The 10 Best Paper Towel Holders
The Paper Towel Holder: A Part of Your Daily Life
Think about this: in the average household, a family will likely use a paper towel holder more frequently than almost any other fixture around the home. You will likely grab a paper towel (or ten) more often than you power up the microwave, more often than you use your coffeemaker, and potentially more often than you use the television. From wiping up a little spill on the counter to helping with a deep cleaning of the bathroom or play area, when any sort of mess is to be found, so too are paper towels.
A paper towel holder is designed for convenience, but a well-made unit can not only increase convenience but can also save you money over time, as it keeps your paper towels drier and cleaner and prevents the over-use that often comes with a loose roll. Paper towel holders make it easy for you to grab only as many paper towels as you need for a given task, limiting the waste of which most of us are guilty. (Ask yourself how often you carefully save those extra few paper towels you separate from the roll as opposed to how often you simply discard them.)
Paper towel holders can also help to preserve a roll of paper towels, as they elevate them off of a counter that may at times be soaked with spilled liquids, potentially ruining the entire roll. Some units even have walls the protect the rolls from splashes. (These benefits are also true in cabinets or closets where liquids can leak out of nearby jars and bottles and have the same destructive effect on your paper towels.) Given the relatively low cost of most paper towel storage devices, the savings you gain in terms of preserved sheets will likely offset the price of the unit over time.
So ultimately there is not really any question whether or not a paper towel holder is a good idea, there is merely the question of which specific item will best fit into your home. The most basic options in this category are also, for many people, the best: these consist of little more than a hearty, weighted circular base to which an upright rod is affixed. The process of loading a roll of paper towels or removing the finished tube is perhaps the simplest chore known to man, and appearance of these functional devices is actually elegant in its simplicity.
Some people may wish to use a paper towel holder that adds a bit more personal flourish to their home, though. And indeed in many homes these units are prominent fixtures of the kitchen, which is far and away the most frequently used room in almost every home. There are myriad unique paper towel management devices that will appeal to a range of styles, including those with playful animal motifs, those designed with a stripped-down industrial appeal, and those with a refined aesthetic, such as an option made from marble or oiled bronze.
A Few Words on Choosing the Right Paper Towels
Not all paper towels are created the same, and that's exactly as it should be. Choosing the right paper towel is not a momentous life decision, but it's one that can end up saving you a good deal of time and money if appreciated with a long-term perspective. When selecting paper towels, first make sure the roll (or, more likely, the multiple rolls) you are buying will fit on your paper towel holder; simple units with a base and rod only can accommodate any roll, but those with walls or other hardware may only allow use of certain roll sizes.
Next consider the sheet size you will most often use. The standard size of a single paper towel has for a number of years been a square measuring eleven inches on each side. However, in recent years many brands have doubled the number of sheets they offer in each roll by halving the size of each sheet to eleven- by 5.5-inches per sheet. If you regularly find yourself using larger sheets but rarely find said sheet fully sodden or dirty, consider switching to the half sheet size. Likewise, if you routinely use two of the 11-by-5-inch sheets, then switch to a standard, full-sized roll of paper towels, as one large towel offers more tensile strength that two smaller sheets.
Then consider where and on what surfaces you will most often use paper towels, and choose your variety carefully, for most options have both benefits and drawbacks. For example, extra-soft and highly absorbent paper towels also tend to be weaker and less resilient, falling apart as you try to scrub at a surface like floor tile or stone. On the other hand, the toughest paper towels -- those that can stand up to scrubbing and elbow grease -- are often the very same sheets that offer poor absorbance of spilled liquids.
A Brief History of the Paper Towel
As hard as it is to imagine life without paper towels today, if you lived just one century ago, you would likely have never seen or heard of these immensely convenient, absorbent sheets of paper. As so often is the case, with paper towels, necessity was the mother of invention. In this case, Arthur Scott's Scott Paper Company had the necessity to not let an entire railroad car's worth of paper products go to waste. In 1907, the company (then in its 10th year) received a shipment of paper intended to be used as a product they already manufactured regularly: toilet tissue. This fateful batch was too thick for use as toilet paper, and so the clever minds at Scott instead repurposed it into tissues intended for use catching mucous and preventing the spread of germs.
The new diminutive paper towels were a success, and were widely sold for use in public bathrooms around the country. Realizing the larger potential at hand, by the early 1930s, Scott had developed larger, more durable paper towels quite similar to the now ubiquitous rolls we have today.
While convenient, paper towels are not to be used lightly, as they come with an immense environmental impact if not sustainably created. To make about a ton of paper towels, as many as 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water must be consumed, for example. Buying from a brand that uses recycled materials to make paper towels is always a good idea, but be aware that used paper towels should be discarded in the trash if they have come into contact with anything other than water. The grease, chemicals, and bacteria otherwise likely present can actually ruin entire batches of otherwise recyclable material.