Picking towels that feel soft and fluffy is just the...

Picking towels that feel soft and fluffy is just the start. Credit: Getty Images/Thailand Photographer

As with picking other household essentials, picking bath towels can be a drawn-out process when you take the time to do it right. The team at Micro Cotton, which has been making towels since 1932, offered tips for figuring out if a towel is actually great or not.

Talk about weight

Heavier, thicker towels tend to offer the softness and absorbency any sensible person would want from a bath towel, but judging whether a towel is heavy or thick enough can be tricky, even more so if you're shopping online. This is where grams per square meter, or GSM, comes in. A towel's GSM refers to its weight, and, typically, the higher a towel's GSM, the better performance you can expect from it, the Micro Cotton team says. In most cases, a GSM of 500 or more should be enough, though anyone wanting a softer or more absorbent towel can search for bath towels with higher GSMs.

Look at materials

The Micro Cotton team says the best bath towels are created with 100% cotton. Long-staple cotton means the towel's fibers are longer, which means the bath towel will be softer, more durable and more absorbent. Check the materials, which should be listed online or on the towel's care tag, along with the laundry symbols.

Pick your weave, which affects how absorbent the towel is and how fast it dries.

Where you plan to stash your towel should determine the material you choose.

Be dense

Dense loops create greater absorbency, the Micro Cotton team says, so keep an eye out for bath towels with bulky, textured or tightly woven loops. If you're able to see a towel in-person before purchasing it, look at it carefully: you shouldn't be able to see the innermost layer, or base, of a decently dense towel.

Go big (or get back in the bath)

The standard bath towel measures 30 by 56 inches and is large enough for a quick dry-off, the Micro Cotton team says. For taller or larger people (or people who like to walk around in a towel post-shower), a bath sheet--sometimes called a body towel--may be the better alternative for more coverage and warmth. These bath-towel­­ alternatives measure around 33 by 70 inches and offer a much cozier experience, though they will cost more than standard bath towels.

Don't get caught up in prices

Some luxury bath towels can cost close to $100--but you don't have to spend that much to get a decent bath towel. Decent options that fulfill all the requirements above can be purchased for $20 or $30. The key is knowing the difference between a low-cost, low-quality option and an affordable, high-quality one, which you should be able to do with these handy tips. And, of course, if you really want to buy a $100 bath towel, go for it; just don't store it in the bathroom.

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