Bath Towels 101: How to Choose Towels
Shopping for towels is a touchy process. Sure, you want to buy towels that feel soft and luxurious, but what does ‘gram count’ really mean? And how do you tell the difference between Turkish cotton and Egyptian cotton or pick from a rainbow of colors and patterns? Before you throw in the towel too soon, take some time to read our handy guide below. We’ve gathered and grouped everything you need to know about how to choose towels into five key categories, from size and weight to construction, so that your search will go as smooth as possible.
Towels come in a variety of sizes that you’ll want to consider before your purchase. A standard bath towel for drying off after a shower or bath is 27” x 52”, while a bath sheet is slightly larger at 35” x 60”. A bath sheet offers more coverage, allowing you to fully wrap yourself. If you’re on the hunt for smaller options, hand towels are 16” x 30”, while square washcloths are 13” x 13”.
Bath towel density is measured in grams per square meter (GSM), and this number varies between 300-900. A 300-400 gram towel is thinner and lighter, making it ideal for the gym or the kitchen. These dry quicker than heavier towels. A 400-600 GSM is a medium weight towel that’s great for the beach, and can be used as everyday bath towels. And finally, a 600-900 GSM is dense and absorbent, which makes it feel extra luxurious but requires a bit more drying time. With our towels, we like to strike the perfect balance of thick, fluffy and absorbent, yet light enough to be quick-drying.
Everyday towels are often made of standard cotton. Egyptian cotton, on the other hand, is the more luxurious option because it’s made with longer, more dense loops of thread that absorb moisture and trap warmth. Another highly absorbent and durable option? Turkish cotton.
Towels made with combed cotton means that their fibers are combed to remove shorter threads and debris, leaving the strongest and longest threads to be woven into the bath towel. This process ensures durability and prevents pilling. Ringspun cotton is made with long and short fibers twisted to create a smoother, finer yarn while terry cloth is made with larger thread loops and woven with extra yarn. Also, look for towels made with banded edges to reduce fraying.
Towels can add the warm, finishing touch to a bathroom, so consider selecting a stack in a fun accent color or pattern. Another option is to stock your cabinets with colors based on the season (i.e., bright beachy colors in spring/summer, cooler colors in fall/winter). The most classic choice is fluffy white towels, which look timeless and work with any style or setting.
Notes on Care:
The best way to make your towels last longer is to take proper care of them. Before using your towels, wash them once to help set their color, improve absorbency and reduce any lint. Also, avoid using fabric softeners since they can leave residue and create stiff texture.
By putting a little time and energy into the selection process, you’ll find towels that add both style and comfort to your bathroom.
For more tips on how to choose towels, check out our Bed and Bath Resource Guide.