/The Best Bath Towels to Replace Your Old Moldy Shower Rags

The Best Bath Towels to Replace Your Old Moldy Shower Rags

No matter the level of softness or absorbency or drying time you prefer, below you’ll find the right fit for you in our list of the best bath towels in 2022. Just please remember to wash and dry these top picks more often than your last set. We can still smell the mildew from here.

The Best Super-Plush Bath Towel

Brooklinen plush towel (set of 2)

The Brooklinen super-plush bath towel is ridiculously cozy and drapes on you heavily like a dental x-ray vest. It’s made from long-staple Turkish cotton, and feels wonderfully soft after dozens of washes. (It shed a little lint the first few washes, but it’s not a factor after that). The downside to this ultra-absorbent heavyweight towel is that it takes a long time to dry—water tends to get trapped in the thick fabric. But as long as you’re not showering twice a day, or own more than one towel, that’s not a huge deal.

The Best Fast-Drying, Lightweight Towel

The Onsen towel is made with Supima long-staple cotton, which gives it its softness. It’s on the thinner side, but its unique waffle weave texture helps it overcome the main shortcoming of similar towels. The weave gives it a bit of bonus surface area that can grab water from your body, while remaining exposed to air. This makes the towel both more absorbent than some thicker towels and ensures it dries as quickly as other thin towels. Plus, waffle towels just have a real visual appeal to them—drape the Onsen over the back of a reclining chair by the side of a swimming pool sometime and get ready to field a lot of questions and compliments. It’s also the kind of towel that will serve you well in any size, from hand towel to full-blown bath sheet. One note about these towels is that they can snag easily, so you may need to be a little delicate when slinging them over the shower door or towel rack. 

The Best Standard Bath Towel

Picture any towel in your head, and you’re probably envisioning this one from Boll & Branch. It’s medium thickness, but with a tall pile. It feels plush, but not the kind of plush where it feels like you’re not getting dry very quickly. It’s soft, and feels just as good after 10 washes. Added plus: Boll & Branch ensures their product is sustainably made with organic cotton, so you can brag to your hippie in-laws when they comment on your lovely bath towel set.

The Best Gigantic Bath Sheet Towel

Coyuchi air weight bath sheet

All of the towels we recommend come in a bunch of different sizes, but if you’re looking to embrace the humongous bath sheet life, consider the Coyuchi air weight bath sheet. This towel is a bit thicker than the Onsen, which helps give it a slightly softer hand feel, especially after the first wash. Each spot picks up water quickly, but because of its massive size, you’ll never want for a dry spot to wipe off a new part of your body. The problem with a thicker large bath sheet is that it can take an absurd amount of time to dry, and take up a lot of space while doing it. The Coyuchi bath sheet doesn’t have this issue. Even if your roommate squishes it on the side of your towel rack after your morning shower, these large bath towels will still be invitingly dry when you pull it off the next day.

The Best Statement Towel

For a certain kind of design-conscious millennial, buying a set of printed Dusen Dusen towels is a rite of passage—a 30″ x 56″-sized step towards adulthood. The brand’s sunny housewares are impossible to miss on the timeline, but chalking up their appeal to sheer aesthetics ignores how luxe they feel. Those endlessly-‘grammable designs mask a dense layer of brushed terry cotton, as soft as it is absorbent. They look great strewn oh-so-casually in the corner of your selfies as bathroom decor, but also make drying off at home after another day of Zoom-hopping feel a little like setting your body to OOO. 

The Best Spa Towel

Yes, we said there are three categories of towel thickness, but, as with most things, the reality exists on a spectrum. Riley’s pre-washed Egyptian cotton towel falls somewhere between the Brooklinen’s plush and Boll & Branch’s more typical towel thickness. It’s extremely soft with a medium pile, which feels a bit like the towels you envy at nice hotels, but at a price where you could afford a full bath set. It dries you off easily and is ready to use again even if you shower once more later in the day. Added bonus: The little built-in hook makes hanging it anywhere a breeze.

The Best Luxury Towel

Baina St Bathans bath towel

Dreamed up by two fashion industry veterans who poured their energy into becoming towel experts instead, Baina’s quickly overtaken Instagram with its striking textured fabrics. We anointed this dreamy ribbed one with a 2022 Home Award for its streamlined design. It looks like a tennis court for a reason (it was inspired by a post-match exhale), so it’s just the thing for breathing a sigh of relief post hair-raising shower. Sure, it’s $75, but that’s really not a crazy amount to ask for a few years of sumptuous drying. 

11 More Towels We Like

Parachute “Fouta” stripe towel

The Fouta stripe towels are probably the thinnest towels on this list—they’re hardly thicker than the washcloths you use to dry dishes. But if you prefer a super-thin, quick-dry towel—perhaps something that can easily corral your flowing locks—it’s ideal. Plus, its lovely striped design might add a welcome design element to your bare bones bathroom.

