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The best and worst tissues from our tests

We reveal which tissues blow and which aren't to be sniffed at, plus why you shouldn't flush tissues down the toilet.

box of tissues
Last updated: 27 January 2023

How do you make a tissue dance? Put a little boogie in it. (Sorry, couldn't resist!)

But seriously, if you buy a dud box of 200 tissues that are scratchy or fall apart at inopportune moments, that's a lot to slog through to get to the end of the box. 

If you have a cold or allergies, terrible tissues can leave you with a nose that's scratched red raw, or having to double up so they don't disintegrate. 

And if you're going through a bad breakup you don't need bad tissues to give you something extra to cry about! 

Our experts tested 35 different tissue products, assessing their strength, softness and absorbency, to help you buy the best tissues for your issues, whatever they may be. 

woolworths azure hypoallergenic pocket tissues 6 pack

Woolworths Azure Hypoallergenic Pocket Tissues are affordable and scored well in our tests.

Are cheap tissues worth buying?

It's pretty tempting to cheap out on tissues: they're something you generally use once and then chuck in the bin, so it can seem like a waste to spend a lot on them. 

Unfortunately, the cheapest products we tested were also among the worst performing, so in this case at least it's probably worth spending a little extra to make sure your tissues do what they're supposed to. (After all, if they fail at their main purpose – holding your boogers – things could get very messy indeed.)

If you're looking for the best value for money, Woolworths' Azure Hypoallergenic Pocket Tissues hit the sweet spot between price and performance. They easily outperform other products at the same price point, and they're one of the highest scorers in our test, so they're a great buy.

The best performing tissues from our test

In our test of 35 tissue products, our experts found only five worthy of recommendation – and coincidentally, all but one are 6-packs of tissues for on the go. 

However, some of them are also among the most expensive we tested – two of the top scorers cost more than $6 per 100 tissues, which is a lot for something that's going to end up in the bin!

kleenex everyday softness on the go pocket pack 4 ply 9 tissues

All but one of our recommended tissues are 6-packs for on the go.

Kleenex Everyday Softness on the Go Pocket Pack 4 ply

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 80% 
  • Price: $3.30 ($6.11 per 100 tissues)

Sorbent Silky White Soft and Strong 4 ply 

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 77% 
  • Price: $2.00 ($3.33 per 100 tissues)

Woolworths Azure Hypoallergenic Pocket Tissues 

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 72%
  • Price: $1.40 ($2.59 per 100 tissues)

Kleenex Soothe Aloe Vera & Vitamin E Pocket Pack 4 ply

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 71%
  • Price: $3.50 ($6.48 per 100 tissues)

Quilton Extra Thick Hypo-allergenic 3 Ply Soft

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 70%
  • Price: $3.80 ($3.45 per 100 tissues)
kleenex allergy comfort 3 ply 85-tissues

Some of the softest tissues in our test were Kleenex.

The softest tissues in our test

If you're battling a cold or allergies, you probably know all too well how important soft tissues are to your comfort – after blowing your nose approximately every two minutes for a week, even the softest tissue can feel like sandpaper. 

If your primary objective in buying tissues is to find the softest, here they are:

  • Kleenex Allergy Comfort 3-ply (Softness score: 90%)
  • Kleenex Large & Thick Aloe Vera & Vitamin E 3 ply (87%)
  • Sorbent Silky White Soft and Strong (84%)
  • Quilton Cooling Lotion Vitamin D 3 ply Soft (84%)
  • Kleenex Wellbeing Eucalyptus 3 ply (84%)
  • Kleenex Wellbeing Aloe Vera & Vitamin E 3 ply (81%)

Unfortunately, what you gain in softness you may lose in performance: none of these scored especially well for their ability to withstand a puncture, and most weren't particularly absorbent or strong when wet, so do bear that in mind when using them. 

coles facial tissues fragrance free 224 pack

These Coles tissues were rated the lowest by our experts.

Tissues to avoid

Receiving the lowest scores overall, these tissues didn't blow our experts away. 

Coles Facial Tissues Fragrance-Free

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 51%
  • Price: $1.30 ($0.58 per 100 tissues)

Symphony 2 ply 228 White Facial Tissues Value 3 Pack

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 52%
  • Price: $4.00 ($0.58 per 100 tissues)

Oobamboo Premium Bamboo Tissues 3 ply

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 53%
  • Price: $26.00 for 12 boxes ($2.17 per 100 tissues)

iCare Naturally Soft Facial Tissues

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 53%
  • Price: $2.25 ($1.13 per 100 tissues)
Why you shouldn't flush tissues

Did you know tissues shouldn't be flushed down the toilet? They don't break down the way toilet paper does, and can block your pipes. We ran a test in the CHOICE labs comparing facial tissues, toilet paper and flushable wipes. See how they broke down over time. 

Why you shouldn't flush tissues down the toilet

Toilet paper is designed to break down quickly in toilet systems. But since tissues are designed to hold their shape when wet, they take much longer to disintegrate – more than 20 minutes in most cases. 

This means that they can cause blockages, either in your system or the water utility system. And when they combine with fats, oils and grease that end up in the system via kitchen drains, they can create 'fatbergs', which cause big problems and can damage pipes. 

According to Sydney Water, the only things that should be flushed are the three Ps: pee, poo and (toilet) paper. 

How we score tissues

A good tissue needs to be four things:

  1. Soft (so it doesn't irritate your skin)
  2. Absorbent (so it can soak up whatever you put into it)
  3. Puncture-proof (so your fingers don't break through)
  4. Strong when wet (so it can keep its contents contained, and in case you need to use it again)

When we assess tissues in our labs, we test all four of these aspects and score each tissue so we can tell you which are the best on the market. 

Our experts recommend tissues that score at least 70% overall, with no score below 55%.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.