Today's best bath towels are soft, absorbent, and of high quality, as well as being durable enough to withstand daily use and regular washing over time. Pick correctly and you can create a spa-like experience in your own home – after all, there's nothing more comforting than stepping out of the bath or shower to wrap up in a plush, fluffy towel.
While they may all look very similar, towels come in a variety of thickness, materials, absorbency, colours and sizes. Ranging from Egyptian cotton to Hydrocotton or sustainable types manufactured without toxins or chemicals, it can often be challenging to know which the best bath towel for you will be. (This guide focuses on towels designed for home use – if you need something lightweight for trips away, you might be better off consulting our best travel towel guide.)
Whether you want to make bathtimes more luxurious, want to upgrade your scratchy towels or simply spruce up your bathroom, here are some top tips for buying the best bath towels.
How to choose the best bath towel
Firstly, you need to consider what material you want. The most favoured towels are ones made from Egyptian cotton, with long, fine fibres. The longer the loop in the fabric, the more absorbent and softer the towel will be This explains why you get the luxurious feel and durability with Egyptian cotton. Other materials include Turkish cotton, microfiber, cotton-poly blend and even bamboo.
Another thing to consider is the weight and thickness of the fabric, which will determine how absorbent your towel is. Typically, this is measured in grams per square meter (GSM), and for standard towels this is around 400 to 600 GSM. The higher the GSM, the more luxurious and absorbent the towels are. Bear in mind, these towels are heavier and can be more costly than others. Going for a lower GSM means a more lightweight towel that will dry much quicker – ideal for those who enjoy regular showers during the day!
In addition, the quality of the design finish is worth noting. It is recommended to buy towels with double stitching and double-turned edges to avoid annoying fraying.
Finally, a few care tips. Always remember to pop your new towels into the washing machine before use to get rid of any leftover or loose fibres from the production process. What's more, while we often assume fabric conditioner will make our plush towels stay soft, it can actually reduce absorbency. It's recommended not to use fabric conditioner when washing, and shake towels out after a cycle to dry. Also, avoid direct sunlight if you hang outside to ensure colours don't fade over time.
The best bath towels 2021
If you're after super soft, fluffy towels with a luxurious feel, Scooms has got you covered (literally). Made from 100% authentic Egyptian cotton, this towels long fibres makes it extra plush and soft to the touch. In fact, it has a distinct 'hotel towel' vibe. It's quite dense with a 720 GSM, so can feel slightly heavy. However, its fibres give it that extra absorbency and makes drying a fuss-free process. It's also spun with a unique technology that creates micro air holes inside the fabric for breathability. That thickness also makes for a warm and cosy towel to wrap up in after bathtimes. What's more, it has a handy hook at the top for easy hanging.
Best of all, Scooms' is eco-friendly and comes with a Oeko-Tex Standard 100 verification, meaning it has been created using no harmful toxins and chemicals. This is ideal for families, especially those with young children. In addition, the packaging is plastic-free, and presented nicely wrapped in a ribbon in a cardboard box. To keep it feeling superior, it's recommended to wash at 30-40-degrees, with little or no fabric conditioner.
If you're after an all-round, luxury towel, the Hampton and Astley towel is a stunning choice. Designed with 100% Egyptian cotton, it has an incredibly soft feel and beautiful stitch pattern that will be an eye-catching addition to your bathroom. Although it has a lower GSM, it has an impressive absorbency. What's more, it feels lightweight which means it will be quick to dry and more efficient. The towels are available in several sizes including a 7-piece bath set. A minor disappointment is that only the Bath Sheet size is sold on its own – if you want a regular bath towel, or face or hand towel, you'll need to buy the bundle. However, these soft, luxurious bath towels and sheets won't disappoint! Just ensure you always wash at 40-degrees and keep away from bleach to avoid colour fading.
If you're after luxurious feeling towels that won't cost a fortune, John Lewis Egyptian cotton bath towels offer great value for money. Not only are they soft and plush with long fibres, but they're durable and odour-free thanks to a 'Life Natural' finish. This natural peppermint treatment contains antimicrobial protections to ensure your towels are kept fresher and cleaner.
Best of all, it's incredibly affordable with over 40 (yes 40!) vibrant colours to choose from. They are also available in plenty of sizes, so you'll find the perfect colour and style to suit your bathroom decor. What's more, the towels are colour safe at washing temperatures up to 60-degrees, so you don't have to worry about colours fading. For the best care, it's advisable to wash towels at 40-degrees to avoid the risk of slight shrinkage. Overall, these towels give you comfort and so much more for your money.
If you love nothing more than sinking into a deep pile towel, the Soak & Sleep Supima cotton towels will give you extra comfort. Supima cotton is an extra long-length staple cotton that creates an intense softness and durability. What's more, the fabrics are terry woven with a low twist loop for high absorbency, leaving you dry in no time. Plus they are borderless, meaning you get more of the luxury feel from its edge to edge design. It isn't any wonder why Supima cotton is commonly known as the ‘cashmere of cottons'!
That all said, they do feel slightly heavier than others, but they come with a handy hook that makes hanging much easier. Supima cotton towels are available in six, bespoke colours and will stay looking fresh when washed at 30-degrees. While this may not seem high enough, using the best detergents means it's not necessary for a higher temperature. This makes it a great, eco-friendly option.
If you lead a busy lifestyle and need super soft yet practical towels that dry quickly, the White Company Hydrocotton towels will do a grand job. Hydrocotton is designed using a special weaving technique that makes it far superior to standard cotton. The ‘low twist' technology makes these ribbed Hydrocotton towels extra soft with a high absorbency. This is ideal for large families or households who require quick-drying, luxury towels.
Despite being lightweight, these towels are incredibly durable thanks to its flexible structure. This allows it to withstand frequent washing, and still maintain its super soft, luxurious feel. Bear in mind they lack the deep, plush pile you would usually get with a higher GSM. However, these towels are perfect for daily use and frequent washing. They are also reasonably priced and available in four, contemporary colours to suit any modern bathroom (although, being the White Company, they are of course all shades of grey and white).