The 11 Best Bath Towels of 2023, Tested and Reviewed

The Havly Classic Bath Towel is our favorite for its softness, absorbency, and dual texture.

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Bath Towels
Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Whether you prefer to wrap yourself up in a plush, spa-like towel or dry off quickly with a textured waffle option, choosing the right bath towel can make all the difference in your daily shower experience.

To find the best bath towels, we tested 46 towels both in our Lab and in our homes over several months and assessed them based on their quality, texture, absorbency, durability, and overall value. For expert tips on buying and using bath towels, we turned to Whitney Thornburg, design director at Coyuchi, and Sarah Smith, product education and customer experience manager at Serena & Lily. We also received insights from Elana Frosk, account executive at Hohenstein Institute, the U.S. testing lab for Oeko-Tex.

"Given this is a product that touches your skin daily, [bath towels are] a great item to splurge on as it will be used and enjoyed often," says Thornburg. "Select a towel that you love—in both color and style—so it's enjoyable to use each day."

Our top pick is the Havly Classic Bath Towel because of its soft Turkish cotton that is extremely absorbent, without being overly heavy or dense. Plus, it has a unique gradient weave that is one-third textured and two-thirds plush for the best of both worlds.

Best Overall Bath Towel

Havly Classic Bath Towel

5
Havly Classic Bath Towel

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want a bath towel that's thick and absorbent without being heavy.

Who it isn't for: People who want a towel that comes in colors besides white.

We gave the Havly Classic Bath Towel a perfect five-star rating across all of our testing criteria, including absorbency: The Turkish cotton was able to dry wet hands in just one pass and absorbed an entire 1/4-cup of water in just 10 seconds without dripping any excess.

The densely packed loops give this towel a sturdy and plush feel that remains just as soft after washing—and given that this towel is made with Turkish cotton, we anticipate it will only grow softer with continued use. According to the manufacturer, the towel is woven with fast-drying "Wünderweave Technology," which is a gradient weave that's two-thirds plush and soft and one-third textured and quick-drying.

Another standout feature of this towel is its sturdy, bleach-proof hanging loop, which is available in eight different colors. However, the towel itself only comes in white. We like that it's sized between a bath towel and a bath sheet at 30 x 58 inches—a great size to accommodate most body types without being cumbersome. Plus, it's certified Made In Green by Oeko-Tex, meaning that it’s been proven to be safe for both you and the environment. This functional towel has many unique features that set it apart, but we were most impressed with its luxurious feel and ability to absorb moisture while remaining lightweight and fast-drying.

Price at time of publish: $55

Product Details:

  • Material: Turkish cotton
  • Size: 30 x 58 inches
  • Weight: 460 GSM
  • Certifications: Standard 100 and Made In Green by Oeko-Tex
Bath Towels
Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Best Budget Bath Towel

White Classic Luxury Cotton Bath Towels (Set of 4)

4.5
White Classic Luxury Cotton Bath Towels

Amazon

Who it's for: People who want a set of resort-style bath towels at a great value.

Who it isn't for: People who want to purchase a single towel or people who prefer oversized bath towels.

This set from White Classic is an impressive value since it comes with four towels for less than the price of our best overall pick. Made from 100 percent combed cotton, this pick is noticeably plush and stylish—according to one tester, it “feels like a towel from a nice spa or resort.”

Each towel weighs 700 GSM, which explains its luxurious feel and ample absorbency. It was able to dry wet hands in two to three passes, and it absorbed an entire 1/4 cup of water without dripping. However, it was still a bit damp after being air-dried overnight—a trade-off for its high GSM. After washing and drying these towels, there was no visible wear and tear. But it's worth mentioning that they did pick up some debris from the other towels they were washed with, so it's probably best to wash these separately.

In terms of style, the thick accent stripe gives these towels a spa-like feel, and the set is available in a variety of colors, ranging from neutrals to jewel tones. Plus, the towels are Oeko-Tex certified. At 27 x 54 inches, these are one of the smallest towels we recommend, so keep this in mind if you typically go for oversized options. It should also be noted that these towels are only available in a set of four, and cannot be purchased individually.

Price at time of publish: $50 for 4-pack

Product Details:

  • Material: Cotton
  • Size: 27 x 54 inches
  • Weight: 700 GSM
  • Certifications: Standard 100 and Made In Green by Oeko-Tex
Bath Towels
Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Best Turkish Bath Towel

Cacala Cotton Pestemal Turkish Towel

4.2
Cacala Cotton Pestemal Turkish Bath Towel

Amazon

Who it’s for: People who want a lightweight bath towel for use on hair or delicate skin. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want a traditional terry-cloth towel or a towel that can absorb spills. 

