The Best Paper Towels, According to Cleaning Experts (2024)

The paper towel brands that will soak up, clean up, and scrub away any mess.

By Emma Seymour
The Best Paper Towels, According to Cleaning Experts (1)

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Whether cleaning up messes or faces, you want a paper towel that is strong, absorbent, and soft to the touch. The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles, Paper & Plastics Lab put paper towel brands to the test to find the overall best buys. We tested absorption by evaluating how much liquid each sheet absorbs and how quickly. We then measured the strength of each paper towel when wet, because no one wants a paper towel that crumbles under pressure. Lastly, since a huge consumer complaint is that some brands leave behind bits of paper, we evaluated shedding.

Then, we sent paper towels home with consumer testers who rated how soft each paper towel was, and whether they liked using them. On top of in lab tests, we also sifted through hundreds of reputable reviews of popular paper towel brands to find the best new styles on the market.

What makes a good paper towel?

Paper towels are made up of ground-up plant material called cellulose, which can include wood, cotton, and other plants. The molecules of cellulose are actually sugar – but not like the sugar we eat – which attracts water molecules. Therefore, paper towels are great at picking up liquid spills. Fun fact: a paper towel's design is actually made of small crevices that help the paper towel have a better grip.

Keep in mind when shopping that each brand has a different number of sheets per roll, and that the size of a full sheet differs brand by brand, so comparing price can be tricky. While smaller sheet sizes can make it easier to use less, you are getting less product for the price. No matter the mess, these paper towels are ready. Shop the best paper towels you can buy:


Best Overall Paper Towels

Bounty Select-A-Size Paper Towels

The Best Paper Towels, According to Cleaning Experts (2)

Bounty paper towels are top performers and GH lab pros #1 choice for their own homes. Thesepaper towels are able to absorb liquid quickly without breaking, and they leave no lint in their path, keeping your counter tops perfectly clean. We love that they are fairly thick with a plush, soft hand-feel too. The handy select-a-size feature lets you tear off only as much as you need for any size mess.

Price per 100 sheets: $1.51
Sheets per roll
: 138 full sheets
Full sheet size
: 11" x 5.9"


Best Value Paper Towels

Presto! Flex-a-Size Paper Towels

The Best Paper Towels, According to Cleaning Experts (3)

The Best Paper Towels, According to Cleaning Experts (4)

Amazon brand Presto! paper towels aretop sellers on Amazon with over 3,500 5-star reviews. Reviewers are especially impressed with how large the rolls are, giving you more absorbent paper towels for the price. These 2 ply paper towels are available in orders of6, 12, or 24 rolls, so you always have what you need on hand. You can tear off in full- or half-sheets, depending on your preference.

Price per 100 sheets: $1.05
Sheets per roll:140 full sheets
Full sheet size: 11" x 6"


Best "Use Less" Paper Towels

Brawny Tear-A-Square Paper Towels

The Best Paper Towels, According to Cleaning Experts (5)

We are all guilty of accidentally grabbing more paper towels than we really needed for the job. These paper towels by Brawny make it easy to grab either a full, half or even justa quarter sheet, so you inevitably use less. In our lab tests, Brawny paper towels were top performers with good wet strength, total absorbency, and absorbency speed, and although these towels look pricey at first glance, keep in mindthe full sheet size is larger than most brands.

Price per 100 sheets: $2.09
Sheets per roll:64 full sheets (or 256 quarter sheets)
Full sheet size: 11" x 11" (quarter sheet: 5.5" x 5.5")

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Most Absorbent Paper Towels

Viva Signature Cloth Choose-A-Sheet Paper Towels

The Best Paper Towels, According to Cleaning Experts (6)

In our absorbency tests, Viva proved to be #1. These cloth-like paper towels were able toabsorb the mostliquid out of every brand tested,while also picking up spills quickly. Viva paper towels were also the softest paper towels, according to our consumer testers. They did not break easily and were one of the thickest options. Reviewers note that these paper towels have fewer sheets per roll than other brands.

Price per 100 sheets: $1.57 (price for TaskSize sheets)
Sheets per roll: 58 full sheets (or 143 TaskSize sheets)
Full sheet size: 11" x 5.9"


Best No-Shed Paper Towels

Kirkland Signature Create-a-Size Paper Towels

The Best Paper Towels, According to Cleaning Experts (7)

Some paper towelsleave behind a little trail of lint in its path. To avoid creating a new mess after cleaning one up, use a non-linting paper towel such as Kirkland Signature paper towels. In our lab tests, these left behind no lint while also absorbing liquid very quickly. We found these paper towels to be fairly thick too.

Price per 100 sheets: $1.04 (note that there are additional costs for shipping and Costco membership)
Sheets per roll: 160full sheets
Full sheet size: 11" x 7"


Best "Green" Paper Towels

Seventh Generation Seventh Generation 100% Recycled Paper Towels

The Best Paper Towels, According to Cleaning Experts (8)

If you are trying to live more sustainability, try these Seventh Generation paper towels that feature 100% recycled paper without using bleach whitening. Seventh Generation paper towels were top performers out of all the paper towels with recycled content: They were able to pick up liquid quickly without leaving behind any lint behind.

