Bath towels are everyday necessities that you're likely to have in your bathroom rotation for years to come, so why skimp on quality?
Whether you’re looking for the softest towels that money can buy or just a few basic sets on the cheap, there are plenty of high-quality towels on the market within virtually any budget.
Best Bath Towels
- Best Overall: Brooklinen Super-Plush Bath Towel
- Most Quick-Drying: Pottery Barn Hydrocotton Quick-Drying Towel
- Best Cheap Towel: Nestwell Hygro Cotton Bath Towel
- Most Luxurious: Matouk Milagro Towel
- Best Texture: Riley Spa Towel
- Best Waffle-Weave Towel: Onsen Bath Towel
- Most Absorbent: Coyuchi Cloud Loom Organic Towels
- Best Design: Weezie Piped Edge Bath Towel
- Most Ethical Construction: Boll & Branch Plush Bath Towel
- Best Bamboo Towel: Cariloha Bamboo Bath Towel
What to Consider
The main thing to consider when shopping for new bath towels is that there will be some change in texture over time. Still, a well-made towel is crafted to withstand daily use and frequent washing, maintaining a soft feel and pleasing texture that can last for years.
Following the care instructions on your towel’s tag can help prolong its cushy feel, and there are also a few clever tips and tricks out there to help keep them feeling fluffy. But even with a lot of care, no towel stays as silky-soft as its first use forever. When your towels begin to start losing their softness and absorbency, that’s when you’ll know that it’s time to replace them.
This is why testing bath towels in-house and critiquing their feel and performance first-hand is so important to us. A super-soft towel that drastically deteriorates in feel and quality after just a few washes is not one that's worth spending your money on. All of the towels on this list were evaluated after at least 3 weeks of use based on the same general criteria:
- Absorbency: Do you feel thoroughly dried off after using it?
- Softness: Does the towel feel more plush or rough?
- Weight: Does the towel have a light or heavy pile?
- Durability: Does the towel maintain its original feel after several washes?
We also noted how a towel’s GSM (grams per square meter) impacted its softness, weight, and overall performance. A high GSM of 620 or above denotes a fluffier and denser towel, though it might (but not always) be heavier and take longer to dry. A GSM below 620 might be rougher in texture but also more lightweight and quicker to dry.
After weeks of toweling off, laundering, and toweling off again, we've compiled our list of the 10 best bath towels that have exceptional softness, absorbency, and durability. These bath linens of all budgets will help you clean up nicely.
Learn more about how we test products, from the questions we ask our testing team, to the types of products we feel are actually worth testing, to the overall time we put into our testing process.
Brooklinen's bath towels are made of OEKO-TEX-certified Turkish cotton and clock in at a plush and slightly weighty 820 GSM. They are impressively soft upon the first feel, and even after multiple washes, they maintain their cloud-like coziness. We’ve named them as the best bath towel overall because they strike that perfect balance of absorbent and quick-drying while feeling like a resort-quality material.
In our testing, we’ve found that the airy loops of their Turkish cotton material help them dry much faster than towels of a similar size, so they're less likely to harbor mold and mildew. While some color fading has happened over time, there really hasn’t been much degradation of the softness and texture of these towels in the nearly 2 years that we’ve used them. We confidently recommend getting a few sets if you're looking to invest in your bath towels for the long haul.
The Brooklinen Super-Plush Bath Towels are $69 for a set of two and come in nine different colors.
These bath towels from Pottery Barn are crafted from Turkish hydrocotton, and the material’s cushy fiber loops are untwisted for increased absorbency. The towels are also constructed with a 550 GSM weight, and they’re OEKO-TEX-certified for chemical-free peace of mind. Because the material dries quickly, the weight of the towel won't warp its shape when left to dry on a towel rack.
Though they are a bit pricey, these towels thankfully don’t require a special washing treatment to be fully enjoyed — one of our in-house testers reported that they “found them to hold up well to public laundromat treatment.” These towels are also a favorite of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute.
