If you’re anything like us, bath towels are probably one of those things that you’ve somehow amassed over the years but don’t quite remember where they all came from. If that’s the case, they’re likely mismatched and may be showing some signs of the long life they’ve shared with you—think that mysterious stain that just won’t come out, no matter how many times you bleach it.
Let us be the first to tell you that it’s time to retire those towels (throw ‘em in the rag pile), and to invest in some fresh, good-quality newbies. Upgrading your towels is a lot like upgrading your sheets—it may not seem like a big deal at the moment, but just wait until you step out of the shower and wrap yourself in plush excellence for the first time. Whether you're registering for your wedding, moving in together, or just cleaning out the closet, take stock of your towel inventory, and don't be afraid to purge.
To help you find the perfect towel upgrade for your bathroom, we've researched the best options available—keeping durability, material, and overall quality in mind. A few of our top picks are the Boll & Branch Spa Bath Towel, Brooklinen Super-Plush Bath Towel, and Frontgate Resort Cotton Bath Towels.
Read on for the best bath towels out there.
Best Quick Drying
Boll & Branch Spa Bath Towel
This brand offers several different towels (all of which have garnered rave reviews), but these are especially worth checking out. They’re a great choice for those who want something that marries the softness of a plush towel but won’t take forever to dry. The 100% organic cotton (which is also fair trade, GOTS, and OEKO-TEK certified) has a slightly lighter weight than their other towels and features unique channels in the fabric.
The upshot of these? Not only does the towel get you dry faster, but it also dries faster after you hang it up. And don’t worry, despite the fact that they are lighter weight, they’re still incredibly soft, thanks to yarns that are treated to a unique tumbling process post-weaving.
Brooklinen Super-Plush Bath Towels
We’re here to officially approve your decision to invest some of your hard-earned money into high-quality bath towels—if nothing else, it’s easily justified when you consider the cost per use. That being said, this option is particularly splurge-worthy. They boast the brand’s best-selling weave, an ultra-thick, ultra-luxurious Turkish cotton that feels like being bundled up in a cloud.
Case in point: A towel’s weight is measured in GSM, grams per square meter, a good indicator of how plush and thick it is. Standard towels usually fall somewhere between 400-600 GSM; this one tips the scales at a whopping 820 GSM. Still, it’s totally durable, thanks to a special z-twist construction that keeps pulls and snags at bay. The cotton is also OEKO-TEX certified, ensuring it’s been tested for and is free of potentially harmful substances.
Frontgate Resort Cotton Bath Towels
For those who want their towels to be next-level fluffy, next-level soft, and generally next-level luxurious, this option is choice. The towels are zero-twist, a technical term meaning they use longer, stronger cotton fibers that are looped through the base of the towel instead of twisted outward. Translation? The towel feels softer and smoother against your skin, rather than feeling nubier.
Per our previous point about towel weights, these come in at a luxe 700GSM. They also have a five-inch dobby border, where you can add a monogram if you’d like, a majorly grown-up upgrade.
Best All Purpose
Parachute Classic Towels
Simple and timeless, you truly can’t go wrong with these bath towels. The brand is one of the few that uses a unique Aerocotton technology, in which the cotton fibers are spun in a way that allows air to pass through them. The result? A softer feel than most other cotton towels, plus excellent absorbency and quick dry time.
We also appreciate that there’s a larger bath sheet available, a perfect choice for those who like a more oversized towel. And in true Parachute fashion, the color offerings will warm any neutral palette lover's heart. There’s a crisp white, of course, as well as a warmer cream, sandy tan, misty blue-gray, stone gray, and deeper charcoal.
Lytham Turkish 4-Piece Bath Towel Set
On the flip side, if you’re ready to get some new towels but aren’t quite ready to shell out the big bucks, don’t worry. There are a plethora of wallet-friendly options out there that easily rival their pricier counterparts, these being one of them. But despite the rock bottom price tag, they don’t skimp on quality.
While they’re not the plushest option on this list, they’re still nice and fluffy, made of 100% Turkish cotton that also happens to be hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. They boast a convenient hanging loop and even come in eight different colors. FYI, to best maintain the integrity, be sure to wash them in cold water.
Coyuchi Cloud Loom™ Organic Towels
There’s no shortage of ways these towels are a better option for both you and the environment. For starters, they are organic, made of 100% organic Turkish cotton that’s also GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified. That’s no easy feat, given that it requires some of the highest standards for both ecological and social criteria when it comes to regulating organic fibers. It’s also a version of cotton that's "long-looped", a technique that offers extra absorption, quick-drying, and generally feels fluffier.
