Simple Tips for Calculating Toilet Paper Price Points

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Stetson confused - toilet paper in shopping cart

Let’s roll!

When it comes to toilet paper, price comparisons can be confusing because no two rolls or packages are alike. Not only are there a myriad of different roll sizes to choose from, but there are other factors to consider like square footage, layers (ply), softness, thickness, and more.

So how do we calculate the best deals and steer clear of total rip-offs (see what we did there? 😉)? Check out the following tips below that will help you know if you’re getting the best price.

1. All rolls are not created equal.

standard toilet paper roll next to huge Charmin roll

You may be used to calculating the price of toilet paper per roll to see if it’s a great buy, but unfortunately, that’s just not a very cost-efficient method anymore. That’s because each manufacturer uses their own terminology to label the sizes of their rolls – and it differs greatly. In other words, a regular Charmin roll just doesn’t equal a Cottonelle regular roll.

There are single, regular, double, big, jumbo, mega, triple, family size, and now even a huge Charmin Forever roll! Huh!? Talk about confusing! So what are you supposed to do?

2. Always calculate price per square foot.

shopping cart with toilet paper brands

Since price per roll varies greatly by brand, the best way to calculate the price is per square foot. To do this, take the price of the toilet paper and divide by the total square feet, which is usually listed right on the package.

However, some online manufacturers don’t always include square foot information in their listings. If that’s the case, the next best way to calculate the unit cost is by sheets per roll. This won’t be as accurate, but it’ll give you an idea.

The only thing you can’t take into consideration with either of these methods is 1-ply, 2-ply, or 3-ply rolls. However, you can pretty safely assume that you’re going to use fewer sheets of multi-ply toilet paper rolls than you will with single-ply ones, so you can slightly adjust the price accordingly (more for single-ply and less for multi-ply).

As a guideline, here’s an idea of how much you should pay for 2-ply name-brand toilet paper:

  • 👍🏻 Great – 1.4¢ or less/square foot
  • 👍🏻 Good – 1.4¢-1.7¢/square foot
  • 👎🏻 Average – 1.7¢-2.1¢/square foot
  • 👎🏻 Poor – 2.1¢ and up/square foot

In general, you should never pay more than 2¢ per square foot for 2-ply toilet paper. You can also aim to pay less than 1¢ per square foot for 1-ply toilet paper and less than 3¢ per square foot for 3-ply toilet paper.

3. Don’t discount store-brand toilet paper.

package of bath tissue on display

Name brands aren’t always better! In fact, you might be surprised by the price and quality of store-brand toilet paper. For instance, as you can see below, Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand is a better deal when compared to the same count/ply of Charmin toilet paper (based on in-club prices)!

  • Kirkland Signature 2-ply toilet paper 30ct | 1,594 sq. ft. | $15.99 = 1¢ per sq. ft.
  • Charmin Ultra Strong 2-ply toilet paper 30ct | 865 sq. ft. | $22.49 = 2.6¢ per sq. ft

Even when Costco offers Instant Savings on their Charmin toilet paper (it usually goes on sale for around $17.99), you’re still getting a better price per square foot by buying store brand! And it works just as well!

different brands of toilet paper on ground

And, you may be interested to know that store brand toilet paper ranks higher than many name brands when it comes to overall quality! According to a Consumer Reports test, here are the top five store brand toilet paper brands based on strength, softness, disintegration, and tearing ease:

  1. White Cloud Ultra Soft & Thick toilet paper | Walmart
  2. Nice! Premium Ultra toilet paper | Walgreens
  3. Total Home Premium Ultra Soft toilet paper | CVS
  4. Up & Up Ultra Soft toilet paper | Target
  5. Kirkland Signature toilet paper | Costco

Be sure to keep an eye out for in-store and online toilet paper sales and use coupons to lower the cost. Also, be sure to watch for gift card offers (i.e. spend $30 on household items, get a free $5 Target gift card), in-store promotions (i.e. Costco’s Instant Savings), and clippable coupons on Amazon to save even more!

Running low on toilet paper? Don’t miss these deals!

Join The Discussion

Comments 32

  1. Cat

    Thanks for breaking this down. I always struggle to understand which is the best toilet paper deal. Very helpful post!!

    • Patti

      Ditto! I haven’t seen a post on tp like this and feel like it is always mind boggling trying to get the best deal on it. My husband always says just get what’s cheap we are just wiping our butts with it and throwing it away anyway! Ha. Thanks for the post!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re very welcome! SO glad this was helpful!

  2. Allison M. 🌸

    I’ve been calculating by sq ft for years! Because all rolls aren’t equal. And store brands definitely give the brand names a run for their money. My default is Scott ComfortPlus, for when I don’t want to do the math 😆😆

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Thanks Allison! 🙂 I’ll have to try Scott ComfortPlus next time!

