Guide for Buying the Best Quality Towels – Types, Material, and Function

by OKShop

There is a multitude of variety in the market when it comes to towels. It seems like an endless sea of towel options with each having a property or feature distinct from the rest. Such diverse options can easily overwhelm you whenever you make up your mind to go towel shopping.

To make this process easy for you, we are here with a blueprint that you can follow to head in the right direction when it comes to towel purchasing. So, without further ado, let us jump right in:

The Blueprint for Right Towel Shopping

Towels must be evaluated based on many factors, but the most important ones to keep in mind are – absorbency, shrinking capacity, strength of fabric, ability to dry quickly, and capacity to retain its color. This article is all about helping you guys learn how to evaluate towels based on these factors:

Always be clear about what you want!

Keeping everything aside, you first need to ask yourself the question – what is the type of towel that you personally prefer?
If you love towels that are super absorbent and extremely soft, you should be looking for a 100% cotton towel.

However, towel material is not the only thing that matters. You must pay attention to the towel’s construction as well! 100% cotton towels that come with a high pile construction of dense and plush loops on the towel’s surface are ultra-absorbent and extremely soft.

Nonetheless, such towels have a downside. They do not dry quickly and are not very long-lasting either. You will notice them wearing off after a couple of washed over a short period of time! In addition to this, this towel category takes quite a long while to dry out completely because of its heavy cotton loops. Hence, the chances of smelly mildew growth increase by multiple folds!

On the other hand, if you are aiming at investing in a towel piece that is more durable, you should be looking for options under the cotton-polyester blend category.

The cotton-poly blend towels usually come in low pile construction and have short loops on their surface. Although the cotton-poly blend towels do not match the ultimate plushness of 100% cotton towels, they have other qualities that make them a favorite for many people. For example, they are satisfactorily absorbent, dry up quickly (since polyester dries up much faster than cotton), and they make your money last longer because of their durability.

Last but not the least, if you are consciously monitoring your carbon footprint and want to go for an eco-friendly option, look no further than bamboo towels! However, you should also be ready to pay the high price tag that accompanies it.

Always be aware of your towel’s GSM (Grams per Square Meter)

Do you like your towels to be heavy or light in weight? Well, you will have to check the towel’s label for its GSM count and evaluate what a specific value of GSM means.

Understanding the GSM of towels is not difficult, and we are here to make it so easy for you that all it takes is a glimpse for you to understand. All you need to keep in mind is the following table and you will be a pro at towel shopping before you know:

300 – 400 GSM Thin, lightweight, and coarse to feel, cheap
400 – 600 GSM Medium weight, absorbent, soft to feel, reasonably priced
700 – 900 GSM Heavy, extremely soft, ultra-absorbent, expensive

As the table shows, the GSM count of towels is an indication of their quality. The higher the GSM count, the greater is the density of woven cotton in towels, and the higher is their softness, absorbency, and quality.

Towels with a GSM count of less than 400 are mostly used when their absorbency is not a priority. They are used for purposes such as cleaning, for example, kitchen towels. That is why you will mostly find the GSM count of kitchen towels to be below 400.

On the other hand, bath and beach towels usually have a GSM count ranging between 400 – 600. This is the perfect range for these towels as it causes them to be absorbent, light, and durable in the long run. Towels with a GSM count greater than 600 are not only heavy but very difficult to care for at home. The cotton is so densely woven in these towels that they are mostly used only by professional service providers like hotels and spas. That is because they must provide their customers with a luxurious feel and are ready to pay the cost for it!

Pay enough, not extra!

The cotton used to weave different towels is not the same. The cotton quality is considered to vary depending on where it is sourced from. Some cotton is considered high-quality and falls in the ‘premium category’, while other cotton is considered average-quality and is more reasonably priced.

The premium cotton is usually called Egyptian and Supima. But actually, these expensive cotton are hardly better in quality compared to the average ones. Their absorbency and durability are almost the same as the average cotton. Therefore, investing in them would just mean paying extra for higher quality that does not exist!

Check for the following terms on the towel’s label

Apart from fabric purity, GSM count, and construction technique, there are various manufacturing processes that improve the overall feel, softness, and absorbency of towels. Therefore, its always a good idea to read the label and ensure that the towel has been subjected to the following manufacturing processes:

– Combed Cotton

In this method, the cotton is combed in order to remove short cotton fibers. As a result, the towel has a more even surface and becomes smoother. Moreover, this method makes the towel more wash-friendly and durable.

– Ring-Spun Cotton

Instead of brushing off short cotton fibers, the long cotton fibers are twisted with shorter ones. As a result, the strength of towel loops increases resulting in enhanced durability.

– Twist Level

This level indicates the number of twists in the towel’s cotton loops. When the cotton loops in a towel are twisted more, its durability increases. However, if the twists are less, the towel is plushier and softer because of more surface area.

– Hydro cotton, Aero cotton, Micro cotton

These are not cotton types, rather they are the manufacturing processes of cotton. These procedures play a great role in enhancing the overall quality of towels, especially absorbing capacity and plushness.

Now that we have gone through all the important considerations to keep in mind while purchasing a towel. Let us see which towel properties are best suited for what purpose:

Different Towel Types and their Uses

Hair Towels

All women feel some level of discomfort when they drape a bath towel to dry out hair after showering. Because bath towel is extremely large for this purpose – they measure to be 30 inches by 56 inches usually. Moreover, when bath towels absorb water, they become much heavier. Hence, it feels like someone is pulling your hair when you drape a bath towel over your wet hair. In addition to this, bath towels are not the best option for drying out hair and can be a little rough. This causes friction between the hair strands and towel, ultimately leading to hair breakage and frizzy hair.

Recommendation – 100% Cotton

That is why you should always opt for a 100% pure cotton towel for drying out your hair. Cotton is not only extremely absorbent but super gentle on hair too. This is because cotton is nature’s creation, and no man-made material can ever beat the properties of nature’s own creation. Another promising property of cotton is that it has the ability to wick moisture super-fast. Therefore, you will be able to have all the moisture wicked from your hair in no time.

hair towel

Face Towels

Face towels must be extremely soft. Rubbing a harsh material against your face is never a good idea! Therefore, you should always go for a 100% cotton face towel that is soft and absorbent so that it can wick all the moisture in one go.

Bath Towels

The best bath towels must be absorbent as well as quick-drying – qualities hard to find in a single towel! However, thanks to new technology we can have access to such a towel type nowadays.

The towels I am talking about have a unique construction. They have cottoned on the outside for a soft feel on the body and high absorbance, plus polyester on the inside for quick drying and durability.

Beach Towels

The most important property of beach towels should be their ability to shake off sand easily. Although some people prefer 100% cotton terrycloth towel for their beach shenanigans, it doesn’t last for long and wears off easily.

Travel Towels

Compressed travel towels are usually made of pure cotton fibers, which can be easily compressed into various shapes. It is very convenient to store, use and carry in your travel suitcase or backpack as it saves a lot of space. It becomes a towel after only flushing it with water. And the size is almost the same as common towels, so is the towel thickness. There are various options of thickness and size. As long as you wash and dry it properly, you can reuse it many times until it drops dregs or breaks. Also, you can prepare several compressed towels for your guest.

compressed travel towel

Therefore, going for a microfiber towel is a great decision in this case. Not only does it last longer, getting it rid of sand is a piece of cake!

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