Turkish towels, also called Hammam, Fouta, or Peshtemal towels, are made from 100 percent Turkish cotton that is usually flat-woven, lightweight, and fast-drying. They more resemble a throw blanket or a tablecloth than a bath towel, but don’t be fooled by appearances—they can still be very effective at drying you off. Plus, they tend to be larger than a traditional bath towel, so you get more coverage. The Cacala Turkish Towel comes with a herringbone weave and cotton braided fringe. We found it to be thin, lightweight, and soft to the touch, growing softer with each wash. 

This towel does not have the same ability to soak up spills as terry cloth; it absorbed 1.8 ounces from a bowl of water in five minutes, earning an absorbency percentage of 85.7 percent—well below the median of 101.4 percent. But we don’t foresee this being an issue if you’re just using the towel to dry off after a bath or shower. “My daughter and I both reach for these towels before any of the others,” says one tester. “They dry bodies off better and cover more than any of our other towels, and I love that it doesn't add bulk to our laundry.”

After use, it took about 30 minutes for this towel to dry most of the way, or 50 minutes to dry all the way. Post-wash, it grew soft and almost down-like in feel, and it didn’t sustain any significant damage or wear when we ran a scrub brush over it 50 times. 

Given the soft feel and lighter weight of this towel, we think it could even be worth adding to your collection for use on hair or delicate skin, such as the face. This is not the towel to reach for if you want to wipe up damp floors, but for drying off the body, it’ll do it almost as well as a terry towel and dry much quicker, too. 

Price at time of publish: $25

Product Details: 

  • Material: Cotton
  • Size: 39 x 71 inches
  • Weight: 160 GSM
  • Certifications: N/A

Best Waffle Bath Towel

Casaluna Waffle Bath Towel

4.4
Casaluna Waffle Bath Towel

Target

Who it's for: People who want a bath towel that will dry quickly or people who want a towel for drying hair.

Who it isn't for: People who prefer the feel of a traditional plush towel.

These are not your traditional terry towels: Waffle-weave (sometimes called lattice-weave) bath towels are much thinner and faster to dry. But don't be fooled by appearances, this Casaluna towel is still very absorbent and the textured surface helps to draw moisture away from the skin in less time. In fact, we were able to dry our hands with them in just one pass.

We would suggest this towel to anyone in need of a quick-drying towel, particularly those in humid climates where thick terry cloth towels can take a long time to dry and run the risk of developing a musty smell. This is also a great option for people who don't have space in their bathroom or linen closet to accommodate ultra-thick towels. We also think it'd work well as a hair towel, since it's lightweight and won't put any strain on your neck.

We were pleasantly surprised upon learning the price of these Casaluna towels, given their performance in our testing. They have a high-end look and the textured design looks nice hanging on a bathroom hook. The towel is available in several on-trend colors and comes in a hand towel size, too.

Price at time of publish: $15

Product Details:

  • Material: Cotton
  • Size: 30 x 56 inches
  • Weight: 450–550 GSM
  • Certifications: Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex
Bath Towels
Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Best Quick-Dry Bath Towel

Pottery Barn Hydrocotton Organic Quick-Dry Bath Towel

4.5
Pottery Barn Hydrocotton Organic Quick-Dry Bath Towel

Pottery Barn

Who it's for: People who want a zero-twist bath towel that dries quickly.

Who it isn't for: People who prefer thicker, more absorbent towels.

This bath towel from Pottery Barn is made from zero-twist cotton loops, as opposed to twisted strands, which means it's fluffier than others. It's super soft to the touch, and it remains that way post-wash. In our testing, we found that this bath towel was able to dry wet hands extremely fast.

Although the towel was able to absorb all the water from a bowl both before and after washing, it was a bit wet and dripping after our absorbency test. That said, we still think that this towel would be sufficient for drying off after a shower.

The fibers themselves are 100-percent organic, long-staple Turkish cotton, which is less prone to piling and tearing with use. At 550 GSM, it's a nice middle ground that's quick to dry while staying soft to the touch. It did pick up some lint from other towels in the washing machine, so this is another pick that we suggest washing separately. The towels are available in over a dozen neutral colors, and you can make it a set by purchasing matching hand towels, wash cloths, or bath sheets.