The Pottery Barn Hydrocotton Bath Towels are available in a three-piece bundle for $59 and are available in 14 different colors.
Best Cheap Towel
If premium bath towel sets give you a little too much sticker shock, we suggest this affordable 100% cotton and OEKO-TEX-certified option from Nestwell, Bed Bath & Beyond’s new in-house brand. These towels aren’t fancy, but they are the best to get if you want to stock your home with lots of new towels on a budget.
The Nestwell towels are quite durable, too. After using the towel over the course of 3 weeks with weekly washings in between, I was surprised by how fluffy the towel still felt at the end of the trial. Its absorbency is also great, and even after drying off with it, it doesn’t feel weighty or unwieldy.
The texture, as you might expect, is not as soft as the pricier towels on this list. After using this towel side-by-side with the Brooklinen and Weezie towels specifically, it’s pretty apparent which of the three materials is the least expensive. I think that’s the main trade-off to consider. If you’re simply looking for a good, durable, and cheap towel, perhaps to buy in multiples, this one is the clear winner.
The Nestwell Hygro Solid Bath Towels start at $12 each. They are available in an assortment of towel sizes and a wide range of 24 colors.
The Portuguese-made Milagro towels from Matouk are undoubtedly a luxury item, with a plush 550 GSM weave made from 100% Egyptian cotton. They're also a sizable 30x60 inches, making them slightly bigger than an average bath towel but smaller than a bath sheet. This is a great bonus for taller people — or for those who don't mind a bigger towel.
On the other hand, if you’re short, drying off with these can feel a little like getting a bear hug. If you like that feeling, it’s heaven — but otherwise, it might feel like you're drowning in too much towel. Because of their weight, they are also slower to dry than other top-of-the-line textiles.
The Matouk Milagro Towels are $62.50 each and come in 12 different colors.
Another great towel with an entirely different feel is Riley’s Spa Towel. Its unique texture makes it a standout product — the short, 2-ply weave is slightly nubby in texture, not fluffy. Against the skin, it feels satisfying to use because you can distinctly feel its rows of individual loops as you towel off. These distinct loops give the material a well-designed feel that's less shaggy and rough than most terrycloth towels.
This 700 GSM towel is Portuguese-made, and OEKO-TEX certified, and all towel sizes include a handy “locker loop” on the middle-edge of its border for easy hanging. We found this towel to be quick-drying and very absorbent, and it never felt too soggy after using. It isn’t the softest towel, which you should keep in mind, and its nubby texture became more pronounced the more we washed and used it.
The Riley Spa Bath Towels are sold individually for $45 each and as a set for $186, and they come in six different colors.
Best Waffle-Weave Towel
If thick terrycloth towels feel a little too heavy and overbearing for you to use, Onsen's Bath Towel is one of the best alternatives, as far as lightweight waffle-weave designs go. This towel is made of long-staple Supima cotton, which gives it superior strength and softness to other types of cotton materials. Plus, its meticulously designed waffle-shaped indents provide a more interesting and varied texture than all-over terrycloth does.
While we’ve tried other waffle-weave towels in the past, we’ve always been disappointed by their thinness and lack of absorbency — but Onsen’s towel is a standout for exactly this reason. The stretchy, airy, multidimensional structure of the towel’s weave doesn’t just look and feel nice — it also adeptly soaks up moisture while allowing it to dry out quickly. The towel also washes well without losing any of its amazing springiness or shape.
The Onsen Bath Towels are $50 each, and they come in eight different colors.
This Turkish-made, GOTS-certified organic cotton towel from Coyuchi pleasantly surprised us in a few different ways. It is lightweight, even though it has a pretty plush 685 GSM. And texture-wise, it is one of the shaggiest towels we’ve tested, which we ended up liking much more than we thought.
