The 10 Best Bath Towels for Plushness, Absorbency, and Durability, According to Testing

Our favorite is the Havly Classic bath towel, which is super absorbent and plush without feeling heavy.

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Bath Towels Testing
Better Home & Gardens / Henry Wortock

A plush bath towel can make your morning shower feel like a trip to a fancy spa. When shopping for the best bath towels to elevate your daily routine, you'll want to look for options that are soft to the touch, ultra-absorbent, and durable enough to last through multiple washes without fading or becoming scratchy. However, with tons of different brands, materials, and styles on the market, it can be difficult to know which type of bath towel is right for you.

According to Whitney Thornburg, design director at Coyuchi, one of the most important factors to look for in a bath towel is its absorbency.

"If a towel doesn't dry you off post shower, it's not doing its job," Thornburg says. "Many companies add chemical softeners to towels to give it a super soft feel, but that can reduce the towel's absorbency. A great way to check this is to spill a bit of water onto your towel. It should immediately be absorbed—not pill or bead on the towel."

Our team of experts spent two days in our lab in Des Moines, Iowa, putting the best bath towels on the market to the test. We thoroughly evaluated them based on their texture and plushness, used them to soak up water spills, then threw them in the wash to see if they lost quality over time. After testing 31 different towels, including Turkish towels, cotton towels, and bath sheets, we created a complete list of the best bath towels worth purchasing.

We selected the Havly Classic Bath Towel as our best overall bath towel because of its superior absorbency and extremely plush, inviting texture. Here is our full list of the best bath towels, based on our testing:

What We Recommend

Best Overall: Havly Classic Bath Towel

Bath Towels
Courtesy of Havly

Why You Should Get It: This towel is plush and absorbent without being heavy.

Keep in Mind: It's not as thick as other bath towels, so people looking for a high-GSM (grams per square meter) option may not like this one as much.

Whether you're wiping up water or drying off after a relaxing shower, the Havly Classic Bath Towel is an extremely absorbent yet lightweight option. In lab testing, our testers found the texture of this cotton towel to be plush and luxurious, with densely packed loops that give it a high-quality texture.

Given its slimmer size, we were shocked by how easily it soaked up standing water. The Havly towel had no trouble completely absorbing 1/4 cup of water from a bowl in just 10 seconds—the fastest time out of all the bath towels we tested. When we dried our hands on it, it even wiped moisture away in a single swipe.

The towel is intentionally split into two sections: the bottom part is extra absorbent and quick-drying, allowing you to towel off quickly, while the top two-thirds of this towel is ultra soft and squishy for comfortably drying your face and hands. Our testers also loved the sturdy towel loop, which makes it super easy to hang up the towel after you're done using it.

Its size made the Havly towel stand out from other bath towels we tested, too. At 30 inches wide by 58 inches long, it's larger than traditional bath towels (meaning there's more surface area to absorb liquid), but it's not overwhelmingly large like many bath sheets. Even after washing, this towel remained the same size, so you won't have to worry about it shrinking or losing its softness over time.

After testing the Havly bath towel in her home for an entire month, one of our testers raved about the thoughtful design and comfortable plushness this towel possessed:

"This is my go-to towel after showering, and possibly the first bath towel I have ever actually loved," our tester said. "The loop in the middle of the towel has actually made life easier for me; usually my towels fall off of my towel hook and need to be cleaned sooner because they don't dry properly on the floor. That doesn't happen with this towel!"

People who are accustomed to an especially thick, high-GSM towel may find this option to be a little too thin for their liking. Our testers found the size and lightweight design of the towel to be a huge asset, but other shoppers may have different opinions.

Price at time of publish: $65

Product Details:

Dimensions: 30 x 58 inches | Material: Cotton | GSM: Not listed | Colors: Eight (The towels are white, but you can choose between eight colors to customize the color of the towel loop and logo tag.)

