue will probably be adequate for one person for one-year. If you have four people in your family then you would need to store four of these packages and your family would have emergency toilet tissue for an entire year. Or if you wanted to store a two or three year supply then you should store two or three packages per person. In my opinion this is not an unreasonable task. Since toilet tissue does not require a temperature controlled environment you could store your emergency toilet tissue in your attic.

If you decide that it is too much trouble to store some emergency toilet tissue for your family and later a hard times event makes it very difficult to acquire toilet tissue then your entire family will probably not be very happy with you. And you will not be pleased with yourself either. At that time you will probably be willing to pay an extremely high price for a very small quantity of toilet tissue and you will wish you had purchased a reasonable supply of it when it was still relatively affordable and easy to acquire.

Reespectfully,
Grandpappy.



Click on www.grandpappy.org for Robert's Home Page.

Grandpappy's e-mail address is: RobertWayneAtkins@hotmail.com