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The best towels to buy in the UK

Hampton and Astley Egyptian cotton towels photo by @mrsphome_

No bathroom would be complete without a stack of soft fluffy towels close at hand. But before you invest in a new set, what should you be looking out for, to make sure you're getting the very best towels on the UK market? The first consideration is what the towels are made of...

Which material is best?

Choices of towel material range from Egyptian, Supima and Turkish cottons, to cotton polyester mixes and pure synthetic blends, and these can vary widely in feel and performance. As well as feeling soft, a good bathroom towel needs to be super absorbent. Some lower quality towels, even some of those advertised as 'premium', can look really soft and fluffy in the shop, but their softness fades after just a few washes. Worse still, they may not be particularly absorbent, smearing water around the body rather than absorbing it.

High quality Egyptian cotton is a great choice for bath towels, as it has long, natural fibres that are both super soft and highly absorbent. For the first few washes, the very best performing Egyptian cotton towels will continue to get even fluffier and softer with each wash. Egyptian cotton is also very strong and durable, making it ideal for daily use, week after week.

How are the best quality towels made?

If you choose a good quality towel, it should last you for many years. The best Egyptian cotton towels can withstand many washes without any shrinkage or colour loss. They are woven with cotton loops that are tightly packed together to create the greatest surface area possible, for maximum absorption. The loops wick moisture away from the skin to get you dry really quickly.
Also, it's worth looking out for towels that have double stitched, embroidered edges, as this will reduce the chance of fraying.

Which thickness is right for me?

Towels vary hugely in thickness, and which you prefer really comes down to personal choice, as each has its own pros and cons. They start at around 300-400 gsm (grams per square metre) for a very lightweight towel, which is a good choice for taking travelling or going to the gym, as they fold up small and dry quickly. The thickest towels weigh 600-900 gsm and are ideal for those who like very thick and fluffy hotel-style towels, but don’t mind the longer drying times or the fact they take up quite a bit of space.

The best towels for all-round performance are probably medium weight ones at around 500 gsm, as these provide the best balance of thickness and lightness. At this weight, they are still super fluffy and luxurious, but have faster drying times and are compact enough to stack away in your linen cupboard without taking up too much room. This is the type of towel you’ll often find in spas in continental Europe.

Which size towels should I buy?

The biggest size towels are known as bath sheets and are big enough to completely wrap around a large adult. Next down in size, there are regular bath towels, followed by hand towels and finally face cloths. It's often well worth purchasing a towel bale containing one or two of each of these sizes, as these provide great value.

 


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