Bath Towels Testing
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Best Budget: Better Homes & Gardens Signature Soft Rain Texture Bath Towel

Bath Towels
Courtesy of Walmart

Why You Should Get It: This towel remained just as soft, absorbent, and vibrant after washing, making it durable for years to come.

Keep in Mind: It's not as plush as a luxury hotel-quality towel.

Though updating your linen closet with brand-new bath towels can sound like a costly endeavor, it doesn't alway have to be. Our Better Homes & Gardens Signature Soft Rain Texture Bath Towel aced lab testing despite the budget-friendly price point, earning our testers' praise as the perfect towel for family bathrooms.

We designed this bath towel to have one textured side for better absorption and a smooth side for drying your face and hands without irritation. It has a looser weave than some of the other towels we tested, allowing it to feel fluffy and soft without being too heavy. Our testers also found that the towel was quite absorbent, soaking up standing water in one minute and drying our hands in just one swipe.

Even after washing, the Better Homes & Gardens Signature Soft towel remained cozy and soft, meaning it's durable enough to handle frequent wash cycles without losing quality. In fact, this cotton towel will become squishier over time—after a few washes, the loft will increase for an even fluffier texture than when it's brand-new.

Each towel is also treated with IntelliFresh, an odor-blocking textile treatment that minimizes bacteria and helps eliminate smells. This means you won't have to worry about your towel smelling musty over time.

According to our testers, this bath towel is a great choice for families since it's cost-effective, ultra-absorbent, and long-lasting.

Price at time of publish: $52

Product Details:

Dimensions: 30 x 56 inches | Material: Cotton and viscose | GSM: Not listed | Colors: Nine

Bath Towels Testing
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Best Luxury: Calla Angel Luxe Chain Superior 1000 Gram Egyptian Cotton Bath Towel

Bath Towels
Courtesy of Calla Angel

Why You Should Get It: The intricate stitching and densely woven cotton material makes this bath towel feel extremely high-quality.

Keep in Mind: It's not as absorbent as other towels we tested.

Make your daily shower a spa-like experience every time by splurging for this luxury hotel-quality bath towel. Made from Egyptian cotton, this ultra-plush towel features a colorful embroidered chain pattern near the edge of one side, adding an elegant pop of color to the material.

When closely examining the bath towel in our lab, we found that it had a flawless finish with no snags, frays, or warped edges. It was extremely squishy and soft to the touch and had a very dense weave that made it instantly feel high-quality. One tester mentioned these towels would make the perfect wedding gift, given their eye-catching embroidery.

The towel also held up after running it through a wash and dry cycle. It remained just as soft and cozy as it had been before being washed, though our testers noted that the embroidery seemed to attract a lot of lint. Its dimensions were exactly the same before and after washing, so you won't have to worry about this towel shrinking.

While the Calla Angel bath towel was reasonably absorptive, it didn't blow us away. It took a couple of wipes with the towel to dry our hands, and when placed in a bowl of standing water, there was still some moisture left at the bottom of the bowl after several minutes. However, if you're mainly planning to use this to dry off after a shower—not to wipe up large water spills or wrap around long hair—it's plenty absorbent.

"This bath towel is the most luxurious and fluffy I've ever used," our tester raved after using it every day for a month. "I appreciate that it's larger than the standard bath towel size, which makes it more comfortable to lounge in or wear as I get ready. It's also much softer and thicker than the towels I'm used to using, which has helped to cut down on my drying time a bit."

Price at time of publish: $46

Product Details:

Dimensions: 31 x 63 inches | Material: Egyptian cotton | GSM: 1,000 | Colors: Three (The towels are white, but you can choose between three colors of chain embroidery.)

Bath Towels Testing
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Best Turkish: Serena & Lily Fouta Bath Collection Bath Towel

Bath Towels
Courtesy of Serena & Lily

Why You Should Get It: This towel has a smooth, woven front paired with an extra-absorbent terry cloth underside.

Keep in Mind: Our testers found that the towel had a few (barely visible) uneven threads when examining it closely.