Price at time of publish: $35

Product Details:

  • Material: Organic Turkish cotton
  • Size: 28 x 55 inches
  • Weight: 550 GSM
  • Certifications: GOTS
Bath Towels
Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Best Plush Bath Towel

Boll & Branch Plush Bath Towel

4.8
Boll & Branch Plush Bath Towel

Boll & Branch

Who it’s for: People who want a soft, spa-like towel that isn’t cumbersome to use. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want something lightweight for wrapping their hair. 

If a spa-worthy experience is what you’re looking for when you step out of the shower, this towel from Boll & Branch will deliver. We immediately noticed the plush, thick, and velvety hand feel of the towel during our initial inspection. Made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, the yarns have a low twist, meaning some of the fibers have a twist while others are loose enough to create space, which adds plushness, softness, and absorbency. 

The towel was able to absorb 4.1 ounces of water in one minute, earning an absorbency percentage of 100.3 percent (for reference, the median of those we tested was 101.4 percent). Afterwards, it took 60 minutes to fully dry, which is reasonable given how thick and plush this towel is. And at 30 x 58 inches, the towel provides plenty of coverage without being unwieldy. 

After laundering, the already plush towel grew even softer, and only shrank 2.8 percent in length and 4.6 percent in width. Overall, its high GSM (700) and low twist construction give the feel of a luxury product, but unfortunately it has the price tag to match as the second most expensive towel on our list. 

Price at time of publish: $48

Product Details: 

  • Material: Organic cotton
  • Size: 30 x 58 inches
  • Weight: 700 GSM
  • Certifications: Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex, GOTS

Best Lightweight Bath Towel

Serena & Lily Fouta Bath Towel

4.2
Serena & Lily Fouta Bath Towel

Serena & Lily

Who it's for: People who like the look of a flat-woven Turkish towel, but want the absorbency of terry cloth.

Who it isn't for: People who want a bath towel that comes in solid colors.

Serena & Lily's Fouta Bath Towel offers the best of both worlds, thanks to its double-sided design that features a traditional Turkish cotton weave on one side and plush terry cloth on the inside. Unsurprisingly, we found the terry cloth side to be more absorbent, although when placed in a bowl with a bit of water, it didn't absorb quite as much as some of its competitors.

"I have always liked the look of Turkish towels but never buy them because they're normally thin and not that absorbent," says one tester, who appreciates that this towel gives you the look of a Turkish towel with the drying ability of a traditional towel.

The towel weighs 420 GSM, making it one of the lightest and most compact out of all those we tested. It comes in a nautical stripe design with three different coastal-inspired colors and can also be purchased as part of a set.

Price at time of publish: $48

Product Details:

  • Material: Turkish cotton
  • Size: 30 x 56 inches
  • Weight: 420 GSM
  • Certifications: Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex
Bath Towels
Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Best Heavyweight Bath Towel

Parachute Classic Turkish Cotton Towel

4.6
Parachute Classic Turkish Cotton Towel

Nordstrom

Who it’s for: People who want a thick and luxurious towel.  

Who it isn’t for: People who want a towel that’s not bulky to store or wash. 

With a GSM of 700, this is a substantial bath towel intended to give you maximum absorbency and comfort. It was able to soak up 4 ounces of water in one minute, earning a 100 percent absorbency percentage. It took about 90 minutes to dry, which might not be the fastest drying time, but it's certainly reasonable given its heft. 

Even though it’s made from 100 percent Turkish cotton, this towel shrank very little after the first wash—only by 4.5 percent in length and 4.7 percent in width, which is well under the industry average. It didn’t suffer any damage in the wash either. We did find that the scrub brush damaged the towel, but this is likely more abrasion than any towel will be subject to during daily use. The towel comes in a handful of neutral colors, and it’s also available in a bath sheet size. The ribbed band is a nice detail, too. Just keep in mind this towel is going to be somewhat bulky to store and wash due to its thickness. 

Price at time of publish: $39

Product Details: 

  • Material: Turkish cotton 
  • Size: 30 x 56 inches
  • Weight: 700 GSM
  • Certifications: Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex

Best Ribbed Bath Towel

Coyuchi Air Weight Organic Towel

4.6
Coyuchi Air Weight Organic Towel

Wayfair

Who it’s for: People who want a thinner, textured bath towel that makes drying more efficient. 

