How To Choose Hand Towels

Is there anything more pleasant than having a nice, absorbent hand towel to reach for when you've just finished washing your hands? But with how often you and your family reach for them, even the most durable of hand towels will eventually need to be replaced.

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What size hand towels do I need?

Smaller than other types of towels, handtowels run from 16"x18" to 20"x30". If you are just placing one beside the sink, you will want one of the smaller hand towels because a towel that is bunched up will not dry as quickly. The same goes if you have a smaller towel rack. If you have a large towel rack, pick up a larger hand towel, or even two or three as they will fit nicely on your rack and still hang lay flat.

What material is best for my new hand towels?

There are several different materials that are used in manufacturing hand towels, most often some type of cotton or cotton blend is used, but there are other options that include polyester and bamboo rayon that will also provide a soft, absorbent hand towel for your needs.

100% Cotton

Cotton is a wonderful, low-maintenance, budget-friendly option that remains soft and comfortable to use. It comes in a rainbow of colors to mix and match your decor, and thus will be just as lovely in the kids' bathroom as it is at home in your master bath. Choose cotton that is chemicals free to make even greater experience for your skin.

Egyptian Cotton

Handpicked for its purity, the long, dense fibers of Egyptian cotton make a very plush and durable hand towel that will feel as high-quality as it looks. Because they are going to be thicker, remember that they are going to take longer to dry, but fear not, just toss them in your dryer with plenty of room, and give them a little patience to become dry and fluffy all over again. These towels will last years if you treat them right.

6 Piece 100% Cotton Towel Set
Elegance Beige 100% Cotton Towel Set
Blue Quick Dry Cotton Towels
Egyptian-Quality Cotton Towel Set
Brown Egyptian Cotton Towels
Egyptian Cotton Hand Towel

Turkish Cotton

Not only are Turkish cotton hand towels soft and absorbent, but they are also rather lightweight, which means they dry in a short amount of time. With the density and softness of Egyptian cotton but with shorter drying time, these hand towels are perfect for high traffic areas such as bathrooms shared by many people in a busy home, or during holidays when the family is visiting and there are lots of guests. This beautiful material will get fluffier and more absorbent with each wash, so your hand towels will just get better as time passes.

Terry Cloth

Terry cloth is commonly used because of how absorbent it is, and how quickly it dries.  This fabric is soft and lightweight and more budget-friendly if that's an important factor.

Brown Turkish Cotton Hand Towel Set
Double Color Quick Dry Hand Towel
White Turkish Cotton Towel Set
Dark Grey Turkish Cotton Bath and Hand Towels
Light Grey Turkish Cotton Towel Set
Red Turkish Cotton Towel Set


Bamboo is extremely soft, highly absorbent, hypo-allergenic, resistant to mold, odor, and bacteria, even after several washes, and does not wrinkle when cold washed in your washing machine. It's also eco-friendly as there are no pesticides or fungicides needed to grow it, and completely sustainable. If you are looking for great towels and to keep your carbon footprint low, this is going to be your go-to option.


Linen wicks moisture away from your hands by just being pressed against, being very absorbent. It is also going to be more fragile than other towels, but it is nice for those with sensitive skin as you will not need to rub as much.

Navy Blue Rayon from Bamboo Towels
White Rayon from Bamboo Towel Set
Rayon from Bamboo with Cotton Towel Set
Italian Lace Linen Hand Towel
Linen Hand Towel with Lace
White Classic Linen Hand Towel


Is not absorbent, nor is it soft, and will not make a good hand towel for those reasons.


While microfiber towels are indeed very absorbent, they lack the plush softness that is sought out in bathroom towels. So, stick with something a bit softer for your comfort.

Elegant Brown Polyester Hand Towels
 3 Piece Polyester Towel Set
Burgundy Polyester Hand Towel
Pink Polyester Hand Towel Set
Orange Polyester and Cotton Blend Hand Towel
White Polyester Hand Towel with Peacock

How thick is a good hand towel?

Hand towel thickness is measured by weight and that is measured by GSM, or grams per square meter. Once you understand GSM, it will give you an idea of how thick and absorbent the hand towels are.

A thick, plush, and heavy hand towel will have a larger GSM than a thin one, and a less absorbent hand towel will have a lower GSM. Here are some general guidelines to follow when choosing your hand towels:

  • 300-400 GSM This is the weight of thin lightweight towels, not suitable for a bathroom.

  • 400-600 GSM Medium weight hand towels, perfect for everyday use and kids' bathrooms.

  • 600-900 GSM This is the weight of the thick, high-end hand towel that you will use for special events and for a sense of luxury.

What color or style hand towels should I choose?

Often times towels will come in sets, so that you will already have matching hand towels.  However, if not, you should choose hand towels that contrast your main towel, if pairing with a washcloth for bathing or one that matches your bathroom decor. For instance, if you have a sea theme, go with a hand towel with an embroidered seashell on it. For a more personalized touch, go with a hand towel that has your initials embroidered on it in a color that blends with your bathroom colors.