Turkish bath towels are extremely popular because of their sleek, lightweight design and incredibly absorbent capabilities. During testing, our experts loved the Serena & Lily bath towel, which combined the woven striped appearance and superior absorbency of Turkish towels with the softness of a traditional towel.

It's woven from Turkish cotton, a type of cotton with extra-long fibers that make it both absorbent and fast-drying. The flat weave allows it to remain super thin without sacrificing absorption capability, and the yarn-dyed design makes this bath towel stand out in your linen closet. Our testers noted that this towel felt particularly luxurious and high-quality compared to others they'd tested.

In the lab, the Serena & Lily Fouta bath towel quickly dried off our testers' hands in just one wipe when using the terry cloth side. (The smooth side was less absorbent and took several swipes to remove moisture). When placed in a bowl of standing water, the towel soaked up most of the water in just one minute.

One of our testers noted that this Turkish bath towel completely changed her opinion about bath towels, since she'd always found them to be too thin for her liking. However, the combination of soft terry cloth on the back and the smooth woven front made her eager to recommend this towel to others.

Upon close examination, we did find a few threads in the towel that appeared slightly uneven when first taken out of the package. However, the towel didn't shrink, and these strands didn't unravel after washing, so we weren't worried about it losing its quality more quickly than other towels.

Price at time of publish: $48

Product Details:

Dimensions: 30 x 56 inches | Material: Turkish cotton | GSM: 420 | Colors: Three

Bath Towels Testing
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Best Waffle: Casaluna Waffle Bath Towel

Bath Towels
Courtesy of Target

Why You Should Get It: This towel was very squishy and absorbent, shocking our testers by its budget-friendly price point.

Keep in Mind: It doesn't have the traditional soft feel that some shoppers may prefer.

Damp bath towels can quickly become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, which is why it's important to find a towel that dries quickly and won't hold excess moisture in its fibers. Waffle bath towels have a textured design that makes them great at absorbing water while drying out super quickly, and our testers chose the Casaluna towel as the best waffle bath towel out of all the options we tested.

It had no trouble drying our testers' hands in just one pass, and we found that compared to other towels, it hardly seemed damp after wiping our hands on it. When placed in a bowl with standing water, it easily absorbed all of the moisture in under one minute.

The lightweight, slim design makes this bath towel super easy to hang up on a towel rack or store in a linen closet when not in use. However, its compact size didn't feel too slim or cheap to our testers; they were shocked by its low price point given the quality of the materials and squishiness of the towel.

Shoppers who want a traditional, fluffy bath towel may not like the texture of this waffle towel, since it's thinner and less soft than a traditional bath towel. While our long-term tester loved the appearance of the Casaluna towel, she disliked how the waffle texture felt compared to a traditional bath towel and found it less absorbent, even though it performed just fine in our lab tests.

Price at time of publish: $15

Product Details:

Dimensions: 30 x 56 inches | Material: Cotton | GSM: 450 | Colors: Six

best bath towels
Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens / Henry Wortock

Best Plush: Frontgate Resort Collection Bath Towel

Bath Towels
Courtesy of Frontgate

Why You Should Get It: The fluffy texture of this bath towel reminded our testers of a luxurious spa every time they used it.

Keep in Mind: It wasn't as absorbent as our testers expected, given its plushness.

The last thing you probably want to do after getting out of a refreshing bath or shower is to dry off with a rough, crunchy towel—which is why our testers raved over the softness of the Frontgate Resort Collection bath towel. With a GSM of 700, this towel is one of the plushest and most comfortable we tested, making your daily shower feel like a relaxing experience.

It's made of long-staple Turkish cotton, which allows the towel to feel quite thick and pillowy when you press into it. Our testers noted that it effortlessly absorbed moisture when they dried their hands on it, and even the embroidered border at the ends of the towel felt soft. It absorbed standing water quite easily, too, though not as well as some of the other towels we tested.

