A bathroom is often a sanctuary, carefully curated to provide cleanliness and comfort. The little details like soap scents, shower curtains, and in this case, bath towels, can make all the difference in the atmosphere of your space. Whether you're someone who prefers plush towels to dry off after a soak or thinner cloths for the aesthetic, the style you choose is imperative to upgrade your powder room.
To simplify the search, we tested 31 bath towels in our lab to see which variations are worth your money. Six styles found the most favor with our testers, with the Havly Classic Bath Towel being the only towel to earn 5 stars across the board.
Our testers analyzed a series of qualities to narrow down the best towel-dry experience. From measurements to texture, absorbency and durability, these towels were (literally) put through the wringer for you.
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Pros: The Havly features a handy loop to hang on a hook and the closely-packed fibers make the towel nice and plush. It feels and looks luxurious.
Cons: This towel is on the pricier side, but after thorough testing, we say it's worth the purchase.
The Havly Classic Bath Towel scored the highest across all of the towels tested in our lab, ending with a solid five-star rating. Both soft and absorbent in nature, the fiber loops are densely packed to create a surprisingly plush surface for a Turkish towel while also efficiently drying off our testers' hands. After submerging the towel in a bowl filled with 1/4th cup of water for ten seconds, every last drop was effortlessly absorbed.
This towel then went through the wash test, which it passed with flying colors due to its unchanged softness afterwards – not even a loose thread. There was slight shrinkage, but nothing unforgivable, as this is common with cotton products.
Available in an array of colors, the Havly towel provides a luxurious product without the high-end price tag. With its ability to fully dry wet hands in one swipe and incredible fullness for a Turkish towel, our testers rated this option as best out of 30 other contenders.
Pros: This unconventional bath towel boasts a fray-free material (even after washing) and absorbs water well for its seemingly thin material. The price point is just as attractive as the towel's aesthetic.
Cons: The towel looks and feels thin when being handled, but feels thicker once wrapped around the body.
While the Casaluna Waffle Bath Towel may not be your typical soft bath towel, it still serves as an absorbent and budget-friendly option. Our testers noted that it featured an abstract weave rather than a standard waffle pattern, and liked that this option looked more expensive than it truly was. With just a few wipes, our testers were able to completely dry their washed hands.
When submerged in ¼ cup of water, this towel was able to absorb almost the entirety of the bowl in record time. After being washed, the towel ended up having even more absorbency and leaving not a drop behind when being tested in the bowl of water once again.
The Casaluna's Standard 100 Oeko-Tex fabric ensures that a safely regulated process took place in order to ensure the towel's clean material, which was a plus for our PEOPLE tester. However, its perforated surface did allow for a hook to poke through the fabric when it was hung up – possibly creating a future hole.
At only $15 with a variety of aesthetically-pleasing color options, our tester thought this towel provided some of the best value.
Pros: With its impeccable construction, tight loops, and clean band hemming the towel, our tester raved about this style's luxurious look and material.
Cons: There was slight shrinkage after one wash, and the surface was not overly soft upon first testing it. However, after one wash, the material seemed to soften up and is expected to become even plusher with additional washes.
The Coyuchi Temescal Organic Towel won our testers' favors with its luxe ribbed appearance and high absorbency. In a hand-drying test, our tester was pleasantly surprised by its instant absorption and barely-there wet marks on the used towel. After soaking up the majority of water it was submerged in for the soak test, it easily wrung out with minimal effort.
Though this organic towel retails at a higher price, the quality is well worth the investment. With its fluffy material, high absorbency and luxurious construction, you can rest assured that you are receiving the spa treatment you're paying for.
Pros: The standout quality of this bath towel was the quick and effective absorption of water, despite its beach towel-like appearance.
Cons: This towel is a bit expensive, but its attractive ribbing and top-tier water absorption make it a great option.