Who it isn’t for: People who want an oversized towel or a plush towel.

If you want the absorbency of terry cloth without the bulk, we suggest the Coyuchi Air Weight Bath Towel. Its twill weave creates highs and lows within the fabric, which make drying off faster and more efficient. The trade-off is that it is not particularly soft or plush, though we did find it became noticeably softer and fluffier after the first wash. The coverage is a bit skimpy relative to many of the other towels on our list (albeit still within the standard bath towel size). However, it shrank only marginally after washing—2.7 percent in length and 0.4 percent in width.

Although it’s on the thinner side, this towel has a dense construction. It was able to absorb 4.4 ounces of water in one minute, which is above the median amount of all the towels we tested. Afterwards, it took 90 minutes to fully dry, although it was mostly dry within 30 minutes. The durable weave held up against our scrub brushing, and it didn’t suffer any damage in the washing machine, either. It’s also made of GOTS-certified organic cotton. Altogether, this is an excellent choice for anyone whose primary concern is getting dry faster, but it’s not going to give you that cozy, spa-like experience. 

Price at time of publish: $48

Product Details: 

  • Material: Organic cotton
  • Size: 27 x 54 inches
  • Weight: 550 GSM
  • Certifications: GOTS

Best Cotton-Blend Bath Towel

Southern Living Turkish Cotton and Modal Bath Towel

4.7
Southern Living Turkish Cotton and Modal Bath Towel

Dillards

Who it’s for: People who want a towel that can stand up to frequent use and laundering. 

Who it isn’t for: People who are set on buying 100-percent cotton towels and people who want a quick-drying towel.

Made from 80 percent Turkish cotton and 20 percent modal—a semi-synthetic fabric that’s even more absorbent than cotton—this towel combines the softness of cotton with the durability of synthetic fabric. (Southern Living is owned by Real Simple’s parent company, Dotdash Meredith.) It is constructed with soft and absorbent zero-twist fibers, meaning the fibers are longer and can be looped through the towel as opposed to being twisted out from the towel. It was among the most absorbent towels of all those we tested, although we did find it had a long dry time, requiring a full two hours to fully dry. 

After laundering, it felt more plush and had very little loose threading or damage. It shrank just 3.8 percent in length and 4 percent in width, right around the median amount of the towels we tested. At 30 x 56 inches, it’s generously sized without overdoing it, which is important considering it’s on the weightier side. The towels are available in a wide variety of colors, each of which comes with a decorative border. Given the price, performance, and durability, this is an excellent choice if you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of the softness you get with all-cotton towels. 

Price at time of publish: $28

Product Details: 

  • Material: 80 percent Turkish cotton, 20 percent modal
  • Size: 30 x 56 inches
  • Weight: 700 GSM
  • Certifications: N/A

Best Oversized Bath Towel

Simply Vera Vera Wang Signature Bath Towel

4.2
Simply Vera Vera Wang Signature Bath Towel

Kohls

Who it's for: People who want to buy a large bath towel without spending a lot.

Who it isn't for: People who want to pick the most absorbent bath towel available.

While it's not quite a bath sheet, this oversized towel still provides significantly more coverage than your standard bath towel. We really liked the size of this towel and found that it was never too short when wrapped. This towel was able to dry wet hands in just a few passes, although it struggled to absorb all of the water in the bowl. Surprisingly, its absorbency seemed to improve after washing and drying, and since it's constructed with zero-twist cotton—which means the fibers are woven without any twisting to create a fluffy and absorbent towel—it retained its softness. Plus, it's been tested and certified Made In Green by Oeko-Tex, meaning it's free of harmful substances and sustainably sourced.

The towel is available in over a dozen color options, all of which come with a striped stitching pattern that gives the towels a more high-end look and feel. Matching bath sheets, hand towels, and washcloths are also available. Overall, we think this oversized pick is a great value since it's one of the most affordable on our list.

Price at time of publish: $26

Product Details:

  • Material: Cotton
  • Size: 30 x 60 inches
  • Weight: 470 GSM
  • Certifications: Standard 100 + Made In Green by Oeko-Tex
Bath Towels
Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Havly Classic Bath Towel because its dual-textured surface is thick and absorbent without being heavy or cumbersome. Its size falls somewhere between a bath towel and a bath sheet, making it well-suited for most people.

For a more budget-friendly option, the White Classic Luxury Cotton Bath Towels offer a lot of bang for your buck. Sold as a set of four, these towels have a luxurious plush feel and high-end look that make them look much more expensive than they actually are.

