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Bath Towels – How to Choose The Best One

With an endless selection of towels boasting different features, it’s hard to know which will deliver. Get shopping like a pro with these tips and tricks from the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab. Find the right bath towel for you by checking out our best-tested bath towels. 

When you get out of the shower or bathtub, there is nothing better than wrapping yourself up in a cosy towel. Buying a new towel is a good idea if you are feeling rough on your towel or if it isn’t drying you off quickly. Because there are so many bath towels on the market at a wide range of prices, it’s not exactly easy to purchase bath towels, especially when you aren’t sure how they’ll hold up over time. There are a lot of bath towels manufacturers who can be consulted. 

How to find your best bath towel?

A lot depends on your personal preference when it comes to towel shopping.

  • Look for 100% cotton towels with dense, plush loops of yarn on the surface if you want a soft, ultra-absorbent towel. You can also look at the fabric weight, which is measured in grams per square meter. These will typically be the plushest since they have more than 600 GSM. We found lighter towels, such as waffle weaves and ribs, to be less soft.


  • Choose a cotton-poly blend or a lighter fabric with a low pile (short loops) if you need a towel that dries quickly and is more durable. Loopy towels feel softer and absorb more water, but they take longer to dry and may show more wear from laundering.

Check the Fiber Content

In terms of softness and absorbency, cotton is the best. In our towel tests, we did not find much difference in the softness, absorbency, or durability of towels made from premium kinds of cotton, such as Egyptian and Supima cotton. Although these kinds of cotton are normally considered to be of high quality, we did not find much difference between them. It is also worth considering a cotton/polyester blend: it is often less expensive, quick-drying, and more durable than a pure cotton option.

Visually Inspect the Towel

It does not mean that you should feel the towel for softness in the store. Often, manufacturers add finishes to towels to make them feel softer, but the coating will come off when washed. Don’t forget to fold the edges neatly and stitch them securely – this is a sign of good craftsmanship. Fraying is prevented this way, and the towel will last longer.

Consider the Weight

Grams per square meter (GSM) is a measure of towel weight. A heavier towel will be denser and more absorbent as well as plusher. Lightweight materials are 300-400 GSM, medium-weight materials are 400-600 GSM, and heavy materials are 600-900 GSM. Our top performers fell within the range of 500-700 GSM.

Look at materials

Towels made with 100 per cent cotton are the best, according to the Micro Cotton team. Long-staple cotton has longer fibres, so the bath towel is softer, stronger, and more absorbent. The materials of the towel should be listed online or on the care tag, as well as the laundry symbols.

How do you stop towels from shedding fluff?

Make sure that they are washed before using them. In some cases, there may be loose fibres leftover from the manufacturing process; however, laundering the towels a few times should be enough to remove them. A bit of advice: Washing them will also make them more absorbent because they are getting rid of any leftover finishes from the production process.


Towels that are the best are fluffy, plush, absorbent, and feel soft and luxurious. How can you determine which towel you will most enjoy wrapping around you after a bath or shower when you shop for bath towels?

Take a look at our bath towel guide with 8 important factors to think about when choosing a bath towel: material, construction, weight, size, finish, colour & style, no harmful chemicals, and plastic-free packaging. 

PRO TIP: You can tell if you are buying a great bath towel by examining the care label: Around 700 GSM, 100% Egyptian cotton (base & pile), zero twist pile, combed cotton construction.

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