West Elm organic luxe fibrosoft bath sheet

This wildly soft bath sheet from West Elm isn’t quite as luxurious as the Coyuchi above, but it’s still solidly plushy and absorbent. The size of a couch throw, West Elm’s organic cotton “fibrosoft” towel dries quickly and has a fluffiness and heft to it that genuinely feels like you’re wrapping up in a blanket post-shower. Despite its generously thick weave, it’s also mighty absorbent so you won’t detect any traces of mildew after getting it soaked. 

Restoration Hardware Turkish towel

Restoration Hardware says its Turkish long-staple ringspun cotton weave makes it dry a bit quicker than other towels of similar thickness. We didn’t really find this to be noticeably true, but it was still a cozy, absorbent towel with plenty of range for expanding the palette of your linen closet: It comes in 15 different shades, which we would absolutely snap up if we were really picky about our towel colors.

Bathing Culture ripple check towel

Bathing Culture’s trippy bath towel recently received a nod in our 2022 Home Awards for its vibey print, which is the perfect way to telegraph your taste when you have guests over. Plus, the fabric itself goes the distance. Our tester found that Bathing Culture’s towel only got soft the more it was broken in by the almighty spin cycle. It’s so popular that this style is already sold out, which is why we’d still recommend Dusen Dusen’s towels if you’re jonesing for a print. If you’re set on something from Bathing Culture, the brand also sells a deadstock Turkish cotton rainbow towel—and lucky you, each of them is one-of-a-kind.

Lands’ End Supima bath towel

The centerpiece of Brad Pitt’s October 2019 cover look is actually a very good towel. Like a lot of the stuff from Lands’ End, the towel is an absolute workhorse. It’s not the softest towel we’ve used, but it’s really absorbent and durable. And, you can get it monogrammed with a sweet sailboat. Our only gripe is that we found that the towels didn’t hold up quite as well as others on this list for longevity, and tended to be quite linty over time. But for the price, these are still a great value. 

Frontgate Resort cotton bath towel

This Turkish long-staple cotton bath towel is extremely soft, smooth, and durable. Its thick surface feels lovely against your skin because of a plush, tight pile. And even after several washes, it’ll feel and look just as nice as it did new. For a premium experience, we’d still recommend the Boll & Branch towels, but these are a very solid runner-up.

Sonoma Goods for Life ultimate bath towel

The cheapest towel on this list is the Sonoma Goods bath towel, which is made by Kohls (so it’s already a win according to your mom) and features a lightweight “hollow cotton” fabrication that’s supposedly extra absorbent. Other towels are thicker and more plush, sure, but if you’re on a budget, this option is remarkably soft and dries quickly. Texture-wise, one side feels smoother and fluffier, with the other slightly coarser like an oversized face cloth. Mercifully, it also stands the test of time. Our tester has owned one for nearly a decade and despite numerous spin cycles over the years, this one has accumulated only a few loose threads over time and virtually no discoloration. 

The first thing you’ll notice about the Havly towel is the extra large corner loop designed for easy hanging on a hook. This loop, in addition to the towels’ relatively thin weave, makes it dry a little bit faster than ones of a similar size. And if your bathroom is heavily trafficked but light on towel bars, those two features alone might make the Havly the best choice for you. The actual towel is a little bit bigger than a standard bath towel, but not quite as big as a bath sheet. It’s a bit rougher in texture than the Coyuchi Air Weight towel, but still softer than a lot of other similarly thin towels we’ve tested.

Nutrl waffle weave bath towel

The Onsen and Brooklinen waffle bath towels are both solid, but neither comes cheap. The only decent waffle weave towel we’ve tried on the more affordable end of the spectrum is this one from Nutrl. Both the Brooklinen and Onsen towels feel more luxe, but the Nutrl is constructed better than you’d expect for the price, and comes with all the super-absorbent, quick-drying benefits you want from a waffle weave.

Shinto yukine terry bath towel

Shinto’s Yukine towels are incredibly plush, just like the ones from Brooklinen and Riley, but they have a unique, almost squeaky feel. The manufacturer says that’s because of how its towels are refined, a process that takes place after the full towel construction as opposed to before the fibers are woven together. Some may prefer the more natural, fuzzy feeling of Brooklinen or Riley, but if you’re game to try a towel that’s somehow both plush and slick, you’ll dig the Yukine.

In the “classic towels” category, we also liked the weight and texture of these guys from Aestate, a newer brand that produces its luxury bath towels in Portugal. Each towel is crafted with a blend of airy cotton and tencel that’s of the lightweight medium-thick variety (not too plushy, not too spindly, and plenty soft), so it easily sops up water in between showers. If you’re partial to the preppy monogrammed look, each towel comes with a large “A” woven into them, plus a convenient loop for hanging it up to dry. We’d still recommend the Boll & Branch towels for their overall value, but these ones are a more-than-suitable alternative.