The Frontgate Resort Collection towel's durability was also surprising. After an entire month of routine machine washing and drying, our long-term tester reported that the towel remained super plush and comfortable to use. There were no frayed edges, snags in the fabric, or telltale signs of wear and tear, making us confident that it'll last for years to come.

Our testers also enjoyed the added length of the Frontgate Resort Collection towel, which is 30 inches wide by 58 inches long and makes it easier to wrap around yourself when drying off.

"I love the oversized feel, it is more luxurious than my other towels," our long-term tester said after using this towel at home for an entire month. "Is it worth the splurge? Maybe, if you want that spa experience at home.

Price at time of publish: $42 for graphite bath towel

Product Details:

Dimensions: 30 x 58 inches | Material: Turkish cotton | GSM: 700 | Colors: 25

Bath Towels Testing
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Best Absorbent: Riley Spa Towel Collection Bath Towel

Bath Towels
Courtesy of Riley

Why You Should Get It: This towel instantly dried our testers' hands in one swipe and quickly absorbed standing water in our tests.

Keep in Mind: Our testers were concerned that the hanging loop might stretch out over time.

Without a doubt, the Riley Spa Towel was the most absorbent bath towel we tested in our lab. Even when removing water from our testers' soaked hands, it easily absorbed all the excess moisture in a matter of seconds while barely becoming damp itself. When placed in a bowl with standing water, the towel was able to absorb every last drop in a matter of minutes.

Our testers noted that it has a very dense weave, giving it a pleasant texture and making it quite comfortable to use. It's made from two-ply Egyptian cotton, which makes it quite thick and durable. It held up perfectly after multiple washes without fraying, getting fuzzy, or shrinking. When washed at home, our long-term tester found that the Riley Spa Towel dries significantly faster than other towels she owned, making her more confident that it wouldn't grow bacteria when hung up to dry.

Unlike many towels, there wasn't any design in the fabric or even an embroidered strip at each end, so it has a very simplistic appearance. Our testers also loved that it has a convenient hanging loop at one end of the towel, making it easy to hang dry on a hook without worrying about it falling on the floor constantly.

While we didn't notice any damage to the hanging loop after one month of continuous testing, our experts noted that it seemed like the loop may stretch out easily over time. Since our tester mainly hung it on a towel rack, we couldn't determine whether or not this would actually be the case.

Price at time of publish: $20

Product Details:

Dimensions: 30 x 58 inches | Material: Egyptian cotton | GSM: Not listed | Colors: 10

Bath Towels Testing
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Best Set: White Classic Luxury Cotton Bath Towels, Set of Four

Bath Towels
Courtesy of Amazon

Why You Should Get It: This set of four towels feels high-quality and holds up well over time, despite repeated washes.

Keep in Mind: The towels are thick, so they'll take up more space when stored.

Upgrade your entire linen closet by purchasing a matching set of cozy, high-quality bath towels. In our tests, our experts found that the White Classic Luxury Cotton Bath Towels performed exceptionally well, and they were surprised by the quality of these towels for the price. They noted that the tightly woven cotton felt very soft, including the embroidered stripe at the end of the towel, making it very inviting to use.

One of our long-term testers said that she actually liked these towels so much that she got rid of all the other bath towels her family owned and now uses this set almost exclusively.

"The towel is a little larger than the standard size, making it great for both adults and children," our tester said. "The absorbency is very good, and, even though it is slightly thicker, the towel usually dries pretty quickly. The texture is very soft, and the quality really hasn't diminished, despite repeated washings."

Another tester mentioned that she wanted to purchase a set for her guest bathroom after seeing how well they performed in lab testing. The towel easily removed water from our hands in just a couple of seconds, and it soaked up standing water from the bowl almost instantly.

At 700 GSM, each towel is quite thick and hefty, making them extremely comfortable to use but also slightly more difficult to store. Shoppers who want a lightweight, space-saving towel may want to purchase a thinner towel.

