Best Bath Towel Sets of 2020
For us, the Hammam Linen 100% Cotton 6-Piece is everything we want in a bath towel set. These towels are soft, durable, quick-drying, and absorbent. They come at a reasonable price tag and saw no signs of wear throughout our testing period. The fibers are soft and shaggy, but not so thick that the towel feels heavy. The hand towels and washcloths absorbed water off of counters and dried our hands without leaving a drop. Plus, the towels dry quickly, which is a huge benefit, especially with frequently used hand towels.
Though the Hammam set is the fastest drying set of towels we encountered, it did not receive our highest marks in the softness metric. These towels shine as all-around top-performers, which means that they provide comfort and softness, while also drying quickly and absorbing water with ease. Some of the towels that we tested that received higher scores in the softness metric took ages to dry. That is the trade-off for an all-arounder. We also found the lightweight, thin material used in the Hammam set to be airy, which we appreciated.
Don't be fooled by the name of this towel set — the American Soft Linen 6-Piece Set is actually made with 100% Turkish cotton, and it shows. Though not our absolute favorite, due to slower drying times and lower absorption rates, the American Soft Linen set is incredibly soft and comfortable, with completely reasonable absorption capabilities. This towel was one of our top picks as a generally great choice.
Where it does fall short is in its slow drying time. This towel hung out in the dry desert air for 90 minutes and was still a bit damp by the end of its time on the line. Compared to other towels of similar size and material, this set seemed to hold onto water a bit longer than we'd have liked. This towel also showed a few minor signs of unraveling early on in the testing process.
Nothing compares to the softness and plush hug that the Chakir Turkish Linens Luxury 100% Cotton Premium towels deliver when you step out of the shower. Wrapping yourself up in one of these towels is like being swaddled in a blanket as an infant. This towel set is unbeatable in terms of softness and comfort. We also liked the thick weave and tight-knit threads that this towel is made of, as it provides a cozy, dense feel that is almost blanket-like. For cold winter days or after a hot bath on a home self-care day, this towel can't be beat.
Of course, all this plush, cushy goodness comes at a price in our other testing metrics — you can't win them all, right? The downside to such a thick, warm towel is a much longer drying time. During our 90-minute dry test, the Chakir Linens towels were still quite damp, especially compared to some of the lighter-weight towels in this review. One other small issue we had with this set is that it only comes in a 4-piece towel set, without washcloths or hand towels.
This lightweight towel set is our go-to for those on a budget who still want a soft, highly functional towel. The Pizon 6-Piece Blended Egyptian Set is one of our favorites across the board for its durability, absorption rates, and relatively quick drying time. It also holds its own in terms of comfort and softness due to the cotton blend used in its material construction. These towels have lasted over a dozen washes, without any signs of wear — no fading, no shedding, and no unraveling.
The main drawback to this option is the overall feel of the towel. We found it to be a bit stiff, especially after washing. "Stiff" is not exactly the adjective you want to describe the warm, fuzzy towel waiting to embrace you after a shower. However, this wasn't the stiffest, nor roughest material we tested, so in many ways, the Pizon is an averagely comfortable and soft towel.
The Amazon Basics 6-Piece Fade-Resistant Towel Set is the ultimate budget option. These towels are nothing special, but they get the job done. We recommend this set for those on the tightest of budgets. We also appreciate that there are tons of options for colors and set configurations with this choice. Bath towels, bath sheets, hand towels, or washcloths — any combination works. Additionally, the Amazon Basics towels were fairly absorbent, especially compared to some of the more luxurious options out there.
The downside to this set is the towels' overall feel. These towels do not feel great. They are a bit rough and feel stiff after washing. We found that towels made with either Egyptian or Turkish cotton are much softer in general. If comfort is not your top priority, these towels are entirely functional and work well at absorbing water.
