Make Your Bathtime a Little Less Blah With These Incredibly Plush and Absorbent Towels

pink bath towel on tile
The Best Bath Towels for a Spa-Level UpgradeStocksy

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Editor's Note: We reviewed our bath towel selections on November 16, 2022 and stand by our current selections. We're also in the process of testing new towels for future updates.

Bath towels are everyday necessities that you're likely to have in your bathroom rotation for years to come, so why skimp on quality?

If you're looking for the softest towels that'll rival the plush feeling of your favorite bathrobe, you've come to the right place. There are plenty of high-quality towels on the market within virtually any budget, and we've tested all of the sets you'll find here.

Best Bath Towels

What to Consider

The main thing to consider when shopping for new bath towels is that there will be some change in texture over time. Still, a well-made towel is crafted to withstand daily use and frequent running in the washing machine, maintaining a soft feel and pleasing texture that can last for years.

Following the care instructions on your towel's tag can help prolong its cushy feel, and there are also a few clever tips and tricks out there to help keep them feeling fluffy. But even with a lot of care, no towel stays as silky-soft as its first use forever. When your towels start losing their softness and absorbency, that's when you'll know that it's time to take them off of your bathroom towel rack for good.

Because it can be tough to tell which towels are the most long-lasting from their descriptions alone, we've tested all of the products in this guide to determine which brands do hold up.

How We Tested

All of the towels on this list were personally tested by me and evaluated after at least three weeks of use (although I've continued to use them for much longer). I've based my evaluations on the below criteria:

  • Absorbency: Does the towel soak up water like a sponge, or does it take effort to towel off?

  • Softness: How does the towel's plushness or roughness affect its enjoyment of use?

  • Weight: How does the towel's lightness or heaviness affect its performance?

  • Durability: How does the towel's texture and look change after several washes?

Where applicable, we also noted how a towel's GSM (grams per square meter) impacted its softness, weight, and overall performance. A high GSM of 620 or above denotes a fluffier and denser towel, though it might (but not always) be heavier and take longer to dry. A GSM below 620 might be rougher in texture but also more lightweight and quick to dry.

After weeks of toweling off, laundering, and toweling off again, we've compiled our list of the best bath towels that have exceptional softness, absorbency, and durability. These bath linens of all budgets will help you clean up nicely.

Pricing Note: Apart where otherwise noted, we've listed the price for a single bath towel throughout this guide. We've also provided links to larger sets that may also include hand towels and washcloths.

Learn more about how we test products, from the questions we ask our testing team, to the types of products we feel are actually worth testing, to the overall time we put into our testing process.

Best Overall

The Brooklinen Super-Plush Bath Towels are made of OEKO-TEX-certified Turkish cotton, and they clock in at a plush and slightly weighty 820 GSM. They are impressively soft upon the first feel, and even after multiple washes, they maintain their cloud-like coziness. We've named them the best bath towel overall because they strike that perfect balance of absorbent and quick-drying while feeling like a very luxe material.

tan brooklinen towel
Melanie Yates

In our testing, we've found that the airy loops of their Turkish cotton material help them dry much faster than towels of a similar size, so they never feel soggy or smell off. While some color fading has happened over time, there hasn't been much degradation of the softness and texture of these towels in the 3-plus years that we've used them. We confidently recommend getting a few sets if you're looking to invest in your bath towels for the long haul.

Best Quick-Drying

Another great towel with an entirely different feel is the Riley Spa Bath Towel. Its unique texture makes it a standout product — the short, 2-ply weave is slightly nubby in texture, not fluffy. Against the skin, it feels satisfying to use because you can distinctly feel its rows of individual loops as you towel off. These distinct loops give the material a well-designed feel that's less shaggy and rough than most terry cloth towels.

set of three tan towels stacked on top of each other
Melanie Yates

This 700 GSM towel is Portuguese-made and OEKO-TEX certified, and all towel sizes include a handy “locker loop” on the middle edge of its border for easy hanging. We found this towel to be quick-drying and very absorbent, and it never felt too soggy after use.

