Nothing beats a hot bath after a long day. Relaxing in the steam with Netflix or a good book can bring a slice of well-deserved relaxation to your day. Using a low-quality towel can put a dampener on bathtime bliss.
Thin, rough materials or products that take days to dry aren't exactly self-care must-haves, so putting some thought into your towel choices is essential. There are loads of bath towels available on the market, so how do you separate the best from the rest?
At The Recommended, we take shopping seriously, and we’ve scoured the internet to find the best bath towels to suit any household, from budget buys to baby-friendly products. Check out our top picks and shop a little smarter.
The best bath towels at a glance:
- Best basic towel set: John Lewis ANYDAY 4 Piece Towel Bale
- Best luxury towel set: The White Company Luxury Egyptian Cotton Towels
- Best quick-drying towels: Amazon Basics Quick Dry Towel Set
- Best microfibre towel: Nabaiji Microfibre Swimming Towel
- Best hair towel: The White Company Organic Cotton Hair Wrap
- Best bamboo towels: Yoofoss Bamboo Bath Towel Set
- Best for babies: Tommee Tippee Splashtime Newborn Swaddle Dry Towel
The best bath towels
Best basic towel set: John Lewis ANYDAY 4 Piece Towel Bale
This 4-piece towel set from John Lewis’ affordable ANYDAY range includes two hand towels and two bath sheets available in either dark steel, pale pink or white.
These towels have been made using John Lewis’ colour defence technology and have been coloured with a specialist dye which resists the damage some bathroom products can cause to your linens, keeping your towels looking newer for longer.
Best luxury towel set: The White Company Luxury Egyptian Cotton Towels
For ultimate comfort
These luxury towels are super-soft and made with 100% cotton to maximise comfort. They are made using Egyptian cotton, which is considered to be the softest in the world.
Each towel is made in a classic style, and four different shades of white and grey are available to choose from. The bath towels are also machine washable, so provide an easy-to-look-after pampering option.
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Best quick-drying towels: Amazon Basics Quick Dry Towel Set
Say goodbye to soggy towels
These fast-drying towels come as a set of 2 and are available in nine different colours. They are 100% cotton and are super soft and absorbent. They are made from quality materials so that they provide long-lasting use.
Best microfibre towel: Nabaiji Microfibre Swimming Towel
Lightweight and lint-free
This extra-large microfibre towel is super soft and very lightweight, so can be folded and compacted easily for travel weighing just 320g. Microfibre dries more thoroughly and quickly than traditional cotton, making this a great towel for taking to the gym or swimming pool.
Best hair towel: The White Company Organic Cotton Hair Wrap
Made from environmentally kind, super-soft organic cotton
This luxurious organic-cotton hair wrap from The White Company is a great alternative to a heavy, wet towel. The Terry-cotton material helps to dry hair, while its lightweight design and button fastening mean it’s super simple to use and comfortable to wear.
Best bamboo towels: Yoofoss Bamboo Bath Towel Set
These bamboo bath towels are made from 85% bamboo fibre and 15% cotton for optimal softness and moisture absorption. Bamboo is highly absorbent, meaning it can take on more moisture than traditional cotton towels, reducing your drying time as a result.
The two-piece set is available in a range of colours and sizes and can be machine washed at 30° C and dried in the tumble dry on a low setting, making them just as easy to care for as traditional cotton towels.
Best for babies: Tommee Tippee Splashtime Newborn Swaddle Dry Towel
For your little ones
This swaddle towel by Tommee Tippee is made from hypoallergenic microfibre towelling, so it's not just highly absorbent but should be suitable for even more sensitive skin. It’s also SPF 50 resistant, so it’s perfect for the beach, and chlorine resistant, making it perfect for a post-swim snuggle at the pool.
Bath towel buyer’s guide
If you’re unsure about which towel is going to be right for you, then our buyer's guide can help guide you to post-bath perfection. Here we break down everything bath towel and provide tips ranging from the right materials to the best size and weight for drying you off. Whether you're looking for a soft and luxurious towel or an eco-friendly option, we've got you covered!
What different types of bath towel materials are available?
