The Best Bath Towels

The Best Bath Towels

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Nicole Lund
Aug 13, 2018
(Image credit: Serena & Lily)

There's nothing like getting out of a relaxing bath or refreshing shower and cocooning yourself in a luxe bath towel. But not all bath towels are created the same, and we can all agree that there are so many options out there. So we've compiled a list of our favorites, at all different price points, to help you choose the best one that works just for you.


How This Works

Every week we research new product categories and bring our final picks into the office, where we haggle and decide which ones make the final list. Everything is based on quality, appearance and price. These are what we could choose for our own home.


Maxwell's Favorite:

I am a stickler for a good bath towel, consider them an affordable luxury, and tend to favor classic twist cotton in bright white. HOWEVER, this year for The Best List, we decided to look beyond classic at the barbarians at the gate: namely super on trend linen and Turkish towels, as well as an upstart in the midst—the WAFFLE towel.

As you will see in the video above, there is much to recommend these barbarians, and I DO like to use my linen towel for what can only be called "body polishing." Despite this, my favorite and the one I yearn for every morning remains the Matouk Milagro. The best selling towel of this old, still family owned, company, the Milagro line is made of 100 percent long-staple cotton, a cotton with unusually long, silky fibers, which is then given "zero-twist" making it particularly soft, fluffy, absorbent and also light. This is my go-to luxuriously self indulgent towel. I get it in white, but it comes in 15 other colors so you can match anything you like, including your favorite nail polish.


CLASSIC


On the low end, this four-piece towel set found on Amazon is a pretty great steal. Plush and soft, they feel almost as good as the luxury picks without the hefty price tag, plus come in a wide range of colors.


Direct-to-consumer home company Snowe is known for their simple, high-quality goods and inexpensive prices. Their bath towels are kind of perfect: lightweight, absorbent and quick-drying, plus super soft without being overly plush. At $22 these towels are on the low end, especially considering the higher quality.


If you're looking for something ultra plush but without the typically high accompanying price tag, check out Brooklinen's aptly named Super-Plush towels. Made of Turkish long-staple cotton fibers and sized a bit larger than average, these bath towels come in a set of two (equating to about $35 per towel) and four neutral shades.


New to the bath goods market is The Graces, an eco-conscious brand that focuses on providing luxury products with low environmental impact at a great price. Their bath towels are thoughtfully made, with a hanging loop on the shorter side to allow for quicker drying and preventing mildew. It's also certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), so you can feel good about what you're purchasing.


Another organic option, Boll & Branch towels are plush, absorbent and extra-large. They're made with Fair Trade-certified cotton and without harsh chemicals and pesticides, plus have GOTS certification. Boll & Branch as a company is committed to maintaining an ethical supply chain with transparent and fair practices, making these towels a great pick even beyond the high quality.


TURKISH


Turkish towels are known for being ultra absorbent and fast-drying, and their distinctive look makes them a great addition to any bathroom. We love these Cacala towels for their range of color options and versatility—they can just as easily be used on the beach and, if you really love it, as a wrap. They'll also get softer over time, and, because they're so lightweight, take up much less space than your typical fluffy towel.


A great starter option for those hesitant to make the switch to Turkish, Serena & Lily's Fouta towels have the more familiar looped cotton terry on one side for added wicking. Their style is sophisticated yet casual, with muted colors and none of the tassels present on most Turkish towels. All of that plus a pretty decent price compared to most luxury towels—a win-win all around.


A small home goods boutique based in Nashville, Turkish-T is committed to reintroducing high quality Turkish cotton goods into the home. Their Ottoman towel is sized more like a bath sheet for extra coverage, and has a nice waffle weave to add a little detail. Take note that this is not a good pick if you want bright colors and patterns, but great if you're looking for a different kind of simple white towel.


LINEN


Linen might not be the first choice of material for bath towels, but it actually has a lot going for it. Lightweight and naturally eco-friendly (flax takes a lot less energy to harvest), linen towels are also antibacterial and highly absorbent quick-drying. While linen is typically priced high, these towels found on Amazon are just over $20.


Closely connected to Japanese lifestyle brand Fog Linen Work, Shop Fog Linen has a whole collection of linen goods for all areas of life. Their chambray weave towels come in three styles, including striped (our personal favorite). They have an attractive lived-in look about them, plus, like all linen, will get softer with each washing.


It's all in the details with this towel from LinenMe. Created and produced in Lithuania, each product is made using new and old techniques and is hand-checked for quality. These towels are built to last, and can be a real investment if you're looking for something more than a lower quality towel that can be thrown away after a year or two.


WAFFLE


Waffle weave towels are a bit unusual—they could be mistaken for throw blankets at first glance, but those woven grids actually make for super absorbent and faster drying towels. Found on Amazon, this set comes in six color options and is generously sized to account for the shrinking that tends to happen with the first wash.


We're big fans of Parachute goods over here, and their waffle towels are no exception. Loomed from high-quality Turkish cotton, these towels are made with Aerocotton technology, which lets air pass through the cotton fibers as they're spun. This process makes the towels seriously absorbent and fast-drying, while still looking as cozy as a throw.


Tips for Making Your Towels Last

  1. Hang your towels separately. I used to be guilty of hanging two damp towels on the same hook, until I realized that was a surefire way to generate mold and odors. Let your towels dry on separate hooks with some space between them—better yet, spread each one out over two hooks so they aren't bunched.
  2. Wash them after three uses. According to the experts, towels should be thrown in the wash after three to four uses. You can probably extend that time with anti-bacterial linen towels, but three to four is the typical amount of time it takes for bacteria to grow.
  3. When you do wash, do it right. Using too much detergent will make your towels scratchy over time, while using too much fabric softener will decrease absorbency. Use less of both, and wash in hot water to ensure bacteria is eliminated.

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