We’ve all been there: You reach for your bath towel and it’s still damp and musty from the night before. The best quick-dry towels exist for those moments, so you don’t have to resort to drying off with yesterday’s still-wet towel—or slip and slide your way through your home for a fresh one.
Besides being a less than ideal way to dry off after showering, using a musty towel harbors more mildew, bacteria, and viruses. The chances of those actually harming you are slim, SELF reported previously, but still, having a few fast-drying, absorbent towels lying around is never a bad idea—especially if you’re one to think about germs.
In general, the thinner and more lightweight the towel, the faster it dries, so look for a low GSM (grams per square meter). Since efficient dry-time is the name of the game, a plush spa-like towel isn’t ideal. Instead, go for breathable fabrics like waffle weave or microfiber. You’ll also want to consider what you’ll be using the towel for. If you’re searching for camping towels, something packable with a carrying case is easy to stow. For bathing and showering, you might also consider purchasing a bath sheet, which has a larger surface area and feels thinner than your typical bath towel. You’ll probably also want something that’s machine washable too.
Here, we’ve used those guidelines to find highly-rated fast-drying towels for showering, swimming, working out, camping, and even drying your hair. We’ve featured high-quality picks from brands and retailers like Brooklinen, Parachute, Lululemon, and more. Time to ditch the damp!
Your bathroom is your sanctuary, right? So it’s important that just like your bath-robes, your quick-drying bath towels don’t skimp on softness, absorbency, and style. On the pricier end, we’ve raved about Onsen’s cotton waffle weave bath towels, which come in a multitude of color options and different sizes. Brooklinen’s and Parachute’s more affordable waffle weave towels have rave reviews too. If you want something a little cozier, Brooklinen and Lands End make lightweight Turkish cotton bath towels that are minimalist enough to go with all the rest of your bathroom decor.
Bed Bath & Beyond
Having a towel that’s made specifically for your hair might feel extraneous, but trust us on this one. Wet hair is vulnerable hair, so wrapping it up in a heavy bath towel can result in breakage and unnecessary frizz (and a headache, if we’re being real). Hair towels are lightweight and easy to travel with, and many are made with frizz-fighting technology and soft fabrics (like microfiber or waffle weave) to prevent breakage. These towels are also easy to use, thanks to the sewn-on buttons that keep them fastened to your head. Plus, not only do they dry fast, they also cut down your hair’s dry time too.
Frequent campers and backpackers know: The lighter you pack, the better. Camping towels are essential for hygiene and cleaning, but they shouldn’t take up too much space. Look for a microfiber travel towel that’s also antimicrobial to fend off mildew and odor. REI offers plenty of highly-rated options that are highly absorbent, easy to wring out and hang, and packable.
Wise Owl Outfitters
Whether you’re back in the gym or still working out at home, having your own workout towel is better than a scratchy gym towel (or nothing at all!). Trusted brands like Lululemon and Alo Yoga have their own versions, and you can find plenty of other highly-rated options from retailers like Amazon and REI. Keep in mind that you’ll want a towel that doesn’t slip, in case you’ll be using it on a mat or over indoor bike handlebars. Like many of our other recommendations, you’ll also want to keep an eye out for quick-dry microfiber towels, since they’re highly absorbent and soft.
On a hot beach day, you want a towel that’s going to dry in between your dips in the water but still is substantial enough that it won’t fly away. Chances are, you’ll probably want an extra large towel, too, for maximum personal sunbathing space. You could go for the traditional, nostalgic striped terry towel, which Amazon has plenty of. We recommend Dock & Bay’s, which has more than 2,000 five-star reviews to boot. Another option are Turkish towels, which feel similar to shawls or bath sheets. They’re uniquely lightweight and often beautifully dyed.