Tested: The Best Beach Towels for a Day on the Sand

Clowood's Plush Beach Towel topped our list of three dozen tested towels

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Best Beach Towels

TripSavvy / Chloe Jeong

Beach towels are great for drying off after a dip in the waves. But they also act as a barrier between you and the hot sand. To help you plan for the next sunny day, we’ve rounded up and tested some of the best options around, from quick-drying microfiber towels to huge circular ones that can fit the whole crew. 

Here are our favorite beach towels.

Best Overall: Clowood Plush Bamboo Cotton Beach Towel

4.6
Clowood Plush Bamboo Cotton Beach Towel

Amazon

What We Like
  • Super soft and comfortable to lay on

  • Nice cushion when laying on sand

  • A bit more durable than others in the same price range

What We Don't Like
  • A little heavy and less absorbent after washing

Clowood's oversized bamboo beach towel earned top marks from our testers. The large beach towel, made of combed cotton and a touch of bamboo fiber, had excellent softness and cushion when our testers put it on the sand. This beach towel is made by the same textile company that supplies towels to Hilton, Sheraton, and Ritz-Carlton hotel chains. Our testers had two nitpicks. First, while super soft and plush, the material makes the towel a bit heavy. Second, it lost some absorbency after being washed. But, for the price, our testers thought this towel had the best durability and overall quality.

Price at time of publish: $39

Dimensions: 72 x 40 inches | Material(s): 94 percent combed cotton, 6 percent bamboo fiber

Best Value: NovForth Oversized Microfiber Sand-Free Beach Towel

4.7
NovForth Oversized Microfiber Sand Free Beach Towel

Amazon

What We Like
  • Repels and shakes off sand easily

  • Great absorbency, before and after washing

What We Don't Like
  • One tester said the towel felt a little thin

This 100 percent microfiber towel impressed our testers with its softness, absorbency, and ability to repel and shake off sand. They also liked how comfortable it felt, even if it felt a bit thin. "The towel dried my hands very quickly and easily," one tester noted. "I was able to dry them in one spot without going over the same spot." If you're looking for a towel that's quality hits above its price range, this is definitely it. "The price is on the low side," one tester concluded, "and seems like an excellent value for the quality."

Price at time of publish: $18

Size: 73 x 41 and 61 x 30 inches | Materials: 100 percent microfiber

Best Personalized: Mark & Graham Classic Stripe Beach Towel

4.3
Mark & Graham Classic Stripe Beach Towel

Mark & Graham

What We Like
  • Soft and very large, like a small blanket

  • Comfy on the sand

  • Good absorbency

What We Don't Like
  • A bit bulky and heavy to fold

The Mark & Graham Classic Stripe Beach Towel can be monogrammed or personalized. Either way, our testers concluded it's a very high-quality beach towel, albeit with a higher price tag. Our testers raved about how the 100 percent Turkish Aerospin cotton felt. "It is very thick and comfortable on the sand," one tester noted. However, that does come with some bulk and heft, making it a bit tougher to fold than other towels we tested. And while the price is more than some of our testers said they'd spend on a beach towel, they noted it does have excellent absorbency. This would be great as a gift or something to keep in a beach home.

Price at time of publish: $59

Size: 72 x 40 inches | Material: 100 percent Turkish cotton

Most Absorbable: Tesalate The Alchemist Sand-Free Beach Towel

4.5
The Alchemist SAND-FREE BEACH TOWEL

Tesalate

What We Like
  • Great design

  • Loop connected to the towel to hang it

What We Don't Like
  • Not much comfort with a thin design

Two things stood out about the Tesalate The Alchemist towel. First is the design. "This towel has a beautiful design on the front and a completely different design on the back," one tester noted. Second, how absorbant it is. The towel has a different texture than others tested and is on the thin side, but if you're looking for a towel strictly for absorption (OK, also with a fantastic design), this is the pick for you. We also like the loop on the towel, which makes it easy to hang up. It also folds compactly into a provided pouch.

Price at time of publish: $59

Size: 63 x 31.5 inches | Materials: Absorblite fabric

Cyber Monday Steal

Best Print: Brooklinen Artist Series Beach Towel

4.1
Brooklinen Artist Series Beach Towel

Brooklinen

What We Like
  • Eye-catching design

  • Good absorbency

  • Plush and comfy

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky and takes up space when packing for the beach

If you're looking for a fun and stylish design on your towel (or want to support an artist series product), we suggest Brooklinen's Artist Series Beach Towel. Our testers were impressed with this towel's eye-catching design and pop, how absorbent the towel is, and its think and comfy material. "The overall quality is excellent," one tester concluded, noting how heavy it felt. They were a bit thrown off by the towel having different textures on both sides. But, besides that quirk, they gave it top reviews.