Price at time of publish: $40

Product Details:

Dimensions: 27 x 54 inches | Material: Cotton | GSM: 700 | Colors: 14

Bath Towels Testing
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Best Bath Sheets: Coyuchi Temescal Organic Towel

Bath Towels
Courtesy of Coyuchi

Why You Should Get It: This bath sheet is significantly longer than the average bath towel, so there's plenty of room for drying off or wrapping around you after a shower.

Keep in Mind: It won't dry out as easily when hung on a hook, so we recommend hanging it on a towel rack after use.

Some people prefer a bath sheet over a bath towel, since the sheet has extra length that makes it easier to dry off with or wrap around your body after a shower. We really liked the quality and performance of the Coyuchi Temescal organic towel, which had impeccable construction and a soft, squishy texture that appealed to our testers.

The bath sheet is made from thick, organic cotton yarn, but it doesn't feel heavy like a traditional bath towel. Instead, it's incredibly lightweight and quick-drying, so you won't have to worry about your damp towel becoming a breeding ground for bacteria. In our lab tests, the Coyuchi bath sheet almost instantly absorbed standing water, and it only took a few quick pats to remove excess moisture from our hands when drying them on the towel.

Our experts called this bath sheet "luxury hotel quality" even after being run through the washer and dryer because it remained just as plush and absorbent as it had been brand-new. After an entire month of testing the Coyuchi bath sheet in her home, our long-term tester found it to be the softest towel she'd ever used.

"This towel's color is beautiful and vibrant, and it's just as soft and absorbent as I would expect from a towel in this price range," she said. "I like it so much that I'm actually considering getting the matching hand towels for my bathroom."

The tester recommends hanging the bath sheet to dry on a towel rack rather than a hook; because of its extra length, it doesn't dry as easily unless it's spread out.

Price at time of publish: $238

Product Details:

Dimensions: 39 x 71 inches | Material: Cotton | GSM: 600 | Colors: Five

Bath Towels Testing
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Best for Kids: Hotel Collection Ultimate Micro Cotton Bath Towel

Bath Towels
Courtesy of Macy's

Why You Should Get It: This bath towel is extremely soft to use but remains durable against multiple washes and frequent use.

Keep in Mind: Its design is quite basic, so people shopping for a luxury bath towel may not be as impressed by its appearance.

When stocking the linen closet with the best towels for the whole family, there's a lot to keep in mind. You'll likely want to buy towels that are durable enough to last a long time and handle a decent amount of wear and tear without spending a fortune. Depending on the age of your children, you may also want to consider the towel's size, since an extra thick or oversized towel may be too cumbersome for little hands to hang up.

Our testers found the Hotel Collection Ultimate Micro Cotton Bath Towel to be the best bath towel for kids, given its durability, absorbency, and cozy plushness. The towel is made from 100 percent cotton and comes in 13 different colors, so there are plenty of hues to match your current bathroom design. Our testers even found that the towel doesn't bleed or fade when washed, so you won't have to worry when tossing it into your laundry machine with other items.

We had our testers use this towel to soak up standing water and dry off their hands, and in both instances, the Hotel Collection Ultimate bath towel effortlessly absorbed excess moisture without becoming sopping wet. According to our testers, it also dries out just as quickly.

"The Hotel Collection bath towel is softer than my other towels, which makes for a much better drying experience," one of our long-term testers said. "Unlike many other fluffy towels I've used in the past, this one is plenty fluffy but also dries quickly—something you don't always see. It's more plush than other towels without sacrificing absorbency."

The towel is a great length and width for adults and children alike. At 30 inches wide by 56 inches long, there's plenty of surface area to dry off, but it's not as excessively long as a bath sheet would be. Plus, its medium-weight design makes it easy for kids to hang up without too much trouble.

The only thing to keep in mind with this towel is its appearance. Since it's not a luxury towel (though it may feel like one), it has a very simplistic design, and we noticed a few tiny snags in the fabric throughout. Given the price and how well the towel held up through multiple washes, we weren't upset by these minor imperfections, but someone looking for a truly high-quality towel may not be as impressed.

