Best microfibre towel: The cleanest and fastest-drying towels from just £5

As the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy wisely states: ‘A towel is just about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can carry.’ You needn’t be venturing nearly so far afield to find it worthwhile to pack a towel on your travels, though. And if space is at a premium, then we suggest you invest in a microfibre towel – they don’t just take up less room, they’re both more absorbent and faster drying than the average towel.

Travelling isn’t the only situation where a microfibre will come in handy. If you take your own towel to the gym, you’ll certainly appreciate having one that dries quickly, absorbs more effectively and takes up less space in your bag than the average cotton towel. The same applies at the beach too.

Best microfibre towel: At a glance

How to choose the best microfibre towel

Microfibre fabric is made up of synthetic fibres that are less than one denier thick; much finer than those of the average cotton towel. These super-thin fibres are woven together to produce a fabric with a much higher surface area, and it’s this that makes it far more absorbent. It’s also this high surface area that exposes trapped water to the air and allows it to evaporate more quickly, which is why microfibre towels dry significantly more quickly than standard towels.

READ NEXT: Best beach towels: The best lightweight and comfy towels to buy

This really depends on what you’re using it for - luckily, microfibre towels come in a wide range of sizes.

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If you’re in need of a handtowel, pick an extra-small one. If you’re backpacking, a good rule of thumb is to pick a towel that’s smaller than one that you’d use at home. As they are dramatically more absorbent, even a surprisingly tiny towel will do a good job of drying you – and more significantly, will take up less much-needed space in your rucksack.

Generally, bigger is better if you’re taking your towel to the beach - and there are a few jumbo-sized microfibre towels out there expressly aimed for this purpose.

Like most synthetic fabrics, you should avoid putting your microfibre towel in the washing machine at a high-heat setting: this will only melt the fibres. Also, avoid using bleach or fabric softener as the former will erode those ultra-fine fibres and the latter will cause them to clump together.

READ NEXT: The best washing machines to buy

Best microfibre towel: The cleanest and fastest-drying towels from just £5

The best microfibre towels

Price: £5-£22 | Buy now from Amazon

Fit-Flip’s microfibre towels are an Amazon bestseller, and in terms of size and colour variety, they certainly can’t be beaten. There are an impressive eight different sizes to choose from - ranging from 50cm x 30xm to 200cm x 100cm - and a spectrum of 14 different colours. Each towel comes rolled up in a mesh drawstring bag, making them easy to stow away in your wardrobe or on a coat rack.

Key specs – Sizes: 50cm x 30cm; 80cm x 40cm; 100cm x 50cm; 120cm x 60cm; 140cm x 70cm; 160cm x 80cm; 180cm x 90cm; 200cm x 100cm; Colours/patterns: Black, blue, green, grey, purple, red, rose, yellow, green with print, purple with print, red with print, dark blue, dark grey

£11.99 Buy now

Price: £8.50-£26 | Buy now from Amazon

Eano’s collection of microfibre towels are ideal for travellers, largely because each one comes in a zippable case with a carry handle. That means, if you’re on the move and you’re forced to pack a still-wet towel away in your bag, you can make sure it doesn’t come into contact with your clothes and other belongings. Also, Eano’s towels are given an antimicrobial treatment that will keep mould and mildew to a minimum. We recommend the medium one for most travellers, although the small one (60 x 30cm) will be perfectly fine if you’re travelling ultra-light.

Key specs – Sizes: 60cm x 30cm; 100cm x 50cm; 140cm x 70cm; 180cm x 90cm; 200cm x 100cm; Colours/patterns: Blue, dark grey, green, grey, orange, purple, royal blue, fuschia

£15.99 Buy now

Price: £11-£19 | Buy now from Amazon

Most microfibre towels are plain in colour and a little utilitarian-looking. But if you’re looking for something a bit more fun, take a look at Nomandia's range of towels. They feature a variety of fun, eye-catching patterns, from mandalas to paisley to bold stripes. Available in one size (180cm x 90cm), they’re big enough to both layout on the sand and dry you off after a swim, but not too bulky for your beach bag - there’ll be plenty of space for your bucket and spade.

Key specs – Sizes: 180cm x 90cm; Colours/patterns: Bali (Mandala Orange); Fiji (Boho Green); Goa (Paisley); Hawaiian Surf (Blue Stripes); Living Coral (Coral Stripes); Tropical Sunrise (Orange Stripes); Blue Lagoon (Plain Blue)

£18.99 Buy now

Price: £11 | Buy now from Amazon

Your hair can suffer under the constant heat and force of a hairdryer each morning - and it doesn’t half gobble up time each morning, too. The perfect solution is this microfibre towel from Duracomfort, which has been designed specifically with hair in mind. Available in one size (104cm x 48cm), this towel is made of a stretchy synthetic fabric that’s easy to twist and wrap up into a turban on your head. The ideal towel for treating your locks delicately.

Key specs – Sizes: 104cm x 48cm; Colours: White

£10.99 Buy now

Price: £19 | Buy now from Amazon

This huge (1 x 2m), plush, microfibre towel is much lighter than a traditional bath sheet of the same size, but feels far from thin or insubstantial. It envelopes you with cuddly warmth that dries you quickly and feels luxuriously soft against your skin, without weighing you down. It comes with its own mesh carry bag, too, so it's easy to tote around with you, and you can even stick the bag in the washing machine along with the towel.

The downside of this mega-towel's plushy nature is that it doesn't fold down quite as small as flatter microfibre towels. Its bright colour may also run the first couple of times you wash it, but buyers absolutely love it, advising "replace your heavy bath towels with this."

Key specs – Sizes: One size (200 x 100cm); Colours: Blue; Material: 70% polyester, 30% polyamide (machine washable, tumble dry)

£18.95 Buy now

Price: £24.29-£32.39 | Buy now from Amazon

This lightweight, smooth microfibre towel/robe does feel quite thin, more like the chamois-style microfibre of camping towels. So, while it doesn't exactly feel plush, it's really easy to roll up and stick in your gym bag. It's also very comfy and easy to wear (unless you're petite, in which case it'll swallow you up completely), and will come in very handy for protecting your modesty while getting changed at the beach, gym or swimming pool. The hood helps your hair dry off, too. Shame it only comes in one size, but there's a great range of colours and print patterns to choose from, without too much variation in price.

Key specs – Sizes: One size (110 x 90cm); Colours: Grey (pictured), camo green, red, colourful print, dark print, lemon print, peony print, seaworld print; Material: 90% polyester, 10% polyamide (machine washable); Sizes: One size (110 x 90cm)