Shopping for the best bath towels can get confusing, yet these essential linens are important household staples. We rounded up some of the most popular bath towels made from all types of cotton and subjected them to extensive testing. Our results found that the best towel you can buy is the Parachute Classic Towel (available at Parachute for $29.00) . It's highly absorbent, plush, and very comfortable.
During our tests, we looked at how well each towel could absorb water efficiently. However, we also took into account the weight, feel, and type of each towel, whether they get musty, how easy it is to remove stains, and more. While some products rose to the challenge, others gave a lackluster performance.
These are the best bath towels we tested and ranked, in order:
Pinzon Organic Cotton
Legends Regal Egyptian Cotton
Coyuchi Cloud Loom
Hotel Collection Turkish Towels
Boll & Branch
Standard Textile Home Lynova Plush
AmazonBasics Fade-Resistant 6-Piece Cotton Set
Parachute Classic Bath Towel
The Parachute Classic Towel checked all the boxes for texture, performance, and overall experience. It’s a solid investment if you want to turn your bathroom into the lap of luxury.
This quality towel is made from long-staple Turkish cotton, which is supposed to be softer and more absorbent than regular cotton. While it feels wonderful and soaks up water like a champ, its performance wasn’t noticeably superior.
This towel is very comfortable to wrap around yourself after washing off, a good middle-of-the-line option in terms of weight and softness—a perfect Goldilocks middle ground.
It did really well in other tests, too. It didn’t develop a musty smell over the course of testing, and it shed its soda stain without the assistance of any stain remover. Overall, this towel does its job and does it well!
If you're working with a flexible budget, this is the towel to pick. And while it’s a personal preference, I love the serene, muted colors it comes in—so modern
Pinzon is one of Amazon’s own brands. Given the unimpressive performance of the AmazonBasics towels, I didn’t expect much from these linens, despite their positive reviews. However, they definitely proved me wrong, emerging as one of the surprise favorites during testing.
These bath towels are made from 100 percent organic cotton, and while many organic fabrics can be scratchy, I thought the towels were plush, soft, and comfortable. Their medium weight is perfect for everyday use and dries faster than some of the other towels we tested.
They’re an average size at 30 by 56 inches—big enough that they cover your whole body, but not so big that you’re swallowed up. They were also one of the top performers in the spill test, absorbing the water quickly and leaving only a few small drops of liquid behind, and stains came out of the fabric completely with no pre-treating.
I would definitely consider buying these towels for myself; they balance performance and value extremely well. You can purchase a four-pack for under $50, and they even come in a wide range of colors to match any decor.
Brooklinen is known for high-quality linens. In fact, its Luxe Bed Sheet is our favorite bed sheet, so I was excited to see how their Classic Bath Towels fared against the competition. Upon unboxing, I was surprised to find that the towels, which are made from 100 percent Turkish cotton, are thinner than many other similarly priced options, with smaller terry loops.
However, after using these absorbent, quick-drying towels for several days, I was extremely impressed by their performance. At 30-by-58-inches, they’re just a little bit larger than standard towels, and they wrapped around my body one and a half times, which was ideal for forming a makeshift robe. They picked up every last drop of water in our spill test, and were even comfortable to use as a hair towel thanks to their lighter weight.
The only area where these towels fell down was the stain test. After being washed, there was still a shadow of the stain remaining, but we’re confident it could easily be removed with a bit of pre-treatment. All in all, these oversized towels performed well and were enjoyable to use, making them a worthwhile purchase. However, they are quite pricey at almost $60 a piece.
As our token Egyptian cotton towel in the lot, I had high hopes for the Legends Regal Egyptian Cotton Towel, and it didn’t disappoint. It has the soft, plush feel you expect from a luxury towel, especially one made from specialty cotton, with top-notch absorbance to boot.
Egyptian cotton is supposed to be the most luxurious, absorbent variety—the gold standard of cotton. I was pleased with the weight and texture of this towel, and it was one of the best performers during the spill test, as well. Not a drop of water was left behind!
Additionally, stains come out of this product fairly easily, even without stain remover. However, it didn’t necessarily perform any better than our top pick, so don’t believe all the hype about Egyptian cotton being king.
The reason this towel didn’t take the top spot is that it developed a slight musty smell over the course of testing. This tends to happen with heavier towels, though, as they are not quick drying, allowing mold and mildew to set in.
Still, this luxurious towel will serve you well in the bathroom. It comes in over 15 colors, many of which are rather unique, and there are matching hand towels and washcloths available, as well. However, because these towels are made from the heralded Egyptian cotton, they’re expensive at more than $40 a piece .
At nearly $70 per piece, the Coyuchi Cloud Loom Towels are one of the most expensive linens we tested, and they definitely add luxury to a bathroom. Made from 100 percent organic cotton from Turkey, their noticeably longer terry loops make them incredibly plush.
