The 11 Best Beach Towels, According to Lab Testing

We love the plushness of the Clowood Plush Bamboo Cotton beach towel, which is why it earned our best overall ranking. 

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best Beach Towels Tout
Better Homes & Gardens/Dera Burreson

Spending the day at the beach always sounds like a luxurious way to unwind, but the reality of sitting on an uncomfortable towel that's too small, too thin, and covered in sand can completely ruin your plan to relax. Instead of spending your vacation time in discomfort, the best beach towel can provide plush cushioning, absorb water quickly and effectively, and won't collect sand in between the fibers, allowing you to catch some rays in comfort.

We put 34 of the best beach towels to the test in our lab in Des Moines, Iowa, testing each towel's quality, absorbency, softness, and durability after repeated washes. We also took detailed notes on how comfortable each towel was to lie on, its dimensions, and how much sand remained on the towel after being shaken out.

After two days of testing, we chose the Clowood Plush Bamboo Cotton beach towel as the all-around best beach towel because of its thick, luxurious cushioning and how easily it absorbed water.

Here are the best beach towels based on lab testing.

Best Overall: Clowood Plush Bamboo Cotton Beach Towel

Clowood Plush Bamboo Cotton Beach Towel


Why You Should Get It: This beach towel is quite plush, making it super comfortable when lying on sand or hard surfaces.

Keep in Mind: The extra cushioning makes the towel a little heavier than others we tried.

Whether you're drying off after dipping in the pool or lying on a sandy beach, the best beach towel will feel extremely soft and absorb moisture quickly. Our testers fell in love with the thickness of this towel, which earned a perfect score for its overall value and nearly perfect scores on quality, absorbency, and durability.

At 72 inches long by 40 inches wide, it's extra long for wrapping around you after a swim or for stretching out on the beach—especially if you're on the taller side. When testing it on sand, we noticed that it provides plush cushioning against the ground, making the experience more comfortable than a lot of the other towels we tried. And when the time came to pack up, it only took a couple of shakes to get rid of any sand stuck to the beach towel.

When drying off, our testers were surprised by how absorbent the towel was, even though the towel is made of cotton instead of microfiber. We were able to easily dry our hands with it with one swipe, and when cleaning up 1/4 cup of spilled water, the Clowood towel easily absorbed all of the liquid using just one corner of the towel.

Because of its plushness, the Clowood beach towel is slightly heavy compared to others we tried. If you're planning to pack it for a trip or carry it around for long periods of time, keep this in mind—but our testers still found it worth it, given how cozy it is.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 72 x 40 inches
  • Material: Cotton and bamboo
  • Color Options: Four

Related: The Top 10 Products Our Readers Loved Most in 2021

Clowood Plush Bamboo Cotton Beach Towel
Better Homes & Gardens/Dera Burreson

Best Sand-Free: NovForth Oversized Microfiber Sand-Free Beach Towel

NovForth Oversized Microfiber Sand Free Beach Towel


Why You Should Get It: This towel remained super soft and vibrant with no shrinkage, even after washing.

Keep in Mind: It's not as plush as some of the other towels we tried.

Almost every trip to the beach is inevitably followed by weeks of cleaning sand out of your car seats, your shower, and your floors at home. If you're traveling with a fluffy, loosely woven towel, it can be difficult to shake all of the sand out and avoid tracking debris over the house.

This Novforth Oversized beach towel had perfect scores on nearly all of our lab tests, but it especially wowed our experts by how very little sand got stuck to the fibers. The few particles of sand that did stay on the towel were super easy to brush off or shake out in just a few seconds.

We also liked the texture and absorbancy of this towel—though it's made from microfiber, which some testers disliked compared to cotton, the towel was still quite soft and comfortable to use. It soaked up water quickly and effortlessly, earning a five-star rating in this category.

Plus, the towel remained equally cozy and absorbent after running it through the wash, so it'll continue to feel like new even after you've used it for a while.

