To measure absorbency, testers weigh a dry paper towel, dunk it in water, and then weigh it again to see how much water it can hold. Testers also use a special machine to measure how much force it takes to break through a wet paper towel. And then there's the scrub test. A paper towel is strapped onto a machine and then it passes over a rough surface. Some paper towels can handle lots of scrubbing and others, not so much.
Bounty's DuraTowels rated excellent in all of Consumer Reports' tests. They aced the scrub test, so they are great for tougher messes. But they are expensive costing around twice as much as other paper towels.
Among the cheaper paper towels, the best of the bunch is Great Value Strong and Absorbent from Walmart.
Be aware, you shouldn't use a paper towel for everything. They will scratch your glasses, your TV screens and camera lenses. For those tasks you're better off using a microfiber cloth instead. You can find those with the cleaning supplies in stores like Walmart and Target.