At 27 x 54 inches, they’re on the smaller side, but still comfortable to use. When dry, the Coyuchi Towels felt almost cool to the touch, while the lack of any decorative border gives them a very simple, plain look. The linens were comfortable and soft, though they were a bit bulky when used as a hair towel. They absorbed water well, but there was a shadow of a stain left after washing them.
The Hotel Collection Turkish Bath Towel was one of the thickest of the lot. As such, it’s a little heavier, especially when used as a hair towel. However, this thickness made it very plush and quite warm—perfect for when you get out of a toasty shower into a cold room!
Because of that thickness, this towel takes up more space when folded (though not so much that it’s obtrusive) and takes longer to dry than other options. Still, it’s a solid towel that’s absorbent and comfortable.
If you like your towels on the thicker, warmer side, you might enjoy this product, which comes in about a dozen colors.
Right off the bat, this towel seemed different. Its texture was a little rougher than many others, possibly because the Boll & Branch Bath Towel is made from organic cotton. Because of this texture issue, it’s not the most welcoming product. It soaked up water well, but just wasn’t as soft as I wanted it to be.
It also fared poorly in the stain test, leaving behind a visible splotch that would need further treatment. Considering these towels are over $40 each and come in just three colors, there are better options out there, especially if comfort is a priority. However, it performed well enough in technical tests, so if you’re looking for an organic cotton towel and willing to sacrifice softness, maybe don’t rule it out.
Standard Textile towels promise to deliver a spa-like experience to your home. We liked the plush feel and oversized form of their Lynova Plush towels, which measure 30 by 60 inches.
These towels are extremely absorbent thanks to their zero-twist cotton construction, which increases water intake by increasing the exposed fiber surface area. They aced our spill test, soaking up all the water off the floor, and came out of the wash stain-free. In addition to our usual soda stain, these towels also got stained with makeup, which also came out easily.
While these are by no means bad towels, they didn’t rank higher simply because their texture was so-so. Overall, they just didn’t stand out, especially for their high price tag.
The Threshold Performance towels have a unique appearance and texture, but were one of the thinnest towels we tested. The main section of the towel has a checkerboard-style pattern with squares of shorter loops, and the fabric is made from a cotton-polyester blend, which isn’t particularly soft or welcoming.
Despite their unconventional appearance, these towels serve their main purpose well, soaking up large amounts of water with ease. They also proved to be easy to care for, as stains came out without any treatment.
You may have noticed that I keep saying things like “the right amount of softness.” That’s because there is such a thing as a towel being too soft.
When I tested the Matouk Milagro Bath Towel, I wrote, “This towel is very VERY soft and fluffy. Almost too fluffy—when I first wrapped it around me, I kind of felt like I was wrapped up in a fur coat, which is not what you want when you're wet.” Seriously, I didn’t want to use this towel a second time because it made me feel weird. Additionally, it’s very thick—almost puffy.
Beyond the texture issue, stains tend to linger on it. It’s one of the most expensive products we tested at almost $50 a piece, and just isn’t worth the money. It does come in a lot of bright, fun colors, though.
This towel is, in fact, extra-large as it measures 35 x 70 inches. It comes down to my knees and wraps around me almost twice.
Because of its size, the Utopia Towels Extra Large Bath Towel might be a good option for taller or larger individuals, as it covers more area. However, it was uncomfortable as a hair towel and took up extra space when folded for this same reason.
Beyond that, this towel isn’t anything special. Its texture is fairly rough, reminding me of cheap towels I’ve bought in the past, and it’s quite thin. It left behind some water during the spill test, and got a little bit musty, as well.
It’s not a towel I would reach for again, even as a budget option. If you’re looking for a bigger towel, consider buying a “bath sheet” from one of the brands above; they’re very similar.
These towels are about what you’d expect when buying a six-piece set for $20 . It comes with two bath towels, two hand towels, and two washcloths. Each piece is thin and rough, and their performance is mediocre. The only redeeming quality is that the bath towels are light enough to make a good hair towel.
These might be a good buy for a college student who might not wash them for a whole semester, but other than that, pass on these.
Waffle bath towels are quite different from standard terrycloth towels, both in appearance and performance. True to their name, they have a waffle-like texture, and they’re extremely lightweight, making them a popular choice for summertime.
I had high hopes for the Parachute Waffle Towels, which are extremely soft and look beautiful hanging in the bathroom. Unfortunately, their merits end there. When drying off with these towels, the fabric clings to your body uncomfortably, like a wet T-shirt.
They’re also mediocre at absorbing water. In our “spill test,” these waffle weaves barely managed to soak up half the water, and much of what they did absorb dripped out immediately. Further, stains didn’t come out of the fabric at all, making them more work to maintain.
