shopping cart full of cleaning products.width .jpg

Kirkland vs. Member’s Mark: Who Has the Best Value Paper Products?

A shopping cart full of cleaning products in a big-box store.

Image source: Getty Images

Both Sam’s Club and Costco are popular for their high-quality house brands. And though there are loyalists on both sides, I didn’t want to blindly follow brand loyalty.

Instead, my family put products from both warehouse clubs to the test to see which gave us the better value. Here’s what we found.

Paper towels: Could be a wash

Costco has one Kirkland Signature paper towel product, but Sam’s Club has two: full-size and select-a-size. We compared the select-a-size towels since they were most similar to the Kirkland version.

Item Price Sheets per roll Rolls per pkg Sq. ft. per roll Total sq. ft. Price per sq. ft.
Kirkland Signature Paper Towels $22.99 160 12 85.5 1026 $0.022
Member’s Mark Paper Towels $19.98 150 15 68.75 1031.25 $0.019
Data sources:,

Member’s Mark paper towel rolls are a bit smaller — 10 fewer sheets per roll — and the towels themselves are narrower (6″ wide vs. 7″ wide), but you’re getting more rolls in the package, which makes up for it.

The prices, on the other hand, aren’t quite as close. You’re paying more than $3 more for Kirkland paper towels if you’re shopping online. Now, it’s important to note here that Costco in-club prices can be cheaper than its online prices, but it would have to be 14% cheaper to match Member’s Mark in pricing.

Quality review

From a practicality angle, the Kirkland paper towel rolls having more sheets makes them quite a bit wider, which could be an issue for folks with certain types of paper towel holders. (They don’t spin well on mine until you use up a few sheets.) But, if you prefer changing rolls less often, that may be a good trade for you.

As to using them, our family tried both types, and we had mixed opinions. Some preferred the Kirkland paper towels, mostly because they’re a bit bigger (an inch wider). It was also opined that they may be a bit sturdier. However, the rest of us didn’t really notice a difference while using either brand, and I definitely prefer the price of the Member’s Mark.

Toilet paper: Member’s Mark takes the throne

In this category, we’re comparing Kirkland Signature Ultra Soft Bath Tissue with Member’s Mark Ultra Premium Soft and Strong Bath Tissue:

Item Price Sheets per roll Rolls per pkg Sq. ft. per roll Total sq. ft. Price per sq. ft.
Kirkland Signature Ultra Soft Bath Tissue $24.99 231 36 28.88 1039.5 $0.024
Member’s Mark Ultra Premium Soft and Strong Bath Tissue $22.98 235 45 27.87 1254 $0.018
Data sources:,

This is a case of paying less for more: Sam’s Club is charging less for more toilet paper. It works out to the Member’s Mark product being about 24% less expensive. So, even if you were to get your Kirkland TP in-store for cheaper, you’d need to pay less than $19 for it to actually be around the same price per square foot. Easy Sam’s Club win here.

Quality review

So, technically, Costco offers two kinds of toilet paper: the Ultra Soft we compared above, and the regular Kirkland Signature Bath Tissue.

Avoid the regular Kirkland Signature Bath Tissue. It calls itself 2-ply, but it feels like half-ply. Seriously, it’s like rest stop toilet paper. My entire family hated it. This is a rare Kirkland fail.

Now, on to the other two. The Kirkland Signature Ultra Soft Bath Tissue is much, much better than the regular Kirkland tissue. It’s sturdy, soft, and works fine.

That said, my family preferred the Member’s Mark toilet paper. We found it to be a bit sturdier — even the good Kirkland stuff tended to rip when trying to get it off the roll. You also can’t beat the price.

Facial tissues: It’s nose and nose

Costco and Sam’s Club each offer two types of tissues: 2-ply and 3-ply. They both have their place, so we compared at all four products:

Item Price Tissues per box Boxes per pkg Tissues per pkg Price per tissue
Kirkland Signature Facial Tissue, 2-Ply $34.99 110 30 3300 $0.011
Member’s Mark 2-Ply Facial Tissues $14.98 160 12 1920 $0.008
Kirkland Signature Facial Tissue, 3-Ply $19.99 84 12 1008 $0.020
Member’s Mark 3-Ply Facial Tissues $13.98 80 12 960 $0.015
Data sources:,

Sam’s Club wins out on price in both plies — by large margins. You’ll pay 25% more for the Kirkland 3-ply over the Member’s Mark 3-ply. Once again, even if you can get the Kirkland products for less by shopping in person, the discount would need to be very significant to catch up to the affordability of Member’s Mark.

Quality review

In general, 3-ply is what you want when you’re leaky-face sick, since they’re thicker and softer. But 2-ply is handy if you just need a quick tissue to catch a stray sneeze.

As for brand differences, my family found the quality to be fairly consistent across the products. In a direct side by side, however, we found the Member’s Mark 2-ply was a bit sturdier than the Kirkland 2-ply. We also thought the Kirkland 3-ply tissues were a bit softer than the Member’s Mark 3-ply.

TL;DR: I’d stock the Kirkland 3-ply for when we’re sick, while keeping boxes of Member’s Mark 2-ply in every room for everyday use.

You’re saving either way

One thing I really want to emphasize here is that, no matter which brand you chose, you’re probably doing right by your budget either way compared to buying name-brand products. Even when buying them from Costco or Sam’s Club, your Bounty, Charmin, and Kleenex is going to cost more for the same — or, sometimes even inferior — quality.

So count yourself a winner no matter which team you’re on.

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We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Brittney Myers has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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