Best Turkish Towels of 2021
The Mebien Turkish Beach Bath Towel is a great option for most situations. It excelled in most of our test metrics and is a rare combination of soft, thick, and quick drying. This towel is versatile, doubling as a lightweight throw or comfy scarf, with a snug weave and fluffy tassels providing coziness while its density holds in warmth. It has several color and design options to choose from and includes a small tag for hanging it up.
While all products generally have a downside, we really had to search to find one with this towel. The Mebien has quite a few design and color options available, but none of those resemble a typical Turkish towel, which would be a nice option to add. Also, this towel did not get a lot softer over time; however, as the softest out of the package that we tested, this wasn't really an issue. Overall, the Mebien is an excellent choice if you want a versatile towel for almost any application.
An excellent option for the entire family is the classic set of 6 Turkish towels, the BOSPHORUS Set. These towels are comprised of lightweight cotton, so they soak up water fast and dry quickly as well. The entire towel set is the same generous size — large enough to lounge on at the park but not so big that you're tripping over the hem when you wrap yourself in it after a shower. There are multi and single toned sets in both bright and neutral colors. This is a great bargain when you consider the cost per towel in this set. The towels can also double as a scarf or head towel and work great at the beach as a typical towel or even a sarong.
One caveat of lightweight towels is their ability to absorb water — and because these can only handle an average amount, our testers with long or thick hair needed two after their showers, one to dry their body and a separate one for their hair. Easy enough when you have six to choose from! The BOSPHORUS set also does not provide much warmth when used as a blanket and is a little see-through, so changing under it at the beach may not provide much privacy. Additionally, the tassels on these towels are rather small, though they are braided very neatly. Overall, we love this set and feel it would be best used by a family or someone looking to get a whole household's worth of towels in one purchase.
The thick and cozy DEMMEX is so versatile that you could use it to dry yourself off in the morning and then as a scarf for an afternoon outing. The many color options are sure to help compliment any outfit, and the thick tassels and beautiful diamond design are eye-catching. The dense weave makes for a very absorbent towel — unlike some of the thinner towels in our test suite, you definitely won't need more than one to get good and dry after swimming in the lake or taking a shower. A common trait with Turkish towels is that they increase in softness with use, and the DEMMEX is no exception. After multiple washes and many uses, we fell more and more in love with it.
Because this towel is on the thicker side, it takes a bit longer to dry. That being said, the extra fabric allows it to absorb more liquid at once. As far as aesthetics, we absolutely adore the color options and traditional diamond weave patterns, but there's only one pattern available. The DEMMEX is best for someone looking for top quality and versatility in a traditional pattern.
The WETCAT Beach Towel rocks the traditional striped Turkish pattern and offers a plethora of different color options. This cotton towel is prewashed to ensure that it does not shrink, but make sure you follow the directions to avoid compromising its durability and shortening its lifespan. Since wash and wear make Turkish towels softer, the prewashed WETCAT actually feels soft right out of the package. Not only can this towel be used as, well, a towel, it also makes a great lightweight summer scarf.
Since the WETCAT is quite lightweight, it can only soak up so much water at a time. On that same note, it might not be the best option to use as a park blanket if the ground is moist due to its thinness. Most of the colors are also light and bright, so laying it on dark or dirty ground may stain it. This towel is best used for someone searching for a colorful, lightweight, quick-drying bath or beach towel.
The Smyrna Hand Towel Set is a stunning set of thick towels for the hands and face or the dishes. Take one to the gym to wipe your brow during yoga, or use it as a runner to dress up your dining room table. This versatile towel is both absorbent and stylish. It gets softer with every wash so drying your hands and face is an absolute pleasure. The tassels are thick, and the pattern is traditional with a twist. Depending on how much hair you're packing on your head, it can also double as a hair wrap.
This works great as a dish towel, but because those need to be washed often to ensure clean dishes, it's important to note that, while these towels are definitely machine washable, they must be washed on gentle and hung to dry to ensure their longevity. And since they are relatively thick, they tend to take longer to dry than some of the thinner options in this review. For those looking to add a beautiful accent to the bathroom or spice up the kitchen with something a little more fun than the average dishtowel, the Smyrna towels are a great option.
The Bazaar Anatolia Diamond Turkish Towel is a thick, cozy, and versatile towel. If you're looking for a beach towel, bath towel, pool towel, scarf, shawl, blanket, throw, or all of the above, this is a great pick. The thickness allows for high absorption potential, and the big fluffy tassels are fun and attractive. Fold it up and use it as a cushion on hard rocks or lay it flat on the ground to get your tan on. Its high-quality appearance makes it a great decoration piece, and the thickness offers enough warmth to use it as a light blanket. While it didn't come out of the package super soft, it did get significantly softer after each wash.
