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Best bath towels to upgrade your bathroom routine

These soft and fluffy essentials have all been tried and tested by our experts

Siobhan Grogan
Friday 07 June 2024 17:56 BST
We washed, dried and snuggled to find the best bath towels to add a touch of luxury to your bathroom
We washed, dried and snuggled to find the best bath towels to add a touch of luxury to your bathroom (The Independent )
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Little luxuries can make a big difference. And while it may seem like a simple premise, swapping your weathered old bath towel, for a newer, fluffier version can take your shower to the next level. Leaving you with that five-star spa feeling every time. It’s simple and affordable, what’s not to love?

While a new towel is always nice to have, you definitely need to replace old ones if they are no longer drying you effectively, are faded, have stains that can’t be removed or if they feel rough and frayed. Don’t pay too much attention to how soft towels feel in the shop, however. This can change dramatically once a towel is washed, so, it pays to look a little closer at the details on the label instead.

The most luxurious towels are made of 100 per cent cotton and have a noticeable weight when held. The weight of a towel is measured in GSM (grams per square metre), and this will give you an indication of how plush and durable it is. Look for one of more than 600 GSM for the full hotel-towel feel, though bear in mind that towels with a higher thread count may take a little longer to dry than thinner ones.

Other features to look for include reinforced edges to prevent fraying; and dense, long loops of yarn that will make the towel even more absorbent. With all towels, it’s important to avoid using fabric conditioner when washing, as this reduces absorbency. Also remember to air towels between uses, if possible, and to try to only wash them with other towels, to prevent snagging.

How we tested the best bath towels

A selection of the towels we tested
A selection of the towels we tested (Siobhan Grogan)

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

The best bath towels for 2024 are:

  • Best bath towels overall – Scooms Egyptian cotton bath towel pair: £55,
  • Best budget bath towels – Dunelm charcoal Egyptian cotton bath towel: £8.80,
  • Best bath towels for fluffiness – The White Company hydro cotton towel: £30,
  • Best bath towels for absorbency – Soak & Sleep luxury Egyptian cotton towels, set of four: £58,
  • Best statement bath towels – Soho Home house pool towel, White City House: £65,

Scooms Egyptian cotton bath towel pair

  • Best: Bath towels overall
  • Size: 70cm x 135cm
  • Fabric: 100 per cent long-staple Egyptian cotton
  • Colourways: White, pearl grey, silver grey, creme
  • Sizes available : Bath sheet, bath towel, hand towel, face cloth
  • Why we love it
    • Feels thick and luxurious
    • Dries skin quickly
    • No toxins used in manufacture
  • Take note
    • Takes a little longer to tumble dry due to thickness

If you take your towels seriously, you’ll be relieved to know Scooms’s 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 during testing, even after several washes.

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: when wrapped in this towel, our youngest tester was even more reluctant than normal to get dressed after bath time.

  1. £55 from
Prices may vary
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Dunelm charcoal Egyptian cotton bath towel

  • Best: Budget bath towels
  • Size: 70cm x 125cm
  • Fabric: Egyptian cotton
  • Colourways: Sage green, charcoal, navy, silver, pebble, white, mushroom, blush, bottle green, grape, duck egg, teal, Folkstone blue, denim, fuchsia, woodland fern, lavender, forest green, burnt orange, sterling grey, peacock,
  • Sizes available: Face cloth, guest towel, hand towel, bath towel, bath sheet, XL bath towel, supersize bath sheet
  • Why we love it
    • Great range of sizes
  • Take note
    • Thinner than some towels

This towel from Dunelm has all the hallmarks of a pricier option yet for a little over a tenner. It’s made from extra-long Egyptian cotton fibres – although doesn’t specify the GSM rating – and has smartly reinforced edges to prevent future fraying. It even comes with an impressive five-year guarantee.

It is thinner than some of the more expensive towels we tested but also dries in a flash to prevent musty smells and won’t swamp the bathroom radiator when it’s hung up. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for a towel to bring swimming or on holiday or just for regular use in a busy bathroom.

  1. £8 from
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The White Company hydro cotton towel

  • Best: For fluffiness
  • Size: 70cm x 125cm
  • Fabric: 100 per cent cotton
  • Colourways: Slate, white, pearl grey, soft grey, oatmeal
  • Sizes available : Face cloth, hand towel, bath towel, bath sheet, super jumbo
  • Why we love it
    • Feels super-soft
    • Ribbed pattern adds interest
    • Dries quickly
  • Take note
    • Lighter weight than some other towels

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 that makes it extra fluffy, yet fast drying. At 500 GSM, it’s not quite as heavy as some of the other towels we tested, which means it was much speedier to dry when hung up on an unheated towel rail after use.

