The Frontgate Resort Cotton Bath Towel is the softest, warmest, and most comfortable plush towel we’ve tried. Thicker than our other picks, it feels luxe and substantial, like a high-quality hotel towel. With each wash it felt fuller and plusher, and after four years of use it’s held up better than any other towel we’ve tested. It comes in a wide range of rich colors—more choices than any pick. Also available in a bath-sheet size, the Frontgate coordinates with a range of matching accessories, including bath rugs and washcloths. If a plush, luxurious towel is what you want, this is a great one.
The Fieldcrest Casual Solid Bath Towel from JCPenney was the softest affordable towel we tried in 2021, with a dense, plush texture that’s similar to the Frontgate at a fraction of the price. (It’s frequently on sale for less than $10 a towel.) It’s not as soft as the Frontgate, and we think it’s made with a short-staple cotton, which means it may not last as long as our other picks (the manufacturer provides minimal details). The Fieldcrest towel is available in seven colors, and it’s Oeko-Tex certified, meaning it’s free of harmful substances. It performed well in our tests, and like the Frontgate, it’s available as a bath sheet (as well as complementary hand towels and washcloths).
The Riley Spa Bath Towel costs about a third more than the Frontgate, but if you like thinner terry towels with more texture, this one is our favorite. The Riley’s terry loops are well defined and loosely woven, so you feel each individual loop move across your skin. (It’s not scratchy, though; it’s more like a gentle massage.) It dries faster than the Frontgate, and its modern design—rounded edges, terry across the entire surface, and a loop to hang it on your bathroom hook—feels unfussy but chic. The Riley comes in eight colors, and like our other picks, it’s Oeko-Tex certified and available in a bath-sheet size.
This textured towel is lighter, drapes better, and dries faster than any terry towel we tried. It looks luxurious but unfussy, and costs a third of the price of similar lattice-weave towels.
For a more minimal, upscale look, or if you want a truly quick-drying towel, we recommend The Onsen Bath Towel. This towel is made with a lattice weave (sometimes called a waffle or honeycomb weave), which feels more drapey and thinner than terry. Made of American-grown Supima cotton, the Onsen is relatively expensive, but it costs a fraction of the price of similar lattice towels imported from Japan. It’s also softer and smoother. Compared with the dozen or so hours it took our terry picks to dry in our 2018 tests, the Onsen was bone dry after about five hours. But keep in mind that if you prefer plush terry, you may not like the more textured feel of the Onsen.
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