  3. k80

    You guys should put the Great, Good, Average or Poor in the top of the post, where you guys typically put Go, Go, Go…or Run…or Stock up. That would be even more helpful seeing as i am not a math fan !! Just a suggestion 😊
    This is suuuper helpful though. Some things are just “crappy” (see what I did there 🤣) to over apend on.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      LOL! Thanks for the suggestion, k80! I’ll be sure to pass that along to the team!

  4. Jessica

    I love the Sam’s Club Member’s Mark brand toilet paper. I’m wondering if it’s similar to Cosco’s Kirkland’s toilet paper.

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Probably similar?! It’s got fantastic reviews on their website!

    • Melie

      FWIW my household far prefers Sam’s Club TP to Costco’s :). I know lots of people like it, but we found it to be linty and of a lower quality than what we usually get from Sam’s.

  5. Elissa

    I just bought the smiths brand (home sense) today for 1.2 cents per square foot 😊 and I’m pretty sure that’s their normal price! Plus I like it! It was 9.99 for 30 rolls

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Awesome deal Elissa!

  6. Emily

    Yikes! I have been doing this wrong for a long time. LOL. I always figured a quarter per 2-ply roll was a good deal. and then assumed that would be $0.50 for a double roll, etc. Never stopped to think that different brands would be different size rolls.

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Pretty crazy, huh!?

  7. ResseCup

    Just starting to read this post, I feel like I need to get out my abacus to keep up😊

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      Toilet paper math is hard, ResseCup!

  8. nikis22

    Wow thanks hip2save!!

  9. Christine

    I like Safeway’s store brands of paper towels and toilet paper. There are frequently sales and coupons in the app, too.

  10. Tricia

    I just take the package over to the produce section and weigh it. Price per pound is a way to evaluate how much total paper is in that package, no matter how thick, thin, or how many ply. $2.50/pound is about right for a good deal.

    • Jerica

      Good idea 👍🏼 And online stores give item weight!

  11. llc

    I literally have a spreadsheet named Comparison. Each tab is a different item (paper towels, TP, Tide, ICY Hot Patches. In each tab I compare different stores. So when you post a deal, I plug in the numbers and see if it hits MY price points to buy. If its an insane deal like when lowes super discounts Tide, I will buy all the store has. Sometimes for Target dog treats/food deals, I will go to CouponFleaMarket and purchase a few extra coupons. There is always a local person that will sell me 10 coupons and I get them quick. I have Great Danes and treats can be pricey. They love Busy Bones.

    • Robyn

      Good idea 11c!!! Maybe you could share your spreadsheet setup with H2S and they could do an article on that. I LOVE LOVE LOVE these types of posts. I always get so many new tips from H2S and the comments on these type posts. BTW I’m not a “newbie”. I’ve been bargin shopping and following H2S close to 10 years now. I’m always open to new ideas/ ways to find bargains. Keep up the GREAT work H2S team (and followers)!!!!

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      That’s a great way to buy at your best prices, llc! Thanks for telling us how you price compare! PS. I also have a Great Dane and understand about those prices!

  12. Jill

    Thanks. I’ve always had a hard time figuring toilet paper deals

  13. Lisa

    Do you do the same calculation for paper towels? What are the price points for paper towels?

  14. Mary

    I shopped at Costco last week, there was a sale on Charmin, the wife says to her husband, it’s better. I’m picking up my Costco tp, the young Costco guy says, that is a goal in life, to afford Charmin? My 80 year old mom thinks Charmin is better, also. Oh! Life’s choices…

  15. Zita

    So if we’re in a hurry, looks like the best “go to” deal is the Costco 30 count package, right?

    I really appreciate this calculation chart.

    I’m not a math genius, by NO means, and y’all always simplify things for me. : )

  16. Michelle Moore

    I love it! So Costco (Kirkland) brand just went to $16.99 for the 30 roll 1594sq ft.
    That’s all we buy, even though it went up a dollar it saves my butt and there’s not lint!
    Wouldn’t change a thing!

  17. Ellie

    Just two yrs ago you could get 1800sq feet for 6.99 at almost any store brand 1 ply , little by little the sq f got smaller, but they package it giving you 12 mega rolls huh that will b lucky if you even get 500 sf, boy the public is getting old ripped off for something that we just flush down the toiletries in

  18. Mike R.

    I have to disagree with you on the Kirkland TP. I had heard good things and bought it and my family hated it compared to our usual Charmin Ultra Soft.

  19. Lyn

    Someone should update this article since it’s during the pandemic I doubt the prices still apply.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for the request, Lyn! I have passed this along to the team.

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