Materials play a large part in the towelling process, and the differences between each one have a big impact on how comfortable drying-off will be. Each material has its own unique characteristics, with the majority of bath towels being made of cotton. Even so, there are different variations of cotton towels as well as bamboo and microfiber alternatives.
Cotton towels are a popular choice for everyday use because they are soft, absorbent, and durable. The majority of bath towels are cotton, and their quality usually depends on the price you pay for them. Towels which are 100% cotton are good for those with sensitive skin as they are chemical-free and soft.
One variation of a cotton towel is an organic cotton towel which means it is grown without the use of harmful pesticides or fertilizers. This makes it more eco-friendly and sustainable than typically farmed cotton. Organic cotton towels are often praised for being softer and more breathable than traditional cotton towels.
You will find that some cotton towels are made from Egyptian cotton, which is considered to be some of the softest and most luxurious cotton available. The difference between Egyptian and normal cotton towels is they are made from long-staple cotton fibres that are stronger and finer than regular cotton fibres.
Bamboo towels are a more eco-friendly option, are highly absorbent, and dry quickly. They are naturally hypoallergenic, which means they provide a good option for those with sensitive skin or people who react to chemicals found in other towels.
A bamboo towel is made from 100% bamboo viscose. Bamboo viscose describes how bamboo is processed and turned into a workable fabric. The viscose process involves taking wood, in this case, bamboo, and putting it through a series of steps before it's spun into a fabric. The bamboo stalks and leaves are ground, soaked, presses into parchment, and then spun into a yarn that can be woven.
These are lightweight and compact and can sometimes be advertised as travelling or camping towels. They are very quick at drying whilst also being highly absorbent but may not be as comfortable or soft as cotton towels. Most microfibre fabrics consist of a combination of polyester and polyamide (nylon). Textile manufacturers produce these two fibres separately and then fuse them together using heat into a material that can then be woven.
How does thread count affect the quality of bath towels?
When thinking about the quality of your towel, one measurement you can use is the thread count. This refers to the number of threads that have been woven into each square inch of fabric and is usually used when the towel is made from cotton. You won’t be able to see this by eye, so will have to look at the tags or find the product description.
If you have a high thread count, this tends to indicate a denser, softer towel. Usually, the higher the thread count, the better the towel. However, a high thread count alone does not always guarantee quality. The quality of cotton and type of weave used also play a role in determining the overall softness and durability of the towel.
How to make your bath towel last long
Now that you’ve purchased your bath towel, there are certain steps you can take to make it last longer.
- Follow proper care instructions: These depend on the towel that you have brought and can be found on the tag or online if you are unsure. Common care instructions include washing your towels separately from other laundry, avoiding the use of fabric softeners, and making sure to dry them on low heat if you use the tumble dryer.
- Avoid over-drying: If you use a tumble dryer, then you want to make sure you don’t keep the towels in for too long, as if you over-dry them, they can become stiff and rough.
- Regularly change and clean: Changing and cleaning your towels often can help to prevent wear and tear. If you don’t change your towel often, it can become affected by mould or dampness.
How are towels rated, and what does GSM mean?
If you buy a towel, you will often see it has a GSM rating next to it. This is how the towel’s thickness and weight are understood and is the metric used to weigh all fabrics. It stands for grams per square metre, and with towels, a low GSM (300-400) means they are light and thin, whilst a high GSM (450-600) means they are thicker and heavier.
Simply, the higher the GSM, the more dense and heavy the towel. When it comes to standard bath towels, they weigh around 500 grams per square meter, with towels weighing less than 400 GSM are better for a gym bag or trips to the beach. The length of towels is measured using centimetres.
If you would like to read more expert-recommended round-ups, check out our Household page, where you’ll find more home recommendations, including the best shoe racks, the best water flossers and the best light alarm clocks.
Finn Byrne is a Digital Writer for Immediate Media. He works across several brands including The Recommended, RadioTimes.com, MadeforMums and BBC Gardeners’ World. Finn has previously written for publications including MyLondon, The Mirror, The Express, and The Star. When not writing Finn enjoys spending time on the football pitch and getting stuck into a book.
Isobel Nutbrown is a Staff Writer at The Recommended and works with leading industry experts to help readers make informed decisions and shop smarter online.