9 best bath towels that are wonderfully soft and quick to dry

One of the best things about staying in a swish hotel is stepping out of the shower into a large fluffy towel. Yet at home, we often stick to the same threadbare ones we’ve used for years, rather than making an easy and affordable swap that will upgrade even the briefest bath.

If your towels are looking a little worse for wear, feel rough to touch or are no longer drying you properly, it’s probably time to treat yourself to a new one. Which one you choose largely comes down to personal preference. If you live in a busy household and need towels that will dry quickly between uses or if you bring towels swimming or to the gym, look for a more lightweight option that has polyester listed on the label. It won’t feel quite as plush, but will do the job perfectly well, be easier to carry and won’t take hours to dry.

When only five-star hotel extravagance will do, look for a towel made of 100 per cent cotton that feels heavy when you hold it. Select one with dense, long loops of yarn that will be extra absorbent and make you feel like you’re in a high-end spa every time you step out of the shower. The weight of a towel is measured in GSM (grams per square metre), which will give you an indication of how plush and durable it is. Look for one over 600 GSM for the full fluffy hotel experience.

Just remember that to keep it looking tip-top, a towel should be aired between uses, preferably washed only with other towels to avoid snags and never washed with fabric softener which can reduce its absorbency.

How we tested

We washed every towel before use as advised, then used it after baths and showers to judge how quickly it dried us, how snuggly it felt and how speedy the towel itself was to dry – as no one wants soggy specimens cluttering up the bathroom. We noticed if any left stray fluff behind and how good each one looked on our towel rail, paying particular attention to how well each towel washed. One thing’s for sure: we’ve never been cleaner.

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The best bath towels for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Scooms Egyptian cotton bath towel pair: £39, Scooms.com
  • Best for fluffiness – The White Company hydro cotton towel: £28, Thewhitecompany.com
  • Best for absorbency – Soak & Sleep luxury Egyptian cotton towels: £10.15, Soakandsleep.com
  • Best bundle – Ïn Home 100% Egyptian cotton pile 5 piece towel bale: £60, Thehut.com
  • Best personalised towel – Lands’ End Supima bath towel: £25, Landsend.co.uk
  • Best towel with a difference – Made Narinda set of four cotton & linen towels: £42, Made.com
  • Best for colour choice – Next Egyptian cotton towels: £12, Next.co.uk
  • Best reasonably priced luxury – Christy refresh bath towel: £12.99, Wayfair.co.uk
  • Best statement towel – Soho Home house pool towel, White City House: £65, Sohohome.com

Scooms Egyptian cotton bath towel pair

Best: Overall

  • Size: 70cm x 135cm
  • Rating: 10/10

If you take your towels seriously, you’ll be relieved to know Scooms’ founders Emily and Jonathan Attwood share your concerns. They spent a year researching different yarns, weights and construction methods to come up with this heavenly, hotel-like towel that lost none of its softness even after repeated washing.

It’s made from a heavy, 100 per cent long-staple Egyptian cotton with a whopping 720 GSM, using a zero-twist loop to give a smoother finish that won’t irritate skin. The towel also meets Oeko-Tex Standard 100 to verify it has been tested for harmful toxins and chemicals. Though we were reluctant to get dry and be parted from it after showers, the towel is amazingly absorbent so did the job in half the time. We also liked the fact it comes with a hook sewn in for easy hanging, has double-stitched edging and has hand towels, bath sheets and bath mats to match. The only downside: our youngest tester was even less reluctant than normal to get dressed after bath time when wrapped in this.

The White Company hydro cotton towel

Best: For fluffiness

Size: 70cm x 125cm

Rating: 9/10

There’s no need to compromise on softness just because you need a towel that will dry and be ready to use again in a hurry. This bestselling version from The White Company is made of luxe 100 per cent cotton but has clever low twist technology which makes it extra-fluffy, yet fast drying. At 500 GSM, it’s not quite as heavy as some of the others we tested, which means it was significantly speedier to dry when hung up on an unheated towel rail – rather than left on the floor in a heap – after use.