If you're planning to pack your beach towel for a trip, the Novforth sand-free towel is quite lightweight and easy to fold up, so it won't take up a ton of space in your luggage. However, testers did wish that the towel was slightly more plush; its lightweight design makes it a little less comfortable to lie on than some of the other options we tested.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 73 x 41 inches
  • Material: Microfiber
  • Color Options: 10
  • NovForth Oversized Beach Towel
    Better Homes & Gardens/Dera Burreson

Best Set: Better Homes & Gardens Cabana Beach Towels, Assorted 4 Pack

Better Homes & Gardens Cabana Beach Towels, Assorted 4 Pack


Why You Should Get It: The plush texture of these beach towels provides a comfy spot for relaxing on the beach while repelling sand.

Keep in Mind: These towels weren't as absorbent as others we tested.

Get the whole family vacation-ready with our set of four towels, which earned the title of best beach towel set during our tests. Our Better Homes & Gardens plush towels are designed to provide extra cushioning when relaxing in the sun while also repelling sand and wicking away moisture.

During testing, our team of experts gave a perfect rating for the texture of these towels, which is slightly rougher on top and softer on the bottom. This allows you to use the rough side for drying off and the softer side for lying on the beach.

Our testers also noted the towels' durability, which didn't snag or fray after washing, and that their bright colors didn't seem to fade. We liked the small hanging loop in one corner of the towels, which makes them easy to hang up when not in use.

After laying this towel out on the sand, we found that its tightly woven fibers made it very effective at keeping sand at bay. Very few grains of sand actually stayed on the towel when we picked it up, and after shaking it out a couple of times, all the sand particles came right out. This means you don't have to worry about accidentally tracking debris from the beach into your car or house.

When we tried drying our hands on these towels, they were extremely absorbent and removed all moisture from our hands in just one attempt. However, after running the towels through the wash and testing them again, our testers noticed that it took a few extra pats this time to absorb water from their hands. While drying off was still pretty effortless, we found that several of the other towels (particularly microfiber towels) received higher ratings on this test.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 72 x 38 inches
  • Material: Cotton
  • Color Options: Two

Related: 12 Best Bath Towels for a Spa-Like Experience Every Day

Better Homes & Gardens Cabana Beach Towels, Set of 4
Better Homes & Gardens/Dera Burreson

Best Microfiber: Elite Trend Microfiber Lightweight Beach Towel

Microfiber Lightweight Beach Towel


Why You Should Get It: This towel has a zippered storage bag for easy carrying and a loop to hang it up to dry.

Keep in Mind: The reverse side of this towel is completely white, which may stain more quickly when used repeatedly on sand or grass.

When it comes to absorbing liquids, microfiber is known for being one of the most quick and effective fabrics—and the Elite Trend Microfiber beach towel is no different. When our testers used this towel for drying their hands, they mentioned how soft and absorbent it was, wicking water away in just one swipe.

We noticed that this towel is quite thin—don't expect it to provide much cushioning when placed on the sand—but it was surprisingly good at absorbing water. During our tests, we placed it in a small bowl filled with water, and the towel soaked up all but a few drops in just three minutes.

The Elite Trend towel is extra large to provide added space on the beach for relaxation; at 78 inches long by 35 inches wide, it's tied for the longest towel we tested. However, the added dimensions don't mean sacrificing precious space in your beach bag. The towel includes a compact zipper pouch for easy transportation (though our testers noted it took a few tries to fit the towel inside the pouch).

It also passed the durability tests in our lab, and the towel came out of the wash looking and feeling just like new. Our testers didn't note any shrinkage, stains, or change in its absorbency. However, since the back of this towel is all white, it may begin to fade or show stains over time as it is exposed to sand and dirt.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 78 x 35 inches
  • Material: Microfiber
  • Color Options: 23
  • Elite Trend Microfiber Beach Towel
    Better Homes & Gardens/Dera Burreson

Best Luxury: Anthropologie Out to Sea Beach Towel

Anthropologie Out To Sea Beach Towel


Why You Should Get It: This towel is extremely soft to the touch and was one of the most effective towels we tested at absorbing water.

