The Best Editor-Tested Bath Towels You Can Buy Right Now

updated Oct 13, 2023
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White tile bathroom with white bath towels on wooden hooks. Seal in upper left reads "Apartment Therapy The Best list 2023 Bath Towels"

A good bath towel can make all the difference when it comes to elevating your bathing experience. And with so many options on the market, there’s no better time to ditch the tired towel you’ve been using for years (that you may or may not have taken from your parents’ home) and switch to something better. From waffle weave to organic cotton, thin to thick, Turkish to plush — you’re sure to find your perfect fit.

Because we’re the type to get excited about good linens, we’ve done the research and broken down what makes a great bath towel by type, material, size, and weave so you can determine the features that best suit your lifestyle. Next, we tested a ton of bath towels and narrowed things 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’ll help you decide what you need and what you’ll be happy with for years to come. Read on to discover the bath towel that’s right 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 towel’s 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.
  • Chenille: Similar in make to microfiber, this woven fabric is made from a variety of soft materials, such as cotton, wool, or silk.
  • 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

If you’re looking for a truly well-rounded towel, look no further than the Havly Classic Bath Towel. This “perfectly sized” towel is also woven with its patent-pending Wünderweave cotton that’s ⅓ quick-drying for the body and ⅔ plush for your face and hair. “The size of this towel is what makes it great,” says deputy lifestyle director Madeline. “It falls between a bath towel and a bath sheet — and it’s perfect. I also love the rainbow loop for hanging it on the back of my bathroom door. They’re two qualities you don’t find in your everyday towel, making it really special.” The bleach-proof, reinforced loop also comes in a variety of colors and designs. 


  • 100% cotton 
  • 30″ x 58”
  • Available in black and white with 15 loop colors 
  • Made in Green and OEKO-TEX-certified 
  • Machine wash white towels in hot water and colored towels in warm water; shake before drying

Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer a larger towel; those who prefer spa-quality towels; those who prefer a loop to easily hang and organize their towels. 

Good to Know: As a more sustainable alternative to dryer sheets, Havly recommends using wool dryer balls instead. 

When it comes time to replenish your bath towels, a great place to start is with The Company Store’s GreenEarth Quick Dry Bath Towels. These affordable, absorbent bath towels are woven with eco-friendly Micro Cotton, which means they’re the perfect weight — not too heavy or too light. Textured and ribbed with moisture-wicking properties, these towels ensure you’re leaving the shower as dry as possible. They also come in eight muted colors sure to slot into your current bathroom decor. “I love this one! It’s soft, dries fast, held up well to washing, and the size is perfect,” says home projects director Megan. “I would absolutely buy a whole set.”


  • 100% combed cotton
  • 400 GSM
  • 30″ x 54″
  • Available in 8 colors
  • STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX-certified
  • Machine wash warm on gentle cycle, then tumble dry low

Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer more affordable towels; those who prefer a medium-weight towel. 

Good to Know: These towels may shed when you first receive them, but after a few washes the lint should diminish. 

The dual-sided Cozy Earth Waffle Bath Towels will have you living the life of luxury once you step out of the shower. With one side featuring a cozy waffle texture and the other a plush terry, this towel is sure to keep you dry without weighing you down. “I’m not usually a huge fan of waffle towels, but Cozy Earth swayed me,” style shopping editor Blair says of the Oprah-loved brand. “The texture also feels more subtle than most waffle counterparts, which I think gives off a more luxe, hotel-worthy feel. As far as comfort, imagine your favorite blanket in fast-drying towel form — they’re that soft and cozy.” Made from both cotton and viscose from bamboo, this multifaceted towel also comes in a pack of two to help round out your bathroom space. 

Read our full review of the Cozy Earth Waffle Bath Towels.


  • 60% cotton; 40% viscose from bamboo
  • 600 GSM 
  • 30” x 58”
  • Available in 5 colors
  • Machine wash warm with color-safe detergent, then tumble-dry low

Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer a dual-sided towel; those willing to splurge a little more on a bathroom towel set. 

Good to Know: Cozy Earth instructs you to not bleach this towel and to also avoid excessive use of fabric conditioners to maintain optimal absorbency.

The Boll & Branch Spa Bath Towel promises spa quality in its name, and a big part of that is its quick-drying ability, both for users and for when it’s hanging on your bathroom hook. Made from 100 percent organic cotton, this towel was designed to be both lightweight and super absorbent. The textured fabric also provides a soft-to-the-touch drying experience.

“Every single bathroom I’ve had in my eight years in New York City has been poorly ventilated, so I had essentially given up hope at finding a towel that could thrive (and quickly dry) in this hostile environment,” says senior commerce editor Alicia. “My Boll & Branch towel is totally dry right now. Actually, it dries off completely 30 minutes after I use it, despite hanging from the same hook that my other bath towels have resided.” 

Read our full review of the Boll & Branch Spa Bath Towel.


  • 100% organic cotton
  • 30” x 58”
  • Available in 5 colors
  • OEKO-TEX and GOTS-certified
  • Machine wash cold, then tumble dry on low or medium heat 

Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer a quick-drying towel; those looking for spa-quality towels but don’t need them to be ultra plush. 

Good to Know: Wash at least once before use to ensure optimal absorbency.

The Kassatex Sedona Reversible Bath Towel ensures a luxurious drying experience with its ultra-plush material. Made from 100 percent Aegean cotton, these towels are super soft and super absorbent. “This towel is thick, soft, and absorbs water very well,” says associate email editor Carolyn. “The look and feel is very neutral and the only thing I would change is the color.” This towel comes in three shades (blue, gray and taupe), and its striped design is reversible with the contrasting color. “As far as a post-shower experience, they’re warm and cozy!” says Carolyn. “Love the sewn-in loop to hang on a hook as well — great addition.”


