Best Beach Towels

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

12 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
129 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best beach towels

Last Updated August 2019

For most beach-goers, long days spent in the surf include some leisure time relaxing on the shore. Lying back in the sand is enjoyable, but having it stuck all over your body and clothes when it’s time to head home is no fun. That’s where a beach towel comes in. This essential seaside accessory serves as a soft spot to lounge while also shielding your body from direct contact with the sand. It’s also great for drying off after you get out of the water.

Larger than standard bath towels, beach towels provide enough room to stretch out and relax. Plus, they’re just as useful when it comes to lounging around a pool. Beach towels are designed to dry more quickly than regular towels, thanks to the thinner material that also makes them simple to fold and carry to and from your favorite spot in the sun.

Finding your perfect beach towel can be tricky. You’ll have a choice of materials and sizes, plus you need a towel that can stand up to exposure to sand, sun, and water. BestReviews is here to guide you with this detailed shopping guide, as well as some of our favorites.

No one wants to carry a load of sand to the car, hotel room, or home after a day at the beach, and today’s beach towels are designed with this in mind. Whether they’re made of synthetics, cotton, or both, these towels have a texture that keeps sand from sticking in the fibers.

Key considerations

Beach towels vs. bath towels

You may be tempted to just grab your favorite bath towel as you head to the beach, but keep in mind that bath towels and beach towels are not the same. And once you realize how bath towels are lacking when it comes to spending fun time on the beach or around the pool, you’ll appreciate the features that make beach towels better suited for these activities.

  • Absorbency: When you hop out of the shower, you want a thirsty towel so you can dry off quickly. That’s why most bath towels are made of thick materials that do a great job of soaking up water. However, this also means they’re bulky and take a while to dry completely.

When heading to the beach or pool, it’s more important to have a towel that folds nicely for transport and dries fairly quickly when wet. Beach towels fit these criteria: they’re absorbent enough wipe away moisture yet thin enough to dry much more quickly than standard bath towels. They also fold neatly for stashing in your beach bag.

  • Thickness: Thin or thick may not matter. Keep in mind that if your new beach towel’s primary use will be as a barrier between you and the sand, a thin towel works just as well as a thick towel, plus it’s more compact, easier to fold, and dries faster than plushier towels.

  • Size: If your plan is to lounge on the beach, a typical bath towel isn’t likely to cut it when it comes to size.

    • Standard bath towels measure about 27 by 52 inches (9.75 square feet), which isn’t large enough for many adults to lie on.

    • Beach towels come in several sizes, ranging from 30 by 60 inches (12.5 square feet) all the way up to 35 by 78 inches (19 square feet) or a bit larger. Unique round beach towels range in diameter from 62 to 75 inches (over 30 square feet).

      As you can see, the size difference of beach towels compared to bath towels is notable.

  • Design: Spending time at the beach is all about fun, and most beach towels are designed with this mind. While most bath towels are plain or in styles more suitable to home décor, beach towels are available in bold color patterns and graphics that pair nicely with the beach scene.
EXPERT TIP

Although summer is traditionally beach season, you can stock up on beach towels at any time of the year in preparation for your next seaside vacation.


Staff  | BestReviews

Beach towel features

As you shop for a beach towel, you’ll find almost countless options. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself a couple key questions before you choose.

What material do you prefer?

Beach towels are made of one of three materials: cotton, cotton blend, or microfiber. Each one has pros and cons.

  • Cotton: Cotton is a durable natural material that is somewhat more absorbent than synthetic fibers. On the downside, it takes a little longer to dry than synthetic materials, it may shrink a bit when washed and dried, and threads may unravel over time.

  • Cotton blend: These fabrics are lightweight, easy to wash, and inexpensive. On the downside, there are fewer texture and style choices, and there may be some longevity concerns.

  • Microfiber: There are lots of texture choices with microfiber, from soft to plushy. Microfiber is easy to wash and dry, and it dries quickly. On the downside, microfiber isn’t quite as absorbent as cotton; it’s a synthetic, which may not appeal to customers who prefer natural materials; and these towels run the gamut in terms of quality, requiring more care when choosing.

How many beach towels do you need?

If you only need one beach towel, it makes sense to purchase it individually. However, some companies offer multi-packs with two, three, four, or more towels for one price. This is a good option for families or individuals who use beach towels frequently.