Going above and beyond the cotton itself, the sourcing and creation of these towels are done in a way to save tons of drinking water (1,190 days’ worth, to be exact), avoid five miles of driving emissions, and farm 114 square feet of land without pesticides. Impressive, to say the least.
Hammam Linen 100% Cotton Bath Towels
The next time you’re on an Amazon shopping spree, make sure to add these to your cart. They’re the site’s number one best-seller (a major distinction, given that a recent search for ‘bath towels’ yielded over 10,000 results), and consistently pull in five-star, rave reviews.
The 100%, ringspun Turkish cotton has a hotel-like quality while double-stitched edges ensure a long lifespan. Happy shoppers repeatedly comment on the quality, specifically soft and thick texture, and how well they hold up even after repeated washing and drying. And we’d be remiss to not mention the price—it's a great budget-friendly pick that doesn't sacrifice quality.
Linoto Linen Spa Bath Sheet
You may think of linen more as a fabric for dinner napkins or curtains than a bath towel, but it’s worth considering in the bathroom, too. You’ll be surprised at just how thick—and nice—linen can feel. This towel in particular is made of an extra thick and heavyweight Belgian linen that’s innately super absorbent and fast-drying, making it an especially great option for humid climates or muggy bathrooms where traditional terry towels can sometimes start to take on that mildewy scent.
Unbleached and dye-free, they come in five colors, all boasting a subtle basket weave design that adds visual interest and an elegant feel to any bathroom. Bonus points for the extra-large size and built-in hanging loops.
Down Cotton Turkish Cotton Luxury Hotel & Spa 6-Piece Towel Sets
This brand may be known for their bedding (and, in fact, they do make some pretty amazing sheets), but don’t miss out on their bath towels. Crafted of 100% Turkish cotton, they arrive nice and soft—but only get softer with every wash. They’re extra-absorbent and super durable, so you never have to worry about snags or pills. Minimalists will appreciate the subtle double-stitched edge, though this set—which comes with two bath towels, two hand towels, and two washcloths—does come in six different colors for those who want to think beyond basic white.
Bonus: After your first purchase you’re automatically enrolled in their Lifetime Membership that comes with a 30% discount moving forward (a win if you do want to pick up those sheets at some point in the future). We also appreciate that the brand focuses on supporting the farmers that source their cotton, encouraging them to also do the exporting and ultimately growing their income by 80%.
Best Waffle Weave
MagicLinen Waffle Bath Towel
For those seeking something different than classic, terrycloth cotton towels, a waffle weave, like this one, offers a nice alternative. This particular one is made of a combination of linen and cotton. The linen, as mentioned, is quick-drying and a great choice for warding off mildew and bacteria. The addition of cotton gives it a softer feel, even more so given that this particular pick is stonewashed to further increase that softness. (The fabric is also OEKO-TEX certified.)
Not to mention that there’s something so sophisticated about a waffle weave towel hanging in the bathroom, an easy way to add some major spa-like vibes to your everyday. All that’s missing is a matching robe and a bunch of eucalyptus hanging from your showerhead.
What to look for in bath towels
Many towels are made out of cotton or a cotton-polyester blend since it absorbs fast and is very soft. However, certain fabrics work better in different climates. Cotton can often accumulate mildewy scents if you live in a humid climate, so it may be beneficial to try a linen towel instead. What material you choose will largely depend on your budget, climate, and personal preference.
Towels are measured in grams per square meter (GSM). The higher the number, the plushier the towel will be. Standard towels are generally between 400 to 600 GSM so if you want a thick, plushy, soft towel look for towels rated higher than this. However, it is important to note the higher the GSM, the longer it will take your towel to dry.
Always check the size of the towel. If you like a roomier towel after a long, warm bath or shower, see if the brand you're looking into has extra-large bath towels.
While no towel will last forever, a good bath towel will last you for many years. Look at the construction of the towel. Combed towels are the most durable, as their production process combs out any short threads, leaving the longest and strongest ones behind. Ringspun towels are another great option, as the long and short threads are looped together tightly and smoothly. Also, consider the edge of the towel. Towels with a banded edge are great to reduce the chances of fraying.
How often should you replace bath towels?
As a general rule of thumb, it's best to replace your bath towels about every two years. You'll know it's time for an upgrade when the towel loses its drying power (as in, you have to run it over your body more than once to dry) and the fibers are no longer strong and plush.
What do you do with old towels?
The easy answer is to throw them away. However, there are some other, more sustainable ways to recycle your old bath towels. For example, you can use old bath towels as cleaning rags. Not only does this give them a new life, but it will also help reduce your overall paper towel use. It's a win-win!
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Brides contributor Melanie Rud has nearly 15 years of journalism experience covering the beauty and lifestyle space for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She’s also a recent newlywed!