Simple Tips for Calculating Toilet Paper Price Points
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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.
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.
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.
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!
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:
- White Cloud Ultra Soft & Thick toilet paper | Walmart
- Nice! Premium Ultra toilet paper | Walgreens
- Total Home Premium Ultra Soft toilet paper | CVS
- Up & Up Ultra Soft toilet paper | Target
- 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!
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