Keep in Mind: This towel is too short for users over 5 feet 8 inches tall to lie down on, unless you're fine with your head or feet not being on the towel.

Made from cotton velour, this stunning luxury beach towel is more than just a pretty beach accessory—during testing, the Anthropologie Out to Sea beach towel stood out for its softness and absorption. In fact, our home experts had very few critiques about this towel in general.

Both before and after washing, the towel's quality stood out to our testers. It's extremely durable, meaning you can run it through the wash after every use without worrying about the colors fading, the edges fraying, or the towel shrinking. It effectively soaked up all the water from the bowl when we tested it, and we were able to dry our hands on it in just one swipe.

In addition to being extremely plush, the Out to Sea towel doesn't cling to sand particles, so when it's time to go home, you'll easily be able to shake all the sand out of your towel without bringing any of it into your car or suitcase.

The only downside to this towel is its size; while it's perfectly sized for children and individuals under 5 feet 8 inches in height, taller users won't be able to lie on the towel without their legs hanging off the end.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 68 x 35 inches
  • Material: Cotton
  • Color Options: 1

Related: The Best Patio Furniture to Upgrade Your Outdoor Space This Summer

Anthropologie Out to Sea Beach Towel
Better Homes & Gardens/Dera Burreson

Best for Travel: Dock & Bay Cabana Microfiber Beach Towel

Dock & Bay Towel

Courtesy of Amazon

Why You Should Buy It: This towel condenses into small spaces easily and comes with a convenient drawstring bag, making it easy to pack for travel.

Keep in Mind: It didn't absorb water as easily as other towels we tested.

When you're packing for a vacation, every inch of space in your suitcase has to count. Packing a bulky beach towel (even if it's comfortable) means sacrificing room for clothes, shoes, or other important travel accessories.

The Dock & Bay Cabana beach towel is the perfect option for travel because its lightweight design allows you to store it in your backpack, suitcase, or carry-on without monopolizing precious space. The towel comes with a drawstring bag so you can fold up the towel and store it inside to further condense it.

Our testers noted that this towel feels extremely soft on the skin, making it great for drying off after a day at the beach or a dip in the pool. It's pretty lightweight, so it's easy to carry if you have a long walk to the beach. Plus, the microfiber material is made from 100% recycled material.

This eye-catching beach towel comes in a rainbow of colors and two different sizes to choose from: large (63 x 35 inches) and extra-large (78 x 35 inches).

One thing to note about this towel is that it wasn't as good at absorbing standing water during our testing. While it works great for drying off, you may find it less effective at drying when you're soaking wet than other towels.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 63 x 35 inches (large) and 78 x 35 inches (extra-large)
  • Material: Microfiber
  • Color Options: 47

Related: We Put 30 of the Best Steam Irons to the Test—But These 9 Are Actually Worth Buying

Dock & Bay Cabana Microfiber Beach Towel
Better Homes & Gardens/Dera Burreson

Best Thin: Venture Large Sand-Free Beach Towel

 Venture Large Sand-Free Beach Towel


Why You Should Get It: The tightly woven microfiber material makes this beach towel repel sand and absorb water easily.

Keep in Mind: Because of its lightweight design, it doesn't provide much cushioning against the sand.

If you're a tall person, you're probably used to household items being too short for you—whether that's the length of your bed, the height of your vacuum, or the hem of your jeans. However, the added length and width on this Venture microfiber beach towel allows you to enjoy the sun and surf without your feet hanging off the end.

At 78 inches long and 35 inches wide, this beach towel is the largest one we tested, but its absorbency and handy features are what really made this option stand out. During lab testing, our experts were shocked by how easily the Venture beach towel soaked up standing water—it absorbed 1/4 cup of water in just two minutes.

We also loved the built-in clip on one corner of the towel, which makes it super easy to hang up to dry. And although the Venture beach towel is extra long, it comes with a handy carrying bag that compresses the towel down to be about 7 inches long and 3 inches wide. This means there's more room in your beach bag for snacks, SPF, or the latest book you're reading.

Even after washing this towel, our testers found it to be incredibly soft to the touch and just as effective at swiping away moisture as it had been when newly purchased.

