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Everyone has a favorite bath towel. To be honest, I’ve made small friendships in the aisles of Bed Bath & Beyond thanks to a complete stranger’s mutual love of a great one. I’ve also bored my partner to tears by going on about how amazing Turkish towels are, which he still insists aren’t “real” towels (but seriously, they are).
A great bath towel can make your day, while a mediocre one can ruin it, or at least get your morning off to a scratchy start. And the truth is, you don’t have to spend a ton to find a great one. There are plenty of affordable towels out there that feel just as plush, dry just as quickly, and last just as long as pricier ones.
Here, we took a deep dive into the world of affordable bath towels and found plenty of options that'll suit any budget.
Best Overall: Wamsutta Hygro Duet Bath Towel
Bed Bath & Beyond's Wamsutta line is the holy grail of budget-friendly bath goods, and nowhere is that more obvious than in their Hygro Duet collection. This towel combines a soft but not too plush feel, outstanding absorbency, and an array of color options that will help you successfully outfit any bathroom style.
Plus, this bath towel is double-sided, meaning that one side features twist loops for an ultra soft feel while the other side has a traditional terry cloth construction. In case you needed any further encouragement, this towel also happens to be a favorite of commerce editor Nicole Lund's, who's tried a lot of towels over the years.
These were the first towels I ever bought for myself, and they're still the ones I recommend if you're looking for affordability, durability, and a soft-yet-absorbent feel.
Best Set: Betsey Johnson Flower Stripe 3-Piece Bath Towel Set
Most towel sets are pretty pedestrian—but not this one. Featuring a bold, iconic design from Betsey Johnson, this set comes with major wow factor. Basically, you’re getting towels and décor all in one affordable package.
The set includes a bath towel, washcloth, and hand towel that will all add some flair to your bathroom décor. It gets five-star reviews across the board, with buyers noting that they feel just as good as they look. Made from 100 percent cotton with a traditional terry loop, these towels are both functional and fashionable.
Best Plush: Three Posts Jenkin 6-Piece Towel Set
These heavy-duty towels aren’t as pricey as most other plush options out there, but they’re just as fluffy. Coming in hot with a GSM of 625, they’re definitely on the luxe end of the bath towel spectrum, even if their price doesn’t suggest so.
While plush towels like these will take longer to dry than their lightweight counterparts, this set is worth a try if you’re looking for the type of towel you might find at a fancy hotel. Generously sized, they're great for anyone who likes to comfortably lounge around in a towel after a hot bath or shower. They’re also available in a wide variety of colors, both spa-like and bold.
Best Lightweight: H&M Cotton Terry Bath Towel
H&M’s Cotton Terry Bath Towel might be lightweight, but it’s still super absorbent and has the soft feel of traditional terry loop towels. It also has a hanger loop on one side and dries quickly, which makes it ideal for anyone who hangs their towel on a hook or peg instead of a rack.
This is also a seriously low-maintenance towel—it washes easily, won’t pill or fade over time, and has a sturdy, tightly-woven border that helps prevent any snags. Plus, it’s available in a great range of colors that could add a punch of personality to your bathroom.
Best Cotton: Better Homes & Gardens American Made Bath Towel
Experts say you should wash your towels after every three uses and plan to completely retire them every two years. For anyone who’s ever invested in a set of pricey towels, replacing them every two years might seem like a budget-bending stretch. On the other hand, this highly-rated, fluffy cotton towel from Walmart makes that expert advice much easier to abide by.
Available in nine colors as well as a few different buying options, this collection is ideal for outfitting every bathroom in your home. The towels are made in the U.S. from U.S.-grown cotton, and they're just as absorbent—if not more so—than the high-end brands.
Best Linen: Sofia's Linen 100% Pure Flax Linen Bath Towel
Linen bath towels are controversial, not to mention expensive. But the truth is, linen is one of the most absorbent fabrics out there, making it ideal for drying off quickly. This linen bath towel is a great option if you’re trying linen out for the first time, as it’s affordable compared to other linen towels, easy to care for, and quick-drying.
In addition to its superior absorbency, this linen towel stands out for being so compact. It can easily be folded up to go to the beach, a yoga class, or anywhere else you’d like to bring a towel along. It also has handy corner ties that let you attach it to a drying rack or beach chair.