  • 100% long-staple Aegean cotton
  • 650 GSM
  • 30″ x  56″
  • Available in 3 colors 
  • Made in Green by OEKO-TEX-certified
  • Machine wash cold, then dry on low or medium heat

Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer thick, plush towels; those who prefer neutral shades for their towels. 

Good to Know: When washing, avoid cleansers that contain harsh chemicals including benzoyl peroxide. 

Best Quick-Dry: Geometry Luxe Bath Towel

Efficiency is the guarantee when it comes to the Geometry’s Luxe Bath Towel. The brand’s Geoweave technology combined with durable yarn ensures ultra absorbency without soaking through the thinner material, as well as maintaining a soft-to-the-touch material. “I’m typically someone who loves a super plush towel, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when these arrived,” says executive lifestyle director Charli. “They’re thin, dry fast, and yet still feel soft to the touch. I’m very impressed with how absorbent they are, how fast they dry, and how well they wash.”

The fast-drying design also means these towels can last longer between washes. “We do a lot of laundry, and these towels are clearly made to last,” says Charli. “As an added bonus, they’re much thinner, so I can stack and store lots more while saving space in our linen closet and drawers.” Plus, they come in a huge array of colors and designs, so you can get as simple or as funky as you please when it comes to adorning your bathroom with these bath towels. 


  • 100% chenille made from post-consumer recycled materials
  • 31” x 57”
  • Available in 88 colors and patterns
  • Machine wash with mild detergent, then tumble dry low

Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer a thinner, quick-drying towel; those who prefer bold towel designs; those who want a longer-lasting towel that needs fewer washes. 

Good to Know: Geometry suggests washing and drying their towels with other microfiber products — especially no cotton — to maintain their quality and avoid static cling.

If you prefer to shop for high-quality organic materials, look no further than Pottery Barn’s Hydrocotton Organic Quick-Dry Bath Towel. Meticulously woven with 100 percent organic long-staple Turkish cotton, these towels have a fluffy feel that’s 10 times more absorbent than traditional cotton terry. And though these towels are super plush, they’re also quick drying, ensuring a longer use time between washes. “This Pottery Barn set has some of the most plush towels I’ve ever felt!” says staff writer Sarah. “They’re seriously so thick and cushy. The bath towel is exactly what I want to wrap up in after I get out of the shower, and the hand towel is perfect for dabbing my face dry after my skincare routine.” The bundled set includes a washcloth, hand towel, and bath towel.


  • 100% long-staple organic Turkish cotton 
  • 28″ x 55″
  • Available in 14 colors 
  • STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX and GOTS-certified
  • Machine wash warm on gentle cycle, then tumble dry low

Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer thick and plush towels; those looking for a quick-drying towel that still maintains a fluffy texture

Good to Know: Pottery Barn recommends washing before use for best results.

Best Turkish Cotton: Serena & Lily Fouta Bath Towel

While the Serena & Lily Fouta Bath Towel earned an honorable mention on last year’s Best List, this year we’ve bumped it up to our top choice for Turkish cotton. This dual-sided offering features one terry cotton side for ultimate absorption and a smooth, yarn-dyed stripe front for the aesthetic. Blair tested out the high-quality towel and reports back that not only did its softness hold up after its initial wash, but “more than half a year (and countless showers) later, I can still say the same.” Woven from long-staple, 100 percent Turkish Aegean cotton, Serena & Lily’s lightweight Fouta Bath Towel is both absorbent and fast drying.


  • 100% Turkish Aegean cotton
  • 56” x 30”
  • Available in 3 colors
  • OEKO-TEX-certified
  • Machine wash warm, then tumble dry low

Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer soft, cotton towels; those who prefer lightweight towels

Good to Know: If you decide to purchase the whole Fouta set, it will come with two bath towels, two hand towels, and two washcloths.

Best Bath Sheet: Onsen Plush Bath Sheet

Those who prioritize plushness when wrapping up after a shower will want to opt for the Onsen Plush Bath Sheet, which measures 40″ x 65″ and is crafted from 100 percent Turkish Aegean cotton. But be warned: “Know that these towels are always sold out, which speaks volumes on how lovely they are,” says Best List editor Britt. “I was already a fan of Onsen’s waffle bath towels, and their plush bath towels are just as good, if not better! They have a luxurious feel and weight as well as elegant details, and they’re such an instant bathroom upgrade, especially if you love neutrals.” 


  • 100% Aegean cotton
  • 40″ x 65″
  • Available in 2 colors 
  • OEKO-TEX-certified
  • Machine wash cold on gentle cycle, then tumble dry low

Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer large towels; those who prefer thicker plush towels.

Good to Know: Bath sheets can be bulky, so be mindful of that if you have limited storage space.

Best Hair Towel: Weezie Hair Towel

While we love a big, plush towel for drying off our bodies, they aren’t necessarily compatible with our hair. That’s where the Weezie Hair Towel comes into play. This microfiber offering is designed to delicately dry hair without the frizz. The smaller size and no-slip fit with built-in back button also aids in a faster drying time. “I have multiple hair towels, and Weezie’s is my favorite by far!” says Britt. “It’s absorbent, doesn’t tug on my hair, and stays put. I also like that it can be personalized for gifting or if I want to treat myself to a little luxury!” In addition to its seven different designs, there’s also the option to personalize it further for just $15. 


  • 80% polyester, 20% polyamide microfiber, and 100% polyester piping
  • Available in 7 colors 
  • Machine wash cold, then tumble dry low

Who It’s Best For: Those who prefer a towel specifically for their hair; those who want a solve for frizzy post-shower hair. 

Good to Know:  The hair towel’s seven playful designs and colors can also be found in Weezie’s other towel collections if you’re looking to complete your set.