The science behind Costco's No. 1 product

The big-box retailer spends a lot of time studying the quality of its biggest-selling item.

By Kim Peterson Apr 25, 2012 12:59PM
Costco (COST) shoppers are very particular about their toilet paper. They post reviews online. They make funny YouTube videos about it. They debate endlessly whether Kirkland is better than Charmin.

Toilet paper is Costco's top-selling product, in fact. And the company takes it seriously. It even studies the quality of Kirkland toilet paper in its laboratory near Seattle, as the following video shows.

Post continues below.
Costco sells $400 million worth of toilet paper every year. Any loss in quality can mean hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue. No wonder Costco scientists are so focused on it.

Technicians measure the whiteness of the paper. They squeeze the heck out of it -- breaking an old Charmin rule. And they pay special attention to softness and the way the paper bunches up in your hand.

I've never bought Kirkland. I always go for Charmin. What do you think, readers? Is Costco's toilet paper worth all the attention?

"The Costco Craze" premieres Thursday, April 26 at 9 p.m. ET, with a re-air at 12 a.m. ET.

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Apr 25, 2012 11:40PM
Yes, Costco Kirkland toilet paper is the best!!!!!  It's strong, yet soft.  You get a lot on each roll.  I wouldn't even think of using anything else!!  :-)  
Apr 26, 2012 12:21PM
I just drag my butt across the carpet like the dog. 
Apr 26, 2012 9:29AM
Well, I don't know what happened to my life that I am finding myself commenting on toilet paper, but yes, Costco's is the best.  I could never buy any brand other than Angel Soft because my husband didn't like any other.  Then one time we were on a rented property on vacation and the TP they had was Costco's and he just went on and on about how great it was (yes, we are a fascinating couple) so after we went back home that's the one we started getting and the only brand since.
Apr 25, 2012 5:22PM
Shouldn't that be their "Number 2" product? HotHotHotHot. That's freaking hilarious. I crack myself up.
Apr 25, 2012 3:17PM
OMG...such a boring life I must lead, if I find myself commenting on TP.
Apr 26, 2012 1:00PM

Gasp!!!  How could you say a Costco membership is a waste?  I pay $110 a year, and usually get $300 back for my membership rebate.  So that not only pays for my membership, but I get an additional $190 for shopping there.  I have a family of 5 and have what I buy there down to a science so nothing goes to waste.  American's are impulsive shoppers, if you waste your money there, it is no one's fault but yours. 


I <3 Costco. 

Apr 26, 2012 11:14AM
Let's get this correct.  KS bathroom tissue testing indicates that it is stronger than Charmin and just as soft at a much lower price.  It also has many more sheets per role which makes it a much better value.  Costco is a big box store with excellent quality products at very low prices with the most liberal return policy on the planet!  Nuf said.
Apr 26, 2012 7:31AM
Toilet paper should be ..... non-skid , and puncture proof !
Apr 26, 2012 11:15AM
As a business owner, you would think I had more important issues to contend with than TOILET PAPER!  However, after numerous comments from my staff (15 total, men/women) I decided to tackle it head-on (no pun intended).  I met with our cleaning crew and told them my plan - each week we would use a different brand - not to be revealed - and leave 'comment cards' for all to fill out and return to the Ballot Box. We have four separate bathroom facilties.  The comments were very frank, some humorous, some made suggestions.   However after 4-weeks of this, unanimously, the votes were in for Kirkland Brand.
Apr 26, 2012 10:53AM
Shouldn't this be the # 2 product??
Apr 25, 2012 4:03PM
I quit wiping 2 and a half years ago.
Apr 26, 2012 6:54AM
Its the only TP I buy.  Costco has proven to be VERY reliable in providing quality products for the moeny.  Thier meat is better/leaner/more tender that any you'll find in a regular supermaket.  Thier return policy is so easy they have to provide quality or be inundated with returns.  I worry less about getting a bargain at Costco since over the past 22 yrs they have proven themselves the best value ove and over agian.  
Apr 26, 2012 12:05PM

My husband got Charmin, since there was a coupon and I can't wait to be done with it and go back to Kirkland.

Apr 25, 2012 9:55PM
Kirkland's T.P. is the best I've ever used: PERIOD.  When my wife and I travel, we take it with us, even if we're staying with family -- but WTF's with their changing the wrapping -- now, each roll is individually wrapped -- seems like a huge waste of plastic.
Apr 26, 2012 2:05AM
Here's a few reasons why Costco's Kirkland TP is so popular:
1. It's noticeably less expensive than name brand TP.
2. It's septic tank friendly, while many name brands aren't.
3. It's approved for use in RV's, and is waaaay cheaper than buying the RV-specific stuff  that's sold in places like Camping World.

I'd make a comment about Costco having their, er, "stuff" together when it comes to TP... but that's way too easy.

Apr 25, 2012 9:48PM
Awesome TP!!  Just as good as Charmin if not better and is much less expensive per roll.  We won't buy anything else.  As a side note, their Kirkland paper towels are very good as well.
Apr 26, 2012 9:44AM
Costco is a MEMBER organization and does the research to insure the MEMBERS are satisfied with ANY product.  I have been very pleased with the continued focus on VALUE rather than just lowest price.  The TP is just another example of the quality assurance done for an everyday product.  By the way, regardless of the emphasis the commentator puts on "$400 million in sales" of TP, it is a small drop in the $70 BILLION Costco does in business.  Again, no greed can be asserted, because it is a MEMBER organization and limits product mark-up to 3% regardless of how popular or in demand.  I get my membership fee back many times over each year in lower priced products that have real value.
Apr 26, 2012 12:13PM
Good Quality cheaper than name brands. I especially like Kirkland's paper towels. Each individually wrapped in a large plastic wrap.
Apr 26, 2012 11:34AM
i don't like soft toilet paper! it tears when i wipe my hairy butt...Scott's is best for me!
Apr 26, 2012 11:51AM
What is this "toilet paper" of which you speak? Here, let me Goole it real quick... oh, oh God, oh NOW I see why nobody ever shakes my hand!
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