Price at time of publish: $36

Product Details:

Dimensions: 30 x 56 inches | Material: Cotton | GSM: Not listed | Colors: 13

Bath Towels Testing
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The Bottom Line

When shopping for the best bath towels, it's important to find a towel that is absorbent, soft, and durable enough to handle years of washing without deteriorating. Based on our rigorous lab testing, we chose the Havly Classic Bath Towel as the best overall bath towel because it felt quite plush, had a convenient hanging loop for easy drying, and absorbed standing water faster than any other towel we tested.

Our Testing Process

We assembled a team of home and bath experts in our lab in Des Moines, Iowa, to test the best bath towels on the market. Our testers spent two days carefully examining each bath towel for snags and frays in the fabric, rating the softness and texture, and testing absorption by drying their hands on them and placing the towels in a bowl of standing water. We also put the towels through the washer and dryer to determine if they'd shrink, lose softness, or become damaged over time. Finally, we assigned an individual score to each towel and created a list of the best bath towels based on the overall performance in our tests.

After rigorous testing in our lab, we sent the top-performing towels home with testers to see how well they held up over time. Each tester used the bath towels on a daily basis for an entire month to see how its absorbency, softness, and durability impacted their daily routines. Based on the feedback we received from our long-term testers, we updated our list of the best bath towels to reflect the towels' performance and overall value in a real-world setting.

Bath Towels Testing
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What to Know About Bath Towels Before Shopping


When shopping for the best bath towels, you'll want to pay attention to the dimensions of each towel you're considering. If you purchase one that's too small, you may not be able to dry off thoroughly with it, while buying a towel that's too big makes it more difficult to store when not in use. The average bath towel dimensions are around 27 inches wide by 52 inches long; however, bath sheets are larger and tend to be around 35 by 60 inches.

Towel Type

There are tons of different bath towel types to choose from, depending on your personal preferences and intended use. If you prefer a classic, hotel-quality bath towel, you'll probably like the texture and plushness of a traditional cotton towel. This style of towel tends to feel extremely squishy to the touch, but these towels are often heavier and harder to store than other towel types.

People who want a thinner, more absorbent towel may favor a Turkish bath towel over a cotton one. These bath towels are flat-woven, making them much more compact and easy to store without sacrificing absorbency. They also tend to dry faster than a traditional towel.

Bath sheets are another popular towel type, which are often larger than a traditional bath towel. This gives you more surface area to dry off with, making it a great option for drying long hair, wrapping around yourself after a shower, or soaking up larger amounts of water.

Bath Towels Testing
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GSM—or grams per square meter—is a measurement of a bath towel's weight. This can provide an indication of the towel's density and plushness, but it won't necessarily impact absorbency or durability over time.

"GSM directly translates to what type of towel you prefer," Thornburg says. "Some people prefer a cozy, teddy-bear feeling, [while others] prefer a lighter, faster-drying, efficient towel with a lighter GSM."

Bath towels with a high GSM will feel extremely plush and luxurious and have an impressive ability to absorb moisture, while a low-GSM towel will feel more lightweight. Because of this, towels with a high GSM are often more expensive than those with a low GSM.

Based on our testing, we found that the best bath towels had a GSM of between 400 to 600, but more luxury options can have a GSM of 900 or above. However, if you prefer a thinner bath towel, you may prefer a low-GSM towel (400 or below).

Other Bath Towels We Tested

Parachute Waffle Towels

Though we liked the puckered design and minimalist construction of the Parachute Waffle Towel, it was unable to soak up the entire bowl of standing water as easily as other towels we tested. Additionally, our testers found that these towels became warped after just one wash, making us concerned about how they would hold up long-term. For this reason, we chose to exclude them from our list of the best bath towels.

Simply Vera Vera Wang Bath Towels

While there wasn't anything glaringly wrong with the Simply Vera Vera Wang Signature Bath Towel, we weren't particularly blown away by it, either. It took several seconds of patting for the towel to dry off our testers' hands, and after placing it in a bowl of standing water for a short time, it was unable to absorb all of the liquid. We also found that the towel shedded lint quite easily, causing it to lose quality and plushness with every wash.

