Our Guide to the Best Bath Towels You Can Buy Right Now

updated Aug 5, 2022
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Credit: Diana Paulson

There’s nothing quite like stepping out of a relaxing bath or end-of-day shower and cocooning yourself in a fresh towel. But not all bath towels (or towel preferences, for that matter) are equal. We can all agree that there’s a plethora of options out there — from waffle weave to organic cotton, thin to thick, Turkish to plush — so we’ve done some in-depth research and testing to make this the last stop of your search.

Because we’re the type to get excited about good linens, we’ve broken down what makes a great bath towel by type, material, size, and weave so you can determine the details that best suit your lifestyle. Then, we tested more than 50 bath towels (like we said: a plethora) and narrowed it down to nine high achievers.

Below are our winners for the best bath towels; all are soft to the touch, well crafted, and designed to last. But does the use of organic material matter to you? Are you looking for towels that’ll elevate your bathroom decor? Are you heading to college and hunting for a reliable first set? We’re here to help you decide what you need and what you’ll be happy with for years to come. Read on to discover the bath towel type that’s best for you, then take your pick from our list of the very best out there.

The Best Bath Towels

What to Consider Before Buying Bath Towels

Depending on the material and weave, bath towels can be plush, lightweight, heavy, textured, smooth, flat, and everything in between. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular types of weaves and materials.


The style of a towel, including its weave and materials, affects absorption, dry time, and how easy they are to pack and store as necessary. The three main types of towels are as follows:

  • Cotton towels: These are likely the classic bath towels that you’re used to. Egyptian cotton fibers tend to be extra long and highly absorbent, producing dense towels that are soft and plush.
  • Turkish towels: Sometimes called peshtemal, hammam, or fouta towels, these are made of long-staple Turkish cotton that’s more lightweight and fast drying than Egyptian cotton towels.
  • Waffle weave towels: These towels have a unique honeycomb pattern that creates more surface area, resulting in better absorbency and a faster drying time than any other towel type. They’re different from classic cotton towels and may take some getting used to, but they’re definitely worth trying.


The material, from its fibers to how it’s spun, can mean the difference between minimum and maximum absorbency, softness, volume, and luxury. Here are the most common bath towel materials, with a few uncommon additions.

  • Egyptian cotton: The fibers in Egyptian cotton tend to be extra-long and highly absorbent, producing dense towels that are soft and plush.
  • Turkish cotton: Long-staple Turkish cotton is lightweight and fast drying. It creates a breezy, thin towel that’s well-suited for warmer weather.
  • Organic cotton: Like bamboo, certified organic cotton isn’t produced with harmful chemicals or dyes. For the allergic and/or environmentally conscious plush towel-lovers, organic cotton is the move.
  • Pima cotton: Akin to Egyptian cotton but sourced and produced in the American Southwest, Pima cotton towels are durable and long-lasting when cared for properly. 
  • Supima cotton: One of the most sought-after textile materials, Supima is 45 percent stronger than other cottons. Supima yarns can be spun very fine, allowing dyes to hold within the weave, resulting in more vibrant colors that last longer.
  • Linen: Highly absorbent with a more rustic aesthetic, linen towels are typically looped much like cotton with with a higher texture that’s optimal for gentle post-shower exfoliation and fast drying.
  • Bamboo: A more Earth-friendly option, bamboo (or bamboo-derived rayon) requires fewer pesticides and fertilizers than cotton and grows faster. It’s also antimicrobial and resistant to fungus and germs. Its flatter weave is super absorbent without being blanket-level plush.
  • Modal: Fifty percent more absorbent than cotton and very fade resistant, Modal is an excellent, fluffy alternative to traditional towel materials if you’re buying colors or prints. 
  • Microfiber: A tightly woven blend of nylon, polyester, or other plastic-derivative fibers, microfiber is very absorbent. Because its fibers are so small, microfiber towels are effective cleaning tools. But they can be almost too drying and textured to use on the whole body.
  • Polyester: Skip it. While polyester works for kitchen or work towels because it’s quick drying, it’s not absorbent or soft. Polyester towels won’t last through many washes, either, without getting even rougher over time.  


