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Which waffle bath towels are best?

When it comes to bath towels, the traditional terry weave has dominated the shelves for many years. Terry is the standard, looped-thread fabric that everybody knows and loves. At its best, it can be soft, luxurious and extremely absorbent. It can also be very thick, which might seem ideal until you try to shove a few into a crowded linen closet.

Rising in popularity now and competing against the terry weave is the waffle bath towel. This alternative weave, also known as honeycomb, packs more surface area into a smaller space for a towel that feels just as luxurious but takes up a lot less room. Waffle towels are available in all the usual sizes — wash cloths, hand towels, bath towels and bath sheets — with the best available in cotton, linen or a cotton-linen combination. The Gilden Tree Premium Waffle Weave Bath Towel is a top pick for its balance of price and quality.

What to know before you buy waffle bath towels

The unique weave of a waffle towel gives it a honeycomb-like — or waffle-like — appearance that is designed to create a greater surface area, and thus be absorbent while offering lightweight breathability.

The thinness of this weave gives waffle towels a couple of obvious advantages: They dry very quickly, and they fold down much smaller and take up less storage space than an equivalently-sized terry towel.

For people who have spent their whole lives using terry towels, the waffle towel takes some getting used to, and for a lot of those people, it’s just not worth it. They continue to prefer the plush thickness of the terry towel to the waffle towel’s quick drying time and easier storage.

You should plan to lose at least a few inches off the original width and length of a new waffle bath towel. A few runs through the wash is sure to tighten up the weave a bit.

What to look for in quality waffle bath towels

With a terry towel, you would want to pay attention to the GSM number, or grams per square meter. This is less helpful with waffle towels, though, due to the way they’re manufactured. The towels are woven flat then shrink-washed to form their honeycomb texture. This would make for wildly different GSM values depending on when in the process it is measured and how relaxed the towel’s weave is due to the amount of water it’s holding.

As far as distinguishing one waffle towel from another, pay attention to the materials used: cotton, linen, microfiber or any combination of fibers. The material along with the thickness of the towel can have an impact on absorption and drying time.

How much you can expect to spend on waffle bath towels

The price of waffle towels varies greatly. You can find a two-pack of oversized cotton bath towels in the range of $28 or you could spend nearly $800 for a six-piece set. Most options are in the much more reasonable range of $20-$50 per towel.

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Waffle bath towels FAQ

A. Waffle towels can be machine washed on a gentle cycle with cold to warm water. Tumble dry on low to medium heat. The use of fabric softener and dryer sheets is discouraged because they can coat the fibers and hinder their ability to absorb moisture. Manufacturers also recommend that you do not wash or dry waffle towels in the same load as items with buttons or zippers, which could snag the material of the towels.

A. Waffle towels will naturally soften over time, but if you want to speed up the process, put them through one washing cycle using a cup of baking soda in place of detergent. Then line dry the towels, and follow that up with a quick tumble in the dryer on low heat. Additionally, always avoid drying waffle towels with high heat, which tightens the fibers and makes the fabric feel stiff.

What are the best waffle bath towels to buy?

Gilden Tree Premium Waffle Weave Bath Towels

What you need to know: This two-pack of oversized waffle bath towels is available in a nice selection of colors.

What you’ll love: Made of 100% natural cotton, these towels dry in the dryer 40% faster than terry towels.

What you should consider: Waffle towels take some getting used to if you’ve only used terry towels before. Some people are disappointed by the light weight and coarse texture, while many others love the fast dry time and exfoliating feeling of waffle towels.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Cotton Craft Euro Spa Set of Four Waffle Weave Bath Towels

What you need to know: This four-pack of quick-drying white waffle bath towels comes at a reasonable price.

What you’ll love: Four waffle bath towels will fold down small in a cabinet and easily get you through to the weekend for laundry day.

What you should consider: These towels have lots of positive reviews, but some customers question the quality and durability.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Onsen Bath Towel

What you need to know: Garment-washed Supima cotton makes for a soft yet extremely durable waffle bath towel.

What you’ll love: The fluffy weave stands out as superior to many of the basic waffle towels available at lower prices.

What you should consider: Some complained about the near transparency of the fabric. Additionally, the price is on the higher side.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Michael Ray writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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