Consumer Reports' top picks for toilet paper

Toilet paper has been around for a long time. And it's come a long way since it was first introduced in 1857. There's three-ply, plush, recycled and even tubeless, in some cases.

But how do you know which toilet paper is the best? Consumer Reports sized up 25 different toilet papers. They checked out green ones, too, including Seventh Generation and Earth Essentials.

"Our testers spend a lot of time thinking about toilet paper," said Consumer Reports' Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman.

Testers use a special machine to check for strength. It measures how much force is needed to break through multiple sheets of toilet paper. The same machine also checks how well toilet paper tears along its perforations.

"If a toilet paper doesn't tear easily, you could end up with a small useless piece or you could end up with the whole roll," Lehrman said.

Scott's innovative tube-free roll - designed to eliminate cardboard waste - was one of several that were hard to tear. Another test - designed to determine how well a toilet paper breaks down - is known as the disintegration test, because nobody wants toilet paper clogging the plumbing.

Charmin's Ultra Strong took the longest -- more than a minute to break down.

And who wants a scratchy toilet paper? In a temperature and humidity-controlled room, Consumer Reports sensory panelists size up the softness one sheet at a time. Turns out White Cloud Three-Ply Ultra from Walmart topped the charts. It scored excellent for softness. It's strong, and it breaks down quickly.