Consider this our buyer's guide to finding the best bath towels on the market, for every budget. We also look at the things to consider before you buy
More than just a way to add colour and pattern to the bathroom, bathroom towels are an everyday essential that’s worth getting right. Here’s our pick of the best bath towels to buy and top tips on finding the right type for you.
What types of bath towels are there?
Supima cotton is known as the ‘cashmere of cotton’ to quote Sarah Smith, Head of Buying at Soak&Sleep, and for good reason! Grown only in the USA to exceptionally high standards, the fibres are longer and stronger than any other kind of cotton. They are therefore the most expensive towels, so consider them as a long term investment.
Egyptian cotton towels are a good alternative to costly Supima towels. They are super soft, durable and highly absorbent thanks to the long, thick loops. These towels are only slightly less luxurious and this is reflected in their price.
Standard towels are made from synthetic fibres and are therefore less absorbent and are a lesser quality than cotton towels, however they are low-cost and are ideal if you’re planning to change them frequently.
Waffle towels have a textured surface and their lightweight nature makes them handy for travelling.
What is gsm?
This stands for grams per square metre, it’s the scale used to measure the quality of towels. The higher the gsm number the better the quality; towels will be more absorbent and longer lasting. Standard towels typically measure between 200-300 and more superior quality will be between 400-700.
What colour and design should you choose?
Plain white towels will bring a hotel chic look to any bathroom and can complement any scheme, dark or light. Be mindful of keeping your whites bright – especially if you use a lot of beauty products! It can be tricky to remove those mascara and foundation marks…
If you want your towels to make a statement, choose a contrasting colour or pattern.
For a more subtle look, choose towels that tone with the tiles and flooring.
How many towels do you need?
Consider what combination of towels you need and whether you want a matching set. Towel bales are cost-effective sets that usually offer 2 face cloths, two hand towels and two bath towels, but if you want larger bath sheets you’ll have to buy individual towels.
You should aim to allocate each member of the family two bath sheets and two bath towels, so they always have a clean one when one is in the wash. Hand towels can be limited to one per bathroom, and of course always have plenty of spare towels of all sizes for guests.
Here’s our pick of the best bathroom towels to buy now:
Best for quality on a budget
Wrap yourself in a little luxury with Fox & Ivy’s Egyptian cotton bath towels. Made with superior Gold Seal accredited Egyptian cotton in a plush 650gsm pile, this towel range feels wonderfully thick and soft against your skin, even after multiple washes. Available in 8 beautiful colour choices of Navy; Charcoal; Chambray Blue; Kingfisher Blue; Mink; Pink; Rose; Silver and White.
The ultra-absorbent range is available in face cloths, hand towels, bath towels and bath sheets. Coordinating Egyptian cotton pedestal mats and bath mats are also available to create a harmonious bathroom scheme.
These luxurious towels offer a hotel feel on budget, without compromising on quality. 650gsm.
Best for quality
Christy towels are our sure bet for supreme quality, meaning they will last and therefore are a great investment. We love the collection of Luxe towels, made with 100 per cent Turkish cotton. These quality towels are super smooth against the skin and have excellent absorbency.
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Available in 5 calming shades of Luxe White; Pearl; French Grey; Soot and Denim – all with a subtle diamond pattern around the edge to give just enough of a decorative touch. Designed with quality and style in mind these heavy weighted towels will add elegance to any bathroom, perfect for creating a spa-inspired theme at home.
Buy now: Luxe Towels, from £12-£42, Christy
Best standard towels
If you are going to buy a standard range of bath towels you are best to stick with a homeware favourite, such as John Lewis because you know it will be the highest quality still. These towels are from their own brand Croft, they are 65 per cent cotton and 35 per cent modal mix. Modal is a type of rayon, a semi-synthetic fibre that’s often mixed with household items because it’s still breathable.
This lopped and ribbed mixed material design is super soft and fast drying. The neutral colour and striped border help to make these super easy to live with, perfect for a classic bathroom.600gsm.