Price per 100 sheets: $1.70
Sheets per roll:140 full sheets
Full sheet size: 11" x 5.4"

The Best Paper Towels, According to Cleaning Experts (9)

Emma Seymour

Textiles, Paper & Apparel Lab Senior Analyst

Emma Seymour (she/her) is a senior product analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute's Textiles, Paper and Apparel Lab, where she has led testing for luggage, pillows, towels, tampons and more since 2018. She graduated from Cornell University with a bachelor of science in fiber science and apparel design and a minor in gerontology, completing research in the Body Scanner Lab on optimizing activewear for athletic performance.

The Best Paper Towels,  According to Cleaning Experts (2024)


The Best Paper Towels, According to Cleaning Experts? ›

Bounty makes the best paper towels we've ever tested. These redesigned paper towels feature microstructures for increased absorbency. While you can't see said microstructures just by looking at the paper towels, you can tell they're present when you're sopping up liquids and cleaning up messes.

Is Viva better than Bounty? ›

For scrubbing I still prefer Viva SES. They are both good, the Bounty Duratowel for liquid and common spills/messes, and Viva for more chore-like scrubbing and cleaning. I also preferred the Viva when wetting to wipe my baby and toddler messy faces and hands, they are softer when wet.

Why is Bounty better than other brands? ›

Each sheet of Bounty is more durable, more absorbent, softer and thicker than anything else. So you can keep on living even when the messes keep on coming.

Which paper towel brand is the strongest? ›

After researching and testing the best paper towels, our favorite paper towel is the Bounty Select-A-Size (available at Walmart for $21.88) because of its incredible strength and stellar absorbency. For a great value, the Kirkland Signature Create-A-Size Paper Towels (available at Costco) are our pick.

What company makes Viva paper towels? ›

Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the makers of Viva® Brand paper towels, is very committed to sound forest management practices. Through sustainable forestry and woodland protection plans, we ensure the continued health and productivity of the vital natural resources we manage.

Is bounty of one worth it? ›

Recent Reviews: Very Positive (45) - 88% of the 45 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive. All Reviews: Very Positive (2,195) - 89% of the 2,195 user reviews for this game are positive.

What makes bounty paper towels so good? ›

Bounty's microstructure has dedicated strong and flexible zones making it cloth-like. Bounty is obsessed with continual innovation; the new microstructure creates dedicated absorbance zones which pump and direct liquid more evenly through the sheet, trapping and locking the mess in both sheet directions.

What is the parent company of bounty? ›

Bounty is an American brand of paper towel that is manufactured by Procter & Gamble (P&G) in the United States.

Which is better, Bounty or Sparkle? ›

The data points towards Kirkland and Bounty outperforming Viva and Sparkle when it comes to water absorbency per paper towel (while keeping in mind that Bounty did not significantly outperform Sparkle (p > 0.05)).

Who makes Walmart paper towels? ›

Kruger Products is supporting Walmart's 10-year, $250 billion campaign to stock more U.S.-made products. Kruger is transferring production of the paper towels from a company plant in Quebec, Canada, to its monster-sized plant just south of the Wolf River in North Memphis.

Which Viva paper towel is the softest? ›

As our softest and most durable* paper towel, Viva® Signature Cloth™ will help you master any mess for an exceptional deep clean.

Are Amazon paper towels a good deal? ›

Amazon Basics 2-Ply Flex-Sheets Paper Towels, 12 Basics Rolls = 32 Regular Rolls, Everyday Value with 150 Sheets per Roll. Amazon paper towels are excellent and price is very reasonable . I think that these Amazon paper towels are fantastic and it have great uses . The prices are cheaper than store bought paper towels ...

How can you tell if a towel is high quality? ›

High-quality towels will feel soft and fluffy to the touch, and they will have a higher GSM. Look for towels made of Terry weave cotton, as these materials are more durable and absorbent. Also, check the stitching on the towel - high-quality towels will have tightly woven edges and minimal loose threads.

Is Viva cheaper than Bounty? ›

Viva Multi-Surface Cloth (4.9 cents per square foot) Bounty (6.0 cents per square foot)

Is Viva the most absorbent paper towel? ›

As it turns out, Viva is the most absorbent paper towel.

Who is the best brawler for Bounty? ›

Best Brawlers
  • Belle. Win. Star. 2.4%
  • Kit. Win. Star. 0.6%
  • Piper. Win. -12.5% Star. 9.2% -12.5%
  • Sprout. Win. Star. 0.5%
  • Cordelius. Win. Star. 0.4%
  • Mortis. Win. Star. 1.3%
  • Berry. Win. Star. 1.1%
  • Mico. Win. 44.1% Star. 1.3%

Is Bounty better than sparkle? ›

The data points towards Kirkland and Bounty outperforming Viva and Sparkle when it comes to water absorbency per paper towel (while keeping in mind that Bounty did not significantly outperform Sparkle (p > 0.05)).

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