What makes a great towel?

22 June 2022,

leestijd: < 1 min

“Buy the best towels here!” or “Only the highest quality towels!”. When buying towels, you are guaranteed to come across these slogans. But what makes a towel ‘good’ or ‘high quality’? There are several factors that can be looked at when determining the quality of a towel. We have listed these for your convenience.

The material of a towel

Towels are made of many different types of materials. Most towels are made of 100% cotton, a natural material that feels pleasant on the skin and has excellent absorbency. A sustainable alternative to this is 100% organic cotton. With this material, no chemicals are used in any way, making them more environmentally responsible. More expensive varieties of cotton are imported versions, such as Egyptian or Brazilian. These are used for more expensive towels found, for example, in luxury hotels or spas.

Many combinations are also made with cotton, this is also called a fabric mix. Examples are: cotton-polyester, a fabric mix in which the polyester part (often the band) of the towel can be printed, and the cotton part is responsible for the absorption since polyester, once printed, is no longer absorbent. There is also the bamboo-cotton blend, a particularly soft fabric with sublime absorbency, as bamboo absorbs even better than cotton. Bamboo also boasts odour inhibiting properties. However, these qualities are often reflected in the price. The most popular choice for towels is terry towelling, an extremely soft fabric with the best absorbency of all fabrics because there are loops on both sides of the fabric. This doubles the surface area of the fabric and makes the towel twice as efficient.

The quality

To determine the quality of towels, there are a few questions you can ask to determine it. Are the fibres standing upright or lying flat? When fibres are upright, they absorb many times better than when they lie flat.

Do the fibres feel soft or rough? If the fibres feel fluffy and dynamic, this is a high-quality towel. With a rough fibre, the quality and comfort is noticeably less.

Not only do soft fibres feel finer on the skin, but they also do their job better. When soft, the fibres are ‘open’ and absorb water optimally. The moment they start to feel rough, they are ‘closed’ and no longer do their job properly.

Finally, the size of a towel also matters. The bigger the towel, the shorter it takes for the body to dry completely.

The weight of a towel

The final tip for checking the quality of certain towels is the weight. The weight of a towel is calculated using the GSM system, also known as the grams per square metre system. If a towel has a GSM of 300-400, then you are talking about a light and thin towel that is used for long treks, for example, and therefore should not weigh too much. A good towel weighs approximately between 400-500 g/m². It can go up to 900 g/m², but then you are talking about the heavy sauna towels. The higher the GSM, the more absorbent and thus the better the towel works.