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Who would think that buying towels could be complicated? After all, a towel is a towel, isn’t it?
Yes, but before you invest in buying new towels, there are a few points worth thinking about to ensure you get the kind of towel you want and that it does the right job for you.
Like, what do you want a towel for, drying after the shower or wrapping around you and snuggling down after a long candlelit bath? Is it for your gym bag, your kids or even the beach?
If size matters, check each brand carefully as sizes do vary.
Then there’s buying sets or bales of towels. The manufacturer usually predetermines what is in the set - though occasionally, you can select your own - from the smallest guest towels and flannels to hand towels, bath towels, and sheets.
What the towel is made from is very important. Cotton will be the most absorbent, and both Egyptian and Turkish cotton has long fibre lengths, making them hard-wearing too.
For faster drying, consider a poly-cotton blend. And, more recently, there’s bamboo or a bamboo-cotton mixed. Bamboo is often but not always highly sustainable and is soft and super for drying.
The density of a towel is seen in the description of the GSM – grams per square metre; the higher the number, the thicker, heavier and more luxurious the towel, with 600 gsm being exceptionally plush.
But the higher number is not always a better towel. A lower number is a lighter, low-pile towel that dries faster and is lighter to carry, say in a gym bag or suitcase. It all depends on what you like and what you want to use it for.
Taking care of your towels.
Always wash before using for the first time, as there may be loose fibres left from the manufacturer unless you want to end up covered in fluff.
Do not wash at overly high temperatures; 40C should suffice unless the towel is filthy or needs sterilising.
Never use fabric conditioners, as this will gum up your towels and reduce their absorbency.
Once washed, give them a good shake before popping them into the tumble dryer. If drying on a line, avoid strong sunlight to prevent fading.
For more guides to housewares, read our purchase guide for bedsheets, the best boxed mattresses, or the best sleep earbuds for an ideal night’s sleep.
These Panda organic towels were one of the softest towels we tested due to, in part, their blend of long-staple cotton and bamboo producing a 600gsm towel that dries like a lighter towel.
In addition, the towels are made with open-loop construction, which according to Panda, is less dense than ‘ordinary’ towels, so it stays fluffy for longer and does not go crisp when dry.
Add onto these credentials; they are grown organically without any pesticides; naturally antibacterial; hypoallergenic for sensitive skins; have hanging loops so they can be hung easily anywhere and even come in recycled packaging.
Their eco-stance is staggering. But all that aside, they are also lovely towels to use.Buy now
These lovely towels from Made.com are such a treat to use. They are cleverly designed with soft velour on one side, towelling on the other with both sides having waffle towelling panels as well, so you have three styles of towel in one.
The velour feels lovely against the skin, and the drying looped side whips away moisture, and the towel itself dries super quick too.
The set has two good-sized bath and hand towels, but there is no possibility of adding additional pieces, though there are two colourways to choose from, so you could mix and match.
But, even with just the two towel sizes, they will make a lovely statement in any bathroom. The quality of these towels is superb, and given their mid-price point only adds to their appeal.Buy now
The four-towel set from Habitat, renowned for bringing style into the home, has undoubtedly followed it through with this set of two hand and bath towels.
We especially liked the colourful reversible geo-leaf design, which will bring a great vibe to any bathroom.
The towels are a respectable 450gsm, so not overly thick and one of the best dryers on the test helped no doubt by being 100% cotton.
The towels aren’t as large as some, but at 70 x 120 and 50 x 80 cm respectively are more than adequate sizes. They washed well and sprang back to life in the tumble dryer, and for the price and quality, they are a real bargain.Buy now
The list of features given to these delightfully soft towels is astonishing;
almost too good to be true, but they are, as we quickly discovered.
First up, the towel set of 2 bath hand and face towels are dyed naturally with a combination (for the burnt grey ones) of Pomegranate, Alum, and Iron Earth, using skin-friendly ancient ayurvedic methods on supremely soft fabric.
They are 100% toxic-free, both ethical and sustainable, antibacterial and anti-fungal, and if that’s not enough, they wash well and are dry super quick.
The Gibie towels are made of bamboo and cotton with a 500 – 550 gsm, and for a relatively high count, we were very impressed by their absorbency.
There is nothing but good to say about the principles here, and we liked everything about these towels. Who knew it would be possible to feel so good about using a towel.Buy now
At first viewing, these delicious, wrap-around bath sheets from Allure may seem expensive for a set of two, but with each side of the towel different, you are getting two in one.
There is a super soft side which is excellent for snuggling up in, and the other , a short loop, is ideal for quick drying. Allure achieved this by having a double construction with a different twist on each side.
Plus, they are made in Egyptian cotton, well-known for their long fibres, making them extraordinarily hard-wearing yet soft at the same time.
We loved how these washed and quickly sprang back to life in the tumble dryer, looking brand new each time. There are 4 shades to choose from, and you can add to the set as well.Buy now
Christy is a leading towel brand in the UK and has been around since 1850, so they know a thing or two about them. The Hygro® towel in this range is, according to Christy, created by a unique proprietary spinning technology that produces yarn with a revolutionary hollow core, so are absorbent, dry you quicker, and bloom to get softer and loftier after wash after wash.
We expected a lot, and they did not disappoint, delivering on all points. In addition, the towels did dry exceptionally well for a 650 gsm towel, we guess because of the Hygro®.
They do not sell sets, so we tested a super-sized bath sheet, bath, hand and guest towel at £83, so not the cheapest but well worth the price for the quality and the range of colours are beautiful with 14 brilliant ones to choose from.Buy now
Be warned kids love these towels, so much so, my young tester refused to unwrap himself from the towel until he could name every dinosaur on there.
These brightly coloured reversible towels brighten up bath time no end, but apart from amusing the little ones, they are excellent towels too.
They wash well, are soft without being heavy, and the bath towel is large enough to wrap well around small bodies, the hand towels, neatly around little heads.
The towels are made with cotton supporting the Better Cotton Initiative a not-for-profit organisation to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it and is better for the environment it grows in, so everyone wins.