The earth-toned Parachute Soft Rib Towels made a splash during the PEOPLE Tested process with its high absorbency and resilience. Our tester was in awe over the dryness of their hands after just one swipe and the towel's ability to completely absorb ¼ of a cup of water in seconds. And it seems like this towel will only get better with time, as the long-staple Turkish cotton was unharmed by the washing process – its absorbency only intensifying.
However, our tester mentioned that the price may not be worth it to the average consumer. At $49 per towel, they felt that this ultra-absorbent option may be best for a higher end household, as there are "more cost-effective options available."
Pros: The towel features a smooth and textured side, in case you prefer one style for comfort and one for decor.
Cons: After washing, the towel's cotton material seemed a bit rougher. However, our tester pointed out that this could help exfoliate the skin.
The Kohler Turkish Bath Linens Bath Towel with Tatami Weave was eye-catching due to its 2 ply construction with a geometric texture on one side of the fabric and smooth 700-weight cotton fibers on the other. During the hand drying test, our tester remarked that the towel, "dried the back of my hand in just one wipe," and quickly wicked water up into the fabric. However, the absorbency did taper off slightly after being washed for the first time – our tester noting that it took a few more swipes to get their hands completely dry.
Despite a slight dip in post-wash performance, our tester announced this towel as being their favorite in the test. They vouched that it would be a "great option for people who appreciate quality and performance." With little shrinkage compared to the rest of the options, this towel came out victorious in the Turkish category.
Pros: This bundle of bath towels comes in an array of shades and has an accent stripe at the bottom, complimenting any bathroom color scheme. As an additional bonus, they boast the Climate Pledge Friendly stamp.
Cons: The long staple cotton material tended to pick up debris and fuzz from other materials that it was washed with.
Outfitting your bathroom with towels can be quite a feat, but the White Classic Luxury Cotton Bath Towels come in a collection of four, making this purchase a one-stop shop. Our testers remarked that the bundle comes at a great value, at $50 for the whole set, whereas many brands sell one towel for the same price. However, our tester also noted that while these towels are very plush and absorbent, the material is not the softest.
For those looking to buy a set that can complete a bathroom with one purchase, the White Classic Luxury Cotton Bath Towels may be the best choice for you. The towels passed the hand washing test with just a few pats on the hands and absorbed a bowl of water with ease, ensuring a drip-free dry. Our tester even went so far as to share that they are tempted to buy a pair for their own guest bathroom.
Price: This is a factor that should be considered when buying all things, but the amount you're looking to invest in a fresh set of bath towels will depend on the purpose for which you're buying. If you want to upgrade your personal bathroom and make the experience more spa-like, then you should be prepared to spend a bit more on a high-quality towel. If you're looking to complete a guest bedroom or buy your first set of towels in a new apartment, then a more budget-friendly option could be right for you.
Absorption: Nobody likes to towel off several times in a row to finally be dry, so finding a bath towel that has high absorbency is key for a worthwhile purchase. This factor is also important to consider when buying for children, so as to avoid the mess of water splashing everywhere after bath time.
Comfort: The plushness of your towel can make or break your cleansing experience. Paying attention to fiber count, cotton types, and pattern weaves can help you find the towel that's right for you and your comfort level.
Cotton type: Piggybacking off of the last factor is cotton type, as there are many to choose from and each deliver different results. The three most common types of cotton are Turkish, which tends to create thinner towels for aesthetic purposes, Egyptian, for long-strand fibers that are known for their comfort, and organic, which is the simplest natural-fiber cotton. With all cotton, you should look for the Standard 100 Oeko-Tex certification, ensuring that the fibers that make up your towel were made in a safely regulated process.
In total, our testers put 31 bath towels to the test. They analyzed and evaluated the quality, texture, air-dry time, absorbency, durability and value of each, sharing at the end of the test whether or not they would recommend these products. Each product was ranked on pre-wash and post-wash performance, as well as the shrinkage of each product through a measuring process. Additional features like plushness and design were also accounted for when giving these towels their final scores. Each of the products shared in this list was fully endorsed by the testers as recommendations they would give to family or friends.
We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.
But we don't stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we've awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.
In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.
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