Choosing the Best Bath Towels

Michelle Radcliff
bath towels

Bath towels are some of the most heavily used linens in the home. A quality bath towel needs to be more than just attractive. These linens must be able to withstand repeated washings, they must be soft and absorbent and most importantly, bath towels should be resistant to odors (and mildew from repeated contact with moisture) while being gentle to sensitive skin.

Start With Quality Material

A good bath towel starts with quality materials. The top three materials that high end or luxury towels are constructed from are bamboo fiber, Egyptian cotton and organic cotton.


Bamboo is well-known as an eco-friendly material used to make household items such as furniture. Bamboo can also be used to make textiles, which are constructed from bamboo yarn. Bamboo makes the top of the list for quality materials because of these benefits that occur naturally within the fibers of the bamboo plant itself:

  • Bamboo yarn is extremely soft, often compared to cashmere.
  • The fibers are very strong.
  • It is anti-bacterial, which makes it resistant to odors and mildew, also making it a good choice for people who suffer from allergies.
  • Bamboo fabric is breathable and absorbent.
  • It is also economical and eco-friendly.

Bamboo fabric produces towels that are extremely soft yet durable, are naturally resistant to bacteria and are absorbent while quickly evaporating excess moisture.

Egyptian Cotton

In the textile industry, Egyptian cotton is considered the finest type of cotton available. The extra-long cotton fibers, called staples, allow the cotton fiber to be spun into very fine yarns that are soft, durable and more absorbent than regular cotton. Like bamboo fiber, Egyptian cotton absorbs dyes well, resulting in bright, vividly colored textiles. Bath towels made from 100% Egyptian cotton are softer and more absorbent than towels made from ordinary cotton.

Organic Cotton

Organic cotton is grown using ecologically friendly standards. The United States and Europe have strict regulations over how the cotton is grown. Organic cotton is produced without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This means linens made from organic cotton will not contain any of the harsh chemicals that can be found in commercially grown cotton. This can be especially important for people with allergies, sensitive skin or certain dermatological conditions such as eczema. You can find high quality organic cotton towels completely free from bleaches or dyes, which can cause the fibers to become brittle over time.

Size Matters

Besides quality fabric, what else makes some bath towels better than others? For many people, the size of the towel is an important factor. This can be especially true for those who are large, tall or both.

Oversized bath towels are often referred to as bath sheets. These towels have extra material and are designed to wrap completely around an adult body. You don't just dry off with an oversized bath towel - you wrap yourself in soft, luxurious warmth.

Standard bath towel sizes will vary between manufacturers. An oversized bath towel can measure 35 x 60 inches, 34 x 68 inches or something close to those sizes.

What About Thread Count?

Thread count is the number of horizontal and vertical threads in a one inch square of fabric. Thread count is commonly used when describing bedding such as sheets, however, manufacturers do not use thread count when describing bath towels. Instead, towels are described by weight in grams. A medium density towel is usually around 500 grams, while thicker, more plush towels are 700-850 grams.

Monogrammed and Embroidered Towels

Monogrammed and embroidered towels are often made to order and can be customized to suit your needs. Most monogrammed towels can have up to three letters in a variety of decorative font. Embroidered towels have some type of decorative design stitched into the towel. These types of towels are often used for guests or set out as a decorative display.

embroidered towels

Where to Go for Advice and Reviews

The best bath towels will not always be the same for everyone. Individual opinions and needs will always be a factor. However, doing a little research can help you determine what type of towel might be best for you.

A great place to start your research is Viewpoints. Here you can find more information on the fabrics, sizes, brands and price ranges of almost 1400 different towels. Viewpoints offers advice on how to shop for towels and what to avoid. You can also read reviews on different types of bath towels. The reviewer's favorite pick for towels were Egyptian cotton and bamboo. The top brands include:

Where to Buy

The following list of retailers includes those that sell bamboo, Egyptian cotton, organic cotton, oversized, monogrammed and embroidered bath towels:

What Are the Best Bath Towels?

The best bath towels depend on your individual needs. If you have sensitive skin, bamboo or organic cotton may work best for you. If you are a large or tall person, you may want to go with oversized towels. If you like a thick, plush towel, a 700 gram Egyptian cotton towel might appeal to you the most. If you're looking for decorative towels to display in your guest bathroom, you may prefer monogrammed or embroidered towels.

Determine what you want in a bath towel and then figure out a price range that you're comfortable with. This will help you narrow down your options for finding the best bath towel for you.

Choosing the Best Bath Towels