The Best Dish Towels of 2018

By Courtney Campbell

From drying the dishes to wiping your hands, a dish towel is an essential for every oven handle. Although it’s an easy purchase at bargain stores, if you want it to actually dry your dishes, you’ll want to find a dish towel that’s both soft and durable like our favorite, the Williams Sonoma All-Purpose Pantry Towel (available at Williams Sonoma for $19.95).

Most dish towels function the same, so it seems like you can’t go wrong—but we’ve found significant differences among the seven of the best towels on the market that we tested. While style and color may be the initial factors in choosing a towel, there should be a lot more considered. For example, we found that some don’t actually get your dishes very dry, or worse, leave behind a trail of fuzz on your dishes.

From the stylish to the more practical, here are the best dish towels on the market, in order:

  1. Williams Sonoma All-Purpose Pantry Towel
  2. Williams Sonoma Classic Striped Towels
  3. Crate and Barrel Cuisine Stripe Grey Dish Towel
  4. Utopia Towels Dish Cloth
  5. Aunt Martha's Flour Sack Dish Towels
  6. Real Simple Antimicrobial Bar Mop Kitchen Towel
  7. Gryeer Bamboo and Microfiber Kitchen Towels
— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated May 31, 2018

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Williams Sonoma All-Purpose Pantry Towels Best Overall
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Williams Sonoma All-Purpose Pantry Towels

  • Editors' Choice

Williams Sonoma All-Purpose Pantry Towels

Best Overall

This classic towel from Williams Sonoma not only looks good in any kitchen in white (it comes in six colors), but it gets dishes dry without any fuss. Made of ribbon cotton terry, this dish towel was the best at drying irregular objects like wine glasses and vases while still feeling soft to the touch.

Although the towel itself took longer to dry after we hung it up compared to some of the thinner towels we tested, it also retained the most amount of water (13 ounces when wrung out), which means it should handle drying many dishes before you need to grab for another towel.

Bonus: It’s also one of the cheaper options on our list at just $5 a towel in a pack of four.

How We Tested

Who am I?

I’m Courtney Campbell, an e-commerce writer here at Reviewed, and I spend most days sifting through the best deals on the internet for the best products out there. But here’s a fun fact: One of my favorite chores is washing the dishes—there’s something undeniably soothing about the process of both washing and drying. Although I appreciate a stylish dish towel that matches my kitchen, I care more about how well they work than their aesthetics.

The testing process

After picking seven of the most popular dish towels on the market, I started testing the towels in ways that would mimic typical home use. First, I dried dishes. After running a wine glass, glass, cereal bowl, medium sauce pot, and vase under water, I dried each in the same order with each dish towel to determine how dry they could get the dishes, and how easy it was to use.

Crate & Barrel Cuisine Stripe Dish Towels
Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Next I tested the absorbency of each dish towel by weighing them when they were dry, after being completely submerged in water, and then again after the water was wrung out. They were then air dried for a fixed amount of time. Dish towels tend to get stinky over time, so we also checked its small after each wet dish towel was left in a Ziplock bag for 24 hours.

Finally I judged the aesthetics of each dish towel: how they looked, how comfortable they were, and if there was any wear and tear. I also considered whether the aesthetic would inhibit me from purchasing the towel.


Other Dish Towels We Tested

Williams Sonoma Classic Striped Towels

Williams Sonoma Classic Striped Towels

Williams Sonoma does it again with their striped towels. I loved their look more than the classic white. But the alternating fabric of the stripes made it a little harder to dry and the towels are thicker, which made it harder to dry smaller and odd shaped objects, like the wine glass and vase. That being said, it still got the job done and its great looks are an added bonus.

Crate & Barrel Cuisine Stripe Dish Towels

Crate & Barrel Cuisine Stripe Dish Towels

These striped towels from Crate and Barrel is another stylish and absorbent option. It wasn’t as easy to use as the Williams Sonoma dish towels, but still dries dishes well using a flat-weave stitching, which should hold up over time. Its biggest setback is that it’s the most expensive towel we tested at about $7 per towel.

Utopia Towels Dish Cloths

Utopia Towels Dish Cloths

The standout factor of these dish towels is how inexpensive they are ($1 a towel for a pack of 12). Since they're made of thinner cotton, it was easy to dry small and oddly shaped dishes, but it was less absorbent than some of the other towels we tested and harder to use by the end of the drying line. After their first wash, these dish towels also shrunk about an inch, making me concerned about their durability. But for their low price, they’re cheap enough to throw away after a few uses.

Aunt Martha's Flour Sack Dish Towels

Where To Buy

$19.99 Amazon Buy

Aunt Martha's Flour Sack Dish Towels

These flour sack towels are thick and absorbent and easily dried both large and small dishes. But like most flour sack towels, they are frustratingly large (almost twice the size of the average dish towel) and personally, this style isn’t one I’d want to feature in my own kitchen. Although they had a slight smell after being left in a Ziplock baggie overnight and smelled like bleach before washing them, they’re still good for basic dish drying.

Real Simple Bar Mop Dish Cloths

Real Simple Bar Mop Dish Cloths

The Real Simple Towel was probably the most absorbent of the bunch and its small size made it very easy to clean the wine glass and get into crevices on the vase. However, because of its size, it got wet very quickly which made it harder to dry the other dishes down the line. It was also unfortunately one of the two towels that smelled after being left in a Ziplock bag for 24 hours.

If it was the average size of a dish towel, this would have definitely been higher up on this list. Although, for less than $1 a towel, you could definitely use multiple to get the drying done.

Gryeer Bamboo and Microfiber Kitchen Towels

Gryeer Bamboo and Microfiber Kitchen Towels

Avoid

I really wanted to like this towel. It was soft, a great size, and the gray was a nice color. At first I thought it was pretty absorbent while drying, but after drying a few dishes I started to notice gray fuzz from the towel left on some of the dishes. Not the best. Because of this I wouldn’t recommend this towel. I mean, who wants fuzz left on their dishes or towels?

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