This set, though it doesn't receive any awards, deserves a notable mention due to its overall high scores across the board. The Hotel and Spa Quality 6-piece Turkish Set is up there with the best of the Turkish cotton towels in this review. Its softness, absorption rates, and relatively fast drying time make it a great option. This set's best attributes are by and large its softness and comfort.
To come up with the downsides to this set, we had to dig deep. The Hotel and Spa Quality Set is a fairly solid-across-the-board product. In this way, these towels are average in every way — neither outstanding nor poor. We did find that these towels are just a hair thinner than other Turkish cotton options we've tested, which takes away from their overall softness a bit.
Before even taking them out of the bag, we could tell that the Superior Egyptian Cotton Solid Towel Set came with some seriously fluffy towels as they came in a package double the size of the other sets we tested. Once we took these out of the box and put them to use, we were impressed by the fluffy, lofty, soft material used in the construction of these towels. For those who want a spa-vibe in their home bathroom, the Superior towel set is for you.
The downside to such a fluffy towel is that it takes ages to dry. The Superior Set was one of the slowest-drying towels we tested. Additionally, this set may not be great for warm weather use. Instead, we recommend using this set on cold wintery days when you want your towel to feel more like a blanket when stepping out of the shower.
The White Classic Luxury 6-Piece Set is an average towel set with a few exceptional qualities. For one, it's very affordable, falling in the middle of the pack in terms of price. Second, it is very durable. We saw no signs of shedding or unraveling during our testing period. These towels gave a middle-of-the-road performance, being somewhat absorbent and taking an average amount of time to dry. They were not entirely dry by the end of our 90-minute test but came close.
The major downside to these towels is their texture. We found this set to be fairly rough, scratchy, and not very pleasant on the skin. This was more apparent in the bath towels than in the washcloths and hand towels, which tend to stay softer in general. We also found that the rough texture and stiff feel increased after washing.
Our least favorite towel set is the Utopia Set. These towels fell short in our metric comparisons, but are still fully functional towels nonetheless. They fell to last place mostly because their texture was a bit off-putting, and they lacked the suppleness of many of our favorites.
The Utopia towels also took a surprisingly long time to dry, especially considering their thin material. Finally, they lacked durability — as we noticed unraveling seams and stray threads almost immediately after their first use. On the plus side, these towels were fairly absorbent.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our bath towel tester, Jane Jackson, is excited to turn her fine-tuned, product-comparison brain away from outdoor products and apply it to the world of household goods. She has spent almost half a decade assessing the performance of all matter of technical fabrics and goods for in-depth and informative outdoor gear reviews. As a trained historian, Jane is no stranger to research. She applies the same attention to detail on her journey through the universe of bath towels sets that she does to reading primary documents.
With that in mind, we kicked off this review with hours of online research, learning the ins and outs of everything towel-related. After serious consideration, we selected 9 of the bath towel sets to test side-by-side. Dozens of showers and loads of laundry later, we were able to order these towels from best to worst — highlighting our favorites for specific uses and features. We wiped down counters with washcloths, wiped our faces with hand towels, and dried off after showers with these towels to assess their absorbency, drying time, and softness levels. Plus, we took note of shedding fabrics and unraveling seams to evaluate the durability of each product. After all this effort, we bring to you the best, and worst, of our findings to help you on your own journey to bath towel heaven.
Analysis and Test Results
We thoroughly tested and assessed the performance of these towel sets across several categories to see how they performed at their primary job, which is drying wet surfaces and drying out after use while providing comfort and softness. We assessed their softness by asking our partner, housemates, and friends to feel each towel and pick their favorite. We also tested their performance in this metric by using each towel after showering. Next, we washed all the towels in the washing machine and let them air dry to obtain a reliable drying time for each towel. To test absorbency, we wiped up water off of a countertop and observed which towels quickly soaked up water, and which ones just pushed the water around. Additionally, we considered the overall impacts of daily use on the durability of each product.
