With so many uses, paper towel is a staple in almost every household. Whether it's draining excess oil from your parma and chips (or is that parmie, parmy or parmo?), window cleaning, maintaining herbs and greens freshness, as a buffer for shoes, or cleaning up after the grandkids/fur babies.
Its uses are only outweighed by the sheer number of options available from recycled, embossed, patterned, various ply, and now a variety pack of different sheet sizes just to add another option to the decision-making process (as if it wasn’t hard enough already).
For this experiment, it was more a case of what was available, due to supply issues, and unfortunately, my local Aldi had none at all.
The criteria used to assess the paper towel was its absorbability, strength of the towel when both wet and dry, and for those of us out there chasing the perfect perforation (guilty as charged), the ease of separation from the roll.
To conduct the experiment, I mopped up a mixture of Nestlé’s Quick combined with one tablespoon of water. As this experiment was more about science (hand strength varied a lot amongst the usual testers) than individual preference, I alone conducted the experiment being the primary wiper of spills (eye roll). In any case, the crew lacked their usual enthusiasm reserved apparently for food sampling only.
The products sampled were:
Coles 2 Ply Paper Towel 2 Pack $0.95 per roll
Coles Ultra Paper Towel 3 Ply 3 Pack $1.07 per roll
Handee Ultra Paper Towel 2 Ply 2 Pack $1.93 per roll from Woolworths
Tuffy Paper Towel 4 Ply 3 Pack (exclusive to Woolworths) $1.43 per roll
Strike Paper Towel 2 Ply 2 Pack $0.85 per roll from Woolworths
Viva Paper Towel 1 Ply 3 Pack $5.50 1 Ply $1.83 per roll from Coles
As someone who’s always used Viva in the past, I was surprised to discover that Quilton’s Tuffy (exclusive to Woolworth’s), with a score of 9/10 was the most absorbent. Not a single drop of liquid remained on the plate. Coming a close second was Handee on 8/10 and Viva, the only single ply product, was third on 7/10. Behind the 3 front runners was Strike on 5/10 and the final two places were Coles Ultra on 3/10 and Coles on 2/10. This suggests that the number of ply does not necessarily produce a more absorbent towel and perhaps it’s the quality of the interlock weave design of the product that determines its absorbability.
Tuffy certainly lived up to its name in this criteria, again with a score of 9/10. Second place getter was a tie between Viva and Handee, which both stood the test of several tear attempts. Strike tore after minimal tears followed by Coles Ultra and Coles on 3/10 and 2/10 respectively. On the initial tear, they both almost immediately disintegrated in my hands.
Again the toughest in the dry strength test was Tuffy. It really was impossible to tear when dry so was awarded a perfect 10/10 in this category. In second place again was Handee, which was also resistant to tear on 8/10, and Viva closely behind on 7/10. With a respectable score of 6/10 was Strike, and the last positions were again occupied by Coles Ultra and Coles. Whilst they both tied on a score of 4/10 this was an improvement on the strength of these towels when wet.
In search of the perfect perforation I looked for the ease of tear from the main roll and how consistently the towel performed upon several sheet tears. I was pleased to find that all brands' tear ability scored highly. In fact, four of the six contenders scored a 9/10 and included in that list were Coles, Coles Ultra, Handee, and Viva. Hogging first place thus far, Tuffy was relegated to second position in this category, however, still posted a good result of 8/10. Strike lacked the consistency of the others and was a bit hit and miss across several tears but still recorded a more than acceptable score of 7/10.
Winner of the towel-off:
There wasn’t a lot separating the top three paper towel brands which were all high-quality products. As tough as its name suggests, Tuffy came in first place with a combined score of 36 out of a possible 40 points. Very close behind was Handee on a total score of 33 points and Viva on 31 points. Perhaps the greatest surprise of all was the Strike brand. Although it was somewhat behind the top tier group, on 25/40, it did represent good value for money as the cheapest brand. Unfortunately, I’d have expected Coles Ultra and Coles to perform better than Strike given their higher price point, however I can’t recommend either with respective scores of 19 and 17.
Whichever way you wipe we’d love to hear what you think!