Utopia Bath Towels Set of Four

The Utopia Bath Towel Set also failed to impress our testers, causing us to exclude it from our list of the best bath towels. We found that these towels had a very rough, almost crunchy texture that was quite unpleasant to touch, and while they were reasonably absorbent, the towels felt extremely thin and low-quality. We don't anticipate these towels lasting long-term since they shrunk in the wash after one use.

Bath Towels Testing
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Your Questions, Answered

What is the best type of bath towel?

There are so many different types of bath towels, it can be difficult to know which material, size, and style will best suit your preferences. Depending on your personal preferences, intended use, and budget, you may want to rule out one type of material over another.

If absorbency is the most important factor to you, shopping for a microfiber bath towel may be the way to go. Microfiber towels are extremely lightweight and can absorb standing water in a matter of seconds. However, when we put microfiber bath towels to the test, our experts found that this material type lacked the luxury hotel-quality texture some people may prefer.

Shoppers who want a traditional bath towel that's ultra-soft will likely prefer a cotton-blend towel. These bath towels tend to still be extremely absorbent, but they're much squishier than many of the microfiber towels we tested, offering a cozier feel when drying off. You can find a good cotton bath towel at a variety of price points, making it a great all-around material choice.

The best quick-drying bath towels tend to be Turkish towels, which feature a flat-woven design. They're lightweight and easy to store, yet they're great at soaking up moisture and drying out far quicker than more dense towels.

Bamboo and linen bath towels are great for shoppers who want to minimize their environmental impact, but they often aren't as absorbent. However, these towels tend to be extremely soft and naturally antibacterial, so you'll have fewer concerns about mold or bacteria forming when you hang them up to dry.

Bath Towels Testing
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What's the best way to wash bath towels?

If you want your bath towels to remain vibrant, soft, and fluffy, it's important to wash them using the correct method. First, you'll want to wash brand-new bath towels before their first use, since they're often coated in a protective finish that can minimize their absorbency. After that, you should wash your bath towels in a separate load from your other laundry every three to four days to avoid bacteria growth and keep them smelling fresh.

"Never use fabric softeners or fabric sheets on towels," Thornburg says. "These coat your towel with a slick, petroleum-based product that ruins the key function of the product: to absorb water. If you like the scent of fabric softener, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to your dryer balls in the last 10 minutes of the load, after everything is already mostly dry."

You'll also want to ensure that you only wash your bath towels in warm water with similar-colored items to avoid any color transfer. Once you've washed the towels, it's important to dry them immediately on high heat, as damp towels are the perfect recipe for mildew growth.

How often should I replace my bath towels?

If you're using your bath towels on a regular basis, they'll likely need to be replaced every two to four years. You might start to notice over time that your towels have become less absorbent, feel a little bit crunchy to the touch, or smell a little funky; these are all telltale signs that it's time to replace them. However, if you consistently rotate your towels or purchase high-quality bath towels over a budget-friendly option, they may last even longer.

Bath Towels Testing
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Who We Are

This article was written by Samantha Jones, an associate commerce home editor at Better Homes & Gardens. Samantha has spent the last year writing about the best products to purchase for your home and yard including air conditioners, vacuums, patio umbrellas, and more. For this story, she spent several hours researching important features to look for when shopping for the best bath towels, then compared her findings to testing insights gathered from our lab in Des Moines, Iowa.

What is BHG Recommends?

Next to all of the products on this list, you may have noticed our BHG Recommends seal of approval. Products that earn the seal have been put through rigorous testing to make sure they're worth a spot in your home. We buy most of the products we test ourselves, but occasionally we are provided samples by companies if buying isn't an option. In these cases, we use the same testing criteria we use to test the purchased products.

Looking for more products that have earned our BHG Recommends seal of approval? Check out our picks for everything from picnic blankets to humidifiers.

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