Most parents have, by our estimate, three minutes to lather up and take a shower and dry off before they are interrupted. That’s why parents need a good boiler — to get that hot shower quickly —and a solid plush towel that’s soft, absorbent, and won’t stay wet long after you’re dry. We can’t help you with the boiler choices — that’s a longer conversation — but we do have insights from the pros on the perfect towels.
“We all love soft things, but when it comes to towels just being soft isn’t good enough,” says Missy Tannen, founder and head of design and development at Boll & Branch. “First and foremost, towels are very functional items. Not only is it important that towels dry us off quickly, but we need them to not hold so much water that they get musty and mildewed.”
It turns out there’s such a thing as being too-absorbent. “Customers should pay specific attention to the twist of the yarn, which is how a towel holds water, and the length of the loop, the longer the loop, the more plush the towel will feel,” she said. “They should avoid ‘zero twist’ towels or other gimmicks because while they might feel super soft, they won’t get you as dry as you need. Like all textiles, though, it is the quality of the cotton that makes all the difference.”
While towel-shopping, you’ll encounter different types of cotton. Here’s what you need to know: Turkish cotton, which has longer fibers, is soft yet durable because it has more dense loops of thread. Similarly, Egyptian or Pima cotton are other premium fabrics, revered for their softness and superior quality. Combed cotton refers to the process of combing the textile to weed out shorter threads, so only the longest and strongest remain, which makes it pill-resistant and long-lasting. Ringspun cotton is spun, as the name implies, during the production process to achieve stronger, longer strands that are durable yet soft and free from the rough texture of standard raw cotton.
See more: Best Sheets for Your Bed
Another thing to consider is size. Your standard bath towel measures 27” x 52”, while a bath sheet is a bit more expansive at 35” x 60,” providing additional coverage. While you’re looking for the perfect towel, keep an eye out for banded edges, which minimize fraying.
Take a look at some of the best towels on the market to make your showers extra special. And remember to lock the door.
You get a full set of dreamy, soft towels made of 100 percent organic cotton.
Pros: These glorious towels are made from long-staple organic Turkish cotton, resulting in a soft, fluffy creation that feels plush yet lightweight and is ultra-absorbent. Plus, these towels are 100 percent organic.
Cons: They’re pricey, but worth it.
These towels, made from Turkish cotton, are the most highly absorbent, durable, and soft.
Pros: These towels are soft, fluffy, and don’t shed. Plus, they get softer the more you use and wash them.
Cons: Some say they’re too thin and not absorbent enough.
The most durable towel, this one is woven from 100 percent ring-spun cotton.
Pros: Because this towel is made of terry, it’s super-absorbent. The towels come with double-stitched hemmed finishing, which means they last longer after repeated washes, and they’re made from combed cotton and two-ply yarn.
Cons: Again, there are complaints that they’re too thin, and not hardy enough.
It's the thinnest towel on the list, with serious drying prowess.
Pros: Unlike its terry counterparts, this Turkish bath towel known as the pestemal is refreshingly lightweight, and yet dries like a champ. These pestemals dry faster than thicker towels and are highly absorbent.
Cons: They’re not absorbent enough for some.
These sumptuous organic cotton towels are the perfect combination of absorption and softness.
Pros: One Fatherly editor has used these towels for a year, and they just as soft and absorbent as on day one. There’s no pilling and no tearing.
Cons: If you like a truly luxurious bath sheet, this isn’t for you.
This is the most luxurious towel on the list, because it's made from extra-long staple Supima cotton.
Pros: This towel is worth the money because it’s made from Supima cotton, which represents less than one percent of all the cotton grown worldwide. It’s known for its softness, and color retention.
Cons: It’s not cheap.
These towels are the most user-friendly, because they're made from extra-smooth, slightly twisted bamboo yarn and thus, won't smell like mildew.
Pros: Bamboo happens to be naturally hypoallergenic and mildew-resistant, so your towels won’t get all stinky. They dry fast, and are very absorbent.
Cons: The towels can shed.
With these organic towels, you get super-soft texture and major drying power.
Pros: We love that these towels are made from organic bamboo, which has hypoallergenic and anti-microbial properties.
Cons: They can start to fall apart on the quicker side.
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