  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified: Products are free of harmful synthetics and dyes.
  • Made in Green by OEKO-TEX certified: Materials used in products are traceable and have been tested for and are free from harmful substances.
  • GOTS certified: Products align with the Global Organic Textile Standard, which defines the worldwide recognized requirements for organic textiles.
  • Cotton LEADS program: A reliable cotton supply chain providing raw material that is responsibly produced and identified.
  • Made Safe certified: Products are nontoxic and made with safe ingredients/materials.
  • Fair Trade certified: Products are created in alignment with the economic standards in place for manufacturers to equitably distribute the benefits of ingredient, material, or product trade.


Towels are measured by GSM (grams per square meter). Most range between 300-900 GSM, with 900 being the heaviest. A lower GSM doesn’t mean lower quality — it just means the towel has a lighter weight (and likely dries faster).


And, of course, there’s the bath towel vs. bath sheet dilemma. Simply put, bath sheets are larger bath towels, and they’re best for taller people or those who like to wrap themselves up. Bath towels are typically 52″ x 27″, while bath sheets are around 60″ x 35″. Because we know you can have the best of both worlds (sometimes), most options on our list fall somewhere in between, around 30″ x 58″.


Most bath towels are machine washable, but if you choose to invest in some ultra-soft or luxury ones, swap your dryer sheets for wool dryer balls instead. Additionally, the use of fabric softener while giving your nice towels a wash can actually reduce their ability to absorb moisture, especially over time. And a weakly absorbent towel is not only ineffective and uncomfortable, but it also loses its softness as moisture clings to its outermost threads, weighs them down, and clumps them together. Gnarly, right? Making the switch to wool dryer balls is easy, cost effective, time saving, and eco-friendly. You can even give your clothes and other home textiles longer lives, too, by making this change. 

What We Look for in a Bath Towel

We tested over 50 bath towels from a wide range of types for our list, judging them on the follow criteria:

  • Texture: How does the towel feel? Is it smooth or more textured? Is it plush or more tightly woven? Does it feel good right out of the shower and keep us warm?
  • Absorbency: How quickly did we feel dry after a shower? How long did the towel take to hang-dry when not in use?
  • Longevity: How does it hold up after a few washes? Does it get softer over time or rougher?

The Best Bath Towels

Fluff Co.’s mission is to bring the experience of a luxuriously high-end hotel stay to your home at an affordable price. And since they use the same manufacturers as top-tier brands like The Ritz Carlton and The Four Seasons, Fluff Co.’s 5-Star Luxury Hotel Towel tops our list as the best overall bath towel we’ve tried. SEO editor Sarah says, “Its oversized design (I’d liken it to a bath sheet) meant I could easily wrap myself up in its cozy plushness, and as I unraveled myself from that first wrap, I was shocked to find myself essentially dry — without so much as a pat. After I hung it back on the rack, I continued with my nightly skincare routine and found that when I went to dry my hands afterward, the towel was already almost dry! I was smitten and I couldn’t wait to tell everybody.” We’ll help you out, Sarah.


  • 100% cotton
  • 37″ x 72″
  • 1,100 GSM
  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified
  • Available in white
  • Machine washable; tumble dry

Who It’s Best For: Those looking for something plush, soft, and weighty without being bulky; those who like a clean, modern look.

Good to Know: You can opt for a single towel or get a set of two, both options being followed by a 30-day trial period. What have you got to lose?

*Honorable Mention: “Now THIS is a LUXE TOWEL,” says AT contributor Ivy, who put the Parachute Classic Turkish Cotton Towel to the test. “This is a towel that belongs in the bathroom of a $10 million home in Malibu with floor-to-ceiling glass windows and cutting-edge smart appliances.” Flatter, heavier, and sleeker than your average bath towel, the Parachute Classic is the “weighted blanket of bath towels.”

