- Some paper towels are stronger and more absorbent than others.
- We tested paper towels from Brawny, Marcal, Sparkle, and Bounty to see which was the strongest and most absorbent.
- Bounty was the strongest and most absorbent paper towel we tried.
- Visit INSIDER.com for more stories.
Paper towels are a common household item but not every brand is created equal. To find out which brand had the handiest product, INSIDER compared paper towels from four companies.
We tested paper towels from:
To keep things consistent, we only used two-ply, select-a-size towels. All four products were purchased from supermarkets in New Jersey. For each brand, we bought the smallest-sized packages we could find.
The price for each roll of paper towel varies widely from market to market and depending on the number of rolls you purchase at once. In our case, Marcal was the cheapest roll we bought and Brawny was the most expensive though each roll of paper towels we tried was under $US2.50.
Here’s how the brands stacked up.
We started with one sheet from each brand of paper towels and labelled each
Once each towel was torn and labelled, we were ready to begin. Our test was made up of two parts, one to test the absorbency of the towels and one to test their strength when wet.
First, we measured the absorbency of each paper towel using food colouring and water
To visually differentiate the towels, we used four different colours of food dye. We mixed the dye with a tablespoon of hot water and then poured the coloured water onto the towels. We let each towel soak for 60 seconds.
The Brawny towel absorbed the water quickly
After 60 seconds, the Brawny towel was soaked mostly in its center. The water was concentrated in the middle of the towel, with a light-red ring extending outward.
The Marcal paper towel was the most saturated after a minute
The dyed water covered most of the towel. Only a few inches in the corners remained unsaturated.
The Sparkle paper towel was a little less saturated than the Marcal towel
Although the water spread, it didn’t extend to any of the towel’s edges.
After 60 seconds, the Bounty paper towel was the least saturated
Similar to the Brawny paper towel, the Bounty paper towel was mainly soaked in the middle, though the water didn’t spread as much as it did on the Brawny paper towel.
Overall, based on how little the water spread, the Bounty towel seemed to absorb the water the best.
Next, we tested each towel’s strength by wetting them and topping them with metal weights
Before we started our test, we weighed a dry sheet of each paper towel on an electronic balance just to see if they were all the same weight. We found that they were – one sheet of paper towel from each of the four brands weighed 2 grams (0.07 ounces).
For our strength test, we clamped each towel to a glass bowl, dampened it with 1/2 cup of water, and topped it with metal weights.
The weights we used spanned from 1/4 ounce to 2 pounds. To find the breaking point of the towels, we gradually added weight onto each of them until the paper tore apart.
The Brawny paper towel held more than 1.5 pounds before breaking
We slowly stacked weight onto the wet Brawny paper towel and found it held up to 25 ounces (1.56 pounds) when damp.
The Marcal paper towel held the least amount of weight out of the towels we tested
When wet, the Marcal towel held 12 ounces (0.75 pounds). We observed that water began to pool at the bottom of the bowl even before the towel reached its breaking point.
Sparkle’s paper towel seemed to be a little stronger than Marcal’s
Capable of holding 14 ounces (0.88 pounds) when damp, the Sparkle towel was just slightly stronger than the Marcal one.
Bounty paper towel held almost 3 pounds
After being soaked, the Bounty towel held an impressive 43 ounces or 2.69 pounds.
Bounty was the most absorbent and the strongest paper towel we tried
Each paper towel effectively absorbed water and was able to hold a bit of weight while damp but some certainly performed better than others.
Coming out as the most absorbent and the strongest towel, Bounty’s paper towels were the most impressive of the bunch.
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