It isn't the softest towel, which you should keep in mind, and its nubby texture became more pronounced the more we washed and used it. But we still love it even after 2 years in our regular rotation.

Most Generous Sizing

At once both luxe and long-lasting, the Havly Classic Bath Towel is one of those rare types that'll actually make you look forward to toweling off after each shower. What we love about this one is its thoughtful design — Havly is certainly a bath-towel brand that's watched the competition and has iterated intelligently on some of the most common design pitfalls.

measuring loops on havly bath towel
Melanie Yates

The Havly Classic Bath Towel is comprised of Oeko Tex-certified, 100% Aegean cotton. Its twisted loops are roughly 1/4 of an inch long, and these swishable loops make the towel's texture super soft while also giving it heightened absorbancy. Speaking of loops, the towel also comes equipped with a generously sized, bleachproof hanging loop that'll clearly differentiate this towel from the others you have hanging in your bathroom.

At 30x58 inches, the Havly Classic Bath Towel is slightly bigger than the standard size. We measured and found it to be about two inches wider than our Best Overall pick, the Brooklinen Super-Plush Towel! And considering its larger size, we were also pretty surprised by how lightweight and quick-drying these bath towels are, never feeling overbearing and sogged-out after use.

We couldn't find very much to critique about these bath towels after our initial testing period, as they are incredibly well made and a pleasure to use. Their hand towels are made of the same soft and quick-drying material and have the same hanging loop, however, their sizing is a little odd. They're between a hand towel and washcloth size, looking slightly awkward on a towel bar.

While Havly's bath towels may be on the pricier side for $55 apiece, the quality of the material and philanthropic efforts of the brand help to justify the cost. A dollar from each Havly towel sold goes directly to fund programs that focus on helping kids with autism get the classroom materials they need. Plus, at checkout, you can further your contribution with an additional $1-10 donation.

Most Absorbent

The Turkish-made, GOTS-certified Coyuchi Cloud Loom Organic Towel pleasantly surprised us in a few different ways. It's lightweight, even though it has a pretty plush 685 GSM. Texture-wise, it's one of the shaggiest towels we've tested, but we ended up liking this feel so much more than we initially thought.

Its long, twisted loops feel luxurious to the touch but are incredibly practical for toweling off. They help the towel absorb moisture and dry faster, and they also feel more gentle when rubbing against the skin. Compared to the Brooklinen bath towel, the Coyuchi towel isn't quite as plush, as several weeks of washing and using did lessen its fluff factor, but it still does its job very effectively.

Fluffiest Towel

If you love fluffy bath towels and you wish they would just stay that way after extensive washing, check out the Weezie Piped Edge Bath Towel. These bath towels weigh in at 650 GSM, but they feel plusher at first use than other towels on this list with a higher GSM, like the Riley and Coyuchi towels.

close up of tan weezie towel fabric and tag
Melanie Yates

This bath towel is best for those who love using a truly soft, cushy towel each day (ours has maintained its softness after 2 years of regular use), though it doesn't quite measure up to the quick-drying performance of the aforementioned brands.

Along with their towel's durability, we're fans of Weezie's subtle design flair: You can choose a playful piped or stitched border for each of their towels. But this isn't the only design choice that the brand gets right. The Portuguese-made, OEKO-TEX-certified, organic-cotton towels have a small loop for hanging on the middle edge of their border, and they also have extensive customization options. Apart from the color choices, you can also add a monogram or a name to your towels in various fonts for an extra $15.

Best Lightweight Towel

We love towels with interesting textures that go beyond the standard terry cloth feel. The narrow ridges of the Pact Spa Rib Bath Towel give it a pleasurable tactility that's delightful to use but also quite practical too. We've found in our weeks of use that this design helps the towel air out a lot more quickly after toweling off.

stack of three tan pact towels
Melanie Yates

This towel is made of GOTS-certified organic cotton from Turkey and features long, twisted loops that give the towel a shaggy texture that's similar to the aforementioned Coyuchi towel. One great aspect of this towel that we've noticed after laundering it twice during our testing trial is that the material has softened up significantly and become even more enjoyable to use.

