Best bath towels – the top luxury and quick-dry towels for bath time

The best bath towels for transforming your bathroom into a luxurious spa – our edit of the best quality luxury towels and the most affordable buys from John Lewis, M&S, The White Company and more

The best bath towels as tested by the Ideal Home team on a blue background
(Image credit: Future)

The best bath towels have the potential to make or break your evening soak or speedy morning shower, so it's important to get the purchase right. Whether you want to make more of an investment or you have a smaller budget, there will be a bath towel for your needs.

In fact, when you're looking to bring your dream bathroom ideas to life, the best bath towels on the market have the ability to transform a boring bathroom into a luxurious spa retreat, all without you having to splash too much cash.

After all, you don’t have to buy any expensive furniture, and you definitely don’t have to start ripping off any tiles or replacing flooring or furniture. All you have to do is swap your old, faded and threadbare towels for some plush and stylish alternatives. 

That’s why we’ve rounded up the best bath towels on the Ideal Home team's radar in this guide, curating the best luxury bath towels from John Lewis, The White Company, Soak & Sleep, and Scooms, as well as affordable and quick-dry towels from high-street favourites H&M, Dunelm, and Marks & Spencer.

Best bath towels 2024

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Best bath towels

Where to shop for the best bath towels

Got a specific colour in mind? If our top picks above haven't sorted your dream bathroom colour scheme then this is our round-up of the best places to shop for bath towels.

Gold metallic towel rails with towels hanging and stored

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

How to choose the best bath towels

Adding new bath towels to your bathroom is one of the best ways to make your bathroom look more expensive on a budget. But when choosing a bath towel for your bathroom, there are some key things you need to consider before taking the plunge. So, we’ve laid them out below so you can make the right decision for you and your bathroom:

The material: There are so many bath towels out there, made from so many different materials. It’s always a good idea to do your research and figure out what material works best for your needs and which one ticks more of your boxes. 

The GSM: You’ll notice that GSM varies drastically when searching for new bathroom towels. On average, though, it’s best for bath towels to have a GSM of at least 500 or more. 

The towel construction: Emily and Jonathan Attwood, Founders of bedding and bath brand Scooms, explain, ‘The yarns that make up the pile of your towel can either be woven into loops (zero twist) or they can be twisted. Zero twist towels are softer, feel more luxurious and dry faster. Twisted or low twist yarns use lower quality cotton, are harder and less absorbent.’ So, always check this before you buy, too.

The size: Most retailers will offer the same towel in various different sizes, ranging from a small face cloth to a large bath sheet. Always make sure you know what sizes you need and want before buying.

The colour: While the colour of your bath towels won’t have a big impact on the practicality side of things, they will allow you the chance to match your towels to your chosen colour scheme. You could either opt for neutral colours that blend in or go bold with bright colours that really pop.

Black bathtub with towel hanging over, black rattan chair with cushion

(Image credit: Future PLC/James French)

FAQs

What is GSM?

You’ll see this abbreviation frequently when sourcing towels – it’s like the thread count associated with bedding. GSM stands for ‘grams per square metre’. Put simply, it’s the way weight is measured for towels. Typically speaking, the higher the GSM the higher the thickness of the towel. Therefore the higher the GSM attributed, the more luxurious a towel is considered.

'The GSM is a good indication of how heavy and dense a towel is. Generally, the higher the GSM, the thicker and more absorbent the towel will be. When deciding on the GSM, think about how you’ll use your towel and how often. Lightweight towels dry quicker, but heavyweight towels have a more luxurious feel', explains Lucy Comer, partner & bath shop buyer at John Lewis & Partners.

The White Company white towels folded up in a pile

(Image credit: The White Company)

What is the best bath towel material?

'Cotton is the most traditionally used material for bathroom towels, as it is extremely durable and absorbent' says John Lewis & Partners' Lucy Comer. However, not all cotton towels are of the same quality. As well as GSM, which denotes the towel's thickness, look out for these terms when shopping to find the softest and longest-lasting pile. 

Supima cotton is known as the 'cashmere of cotton' to quote Sarah Smith, Head of Buying at bedding and bathroom retailer 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.

Turkish cotton is another option. They can be a good choice for those who have less space in their bathroom and prefer a thinner, faster-drying towel. ‘Turkish cotton long staple fibres are thinner than Egyptian cotton, and though still strong and sleek, will produce towels that may be less absorbent but quicker to dry,’ explain Emily and Jonathan of Scooms.

Zero twist is a term you will see when researching towels. It means the cotton is spun with an open loop with no twist, giving a softer and more plush feel.

What is the best bath towel colour?

Plain white bath towels will bring a hotel chic look to any bathroom and can complement any scheme, dark or light. But be mindful of keeping your whites bright – especially if you use a lot of beauty products as 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 your tiles and flooring.

Checkerboard towels are really on trend right now and act as a simple way of adding pattern to a bathroom. Picking a colour scheme for a bathroom can be tricky so if you're inclined to keep the design pared-back then consider adding an affordable twist through your towels.

Multicoloured Marks & Spencer bath towels folded up in piles

(Image credit: Marks & Spencer)

How often should you buy new towels?

There's no general rule of thumb when it comes to buying new towels but if your towels are looking a tad threadbare, it may be a good time to invest in some new ones. 

'You should replace your towels every one to two years, but if you buy top quality ones and care for them, carefully following the manufacturer’s instructions, they could well last up to three years,' explain Emily and Jonathan Attwood, Founders of Scooms.

'Once you notice your towel is no longer drying as well as it used to, it’s becoming rough to the touch or it’s not cleaning properly, then it’s time to replace it. Lingering odours, fraying edges and a scratchy feel are all signs that a towel needs replacing and that you’ll need to buy new ones.'

How we selected

Pink bathroom with a bathtub and colourful, patterned towels and bath mat

(Image credit: George Home)

You'll find full details of the Ideal Home review process on our how we test page.

In order to select the best bath towels for this round-up, we've tried and tested bestselling product ranges, done a deep dive into specifications and technical details, quizzed the Ideal Home team for their expert knowledge and experience, and asked friends and family for their top-rated products. 

We also took into account third-party opinions via online reviews and only include products that have a 4-star rating or higher and plenty of positive customer feedback.

Amy Lockwood
Content Editor

After studying Print Design at Winchester School of Art, Amy spent multiple years working in the interior industry as a copywriter, content creator, and product stylist. She’s now Content Editor at Ideal Home, offering expert advice on the best products for decorating your home and ensuring it functions smoothly. That includes sourcing stylish yet affordable furniture – from the best sofa beds for combining style, comfort, and function, to the best artificial Christmas trees for a stress-free festive season – helping our readers to find the best mattress for their sleep style, and testing top-rated dehumidifiers and air purifiers to narrow down the best-in-class.

With contributions from