Best Budget-Friendly: Nestwell Hygro Cotton Bath Towel

If price is the most important factor to you, we heartily recommend the Nestwell Hygro Cotton Bath Towels. Sarah touts these 100 percent cotton towels as”soft, durable, and quick-drying. After the first wash, these towels softened up significantly” — a rarity for bath towels under $10. “So much so,” she says, “that I had to check the tag to make sure these were the same towels. I was floored. But perhaps my favorite thing about these towels is their look. Finding cheap towels that don’t look cheap can be hard. But with a stylishly stitched border, these stand tall against pricier picks, making them ones you’ll want to show off in every and any bathroom in your home.”


  • 100% cotton
  • 30″ x 54″
  • Available in 20 colors
  • Machine washable; tumble dry

Who It’s Best For: Those who want to stick to a budget; those who want a range of color options.

Good to Know: This towel is available for a 90-day risk-free trial through Bed, Bath and Beyond.

For our Best Luxury category, we’re looking for the highest-quality towel at any cost. It should transport us to a 5-star resort with every use and make each post-shower moment a treat. We already know linen to be among the lightest weight textiles with high absorbency, so where have linen bath towels been? The uniqueness of Cultiver’s Pure Linen Bath Towels‘ material, weave, look, and feel truly set them apart. “I was a little skeptical about linen in the bathroom,” says our tester Danielle, “but this towel has quickly become the hottest commodity on my towel rack (aka the one my husband and I both race to grab when it’s clean). It’s soft and super-lightweight without sacrificing any absorbency, so it doesn’t take that long to dry post-shower, which I love. The rich color, fringe detailing, and hook detail give it a luxe look and feel.” Luxury isn’t necessarily about tradition, it’s about quality, performance, and a delicious user experience, and Cultiver achieves all of the above.


  • 100% European flax linen
  • 28″ x 52″
  • 550 GSM
  • OEKO-TEX certified
  • Available in 2 colors
  • Machine washable on cold; tumble dry on low

Who It’s Best For: Those who want something lightweight and Turkish-inspired but with a bit more plushness.

Good to Know: Through Cultiver, you can read about the benefits of linen, and where the brand’s linen is made, and how to care for your Pure Linen Towels.

Best Classic Plush: Brooklinen Super Plush Towel

A lot goes into determining the best option in a category like best classic plush, which arguably, may very well define a great bath towel in itself. It’s true that a plush towel isn’t everyone’s preference, but in terms of what makes that post-shower moment so blissfully cozy, we have to credit the robust, rich, and soft feel of a plush bath towel. “These towels are absolutely the most soft, plush bath towels I’ve ever used,” AT contributor Grace says of our winner, Brooklinen’s Super Plush towels. “They feel like a sort of a cozy blanket and a super absorbent bath towel hybrid, so you dry off super quickly” — and feel comfortable while doing it. At 820 GSM, these towels are weighty, lending to their overall coziness. “They’re so comfy and high quality, and I feel like they will definitely last a long time.”


  • 100% Turkish cotton
  • 30″ x 58″
  • 820 GSM
  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified
  • Available in 11 colors
  • Machine washable on cold; tumble dry on low; do not bleach

Who It’s Best For: Those who love a thick, ultra-soft towel; those who prefer towels with more weight.

Good to Know: There are five limited-edition colors worth jumping on (while they’re available!), including goldenrod, mossy grey, and ocean.

*Honorable Mention: Sarah calls Riley’s Duo Collection Towelsthe towels that have changed the way I look at bath linens for good.” Here’s why: “As I wrapped myself in this towel post-shower, I let out an audible, ‘Damn’ — not only because of how soft they were or how good they felt against my skin (it truly feels like you’re being wrapped in the biggest hug) but because of how absorbent they were. As I began patting down my arms, the water was gone in seconds.”