Compared to other beach towels we tried, the Venture towel was pretty thin; our experts found that it provided very little cushioning when laid out on sand. However, given the price, testers still considered this product to be a great purchase.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 78 x 35 inches
  • Material: Microfiber
  • Color Options: Six
  • Venture 4th Extra-Large Microfiber Beach Towel
    Better Homes & Gardens/Dera Burreson

Best Monogrammed: Mark & Graham Classic Stripe Beach Towel

Mark & Graham Classic Stripe Beach Towel

Mark & Graham

Why You Should Get It: You can choose between six towel colors and monogram font styles to truly set your beach towel apart from the crowd.

Keep in Mind: This towel is a bit bulky when folded, so it's not great for travel.

Adding a personal flair to your beach towel allows you to better express your style while making it easier to identify your belongings on a crowded sandbar. These monogrammed beach towels by Mark & Graham come in six different colors, but you can further customize them by adding your name, initials, or a fun message.

There are plenty of fonts, styles, and text colors to choose from, allowing you to fully personalize it to your personal style. But the Mark & Graham towels offer more than just aesthetics—they were one of the highest-rated beach towels in our lab tests.

Our lab experts were surprised by the thickness and quality of these monogrammed towels, which provided excellent cushioning against the sand. When our testers shook them out, they found that it was easy to get all the sand particles out and avoid bringing debris with you after leaving the beach.

During the absorption tests, we found that the Mark & Graham monogrammed towels soaked up standing water in a matter of seconds. When drying our hands, we only needed to use a small corner of the towel, and all the moisture wiped off effortlessly.

Even after washing, these towels remained bright, absorbent, and soft to the touch. Our testers noted that the tassels on each end of the towel became a bit tangled in the wash though, so you'll need to comb them out with your fingers every time you wash it.

We also found that the Mark & Graham towels are quite thick, making them difficult to fold up and fit into a beach bag or suitcase. Because of this, they aren't great for traveling, especially if you have limited storage space on your trip.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 72 x 40 inches
  • Material: Cotton
  • Color Options: Six
  • Mark & Graham Classic Stripe Beach Towel
    Better Homes & Gardens/Dera Burreson

Best Comfortable: Laguna Beach Textile Company Round Cabana Beach Towel

beach towel

Laguna Beach Textile Company

Why You Should Get It: This beach towel is extremely durable even after washing, and it came out of the wash just as bright and soft to the touch as it had been when it was brand new.

Keep in Mind: This towel felt a bit heavy to our testers.

If your idea of a relaxing day at the beach involves stretching out on a towel and reading or napping for hours at a time, you'll likely want a beach towel that provides extra cushioning to keep you comfortable on the uneven sand.

Our testers specifically noted how soft and cozy the Laguna Beach Cabana beach towel was to use. At 630 GSM (grams per square meter), it's extra thick, providing a similar lushness you might expect from a luxury hotel bath towel.

The added thickness also helps this towel absorb water, and during our tests we found that it absorbed water and dried our hands effortlessly in just a few seconds. The edges are reinforced with a durable border that helps the Laguna Beach towel maintain its quality without fraying, even after multiple washes.

Plus, the beach towel is longer than a standard beach towel at 70 inches by 35 inches, so you'll have plenty of space to relax by the waves. The only downside is its weight—since it's such a thick towel, it's also a bit heavy compared to others we tested, which may weigh you down if you have a long walk to get to the beach.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 70 x 35 inches
  • Material: Cotton
  • Color Options: 9
Laguna Beach Textile Company Striped Cabana Beach Towel
Better Homes & Gardens

Best Turkish: Kassatex Block Pareo Fouta Beach Towels

Kassatex Block Pareo Fouta Beach Towel


Why You Should Get It: This towel is extremely absorbent and quick-drying while remaining lightweight.

Keep in Mind: Some shoppers may dislike the thin, non-traditional feel of this beach towel.