Price at time of publish: $75

Size: 70 x 34 inches | Materials: 96 percent cotton, 4 percent other materials

Best for Travel: Venture Large Sand-Free Beach Towel

4.4
 Venture Large Sand-Free Beach Towel

Amazon

What We Like
  • Thin and light weight, making it ideal for travel.

  • Folds easily into a drawstring pouch

What We Don't Like
  • Testers concerned about the white stripes getting—and staying—dirty

Looking for a towel to take on a plane or throw in a backpack for a road trip? We suggest the Venture Sand-Free Beach Towel. This towel has two distinct features we appreciate for travel. It is sand-free and packs down compactly into a provided drawstring pouch. Our testers also appreciated the towel has a snap loop that can be used to hang the towel from a hook. And while the thinness of the towel didn't provide our testers a ton of comfort, it is absorbent. Bonus: It's one of the least expensive towels on our list, so if you do happen to lose or misplace it while traveling, it's not a huge issue to replace.

Price at time of publish: $21

Size: 78 x 35 or 63 x 31.5 inches | Material: Microfiber 

Best for Families: Elite Trend Store Microfiber Towels

4.4
patterned microfiber towel
What We Like
  • Comes with a mesh, zippered pouch and carry handle

  • Good barrier from the sand and strong and durable material

What We Don't Like
  • Lots of white fabric concerned our testers with it staying clean

Overall, our testers concluded that the Elite Trend Store Microfiber Towel is a super high-quality product on this list, especially considering its price. Some popular features stood out about this towel like a mesh, zippered pouch with a carry handle, a loop for hanging from a hook, and superior sand resistance. It did take our testers a few times folding before they figured out the best way to get it into the bag. But once they did, there were no further issues. There wasn't a lot of cushion with this towel, but our testers liked how strong and durable it felt. "This is a great towel to serve as a barrier on the sand," a tester concluded.

Price at time of publish: $28

Size: 72 x 72, 78 x 35, or 63 x 31 inches | Material: Microfiber

Best Multiuse: Rainleaf Microfiber Beach Towel

 Rainleaf Microfiber Beach Towel

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Sturdy and lightweight

  • Sand comes off easily

What We Don't Like
  • Not the typical fun beach design

The Rainleaf Microfiber Beach Towel comes in six different sizes—more than any other towel on this list—making it ideal for all sorts of outdoor activities on and off the beach. It's sturdy and lightweight, and while the material is extremely soft, it's also very thin. Our testers liked how easily the sand shook off the towel. It was also good at absorbing the water. "It has a very reasonable price for what it does," one tester noted, "I'd definitely use this for a yoga towel."

Price at time of publish: $N/A

Size: 24 x 12 to 74 x 30 inches (six different sizes) | Material: Microfiber

Best Sand-Free: Tesalate Bora Bora Sand-Free Towel

4.3
Tesalate Bora Bora Towel
Tesalate photo.
What We Like
  • Excellent quality, softness, and design

  • Easy to fold and place in a bag

What We Don't Like
  • Towel could be a bit bigger

Those who live on or near the beach know how annoying it can be to constantly have sand on your gear and in your house. Enter the Tesalate Bora Bora towel, which has superior sand-repelling chops. While our testers were thoroughly impressed at how easily the sand rolled off this towel, they also loved how soft it was, the towel's color, and how generally excellent the quality is. Now, our testers did wish the towel was a bit bigger. But the other qualities made up for that. "Overall, this towel is great," one tester concluded. "It is strong, absorbent, soft, and has beautiful colors."

Price at time of publish: $59

Size: 63 x 31.5 inches | Material: AbsorbLite Fabric

Best Style: Kassatex Block Pareo Fouta Beach Towels

4.6
Kassatex Block Pareo Fouta Beach Towel

Kassatex

What We Like
  • Good sand release

  • Feels like a luxury towel

  • Two textures, but both soft, plush, and cozy

What We Don't Like
  • More expensive than other towels on the list

"I was thoroughly impressed by this towel," one tester raved about the Block Pareo Fouta Beach Towel from Kassatex. "It instantly felt like luxury. It is plush, has two textures, and is incredibly soft on both sides even after soaking it." Constructed with 100 percent zero-twist cotton, the Block Pareo Fouta Beach Towel can also be monogrammed for an extra cost. So, while the style was impressive, this towel also earned top performance marks from our testers. "I think for the quality of this towel, it is perfectly priced," one tester concluded. "I would buy this for my next beach trip."