Best Waffle Weave: World Market White Waffle Weave Cotton Bath Towel
Waffle weave towels are a happy medium between fluffy terry cloth and lightweight linen or Turkish towels. They’re kind of the best of both worlds, but can be a little hard to find—especially for under $20. This one from World Market makes every shower feel like a spa day, and is much cheaper than most waffle weave options out there.
Do keep in mind that waffle weave towels are prone to shrinking after drying, but that also means they have a delightful touch of stretchiness to them. This makes them great for lounging around in, or for using as a wrap to dry hair.
Best Turkish: The Longest Thread Turkish Towels
You might not think of Etsy when shopping for towels, but skipping the site means you'll miss out on these Turkish towels from The Longest Thread. They’re made from 100 percent premium Turkish cotton and have a soft, plush feel to them—and despite looking like they belong in a fancy hammam, they’re surprisingly affordable.
While they're a bit pricier than the other picks on list, keep in mind that they’re very generously-sized (35 x 71 inches, which is almost as big as a Twin-size sheet!) and could also come in handy when you need a picnic blanket, a beach blanket, or a stylish roof for your living room pillow fort.
Best Absorbent: Southern Tide Performance 5.0 Bath Towel
If absorbency is a priority, look no further than Southern Tide's Performance 5.0 Bath Towel, which has a very official-sounding name and lots of rave reviews. This towel is made from a blend of polyester (8 percent) and cotton (92 percent), and is specially engineered with built-in “intelliweave technology” for maximum absorbency and durability. Plus, it has a cute little embroidered fish logo and is available in lots of colors.
Best Quick-Dry: SALT Quick Dry Bath Towel
For anyone who has a small bathroom with limited airflow, quick-dry towels are essential. Bed Bath & Beyond’s SALT Quick Dry Bath Towels are the best budget-friendly option out there, since they’re highly-absorbent, feel ultra soft, and come in a multitude of colors. And at $6.99 a pop, there’s little risk in taking one for a test drive.
Despite being pretty thin (which helps them dry super quickly), these towels have a textured weave that makes them feel more plush. That special weave also makes them more absorbent than other quick-dry options. When all is said and done, you'll get both comfort and convenience at a great price.
Best Luxury: Liz Claiborne Signature Plush Bath Towel
These classic Liz Claiborne towels from JCPenney are best-sellers for a reason. They feel surprisingly luxe and have a very strong fan base that's only gotten bigger through the years. We can’t say for sure if these are the exact same comfy towels your mom bought at JCP sometime in the early aughts, but they sure feel like it. Fluffy, fade-resistant, and easy to care for, there are multiple reasons why these luxurious but affordable towels are still going strong.
Best White: Made By Design Solid Bath Towel
Target’s Made By Design Bath Towels are some of the cheapest you can find—and also some of the most highly-rated. Despite their low price tag (currently just $6 each), these bath towels have earned a whole lot of love for their softness and durability. Yes, they’re simple and unfussy. And no, they won’t necessarily make you feel like you’re drying off in a five-star hotel. But if you’re not picky, why not?
Overall, our top choice for a budget-friendly bath towel is the Wamsutta Hygro Duet Towel (available at Bed Bath & Beyond) because it delivers superior absorption, noteworthy softness, and impressive durability at under $10 per towel. Plus, with its wide range of color choices you're guaranteed to find a style that'll fit your particular bathroom décor.
What to Look For in a Cheap Bath Towel
The most budget-friendly bath towels are made of cotton, but not all cotton is created equal. Supima cotton, Egyptian cotton, and organic cotton will typically have a higher price tag, and prices go higher when you start shopping for Turkish or linen towels. You can still find budget-friendly towels within those categories, but take note that the cheapest linen towel will cost much higher than the cheapest cotton towel.
Weight is measured in GSM, or grams per square meter. Lightweight towels will have a GSM of around 300-400, while the plushest towels go as high as 700-900. It's not always the case that a higher GSM translates to a higher price tag, but it's definitely something to watch out for.
One major downside to cheaper bath towels is the possibility that the lower price means they aren't made well, and will fall apart in a year or two. That's not always the case, but it's worth considering. Do your research on the materials used, the reputability of the brand, and even the quality of the reviews. To ensure longevity, take care of your towels by avoiding fabric softeners (which will degrade the fibers over time) and over-drying on laundry day.