Beach towel prices

Beach towels come in a wide range of prices, so there are options available for beach and pool enthusiasts with small and large budgets. Generally speaking, prices range from around $10 to $40 per towel, with thinner, less durable options falling on the lower end of the scale.

Inexpensive: If you don’t want to spend much on a beach towel, you can find basic options for $10 to $15. You may sacrifice longevity for the low price, but inexpensive towels are useful for infrequent trips to the beach or pool. Keep in mind that beach towels are also available in multi-packs, which vary in quantity and quality and range in price from around $20 to $40.

Mid-range: This is the most desirable price point for many consumers because the beach towels in this range offer a combination of quality and value. For $15 to $25, you’ll have colorful options, as well as nicely crafted towels.

Expensive: Whether the beach experience is part of your regular leisure routine or you simply want a spa-quality beach towel, you’ll find luxuriously soft, top-quality options in the $25 to $40 price category. While you certainly don’t have to spend this much to get a well-made towel, chances are you’ll find the texture and longevity of high-end towels worth the higher price tag.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some beach towels are made of terry cloth or velour. Both of these materials can be all cotton, but some are made with a blend of cotton and other materials like polyester.

DID YOU KNOW?

Average bath towels vary a bit in size but measure approximately 27 by 52 inches. In comparison, most beach towels are several inches wider and a foot or so longer, making them much more suitable for use at the beach or pool.

Tips

  • Think about materials before you buy. Choose the best type and texture based on your preferences for absorbency, fast drying time, and softness.

  • Wash your beach towels. Keeping them free of sand, salt water, and chlorine will promote longevity, plus you’ll always have a fresh one when you head to beach or pool. Be sure to wash the towels with like colors, especially brightly dyed towels that can bleed onto lighter-colored materials.

  • Hang up the towel to dry after use If you stuff the wet towel in a bag and forget about it, your towel may develop mildew, mold, and odors.

  • Let your kids choose. With so many vivid colors and fun patterns to choose from, it’s fun for kids to check out the available options and decide on the ones they like.

  • Keep some spares on hand. That way you’ll always have one for a guest or a clean towel if one towel is dirty or wet.

Other products we considered

Beach towels come in different colors, shapes, sizes, and textures, so we’ve found a few others in addition to our top five favorites for your consideration. The cotton velour Kaufman Striped Beach and Pool Towels come in a pack of four and boast plush softness and vivid colors in striped patterns. For consumers who like graphics that are out of the ordinary, the Elite Trend Microfiber Beach Towel comes in a variety of fun prints, from florals to geometric designs. The velour Cotton Craft Jacquard Beach Towel is soft and absorbent and made of natural cotton with a thick, soft pile. Round beach towels are a fun alternative to their rectangular cousins, and the durable microfiber Genovega Beach Towel comes in nearly two dozen designs and measures 62 inches in diameter, the perfect addition to your beach-gear collection.

Round beach towels, which are often affectionately referred to as “roundies,” are fairly new to the market but quickly catching on because of their fun shape.

FAQ

Q. Can I use a beach towel as a bath towel?

A. Yes, but keep in mind that because beach towels are typically thinner than bath towels and made to dry out fairly quickly, they aren’t quite as absorbent. You may have to spend a little extra time drying off, but that’s not a major concern.

Q. I like the idea of a beach towel with bright colors, but will the colors fade in the sun or bleed in the wash?

A. There is always a chance of dyed fabrics fading or bleeding, resulting in a dull appearance over time. You can reduce the likelihood of fading or bleeding by choosing a quality beach towel and washing it carefully with like colors.

Q. What should I do to care for my beach towel if I need to use it for a few days but can’t wash it right away?

A. When you have to wait several days to wash your beach towel, do your best to keep it as dry and clean as possible. Shake the sand off it when you leave the beach, and if the towel is wet, don’t fold it because this can lead to mold. Instead, spread the towel out on a chair or over a shower rod, door, or deck railing to allow it to air-dry until you’re ready to use it again. Wash and dry it as soon as you get the opportunity.

Q. What’s the best way to wash beach towels?

A. Wash your beach towels in the washing machine with your favorite detergent and like colors and fabrics. Select a hot water cycle to tackle odors and germs along with a cold rinse cycle. Place your towels in the dryer on a medium to high setting, and add dryer sheets or balls to make them extra fluffy.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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