The Bazaar Anatolia was a little rough straight out of the package, and after two washes, we found a couple of loose threads. That being said, everything remained intact. Being thicker than your average Turkish towel, this one takes a little longer to dry, though still less time than your average bath towel. Overall this is a great option if you're looking for one towel to do it all.
The lightweight and absorbent Cacala Pestemal is a traditional style Turkish towel with an abundance of color options to choose from. It is highly absorbent and dries very quickly, a common theme for the lighter weight towels in our test suite. The more use it gets, the softer it becomes, and, even though it is thin, the Cacala holds its desirably tight-knit weave with each wash. It is a very versatile towel and even makes a great lightweight summer or fall scarf as it is plush and falls nicely around the neck. It also makes for a great head wrap, especially for those with curly hair, as a tighter weaved towel helps reduces frizz. To top it all off, this towel also has a strategically placed tag for hang drying.
Most of the thinner towels in our review are very absorbent but still can't absorb as much water as thicker options due to their light weight. If you have thick hair, it is worth bringing two of these to the bathroom. Thinner towels also tend to have smaller tassels, which makes the overall look slightly less appealing, depending on your preferences. Still, the Cacala is well made, and the tassels are very nicely twisted. This towel does not provide much warmth, but if you are looking for a lightweight option to take with you to a warm beach, look no further.
The BOSPHORUS Hand Towel Set includes four lightweight, highly absorbent face, hand, or dish towels. This is a great collection to have around the house. Use them to hand dry dishes, wash your face, or wrap up your baby after a bath. They are larger than your average dish towel and thus more versatile. You can even use them as table runners to spice up your centerpiece. Since this is a set of four, the value per towel is high. They came out of the package a little stiff and scratchy but softened up after just one wash.
The BOSPHORUS Hand Towels are high quality and come in various patterns; however, the color options are quite limited. There are nine different colors and three different patterns, but only one of those is not a neutral palette. This won't bother anyone who prefers neutral colors, but we wouldn't mind seeing a little more variety. Since most of the color options are lighter and the patterns are relatively tame, stains are also quite noticeable. Still, this set is great for a household looking for something a little more versatile than your average dish towel.
The Realgrandbazaar Pestemal is a fast-drying cotton Turkish towel. The traditional pattern and plethora of color options are sure to please, and the thin cotton dries very quickly. This towel is a little stiffer and a little smaller than the others in our test suite, which may not sound like a desirable trait, but it's great for wrapping up curly hair. A well-known fact among the curly-haired community is that finely woven cotton helps reduce frizz. The stiffness and slightly smaller size of this towel help it stay put until your hair is set and dry.
While the stiffness provides some additional support for hair care purposes, it isn't the most comfortable when used as a towel. The Realgrandbazaar is lightweight, and, like many of the towels in our test suite, it suffers the same negative consequences. It is not particularly warm when used as a blanket and struggles to absorb large amounts of water without becoming completely soaked. But, if you have big beautiful curly locks that need a little extra support while they dry, then this is a great pick for you.
The BAY LAUREL towel is ready for your next adventure because it comes with a useful carry bag. It offers super fun colors (both neutral and loud), most of them two-toned, and the bag is just as pretty. As far as aesthetics, these towels are super cute, offering enough options for everyone to find something that tickles their fancy. The towel soaks up liquid and dries quickly and, once dry, can be packed away neatly in its carry bag.
The BAY LAUREL is rather stiff, though it does get a bit softer with use and laundering. We still found it to be a little bit itchy for those with sensitive skin. We also noticed that it began pilling a small amount after the first wash. After the second wash, however, the pilling subsided and mostly went away. Overall this option is good for those who like to travel and want to keep their towel clean and separate from the rest of their luggage via the carry bag.
Why You Should Trust Us
The person in charge of this review is Hayley Thomas from Denver, Colorado. She is nothing if not a water baby, having spent a good amount of her childhood surfing in California and beyond. Coupled with her refined sense of style, she definitely appreciates the nuances of a quality towel.
Our testing process begins with research — lots of it. We took the time to research what makes a Turkish Towel better than your average bath towel, as well as read through scores of personal accounts online. Once our research was complete and our test suite determined, we started testing. We knew that these long-fibered cotton towels become softer with use, so we were sure to use, abuse, wash, and rewash each one multiple times. They accompanied us from dry, aired Colorado to the wet and rocky lake beaches of West Virginia. We had multiple testers pat themselves down, wrap their hair up, and nap on top of these towels. A few were even thick enough to use as light blankets. All the while, we paid close attention to our key metrics: absorbency, drying rate, comfort, versatility, and aesthetics.
Analysis and Test Results
We make sure that our comparisons are streamlined and detailed to ensure they cover everything you might need to know before purchasing one of these towels. Read on to learn about our findings for each metric.
Generally speaking, we use towels to dry off, so their ability to absorb moisture is critical. Lighter-weight towels absorb quickly, but they also become saturated quickly. Thicker towels don't tend to slurp up water as fast, but because they can hold more moisture at once, you will be able to dry all your bits without feeling like you are using a wet towel.