We assumed this super-softness would fade with washing but it stayed just as snuggly as the very first use and felt divine to dry with after a shower. We especially loved the ribbed texture which looked elegant in the bathroom, making it a great choice if you want a medium-weight towel. It comes in four tastefully neutral colours and all sorts of sizes from a face cloth to a bath sheet, but we’ve got our eye on the super jumbo option for major hotel bathroom vibes.

Soak & Sleep luxury Egyptian cotton towels

Best: For absorbency

  • Size: 70cm x 140cm
  • Rating: 9/10

Proof that a top-quality towel doesn’t need to have a wince-worthy price tag, this large, luxe towel from Soak & Sleep is a dream to dive into after a long bath. Available in eleven colours including dusky blue, light grey and classic white, the towel can also be paired with a full range including bath mats and face cloths if you want everything to match. We also love the fact they’re sold in bundles for a discount if you need to buy more than one.

Made from 100 per cent certified Egyptian cotton, the towel has ultra-smooth yarns and terry woven to an impressive 700 GSM using a twisted loop pile. This makes the towel astonishingly absorbent and durable, so you won’t spot annoying snags within a few washes. We also found it got us dry in a flash, yet was still ready to use again in no time. There’s a sewn-in hook to hang up after use but if you have a towel this nice, we’d recommend airing it properly on a radiator instead.

Ïn Home 100% Egyptian cotton pile 5 piece towel bale

Best: Bundle

  • Size: 70cm x 135cm
  • Rating: 7/10

What’s better than one plush towel? A whole stash of them of course, so you always have a clean one ready or can give one to visiting guests. Any busy household needs a bundle of towels and this one should suit every need with two hand towels, two bath towels and a gloriously oversized bath sheet, all tied with a white ribbon. Weighing 700 GSM, all are made of 100 per cent Egyptian cotton and have long fibres for increased softness and strength.

Though they felt a little less smooth than other towels we tested, we were really impressed by their absorbency and they washed and tumble dried well too. They come in four colourways but we tested the striking dusky pink and washed them four times to be sure they really were colourfast as claimed and didn’t spot any fading at all. We reckon they’d make the ideal wedding or housewarming gift.

Lands’ End supima bath towel

Best: Personalised towel

  • Size: 76cm x 142cm
  • Rating: 8/10

A brand new towel will make your bathroom feel like a haven, but if you really want to be swish, make it monogrammed. You can add any letters you like in up to eight different styles for £3.50 which would make this towel a great present. We also think it would be a great idea if you want to tell others to keep their hands off your towel.

At 650 GSM, there’s a pleasing weight to this towel but we especially loved its generous size which gave it serious wrap-around comfort. It’s made of 100 per cent Supima cotton, which is twice as strong as regular cotton and accounts for only the top 3 per cent of cotton grown in the US. This makes it super soft but also means your towel will keep looking good for years. Produced from extra-long fine fibres that are combed before being spun into a silky yarn, this towel felt just as good after washing as it did with the first touch and made our bath time bliss.

Made Narinda set of four cotton & linen towels

Best: Towel with a difference

  • Size: 70cm x 125cm
  • Rating: 8/10

Available in three colours and weighing 650 GSM, this towel really made our bathroom feel like a high-end spa. It’s made of heavyweight cotton with a high pile base but unusually, has a wide 100 per cent linen border which gives it a noticeably different look from other towels. We also think this would minimise annoying loose threads which is a definite bonus in our book.

The towel comes in a bale of four – two bath towels and two hand towels – so you can completely makeover your bathroom in one swoop. This is also handy to prolong the life of the towels as it’s easy to alternate use and keep them in perfect condition for longer. They were slightly less soft after tumble drying but still a pleasure to use. Plus, they’re made in a factory that the Made team has visited recently to ensure they’re responsibly produced which gets a big thumbs up from us.

Next Egyptian cotton towels

Best: For colour choice

  • Size: 70cm x 120cm
  • Rating: 8/10

Bored of the same old white or grey towels? Deck out your bathroom in a shade that makes you smile with this beautifully soft towel with an equally pleasing price tag. The towel comes in an astonishing 42 colours so you’re guaranteed to find one you love whether that’s aubergine purple, burnt orange or lime green. We think this would be especially useful if you’re sharing a bathroom with others and want to make sure everyone knows which is your towel (or else…). Couples or families could even buy different colours to avoid a mix-up. Best of all, there was zero colour run during washing and we noticed no fade even after several washes.