Bath Towels Testing
Real Simple / Henry Wortock

Our Testing Process

To curate this list, we tested 46 bath towels and bath sheets in our Lab and later in our homes over several months. During our Lab tests, we began by visually inspecting each bath towel to assess the quality, looking at the stitching, color vibrancy (when applicable), softness, and more. Next, we ran our hands over each towel to evaluate its texture, noting whether it feels soft to the touch, how tight the weave is, etc.

Then came the real test of each towel: absorbency. To determine how well the towel absorbs water from the skin, we used one end of the towel to dry off our hands. We then placed the dry end of the towel in a shallow bowl of water, leaving the towel to absorb for one minute and took note of how much water each towel soaked up and how long it took to dry afterward.

The next day, we washed and dried each towel, and then repeated the tests above, taking note of any change in the towel's ability to absorb water. We also took this opportunity to evaluate the durability of each towel, based on how well it held up after washing and drying—considering the texture and size of each towel before and after washing, including any shrinking, fading, piling, or loose threading. To complete our durability testing, we laid each towel flat on a table and scrubbed it with scrub brush and took note of how well the abraded area held up.

Finally, we received the price of each towel and scored its overall value based on how well it performed and whether we would pay the listed price or wait for it to go on sale.

Bath Towels Testing
Real Simple / Henry Wortock

How to Shop for Bath Towels Like a Pro

Material

When it comes to bath towels, cotton is king. You can find towels made from synthetic materials, such as polyester or rayon, but experts tend to agree that cotton is best for absorbency: "Choosing a towel that is made from high-quality materials, such as premium cotton that has extra-long staple fibers to enhance strength, softness, and absorbency, is the way to go," says Smith.

However, there are several different types of cotton to choose from, with varying degrees of absorbency and durability:

Egyptian and Turkish cotton are the most highly sought-after types of cotton for bath towels. Both are made from long-staple fibers, which produce a smoother, softer, and more durable towel, and become even softer after washing. Egyptian cotton tends to be more thick and absorbent to begin with, while Turkish cotton becomes more absorbent with use. And Turkish cotton is quicker to dry and more lightweight, while Egyptian cotton has a more fluffed-up, luxurious feel. Another type of long-staple cotton, Pima cotton, is similar to Egyptian and Turkish cotton but made with cotton sourced from the U.S.

You can also find organic cotton towels, which are made from 100 percent organic cotton. They tend to be very soft and plush, but they can take longer to dry than other cotton towels.

Size

The standard bath towel size is about 28 x 54 inches, give or take a few inches. This size is designed to wrap around your entire body without being overly heavy or cumbersome. If you prefer to bundle up in a bath towel while you get ready in the morning, or if you want a spa-like experience at home, a bath sheet can provide more coverage—around 40 x 70 inches—but usually at a higher price point. Take into consideration your body size and intended use when determining what size towel you need. For example, if you plan to use your bath towel to wrap your hair, you might consider picking a smaller, more lightweight towel.

Weight

The weight of a towel is measured in grams per square meter (GSM). The higher the GSM, the thicker, heavier, softer, and more absorbent the towel. Generally, a higher GSM is preferable for bath towels, while beach towels or microfiber towels may have a lower GSM to help them dry faster. In general, anything below 400 GSM is considered lightweight, and 400–600 GSM is considered a medium weight. Towels above 600 GSM are the most luxurious, plush, and absorbent, but keep in mind that they'll take some time to dry.

Construction

In addition to the material and weight of the towel, how the fibers are constructed can have a profound effect on the towel's texture and performance. Here's some bath towel terminology to know before you shop:

  • Combed cotton: Combed cotton refers to cotton that has literally been "combed" to remove impurities from the yarn so that only the long-staple fibers remain to be woven into the bath towel. These towels tend to be very durable, but not as soft as ringspun.
  • Ringspun cotton: Ringspun cotton is made by spinning long and short cotton fibers together for a smooth, plush finish.
  • Zero-twist cotton: Unlike combed and ringspun cotton, zero-twist cotton fibers are woven without any twisting, creating a fluffy and absorbent towel.