The winner in this department is the Mebien Turkish Towel. It is somehow simultaneously lightweight and thick, allowing for optimum soaking power at a faster rate than some of the other thick towels in this review. The Mebien only won by a hair with all the other towels a respectable second. If you have a lot of hair that often soaks through lightweight towels, you may want to go with one of the thicker options. But if you're looking for a quick dry-off and you're not concerned about the amount of water your towel can and will absorb, then one of the lighter-weight choices may be a better option for you.
A quick drying time is a desirable trait that most Turkish towels possess. That being said, not all towels are created equal. A big fluffy towel that provides warmth on colder beach days may be a priority for some, but it can also take considerably longer to dry. Towels that take too long to dry can be impractical and often begin to smell mildewy frustratingly fast. As you might expect, lightweight towels dry faster than heavyweight ones.
We have quite a few winners in this metric, and it's no surprise that they are all lightweight — all but one, that is. The Mebien Beach Bath towel takes the cake for drying time, despite being on the thicker side. Our lightweight winners in this metric are the BOSPHORUS Set of 6, WETCAT Original, Cacala Pestemal, BOSPHORUS Hand Towel Set, and the Realgrandbazaar Pestemal.
No one likes a scratchy towel. When you get out of the hot tub or run inside after taking a cold plunge and your skin is tingling, wrapping an itchy towel around your bare shoulders can really kill your buzz. During our hands-on testing period, we paid very close attention to the comfort level of each towel. How did it feel on our skin? How did our skin feel after using the towel? Did it provide warmth? Could you wear it as a scarf or headwrap? Would you want to?
We have one clear winner in this category; the Mebien Beach Bath Towel once again. It was soft upon arrival and only got softer with use. Its thickness provides delightful warmth when worn as a scarf or used as a blanket. The DEMMEX and Bazaar Anatolia are also thick and cozy. Our favorite thin towel in the comfort department is the WETCAT. It comes out of its package soft and continues to soften with use and washes.
Turkish towels are known for their versatility. They make great throws, head wraps, bath towels, beach towels, scarves, and more. Since they dry so quickly, you could feasibly take a shower in the morning, dry off with your towel, and then wear it out as a scarf in the afternoon. We understand that not everyone would want to do that, but it's nice to have the option. We love specialty items, but part of what makes the Turkish towel unique is that it was purposefully designed for all these uses.
The thicker towels in our review were a bit more versatile than their lightweight counterparts. Our top contenders, the Mebien Beach Bath Towel and the DEMMEX Organic Diamond Weave are thick, soft, and absorbent. The Mebien is soft and lightweight but still thick and cozy enough to provide a good bit of warmth when worn as a scarf or used as a blanket. The DEMMEX is even thicker, offers more warmth, and can make a very stylish throw for the end of a bed or living room chair. The runner-ups in this category are the hand towels. The Smyrna Original Hand Towels are larger than your average hand, face, or dish towel and can be used as a stylish table runner or head towel as well.
While we recognize that aesthetics are highly subjective, we did find some trends during our pre-ordering research. A majority of buyers enjoy thick, cozy tassels and lots of color and pattern options. We couldn't agree more. The thicker the tassels, the better! That said, it is hard to get thick tassels from a lightweight towel, which is why this category also considers color and pattern options as well as durability. Does the towel hold its threads through multiple washes, or does it start to look ratty after a few trips to the beach? Is it a traditional style Turkish towel, or is there a fun twist on the pattern option? Does it look high quality? How tight is the knit? These are just a few questions we asked ourselves while testing out our towels.
Most of the winners in this metric are a little thicker. The Mebien is a fun take on the Turkish towel. Usually, the tassels are knotted, but this towel lets its tassels fly free. It is also not your traditional minimalist striped towel, having more of a southwest vibe to its aesthetic. The DEMMEX and Bazaar Anatolia are also lovely — both are thick with knotted tassels and a diamond pattern. They come in many colors and are very pleasing to the eye, whether worn as scarves or used as towels. The Smyrna Hand Towel is also a very pretty towel with thick tassels, great as a functional asset to the kitchen or the bathroom. As far as an aesthetically pleasing lightweight towel, our heart is set on the WETCAT Original. Its traditional Turkish towel style and high-quality fabric put this one at the top of our list.
Whether you're a beach bum, a spa-goer, or looking for a cute throw to snuggle up in on movie night, Turkish towels can be a great choice. They range in versatility, and some perform better than others in certain circumstances, so it's important to know what you are in the market for. It can be difficult to decide which towel is the perfect fit, but we are here to help! After hours of research and rigorous hands-on testing, we landed on the Turkish towels in this review, sure to tickle your fancy and add some beautiful practicality to your home, your wardrobe, or your next water-focused adventure.
— Hayley Thomas