Turkish towels are an extremely popular style of beach towel because of how absorbent, durable, and lightweight they can be, and the Kassatex Block Pareo beach towel is no exception. The tightly woven cotton fibers easily repel sand while allowing the towel to absorb moisture effortlessly, so you can dry off without dragging home a bunch of sand particles.

We also love how lightweight and packable this Turkish beach towel is—though it's surprisingly plush, it remains quite easy to fold up and store in a bag or suitcase. It also dries quickly, so you don't have to carry around a sopping wet towel after drying off.

Our testers found the Kassatex beach towel to be exceptionally good at absorbing water, and it received nearly perfect scores in our lab on these tests. Even though it's quite thin compared to other towels we tested, the Turkish towel dried our hands with no problem and only left a couple of water droplets in the bowl after soaking up standing water.

When it came to quality, our testers were even more impressed.

"This towel instantly feels like luxury," one of our experts said when reviewing the Kassatex towel's quality. "It is plush, has two textures and is incredibly soft on both sides even after soaking it. The seams and fabric are high premium quality; I would buy this for my next beach trip."

The only thing to keep in mind with this towel is that it won't feel like a traditional, fluffy beach towel—its thin design may throw off users who were expecting a thick and loosely woven towel. While this certainly isn't a downside, shoppers looking for a more classic beach towel might prefer other options.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 70 x 40 inches
  • Material: Cotton
  • Color Options: Five

Related: This Turkish Cotton Towel Set Has 19,600 Perfect Ratings and It's on Sale for Less Than $25

Kassatex Block Pareo Fouta Beach Towel
Better Homes & Gardens/Dera Burreson

Best Round: All Around Giant Circle Beach Towel

4.1 All Around Giant Circle Towel


Why You Should Get It: This round beach towel seats multiple people at once without feeling cramped.

Keep in Mind: The rough underside of this towel traps sand, so you'll want to shake it out thoroughly after using.

If you're heading to the beach with your family or a group of friends, having a large round beach towel makes it easier to sit together without sand coming through the spaces between your towels. Our testers liked the All Around Giant Circle towel because of how soft and comfortable it was to use while remaining super absorbent and functional.

When placed in a bowl of standing water, we found that the round beach towel soaked up all of the water almost immediately, and it dried our hands in just a few pats. Even after running it through the wash, we found the towel to be just as absorbent as before.

Our testers also noted this beach towel's quality, which felt super soft and held up surprisingly well after being run through the wash. Even the tassels around the edges remained in perfect condition without frays or snags. We also loved the fun watermelon design, which features bright colors that didn't fade over time (and you'll be able to shop this towel in other shapes like a flower and a monstera leaf, too!).

This style of beach towel is great for seating multiple people, but it's a bit small if you're looking to lie down on it—at 5 feet in diameter, most adults won't be able to lie on it without their head or feet hanging off the end. We also found that the rough underside of the towel tends to trap sand in its fibers, so you'll need to shake it out well before packing up.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 60 inches in diameter
  • Material: Cotton
  • Color Options: Four All Around Giant Circle Towel
Better Homes & Gardens/Dera Burreson

The Bottom Line

After extensively testing some of the most popular beach towels on the market, our top pick for the best beach towel is the Clowood Plush Bamboo Cotton beach towel, which wowed us with its soft texture and superior ability to absorb water.

If you prefer a microfiber beach towel, we also recommend the Elite Trend Microfiber beach towel, which has extra-large dimensions and a convenient carrying bag for easy transport.

Our Testing Process

We spent two days putting the best beach towels to the test in our home testing lab in Des Moines, Iowa. During testing, our team of experts reviewed each towel for quality, size, absorbency, durability, and texture.

To do this, we laid out each towel on a bed of sand, sat or laid on it to see how much cushion the towel provided, then shook the towel out to test how much sand remained embedded in the fibers. Our testers also determined each towel's absorbency by placing it in a small bowl filled with 1/4 cup of water and by drying their hands on it.

Finally, we ran the towels through the wash, then went through each of the steps again to see if the towel had shrunk, unraveled, or decreased in quality in any way. Testers ranked each towel in every category on a scale from one to five, and we used these insights to compile a list of the best beach towels.