The results of this metric are definitely subjective, so we asked as many folks as we could to try each towel and tell us which one they liked the most. We also used each towel after washing them and after a shower to get a read on which options were the most comfortable to dry off with. Their softness both when damp and when dry is taken into consideration. Weave, materials used, and fabric thickness all go into this metric.
In general, the towels made with 100% Turkish Cotton perform best in this metric. This is because Turkish cotton tends to have a longer staple fiber length, which adds loft and fluffiness to the weave of the towel. Our top choice here was the Chakir Turkish Linens Luxury 100% Cotton Premium Towel, which also receives our Best for Comfort and Softness Award. This towel is hard to beat for softness and a plush feel. Additionally, we liked the Hotel and Spa Quality 6-Piece Turkish Set and the Hammam Linen 100% Cotton 6-Piece Set for their high comfort scores.
The Superior Egyptian Cotton Solid Towel Set provides the thickest, cushiest material, but has a rougher feel than the Turkish options mentioned above. Both the AmazonBasics 6-Piece Fade-Resistant Set and the White Classic Luxury 6-Piece Set are made with neither Turkish nor Egyptian Cotton and feel stiffer and less soft to the touch than the other products we tested. If a soft, cushy feel is what you're after, we recommend going with a Turkish Cotton towel set.
To test drying time, we wanted to make sure we had a standardized method since there are so many variables at play here. We washed all nine towels in the machine and hung them out to dry on a warm evening in arid Bishop, California. We then assessed the level of dryness of each towel in 30-minute increments. Our results were a bit all over the place, and not easily broken down by cotton type. The fastest drying towel was our Editors' Choice Award winner, the Hammam Linen 6-Piece Set. This towel was already semi-dry when removed from the washing machine, and dried almost completely in 1 hour and 30 minutes. The majority of the other towels were not dry by 90 minutes, even those made from thinner-feeling material. The Hotel and Spa Quality Turkish Set was our runner up in the drying test. This makes sense, as these towels received very similar scores to the Hammam Linens products in our testing.
The thicker towels, which provide softness and cushion, tended to take longer to dry. After 90 minutes on the drying line, many of these towels, like the Chakir Turkish Linens Luxury Towels and the Superior Egyptian Cotton Set ended up with patches of wetness.
You know the feeling when you get water on a towel, and it beads off, entirely defeating the purpose of the towel? That is why we have this metric in our towel-testing procedures. For this metric, we placed a portion of each towel in water to see how well it absorbs. This metric goes hand-in-hand with our drying time metric, as any towel that absorbs water will also need to dry out in a timely manner. The top-scoring towels in the absorbency metric were mostly towels that fall into the Turkish cotton category. The Chakir Turkish Linens Luxury towels as well as the Hammam Linen and Hotel and Spa Quality Turkish Set all absorbed water at an impressive rate.
Following those top contenders were the American Soft Linen Set and then the White Classic and Pizon sets. These two are not made from Turkish cotton, but they still have a soft, supple feel and dried easily.
We made sure to study each towel's seams and weave before the first wash, after the first wash, and after multiple uses. We checked to see if any of the towels unraveled or left us with bits of fabric stuck to us after showering and drying off. In general, most of the towels we tested seemed to be well-constructed and made to last. Some of the stand-outs in this metric were the American Soft Linen 6-Piece Set, which seemed to get better and better with age. Additionally, the Pinzon 6-Piece Blended Egyptian Cotton Set has lasted us months, with no unraveling or shedding.
Some of the less impressive performers in this metric are also some of the plushest, softest towels in this review. The Chakir towels and the Superior Egyptian Cotton towels both saw some shedding after the first wash. The Utopia Towel Set also had some shedding issues. Unfortunately, the Chakir towels had a few seams that looked like they were threatening to unravel, as did the Hotel and Spa Quality Set. These unraveling issues are minor, and in our experience, tend to resolve after a few washes.
Hopefully, all the information provided above will help guide you toward the towel set of your dreams. No matter what your needs are, we've done the work to figure out which towels stand tall and which ones fall flat.
— Jane Jackson