Best for babies
This is hands down (see what we did there!) the best bath towel for babies. Thanks to the clever design that allows the towel to loop around your neck leaving you hands-free, eliminating the problem of how to lift baby from the bath – which is a tricky task given they are wet and slippery.
‘We asked hundreds of parents and found that mums and dads everywhere battle with baby towels held awkwardly under their chin, or in their teeth, or put crying babies onto towels on cold bathroom floors,’ explains Polly Marsh, one of Cuddledry’s creators. ‘It is of course impossible to safely lift a baby without two hands, but you also somehow have to hold a towel and wrap them in it.’ Such a simple and yet genius idea for a babies towel!
This award-winning towel is bamboo and cotton mix, to ensure it’s super soft against babies skin.
Best for softness
This range of 100 per cent Egyptian cotton towels from Sainsbury’s is part of the ‘Everyday Luxury’ collection, that consists of bedding and bathroom towels that are super luxurious at fabulous prices.
Rona Olds, Head of Home Buying and Design at Sainsbury’s explains why these premium towels are so good, ‘Our Home Collection pure cotton towels are made from fine Egyptian Cotton Hygro. Hygro is a smart low twist technology that ensures our towels are thicker and softer than normal without feeling heavy and bulky – another benefit of using the smart fibres is that they keep towels fluffy wash after wash.’
Best for fast drying
This ribbed cotton design is a best-seller and for good reason! Made using clever ‘low twist’ technology these towels have an extra quick dry time – which is ultra handy for those who need a quick turnaround on washing.
The 100 per cent Hydrocotton towels are ultra fluffy to the touch and they remain that way, blissfully soft and supple after each wash. The ultra white colour choice is perfect for a fresh, clean feel for your bathroom; but they are also available in Slate and Pearl Grey. 500gsm.
Best for luxury
You can’t beat the ‘Cashmere of cotton’ for a truly luxurious feeling for bathtimes and showers. ‘The exceptionally high standard of Supmina fibres used for this range are used to create towels with amazing softness and supreme durability,’ explains Sarah Smith, Head of Buying & Merchandising at Soak&Sleep.
These 750gsm towels feel indulgent and cosy whilst boasting high-performance absorbency, for complete post-bath heaven. The range is available in 6 versatile colour choices of White; Mid Grey; Smoke; Stone; Dark teal and Aubergine.
Best for pattern
Having had the pleasure of a workshop tour, we’ve seen first hand the skill that goes into making Margo Selby’s decorative textiles. Margo’s towel collection encapsulates her love of using both pattern and colour to create striking designs for interiors. Whether you buy a full set of co-ordinating sizes or just a guest towel for a cloakroom these vibrant towels are perfect for injecting a hit of artistic pattern to a bathroom.
Best for frequent washing
If you live in a busy household you will mostly likely be washing your towels more frequently, or if you are someone who showers twice a day perhaps? Whatever the reason, if you’re frequently washing your bathroom towels you will need ones that wash well time and time again.
We can vouch these Ikea terry towels don’t lose their colour or fullness, even after frequent repeat washing. The long fine fibres of combed cotton helps to create these soft and durable towels. 580gsm.
Buy now: Bladjan Towels, from £1.50-£13, Ikea
How to care for bathroom towels
‘Always wash towels before first use so they are thoroughly clean.’ recommends Julia Galloway, Design Manager, Christy Towels, ‘Don’t overload the machine, towels need plenty of space and water to effectively soak.’
‘To maintain the best results wash after wash we recommend using no fabric conditioner with your towels as over time the conditioner builds up in the fibres and reduces absorbency and softness.’ advises Sarah Smith, Head of Buying & Merchandising, Soak&Sleep.
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If you can, put your towels out on the line to dry to give them extra freshness. Driers are also great for adding extra softness. Don’t iron towels as this can make them stiff and scratchy and also make them less absorbent.