Price at time of publish: $50

Size: 70 x 40 inches | Material: 100 percent zero twist cotton

Best Microfiber: Wise Owl Outfitters Beach Towel and Yoga Towel

4.4
Wise Owl Outfitters Beach Towel and Yoga Towel
Amazon photo.
What We Like
  • Easy fold and carry

  • Shakes sand away quickly and easily

  • Extremely soft and absorbent

What We Don't Like
  • Nothing yet

Constructed of millions of micro threads, this microfiber towel impressed our testers with its large surface, how easy it is to fold and carry, and its ability to shake free of sand. It was also incredibly soft and absorbed water while holding that softness. "Even after soaking the towel, it holds great structure, and both textures are still soft, and it leaves the hand barely damp," a tester noted. "Great value for the size and absorbency."

Price at time of publish: $30

Size: 74 x 48 inches | Material: Microfiber

Final Verdict

We like Clowood's Plush Bamboo Cotton Beach towel for the best overall beach towel (view at Amazon). It checked all the boxes we were looking for in an ideal beach towel. We recommend the NovForth Oversized Beach Towel (view at Amazon) if you're looking for an excellent value towel. And, for a travel-focused towel, we suggest the Venture Large Sand-Free Beach Towel (view at Amazon).

Product Selection

Products were selected based on the expertise and knowledge of Dotdash Meredith editors and thorough research of the top-selling beach towels on sites like Amazon. Towels were chosen to get a range of uses, styles, and price points.

How We Tested

All towels were tested in our Brooklyn testing lab. Towels were tested for overall quality, texture, absorbency, durability, and overall value. All towels were placed in sand, laid on, and then shaken out to test for their ability to repel sand. We also tested absorbency by placing towels in bowls of water to see how quickly they absorbed the water. Towels were tested for absorbency and durability both before and after washing. In all, we tested 35 towels.

What to Look for in a Beach Towel

Size and shape

Most towels are square or rectangular, but one circular model on our list bucks tradition (and also doubles as a beach blanket). Beyond shape, you want a towel with decent space to stretch out. Bigger towels can also double as sun protection if you drape yours over your shoulders or across your legs.

Fabric

Cotton still rules the world of beach towels, and with good reason—it’s absorbent, soft, and machine washable. Judge the plushness of these cotton options by looking at the number of grams of cotton per square inch (the more grams, the cozier it’ll be). On the other hand, microfiber towels tend to dry faster and are typically more durable and sand resistant. However, like most synthetic fabrics, microfiber towels can start to stink after multiple uses, even after washing.

Portability

A thicker towel is a sensible option if your typical trip to the beach is from your car to the coast. But if you plan on traveling greater distances and limited space is a consideration, look for a thinner towel that won’t take up as much space in your suitcase.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is a Turkish towel?

    Turkish towels have a long history of being used in hammams (bathhouses) and date back to the 18th century. They tend to be made of flat-woven cotton, don’t trap sand, are extremely quick to dry, and can also serve as a wrap or impromptu picnic blanket. In contrast, the thick, looped cotton towels many people use at the beach are plush and soft, providing sunbathers more of a barrier between them and the sand or uneven ground. However, they tend to catch soil and sand in their fibers and can take a long time to dry out.

  • How do I wash beach towels?


  • What is the best size for a beach towel?

    The standard size seems to be around 30 x 60 inches—or about 2.5 x 5 feet. If you’re taller or want a bit more room horizontally, there are tons of options for beach towels that come in extra-long or extra-large sizes. Families with small kids might also consider a large circular towel, which can fit a few people on one big blanket (and provide a space for little ones to crawl).

Why Trust TripSavvy

Nathan Allen is the Outdoor Gear Editor at TripSavvy. Born and raised in the Midwest, he's lived near California's coast for almost a decade. He currently lives near the Ventura County coast in Southern California, where he frequents the beach for paddle boarding, surfing, and loafing. All towels in this roundup were thoroughly tested in Dotdash Meredith's Brooklyn testing lab by Dotdash Meredith editors and the testing team.

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