However, while we love using this ultra lightweight towel to dry off our hands, body, and face while the weather is hot, it may not provide the satisfying warmth that others do in the winter. Also, we found this towel to be moderately absorbent — it's not quite as spongey as others.

Also, if you prefer waffle-style weaves to ribbed ridges, the Pact Airy Waffle Towels are made of the exact same material but have a slightly suppler texture. Our editor Cat Bowen calls them "the best 'in between' towels" that she's ever used. In her review of the set, she notes, "They're fluffy enough to feel luxurious but flat enough that they fold up nicely. They launder like a dream, getting softer with each wash, [without] losing much pigment. A faded towel is an ugly towel, and I'm not a fan of ugly towels."

Airy Waffle-Weave

If thick towels feel a little too heavy and overbearing for you to use, the Onsen Bath Towel is one of the best alternatives as far as lightweight waffle-weave designs go. This towel is made of long-staple Supima cotton, which gives it superior strength and softness to other types of cotton materials. Plus, its meticulously designed waffle-shaped indents provide a more interesting and varied texture than all-over terry cloth does.

close up of onsen towels fabric
Melanie Yates

Onsen's towel is a standout from all other types of waffle-weave towels because of its impressive absorbency level. The stretchy, airy, multidimensional structure of the towel's weave looks and feels great, but it also adeptly soaks up moisture while allowing it to dry out quickly. The towel also washes well without losing any of its amazing springiness or shape over time.

Best Dual-Sided Texture

If you're familiar with Cozy Earth's buttery-soft, ultra lightweight, and silky bed sheets, you'll definitely want to have the brand's cotton-and-bamboo-blended bath towels on your radar, too. Available as a pair, the Cozy Earth Waffle Bath Towels have one of the most intriguing textures we've ever tried: The top side comprises a mini waffle weave, while the bottom is super soft terrycloth. These towels also happen to be on Oprah's Favorite Things List this year — just saying!

This unique design allows you to decide which side you'd want to dry off with, and depending on how much (or little!) you enjoy the sensation of terrycloth loops against your skin, you may adjust accordingly. We've found the waffle-weave side to feel lighter and better for toweling off when it's warm and humid, when you don't want any big layers weighing you down. The other side is very soft and absorbent, yet sleek — there's nothing shaggy, nubby, or rough around the edges about this material.

Interestingly, this is a towel that we like more as we use it — it initially felt a little stiff on our first use but has softened up nicely over time.

Bath Towels FAQ:

Because there's a lot of towel terminology to take in, allow us to demystify some of the most key textile terms before you start adding-to-cart:

What does the towel's GSM number mean?

bath towels best 2019
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The GSM denotes the grams per meter of material. If you're looking for the fluffiest towels possible, then you may want to hone in on picks that have a GSM of 620 or more. The higher the number, the denser the material, so you'll get that nice and soft feel, though the towel itself may be heavier and take longer to dry.

Just like with thread count in bed sheets, not every brand lists its GSM number. This doesn't necessarily mean that the material is of low quality, but it usually indicates that the towel is less fluffy and dense.

What's the difference between a bath towel and a bath sheet?

bath towels best 2019
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Bath sheets are simply larger bath towels and are used to towel off post-shower in exactly the same way. Folks who find that an average-sized 56x30-inch bath towel is a little too small may be more comfortable using a larger 70x40-inch bath sheet. Just keep in mind that because they have slightly more material, bath sheets also tend to be a little more expensive than bath towels.

What are those little bleach spots that show up on towels after washing them?

bath towels best 2019
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Certain ingredients in skincare products (like benzoyl peroxide) tend to leave spots on colored linens. If you suspect this may be an issue when buying top-of-the-line towels, opt for white to be on the safe side.

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