Weave

Terry cloth is the weave most people associate with bath towels. The term refers to a style of weaving distinguished for its uncut loops that extend off the woven base. The resulting towel is plush, soft, and ultra-absorbent. Waffle- or lattice-weave towels, on the other hand, are lighter and quicker to dry than terry cloth, and they take up less space in your linen closet. Waffle-weave bath towels don't have the same luxurious feel as terry cloth, but their quick-drying ability makes them less prone to developing the dreaded musty smell that can develop on dense terry cloth towels.

Product Certifications

There are several independent third-party tests that ensure textiles meet certain standards for product safety: "When textiles are made, there are chemicals used to process them and there can be a residual of a harmful substance on the textile that you can't see by looking at it," says Frosk. "The only way to know if a textile has some level of a harmful substance on it is to test it." The most common and widely-trusted product labels are the Oeko-Tex certifications, which include both Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex and Made In Green by Oeko-Tex labels.

According to Frosk, the Standard 100 label indicates that a product has been tested for harmful substances, while the Made In Green label ensures that the product is both safe from harmful substances and made in environmentally friendly facilities with safe and socially responsible work practices. All Made In Green-certified products are also Standard 100-certified.

For organic textiles, look for the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) label—another independent third-party certification that defines requirements for organic textiles, from harvesting raw materials to manufacturing and labeling.

Style

Color, patterns, embroidery, and stitching can all have an impact on the look and feel of your bath towel (and bathroom). Be sure whichever towel you choose is one you'll be proud to hang on your towel rack. "Bath towels are also a great opportunity to express favorite colors and to add in fun design details like macrame fringe and tassels," says Smith.

Bath Towels Testing
Real Simple / Henry Wortock

More Bath Towels to Consider

Brooklinen Classic Bath Sheet: If you prefer a towel that offers more coverage, consider a bath sheet, like this one from Brooklinen. We found it to be exceptionally absorbent, although it fell short of the competition because of its somewhat rough texture. 

Home Decorators Collection Egyptian Cotton Bath Sheet: For a less expensive bath sheet, we like this Egyptian cotton option. But given that this is a very thick and substantial towel (675 GSM), it may prove a little cumbersome for some people.

Questions You Might Ask

How should you wash bath towels?

So how often do you really need to wash your bath towels? Most bath towels can be used three to four times before they need to be washed in the washing machine. Even when you can't see it (or smell it), body oils, dirt, and sweat can all build up on your towels—and in a steamy bathroom, they'll be even more vulnerable to bacteria growth.

Be sure to always give your towels room to spread out when air drying (avoid leaving them in a crumpled heap on the bathroom floor). To keep your towels from getting dingy, you should wash white towels and colored towels separately, using hot water for white and warm water for colors. Avoid using fabric softeners, as they can reduce the absorbency of your towels. Smith suggests using dryer balls to "keep bath towels feeling soft and fresh, wash after wash." And always make sure your towels are completely dry before putting them away.

How many bath towels do you need per person?

You should have at least two bath towels for each person in your household so that everyone always has at least one towel to use on laundry days. If you have long hair, you may want to have four towels, so you can always have at least one clean hair towel and one clean body towel. "Some people also change out towels by season—choosing a cozy, fluffy one in the winter and a lightweight one in the summer," says Thornburg.

How often should you replace bath towels?

This depends on the quality of your towel, but in general, you'll want to replace your bath towels every two years. If your bath towels no longer dry you effectively, have a funky smell even after washing, or have visible wear and tear, these are all signs it may be time to replace them. Thornburg suggests switching out towels seasonally to give your bathroom a refreshed feel and extend the lifespan of your towels.

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Melanie Fincher, associate commerce editor for Real Simple with three years of experience writing product reviews and lifestyle content. To compile this list, 46 bath towels in our Lab and our homes, evaluating them based on their quality, texture, absorbency, durability, and overall value. For expert tips on buying and using bath towels, we consulted Whitney Thornburg, design director at Coyuchi, and Sarah Smith, product education and customer experience manager at Serena & Lily. We also received insights from Elana Frosk, account executive at Hohenstein Institute, the U.S. testing lab for the Oeko-Tex standard.

What Is Real Simple Selects?

Next to each product on this list, you may have noticed a Real Simple Selects seal of approval. Any product appearing alongside that seal has been vetted by our team—put through tests and graded on its performance to earn a spot on our list. Although we buy most of the products we test, sometimes we do get samples from companies if purchasing a product ourselves isn't an option. All products go through the same rigorous process, whether they are purchased or sent by the company.

Love our recommendations? Check out more products that have earned the Real Simple Selects, from humidifiers to cordless vacuums.

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