Many of our winners qualify as beautiful to display and thoughtful in design, but the Weezie Piped Edge Bath Towel really stands out. Not only is it a truly excellent, fast-drying, plush-as-anything towel, but it’s also able to be monogrammed, and the piped edges give it a luxe, attractive look. “The best word to describe the Weezie towel? Luxury!” says AT contributor Jasmine, who loves the soft surface and pretty design. “In fact,” she says, “it feels like the towel equivalent of a fancy hotel robe.” Soft, well-constructed, and “just the thing I want to wrap up in after a long shower or bath.” It’s on the larger side as far as bath towels go, which Jasmine says is “great for drying off both my hair and body.” Jasmine vouches for this towel being one you’ll want to show off to guests. She ordered it with the piped edge in navy blue, because “it gives it a really expensive and elevated look.”


  • 100% organic long-staple cotton
  • 29″ x 58″
  • Hypoallergenic
  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified
  • Available in 15 color variations
  • Machine washable on cold; tumble dry on low

Who It’s Best For: Those looking for unique or personalized towels; those shopping for towels for the whole family; those giving housewarming gifts.

Good to Know: Monogram whatever you’d like on these towels, from initials to names, inspiring words to pronouns. Returns are unavailable for customized or used towels.

“Over the years,” commerce writer Amy says, “I’ve tried endless towels, hair wraps, headbands, gels, creams, serums, leave-in conditioners… yeah, I’m an expert in all things hair products. That’s why you can trust me when I tell you that Coyuchi’s Mediterranean Organic Bath Towel is the best hair towel I’ve ever used.” Not quite waffle, not quite Turkish — this Coyuchi towel is designed with a unique flatweave construction that makes it the best of both worlds. With its texture being smoother than your average waffle weave towel, the Mediterranean Organic towel is ideal for post-shower hair treatment. It’s the fastest drying, most absorbent, and lightest weight option this editor-loved brand has, but is also among the most attractive — you’ll definitely want to display this towel, be it in your bathroom or on your head.


  • 100% organic Aegean cotton
  • 28” x 54”
  • 320 GSM
  • GOTS and Made Safe certified
  • Available in 5 colors
  • Machine washable on cold; tumble dry on low; do not bleach

Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer a lightweight towel; those who want something worth displaying; those looking for a towel gentle on hair texture; those who want something ultra-quick drying.

Good to Know: I actually use the smaller version of this towel in my kitchen! Since it’s inspired by the flat weave of many Turkish towel designs, the Coyuchi Mediterranean towel is also the ideal texture for quick hand drying and thorough surface cleaning.

Waffle weave bath towels have finally been having their moment as more and more people realize the unique weave’s ability to stretch, absorb, and wick away moisture quickly. They’re also a rather stylish option for displaying. I was able to try out the Stonewashed Waffle Towels from Allswell, which I was hesitant to do since I’ve always been a plush towel loyalist, and not only do they look beautiful draped over the bath tub and towel rack, but their design is also quite practical. The grooves of the towel’s waffle weave allow it to absorb water like a sponge, so there’s no need to rub yourself with it to dry off — a light pat will do. And because of Allswell’s stone-washing process, the towel is also unbelievably soft and will only get more so over time with use and washes.


  • 100% cotton
  • 28″ x 54″
  • Available in 3 colors
  • Machine washable on cold; tumble dry on low

Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer spending minimal time drying off; those who want something soft yet lightweight.

Good to Know: You can even insure your towels with Allswell’s warranties of varying years — take your pick from 2, 3, or 5 years of protection.

*Honorable Mention: The Citizenry Imabari Waffle Towel, according to AT news and culture director Tara, has excellent absorbency and dried quickly on its own. It’s also quite large —”nearly bath sheet dimensions” — and comes in five colors, “which is a bonus for those who like options beyond pure white.”