Though there’s a decent weight to this towel at 600 GSM, we were also impressed by how quickly it dried after use. Even on an unheated towel rail, it was completely dry within just a few hours – essential if you’re a twice-a-day showerer. Absorbency was excellent too, so we were bone dry in seconds. A great buy all around.

Christy refresh bath towel

Best: Reasonably priced luxury

  • Size: 70cm x 125cm
  • Rating: 7/10

Proof that you don’t need to break the bank if you need to replace your towel, this lovely soft version is a fantastic price yet comes from esteemed British manufacturer Christy. The brand produced the first looped terry towel in the 19th century and then presented its design to Queen Victoria who liked it so much, she immediately ordered more. They have since produced special towels to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth I and are the official towel supplier at Wimbledon.

But you don’t have to be royalty to dry off in style. Weighing 550 GSM, the towel comes in eight different colours and is made of 100 per cent combed cotton with Christy’s signature terry cloth weave and a neat dobby border. It felt especially soft after washing and drying, yet still looked smart hung up in our bathroom after several uses as it dries quickly after each use. And if it’s good enough for the Queen…

Soho Home house pool towel, White City House

Best: Statement towel

  • Size: 100cm x 180cm
  • Rating: 9/10

Say no to bog-standard towels and make a style statement with this super-swish towel from Soho Home, the interiors collection from Soho House. Its covetable bath towels are the very same classic cabana stripe towels used in the House swimming pools so you’re guaranteed that decadent hotel feel (without the membership fee). Each House has its own colours so you can choose the shades or destination you prefer, from the bold red and white of Shoreditch House to the turquoise candy-stripes of the Little Beach House Barcelona.

We tested the towel from White City House in West London and loved the distinctive broad burnt orange, black and white stripes which mean it will always be a talking point. It’s embroidered with the White City House logo and has a smart monochrome trim inspired by the TV test card. Made of heavyweight Turkish cotton, it was one of the smoothest towels to the touch that we tested but still dried wet skin in a flash. We also loved how huge it was, making it a dream to wrap up in after a bath. Don’t worry if you like to dry washing on the line either – it’s been tested and developed not to fade in sunlight.

Bath towels FAQs

What should I look for when buying bath towels?

Don’t get too distracted by how soft a towel is when you first see it. Instead, lift it up and feel the weight. GSM is a measure of how heavy a fabric is in grammes per square metre. Towels of 600gsm or over will feel fairly weighty like those found in five-star hotels. If you want a lighter (and cheaper) towel that will dry more quickly, go for a mix of cotton and either linen or polyester.

How can you tell a good quality towel?

Generally heavier towels are better quality but they will take longer to dry after use. If you want to up the plush quota, look out for 100 per cent cotton towels with dense yarn. It’s also worth checking the edges to make sure they’re sealed well to prevent fraying. Twisted terry pile makes towels stronger while polyester in the mix will help it dry speedily – useful if you want to bring it to the gym.

How often should you buy new bath towels?

This varies depending on the quality of the towels, how often they’ve been used and how well they’ve been looked after. As a general rule, it’s worth buying a new bath towel every three to four years but they may last longer if you have more than one set you can rotate. But if you notice lingering smells despite washing, pulled threads or just don’t feel dry after using one, it’s definitely time to ditch it. Remember old towels can be disposed of in dedicated textile recycling banks or given to local animal shelters.

How often should you wash bath towels?

Experts reckon bath towels should be washed every three to four uses to keep them hygienic, so that works out around twice a week if you’re showering every day. Spread out the towel and air it properly between uses to help it dry, rather than just slinging it on a hook. It’s also essential you always wash every towel before its first use to stop it shedding and maximise absorbency.

The verdict: Bath towels

Give yourself a treat every day and dry off in the Scooms Egyptian cotton bath towel pair for serious hotel softness, a generous size and fantastic absorbency. We also loved the range of colours, price and divine fluffiness of Soak & Sleep luxury Egyptian cotton towels. However, if good looks trump all else, you won’t be disappointed by the gorgeous Soho Home pool towel, White City House.

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Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.