Dock & Bay Cabana Microfiber Beach Towel
Better Homes & Gardens/Dera Burreson

What to Know About Beach Towels Before Shopping

When it comes to buying the right beach towel, you'll want to find a towel that's absorbent, comfortable, affordable, and large enough to lie on without getting sandy. Keep the following things in mind as you're shopping for the best beach towels.


Whether you're 5 feet tall or 6 feet 5 inches, it's important to find a beach towel that's long and wide enough to fit your entire body while remaining portable enough to pack in your suitcase or beach bag. The average beach towel is around 30 inches wide by 60 inches long, though it depends on the brand you choose to purchase from. Many of the oversized beach towels we tested came with a handy carrying bag, allowing you to easily fold and store your towels on the go.


The best beach towels tend to come in two main material types: cotton and microfiber. Cotton beach towels are extremely plush, providing a cushioned barrier between you and the hard sand. Many people prefer the texture of a cotton towel over a microfiber one. However, cotton towels tend to be more expensive than microfiber ones, and since they're less tightly woven, it can be harder to shake out all of the sand before leaving the beach.


When considering what material you'd like your beach towel to be made from, you'll also need to consider the absorbency of that material. Microfiber beach towels tend to be the most absorbent, soaking up standing water in a matter of minutes and allowing you to dry off very quickly. Some shoppers might prefer the texture of a cotton towel, and during our tests we found several cotton beach towels that offered similar absorbency to a microfiber towel.

Kalkedon Turkish Towe
Better Homes & Gardens/Dera Burreson

Other Beach Towels We Tested

Serena and Lily Mallorca Beach Towel

Our testers loved the absorbency and material quality of the Mallorca Turkish beach towel. During our tests, it received perfect scores when soaking up standing water and drying off moisture from our hands. The texture and softness of the towel was extremely plush, making it a great cushion against rough surfaces like sand. However, we found this towel to be a little pricey, with many less-expensive options offering similar quality and function.

Pottery Barn Classic Awning Striped Organic Beach Towel

We found the quality and durability of the Classic Awning Striped Organic beach towel to be quite impressive during our lab tests. When comparing the material, absorption, and texture of the towels before and after running it through the wash, this beach towel remained soft and just like new. Its dimensions (72 inches long and 40 inches wide) make it great for even taller users to lie on the beach without their feet hanging off. We wished the Classic Awning towel was more absorbent, as we found several other less-expensive towels that soaked up water more efficiently.

Rainleaf Microfiber Towel

The Rainleaf Microfiber beach towel was quite absorbent during our tests, removing water from our testers' hands in just one swipe and soaking up standing water with similar ease. We also found it to be quite lightweight, making it great for travel, and one tester even noted that they'd love to use it as a yoga towel, too. However, its dimensions are a little small compared to some of the other beach towels we tried, and we wish it was a bit thicker to provide added cushion on the sand.

Tesalate Bora Bora Sand-Free
Better Homes & Gardens/Dera Burreson

Your Questions, Answered

What size is an oversized beach towel?

Though it depends on the manufacturer, most average beach towels are 30 inches wide by 60 inches long. However, to accommodate taller users (or provide more space for snacking, sunbathing, or drying off), you can find oversized beach towels as large as 75 inches long and 43 inches wide.

What material is best for a beach towel?

If comfort is the most important feature in choosing the best beach towel for you, you'll be able to find plenty of plush cotton towels that provide superior cushioning against the rough sand. However, you can also consider microfiber beach towels, which tend to absorb water better than cotton, though the material can be thinner and less comfortable when spread out on the beach.

Laguna Beach Textile Co. Striped Cabana Beach Towe
Better Homes & Gardens/Dera Burreson

Who We Are

Samantha Jones is an associate commerce home editor, writing about the best products for your home including stick vacuums, window air conditioners, indoor and outdoor hammocks, and more. To write this story, Samantha spent a week researching the best beach towels, making note of important features in a quality beach towel, and comparing this information to insights collected from our lab tests in Des Moines, Iowa.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles