The best bath towels feel like being tucked into a giant hug, cocooning you in just the right way after a long, hot shower. They should dry you off quickly without getting waterlogged in the process. And with more wash and wear than most household items, they also have to go the distance without ending up in tatters. It’s a tall order by any standard.
The right bath towels, if made well, can last as long as five to 10 years with proper care. But there are so many on the market that finding ones that work for you could take a year’s worth of trial and error. So from waffle and terry to Turkish cotton, we sourced 10 editor-approved options that’ll keep you dry stylishly.
- Best color: Tekla Bath Towels
- Best design: Baina Roman Organic Cotton Pool Towels
- Best value: Amazon American Soft Linen Towel Set
- Best lightweight construction: Morihata Puchi Puchi Towels
- Best plushness: Brooklinen Super-Plush Bath Towels
- Best waffle: Casaluna Waffle Bath Towels
- Best quick-dry: Amazon Basic Quick-Dry Bath Towels
- Best organic cotton: Glamburg Organic Cotton Bath Towel Set
- Best wearing: Parachute Classic Turkish Cotton Towels
- Best oversize: Coyuchi Mediterranean Towels
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Material: When it comes to fabric, not all construction is created equal. The plushest towels are the 100 percent cotton varieties, though some rayon blends tend to absorb a touch more water than cotton. “Material is the first thing to look for,” says Sara Simon, president of Handsome Salt Interior Design in Los Angeles. “Anything that is touching my body needs to be soft and plush.” Keep in mind that Pima and Egyptian cottons are considered premium, so they’ll likely cost a bit more. Look at the label for a term like ring-spun cotton, which means the fibers have been tightly twisted so the towel loops are smoother and finer (terry cloth, for example, has larger loops and is woven with extra yarn). Combed cotton is another type with which to familiarize yourself. This means that the cotton has been combed through to remove shorter threads, so just the longest and strongest remain—and pilling is kept to a minimum.
Weight: Bath towel weight is measured in grams per square meter (GSM) and varies between 300 and 900 GSM. The higher the weight, the thicker and more absorbent the towel. A 300 to 400 GSM towel is considered lightweight (think: for the gym or kitchen), 400 to 600 GSM is medium weight (good for the beach or bath), and 600 to 900 GSM is the thickest density (this will feel the most luxe but may require the most drying time). “Towel weight is a personal preference,” says Simon. “Personally I do not like thick towels that feel like a blanket, and on the opposite end, I do not like towels that are thin like a paper towel. You really need to find a happy medium.”
Size: Towels come in several different sizes, so it’s a good idea to wrap them around yourself to see how much ground they cover before buying. If you’re tall, for example, you might want a larger towel. “As a 5-foot-9 girl, I have to have a towel that I can wrap around me and cover my booty,” says Simon. “I cannot stand tiny towels, but I will say I am not into bath sheets either—too much fabric.” Similarly, Kate Towill, founding partner and head of design at Basic Projects in Charleston, South Carolina, agrees that bigger isn’t always better. “I prefer a standard bath towel size, which is easier on the dryer and fits on the bathroom shelf when folded,” she says. The standard size for a bath towel is 27-by-52 inches, while a bath sheet offers more coverage at a slightly larger 35-by-60.
Our Top Picks
Best Color: Tekla Bath Towels
Crafted from Oeko-Tex terry and 100 percent organic cotton, and delivering a snug, medium-weight 600 GSM, these towels tick all of our boxes. “Tekla’s bath towels are my holy grail bath towels,” says commerce deputy editor Samantha Weiss-Hills. “Their weight and size feel just right, and I love the available colorways (hello, Tender Yellow and Racing Green). I’ve had a set in Lunar Rock for almost two years—they’re plush without feeling heavy and very absorbent. They’ve held up nicely (no fraying) to regular wear and cleaning in our rudimentary washer and dryer.”
Best Design: Baina Roman Organic Cotton Pool Towels
Best Value: Amazon American Soft Linen Towel Set
Best Lightweight Construction: Morihata Puchi Puchi Towels
Best Plushness: Brooklinen Super-Plush Bath Towels
Best Waffle: Casaluna Waffle Bath Towels
Best Quick-Dry: Amazon Basic Quick-Dry Bath Towel
Best Organic Cotton: Glamburg Organic Cotton Bath Towel Set
Best Wearing: Parachute Classic Turkish Cotton Towels
Best Oversize: Coyuchi Mediterranean Organic Towels
How often should I replace my towels?
Good towels can last a very long time, especially if you take good care of them. However, the fewer you have and the more you use them, the quicker you may need to replace them. If you notice that the threads are starting to pull; they aren’t drying you as effectively; or, in spite of a wash, there’s a lingering odor, then it’s time to replace them. Depending on the quality, bath towels can last five years or longer.
What’s the best way to keep white towels, well, white?
First and foremost, as tempting as it may be to throw every dirty item in the wash together to save time, Simon advises to always separate your whites since colors can bleed. “Bleach is the white towel saving grace,” she says. To keep your white towels bright, use a detergent that has a built-in bleach or a gentle oxidizer in powder form. And to get rid of residue buildup on towels that detergent can leave behind, add a cup of white vinegar to your wash along with detergent to clear the way.
How We Vetted These Products
Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:
- They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
- They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
- They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews to know that they pass the test IRL.
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