We assumed this 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 neutral colours and all sorts of sizes, from a face cloth to a bath sheet, but we’ve got our eye on the superjumbo option for major hotel-bathroom vibes.

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Soak & Sleep luxury Egyptian cotton towels, set of four

  • Best: For absorbency
  • Size: 70cm x 140cm
  • Fabric: 100 per cent certified Egyptian cotton
  • Colourways: White, light grey, mid grey, smoke, taupe, mink, dusky blue, nautical blue, sand
  • Sizes available : Face cloth, hand towel, bath towel, bath sheet, jumbo bath sheet
  • Why we love it
    • Attractive colours available
    • Good price
    • Looked good as new after washing
  • Take note
    • Quite bulky to store

Proof that top-quality towels don’t need to have a wince-worthy price tag, this large, luxe towel set from Soak & Sleep is a dream to dive into after a long bath. Available in nine colours, including dusky blue, light grey and classic white, the towels can also be paired with bath mats and face cloths. We also love that they’re sold in bundles for a discount.

Made from 100 per cent certified Egyptian cotton, the towels have ultra-smooth yarns and are 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 fast, yet was still ready to use again in no time. There’s a sewn-in hook for hanging up the towel after use but, if you have a towel this nice, we’d recommend airing it properly on a radiator instead.

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Soho Home house pool towel, White City House

  • Best: Statement bath towels
  • Size: 100cm x 180cm
  • Fabric: Heavyweight Turkish cotton
  • Colourways: 11 Soho House colour schemes
  • Sizes available : One size only
  • Why we love it
    • Colours are bright and distinctive
    • Real heavyweight feeling
    • Oversized
  • Take note
    • Takes a little longer to dry after washing

Say no to bog-standard towels, and make a statement with this super-swish option 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 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.

  1. £65 from
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Marks & Spencer super soft pure cotton antibacterial bath towel

  • Best: For a range of colours
  • Size: 68cm x 130cm
  • Fabric: Cotton
  • Colourways: 36
  • Sizes available: Face towels, guest towel, hand towel, bath towel, bath sheet
  • Why we love it
    • Huge range of colours
    • Excellent price
    • Dries quickly
  • Take note
    • Lighter weight than some towels

Want to jazz up a plain white bathroom or match some wacky multicoloured tiles? Look no further than M&S, where towels come in a huge range of colours. The range also has StayNew technology, to keep the towels looking good even after several washes – ours showed no colour fade or fraying.

Though the bath towel feels soft to the touch, it’s not as heavy as some of the other ones we tested with a rating of 550 GSM. It dried us just as well as thicker towels but this meant it didn’t sit around in the bathroom feeling damp for ages between uses. Plus, it fitted easily in our gym bag, without weighing us down. It’s also worth noting the towel is made from responsibly sourced cotton and has a plant-based antibacterial finish made of linseed oil, which is better for the environment. All this and a great price, too.

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Lusso Varese Egyptian cotton bath towel

  • Best: White bath towels
  • Size: 70cm x 120cm
  • Fabric: Egyptian cotton
  • Colourways: White
  • Sizes available: Face towel, hand towel, bath towel, bath sheet
  • Why we love it
    • Gold threading looks expensive
  • Take note
    • Only available in one colour

Nothing says ‘spa break’ quite like a pristine white towel. This one from Lusso will add a five-star touch to any bathroom. Made of 650gsm Egyptian cotton, it has a glamorous feel, thanks to the gold embroidery on every towel, and it really does look swish out on display.

We especially loved the neatly reinforced edges and embossed pattern, which helps keep it in tip-top condition – plus, it was one of the most absorbent towels we tried, so we could dry off in a flash.

Bath towels also come in a bundle (£97, with a face towel, hand towel and bath sheet, all wrapped up in tissue paper and smart individual boxes, if you’re looking for a wedding gift with the wow factor. Just be aware the towels only come in white, so they’re probably not best suited to devoted wearers of fake tan.

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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 grams per square metre. Towels of 600 GSM or more will feel fairly weighty, like those in five-star hotels.Also, make sure to check the edges are neatly folded and secured with close, secure stitching. This is a sign of good quality craftsmanship, and reassurance the towel won’t fray over time.

The softest and most absorbant material you can go for is 100 per cent cotton. While more premium Egyptian and Supima cotton fabrics are often sought-after, they aren’t as absorbant and soft as pure cotton (but are far more expensive).

If you want a lighter (and cheaper) towel that will dry quicker, go for a mix of cotton and either linen or polyester. These less expensive options can often be more durable, too.

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 putting polyester in the mix will help them dry speedily, which is useful if you want to take one 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. 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 from 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. However, if good looks trump all else, you won’t be disappointed by the gorgeous Soho Home House pool towel, White City.

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