(National) July 14, 2005 - At the supermarket, instead of buying name brands, Consumer Reports says you can save hundreds of dollars a year buying store brands. Consumer Reports tested a variety of store brands to see how they compare with familiar names like Ziploc plastic bags, Puffs tissues, and Bounty paper towels.
To evaluate paper towels, Joan Muratore soaked them in water. Then she weighed the towels to see how much water they could hold. And Li Wang tested paper towels to see how strong they are. A special machine measures the amount of force it takes to tear a towel.
Consumer Reports' Tod Marks, "Bounty paper towels were slightly stronger than the store brands, but we found one store brand that was nearly as strong, absorbed just as fast, and cost 42 percent less." They're Kirkland Signature paper towels from Costco.
Marks tests on plastic storage bags turned up similar findings, "Ziploc's food storage bags were easy to open and close and they were puncture-resistant, but so were Wal-Mart's Slider Food Storage bags, which cost about half as much."
Then Kleenex and Puffs were pitted against a variety of store-brand tissues. Sensory panelists evaluated softness using their standard technique of running their hands along the surface and crumpling to see how pliable the tissues are. It turns out some of the store brands were as soft as Puffs. But when it comes to strength, none of the tissues were as strong.
So while not every store brand outperforms top name-brand products, Consumer Reports' tests show plenty are worth trying. And store brands can save you as much as 50 percent.