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What are the Best Towel Materials and What Sizes Should You Buy?

 a product shot of our towels hanging in a luxurious bathroom
Written By
PARACHUTE TEAM
Photographs By
JESSICA SCHRAMM FOR PARACHUTE
@parachutehome
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High-quality, soft bath towels can transform your bathroom into a five-star spa. But finding the best towel bundle is not always an easy task. With tons of material and size options on the market, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and lost.

When it comes to choosing between different types of towels, the most significant factor is usually absorbency. That’s why picking the best towel material is crucial. Cotton and rayon, for example, are the most absorbent fabrics. If softness is a top priority, then consider bath towels made from bamboo. Microfiber and flat weave cotton towels are best for travelers and those looking for a lightweight and compact option.

If you have ever wondered ‘what are the best towels to buy,’ or ‘what are towels made of,’ keep reading for a useful guide on bath towels.

Types of Towels

There are many types of bath towels made with specific uses in mind.

Oversized bath sheets, for example, are perfect for those looking for some extra warmth after a shower. Their size allows you to completely wrap yourself with them. They are also an excellent wintertime option.

Regular bath towels are ideal for everyday use. They are usually big enough to wrap around your waist or torso. They come in soft, absorbent and sturdy materials such as cotton and rayon.

Most beach and travel towels are about the same size (roughly the size of a regular bath towel) but are often crafted from different materials. The reason? Beach towels are made from cotton but have a flat weave construction. That way, they don’t take up much space in a beach bag, dry fast and are easy to clean from the sand.

Travel-friendly towels most often are crafted from microfiber due to the material’s high absorbency and quick-dry qualities. They are smaller than everyday bath towels. Microfiber towels are incredibly lightweight and, when folded, take up minimum space. They also make excellent gym towels.

Hand towels are another popular option crafted from plush cotton. Absorbency is key but so is high-quality. Hand towels should be washed a lot more often than other types of towels for hygienic purposes.

Face towels and washcloths are the smallest type of bath towels. They are made from naturally hypoallergenic cotton, and are soft, lightweight and dry quickly. Use these types of towels only on one part of the body, such as the face, to avoid transmitting germs.

And lastly, baby towels are made from the softest cotton. Babies have extremely sensitive skin, so bath towels should be hypoallergenic and gentle to the skin.

Bath Towel Sizes

The most popular types of towels — bath towels — are usually 27x52 inches. These measurements may vary by a few inches depending on the manufacturer and brand. Hand towel sizes are in the 15x25 to 18x30 inch range. Hand towels are often big enough to be used as hair towels, too. 

Washcloths and face towels are the smallest of all. Square in shape, they measure 13x13 inches. Baby washcloths are usually the same size as face towels, but are thicker and more absorbent.

On the opposite end are bath sheets that measure about 35x70 inches. They are the best option for taller people. While they are the largest of all towel types, keep in mind that they will take a little more time to dry.

Beach towels come in different sizes, but the most common one would be about 30x60 inches. They are a little wider and thinner than regular bath towels and come in various prints and patterns.

What is Towel GSM?

We already mentioned that some towels are “thinner” and some “thicker.” This is just a general way of speaking about towel weight. You may have seen the abbreviation GSM on towel labels before. It stands for “grams per square meter” and is the standard measurement for fabric weight. GSM, as it pertains to bath towels, describes the density of the product. The higher the GSM value, the thicker, heavier and fluffier the towel.

Most towels’ weight varies between 300 to 900 GSM. Those on the lower end (300-400) are lighter and thinner. Beach, kitchen and travel towels have the lowest GSM.

A medium-weight towel would be in the 400-600 range. That is the perfect weight for everyday bath and hand towels as well as face towels and washcloths.

The highest range of GSM is 700-900. Bath towels with that weight will be the fluffiest and absorb the most water. Of course, they will also take the most time to dry.

It is important to remember that GSM only refers to the weight of towels. It is not an indicator of quality.

What are the Best Towel Materials?

Towels come in different fabrics that define most of their features. Cotton is the most popular towel material. But not all cotton towels are created equal. High-quality Turkish and Egyptian cotton produce the best, softest, and most absorbent towels. Whether you need them for yourself or your guest bathroom, cotton bath towels are multitaskers and ideal for everyday use.

And speaking of softness, bamboo towels have become a staple in bathrooms because of the material’s natural softness. Baby towels, for instance, are often made from bamboo. Some people prefer the material because it’s more sustainable, too. Bamboo towels can also be antimicrobial, so if your bathroom doesn’t have any windows or good ventilation, they are the best option.

Travelers and sports enthusiasts usually go for microfiber towels. Not only are they fast drying and absorbent, but some of them are also antimicrobial and take less space than regular towels. Other synthetic fibers often used to make bath towels are: nylon, rayon and polyester. They are usually blended with cotton, which makes them softer and fluffier. While those types of towels are sturdy and long-lasting, they are not as absorbent as towels made from 100 percent cotton.

Linen is another fabric to put on your radar. It is made from flax plants and is quite sturdy. While linen towels may look much thinner than cotton ones, flax is actually more absorbent than cotton. That’s why linen makes such a great (and chic!) fabric for hand towels.

What is the Best Way to Wash and Dry Bath Towels?

Properly caring for your bath towels will prolong their life and keep them in top condition for years. Cotton towels are washing machine-friendly. Wash them in cool water with a mild detergent and tumble dry low. To keep them fluffy and soft, add a few wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. Never use bleaching agents on your towels.

While you can wash bamboo towels in the washing machine, the best way to keep them soft is to air dry them. Certain dryers have an air dry setting which could work, too. Never use hot air on bamboo towels because it will stiffen them.

Hot air is also an enemy of synthetic fibers such as microfiber and polyester.

The Benefits of High-Quality Towels

Think of high-quality towels as an investment in your home and well-being. Bath towels made from premium cotton are super absorbent and deliver superior softness and comfort.

Well-made towels won’t shed and will remain fluffy wash after wash. They dry fast, which prevents mold and bacteria from growing on them.  

Towels are also part of your skin and body care routine. If you suffer from skin or eye conditions and have sensitive skin, it is important to choose a set of bath towels that will help you maintain a healthy, germ- and toxin-free routine. In this case, “breathable” cotton towels of medium weight are the best option.

High-quality bath towels will add that 5-star resort look to your bathroom. They will make your post-shower routine feel like a luxury spa experience.

Where to Shop for Premium Bath Towels?

Parachute offers a large selection of towels fit for every situation.

The company’s towel bundles are a convenient way to shop for multiple sizes in coordinating prints for a stylish look. They are crafted from premium Turkish long-staple cotton with medium to high GSM for superior absorbency and fluffiness.

Heading to the beach? Parachute’s oversized Beach Towel doubles as a beach blanket and dons playful fringes. It has a flat weave front and a soft terry back, making it extra light yet absorbent and quick drying.

And for your bundle of joy, Parachute offers a Hooded Baby Towel and a Baby Washcloth made from natural long-staple Turkish cotton and without any harmful chemicals or synthetic dyes that may irritate the skin.

TagsTowels