Its long, multitwisted loops feel luxurious to the touch but are incredibly practical for toweling off. They help the towel absorb moisture and dry faster, and they also feel more gentle when rubbing against the skin. Compared to the Brooklinen towel, the Coyuchi towel isn’t quite as plush, as several weeks of washing and using did lessen its fluff factor, but it does its job more effectively.
The Coyuchi Cloud Loom Organic Towels are sold individually ($68 each) and as a four-piece ($248) or six-piece set ($198), and they come in six different colors.
While it’s nice to have color choices in your towels, the reality is that many colors fade to some extent over time, and they run the risk of getting splotchy if you use benzoyl peroxide-based skincare products. Weezie eliminates that issue by currently carrying all-white towels that add colorful flair through their playful piped or stitched borders.
This isn’t the only design choice that Weezie gets right. The Portuguese-made, OEKO-TEX-certified, organic-cotton towels have a small loop for hanging on the middle edge of its border, and they also have extensive customization options. Apart from the 10 different border colors, users can add a monogram or a name to their towels in various fonts for an extra $15.
These bath towels weigh in at 650 GSM, but they actually feel plusher at first use than other towels on this list with a higher GSM, like the Riley and Coyuchi picks. The Weezie bath towel is best for those who love using a truly soft, cushy towel each day, though it doesn't quite measure up to the quick-drying performance of the aforementioned brands.
The Weezie Piped Edge Bath Towels are sold individually ($58 each) and in various-sized sets, and they come only in white with 10 different border color choices.
Most Ethical Construction
If you’re taking care to make ethically focused buying choices when it comes to your home products, Boll & Branch’s bath towels should be at the top of your list.
These towels are made of GOTS-certified organic cotton, and they are also Fair-Trade Certified — the brand is also one of the largest consumers of Organic Fair-Trade-certified cotton. Crafted in India by farmers and factory workers who make a living wage, the towels’ higher-than-average price tag is due to the considered sourcing, construction, and overall quality of the product.
The feel of the towels is dense at 700 GSM, but they are surprisingly lightweight. The material is decently absorbent, and you won't feel like the towel is drenched and soggy after using it. We also love their diamond-textured dobby stripe, as it adds an elevated aesthetic to the bathroom. They aren’t super soft towels after multiple washes, however, making them better for someone who prefers a nubbier texture.
The Boll & Branch Plush Bath Towels are sold individually for $45 each and in different-sized sets, and they come in eight different colors.
Best Bamboo Towel
Cariloha's Bamboo Towels are so soft, they're almost silky. Woven from bamboo-derived viscose, they have a smoother feel than your average terrycloth towel.
The towel's 600 GSM weight is certainly plush but not heavy at all. The material feels gentle on the skin, and though the towel isn't exceptionally absorbent, it does dry quickly. Unfortunately, we did find through testing that multiple washes impacted the silkiness, and they began to roughen up after close to 2 months of regular use.
The Cariloha Bamboo Towels are available in a set for $49 and come in seven different colors.
Because there's a lot of towel terminology to take in, allow us to demystify some of the most key textile terms before you start adding-to-cart:
What does the towel’s GSM number mean?
The GSM denotes the grams per meter of material. If you're looking for the fluffiest towels possible, then you may want to hone in on picks that have a GSM of 620 or more. The higher the number, the denser the material, so you’ll get that nice and soft feel, though the towel itself may be heavier and take longer to dry.
What’s the difference between a bath towel and a bath sheet?
Bath sheets are simply larger bath towels and are used to towel off post-shower in exactly the same way. Folks who find that an average-sized 56x30-inch bath towel is a little too small may be more comfortable using a larger 70x40-inch bath sheet. Just keep in mind that because they have slightly more material, bath sheets also tend to be a little more expensive than bath towels.
What are those little bleach spots that show up on towels after washing them?
Certain ingredients in skincare products (like benzoyl peroxide) have a tendency to leave spots on colored linens. If you suspect this may be an issue when buying top-of-the-line towels, opt for white to be on the safe side.