Good quality bath towels are probably one of the first things we buy ourselves when stepping into real adulthood when crazy mismatched colors and stiff, smelly bath linens are simply a no go. But picking the right towels can be a bit of a challenge, what with all the different fabrics, types of weave, sizes, etc.
If you end up choosing correctly and take good care, a bath towel should serve you five to ten years without losing absorbency or softness. To help you make a more informed decision, we’ll try to answer some of the most common questions about buying bath towels below.
Consider your needs
First off, you should figure out what size towels you need — it might just be that you need a whole set, but let’s take a look at them individually. One towel that you simply cannot do without is a standard bath towel — that’s the largest towel you use to dry your body. Oversized bath towels are called bath sheets. Then there’s a hand towel and a smaller washcloth usually used for washing the face.
Next, think of how you want your towels to feel. Do you prefer light, fluffy towels or a heavier, denser option? Contrary to bedding, which uses thread count as an indicator, you should check for grams per square meter (gsm) — the higher the gsm, the heavier the towel.
You should also pay attention to the fabric: cotton is most common with linen coming in a close second, and linen-cotton blend being a strong alternative as well.
Next up: the weave. Depending on which weave you choose, your towels can be more or less absorbent, differ in how easily they release moisture and dry out. Below we’ll be comparing two of the most popular weaves found in towels: terry weave and waffle weave.
Waffle towels vs. terry towels
No matter who you are, if you’ve ever owned a towel, it was most likely a terry towel. Rising to popularity in the 1890s, the terry towel weave features uncut loops on both or either side of the fabric. The longer and more loosely twisted the loops are, the more surface area they provide for absorbing moisture.
Terry towels are durable and easy to care for, as they don’t require ironing and can be bleached. They hold up well to frequent use and laundering. However, the downside of terry towels is that they’re rather bulky and don’t release moisture quite as well meaning they take up longer to fully dry and may get that funky moldy smell.
As for the waffle weave (sometimes called honeycomb weave), it looks exactly what it sounds like — like taken out of a waffle iron — and has shallow cavities pressed into the fabric. The unusual weave creates more surface area, helping waffle towels absorb and release moisture up to 40% quicker than terry cloth.
The best aspect of waffle weave towels is that they are luxuriously soft and plush, but take up significantly less space than terry cloth. Those who have low storage space, travel or hit the gym often will find waffle towels irreplaceable.
At MagicLinen, we make waffle weave towels from a linen-cotton blend to achieve the ultimate levels of durability, absorbency, and softness. You can find sets of bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths. Taking care of your towels is easy, just follow our Linen Care Guide.