Overall, these towels are more aesthetic than functional. While we loved the look and feel of them (while dry, anyway), it’s hard to justify the high price tag ($40) for a towel that doesn’t perform.
I’m Camryn Rabideau and over the past few months, I’ve put essential household linens to the test—including bed sheets and comforters—and I was excited that my next task was to pit towels against each other.
I studied textile science in college, so I‘m well-versed in the nuances of different fibers and construction methods. However, I was really interested to see if I could discern a difference in how certain manufacturing methods impacted bath towel performance.
We've already found the best kitchen towels and beach towels, but how do you determine which bath towel is the best? Naturally, we wanted to evaluate how each towel performed when used after a shower, whether it could dry quickly, and how well it soaked up a puddle of water.
To do this, I used each product after my nightly shower for two days, to see how well would the towel feel, whether it would dry me off, and evaluate its size, texture, and weight. I also tried each one out as a hair towel to see whether it was comfortable, or if it weighed down my head.
Next, I evaluated how effectively each towel soaked up a cup of water. I poured the water onto a hard surface, then placed the towel on the liquid, letting it sit for 10 seconds of dry time. When I picked the towel up, I evaluated how much water, if any, was left behind.
We also ran more technical tests, like weighing the towels when dry and then while completely saturated to determine just how much water they could absorb. After these tests, the products were left to air dry, then I checked for any musty smell. (This smell develops if mold and mildew grow while the towel is drying—yuck.) I ran a stain test, too, spilling some soda on the towels and seeing if the spot came out in the wash with just regular laundry detergent.
Finally, I logged my own thoughts about the overall experience of each towel. I weighed in on things like how comfortable each was, how easy they were to store, and if I’d want to use them again.
What to Consider When Buying Bath Towels
Most super plush bath towels have a few things in common. For one, the majority of towels you see are made of cotton, as it’s one of the softest and most absorbent fibers. Some specialty products are made from bamboo and polyester, but they’re not widely sold.
Similarly, the vast majority of bath towels are constructed of terrycloth, which is a fabric made from cotton and recognizable by all its little loops. Terrycloth is preferred for towels because the loops make it soft and absorbent, creating more surface area to soak up water.
However, bath towels can be surprisingly complicated from a manufacturing standpoint. Several kinds of cotton and yarn-construction techniques can be used to make towels, and these nuances can result in a different look, feel, and performance.
What Material Makes the Best Bath Towels?
There are several types of cotton, and while they’re all similar plants, the fibers they yield can be rather different. Egyptian and Turkish cotton plants are known for producing longer strands of fiber—also called staples. As such, the fibers don’t need to be wound as tightly when they’re made into yarn. This results in a softer, more plush fabric.
By contrast, cotton grown in the U.S. generally has a shorter staple and must be wound tighter to stay in place. If you see a label that just says “100% cotton,” it’s probably made from this standard cotton.
Additionally, “organic” cotton has risen in popularity in recent years. This fiber is grown from non-genetically modified plants, without the use of pesticides or fertilizers. The appeal here is that the process is more eco-friendly.
As if the many faces of cotton aren’t confusing enough, there are also differences in how the yarn for towels is spun. Cotton can be combed or ringspun. These processes remove any short, rough fibers, creating long strands of yarn that are as soft and durable as can be. That’s not to say regular cotton yarn is rough or weak—ringspun yarn is just slightly more luxurious.
Many different combinations of fibers and construction methods can go into making a bath towel. Certain decisions, such as using high-end Egyptian cotton or ringspun cotton yarn, result in significantly higher manufacturing costs, which explains the wide range of towel prices.
The measurements of a standard bath towel are around 30 x 58 inches, although you’ll likely come across a variety of sizes when shopping for your perfect bath towel. Some run slightly smaller, like the Coyuchi Cloud Loom Towels at 27 x 54 inches, or larger, like the Utopia Extra Large Bath Towel that measures 35 x 70 inches.
Finding the right sized bath towel for you depends on your preference. For instance, if you’re quite tall and find that typical bath towels just don’t cut it, then a longer towel may be just the solution.
The weight of a bath towel is measured in grams per square meter (GSM). The weight of a bath towel typically falls anywhere between 300 and 900 GSM. If you’re looking for a lightweight option, you might prefer a towel that weighs below 500 GSM.
However, the higher the GSM, the thicker and more plush (and oftentimes more absorbent) a towel tends to be. So, if you’re someone who likes a super thick towel that feels almost blanket like, you should aim to purchase a bath towel that weighs over 600 GSM.
Camryn Rabideau is a full-time freelance writer and product tester with eight years of experience. She's been lucky enough to test hundreds of products firsthand, and her specialties include bedding and pet products, which often require help from her two dogs, three cats, and flock of rambunctious chickens.
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