Strengthened by its blend of eco-conscious materials, the luxurious Kyoto Bamboo Bath Towel from Kassatex offers both the durability and lower carbon footprint of bamboo and the softness of cotton. Since bamboo towels tend to make up for the plushness they lack with less of an impact on the environment, this is a blend you can literally feel good using. Assistant shopping editor Britt considers “wrapping herself in these more luxurious linens…such a treat after stepping out of the shower.” The Kyoto towel is super absorbent, thanks to its blend of thread materials, making drying off that much quicker. Britt “loved that there’s a little loop sewn onto each one so I can hang the towel on a hook when I’m done,” a best practice for drying cotton and bamboo towels and increasing their longevity. “The grayish-navy Ink color still looks brand-new,” she continues, “even after repeated washes, and there are no signs of wear or loose threads.”


  • 65% cotton, 35% rayon from bamboo
  • 30″ x 56″
  • 600 GSM
  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified
  • Available in 6 colors
  • Sewn-in hanger loop
  • Machine washable on cold; dry on low-medium heat

Who It’s Best For: Those who want environmentally friendly towels; those who want a luxuriously soft feel; those who want a fortifying blend vs. 100 percent cotton.

Good to Know: Want to see if these are for you? Kassatex offers a 60-day, no-risk trial period as well as free shipping.

Many of the organic towels we’ve tested in the past felt scratchy and didn’t last in the wash. That’s certainly not the case with these towels. A winner in this category for some time now, the Boll & Branch Plush Bath Towel not only “gets better after each wash, they’re the perfect mid-weight and do a phenomenal job at drying me off in seconds,” says Sarah. Her favorite part, though, is that they don’t pill, which is one of her “ultimate towel pet peeves.” At 700 GSM, this towel is definitely on the plush, more weighted side, and Sarah confirms “they are nowhere near rough. In many ways, they’re the Goldilocks of towels — just right.”


  • 100% long-staple cotton organic cotton
  • 28″ x 54″
  • 700 GSM
  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified
  • Fair Trade and GOTS certified cotton
  • Available in 6 colors
  • 2-ply cotton yarns for height
  • Machine washable on gentle; tumble dry on low

Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer a towel with a bit of texture; those who prefer a high-pile towel; those who prefer organic-, fair trade-, and eco-friendly-certified materials.

Good to Know: Boll & Branch’s organic farming methods lead to towels that use 91 percent less water to produce than conventional cotton towels.

Towels should dry us and dry out quickly, but there are definitely some that outperform others. Slowtide, an activist towel brand and our winner of the best quick-drying bath towel, has crafted their Guild Waffle Towel with sustainably sourced cotton. While we already have a waffle weave category winner, waffle weave towels are some of the most absorbent and quick drying on the market. “First impressions of the Slowtide towel is that it was very lightweight,” our tester, AT social media strategist Brian, says of his first experience with a waffle weave. “I was a little skeptical about how absorbent it could be,” he confesses. But after its first use and each one since, “it proved me wrong!” In fact, he says, “I was extremely impressed by how much water it was able to pick up. It dried me off relatively quick.” That’s due to the waffle weave’s sneaky large surface area. As it stretches slightly, it’s able to collect water between its weave more efficiently than plush terrycloth designs. The towel “wraps around my body with plenty to spare,” Brian says. “I highly recommend if you’re looking for quick drying and versatility in a towel.”


  • 100% cotton sourced from the sustainable Cotton LEADS Program
  • 30″ x 60″
  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified 
  • Available in 5 colors
  • Sewn-in hanging loop
  • Machine washable on cold; tumble dry on low

Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer the quickest dry; those who want a modern design and pop of color; those who want something with a bit of texture; those who want a larger towel; those who prefer lightweight towels.

Good to Know: Founded in California and Hawaii, Slowtide both knows towels and gives back to nonprofits such as Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, Surfrider Foundation, and Good360.

*Honorable Mention: The Serena & Lily Fouta Bath Towel has both texture and softness — it’s soft on the skin but with enough friction to dry you quickly. “It felt SO soft when it first arrived,” says shopping editor Blair. “I worried the washer would ruin it…but a few washes later, it’s still perfectly cozy and comfy.” For those who prefer lightweight towels over bulky, toasty, and plush, these are the perfect option.