More categories
More categories

Smart Shopper is reader supported. When you shop our picks, we may receive a commission.

The best beach towels for days spent seaside

A beach towel is an essential summer accessory to take to the sea or use poolside. Explore our top picks to find the best towel for you.

Updated Nov 16, 2023
5 min. reading time
three beach towels from Zara, H&M and Macy's

Summer offers the opportune moment to hit the beach and explore the waters or relax in your backyard pool. Regardless of where you choose to cool off, you need a good towel to dry your skin and bask in the sun.

Normally, you want a towel that’s soft, comfortable, absorbent and quick-drying. Given towels come in different textures, sizes and materials, it can be challenging to pick one that offers the best value and is ideal for regular use.

To help you shop smarter, we’ve gone the extra mile to research different towels and curated a list of the top picks to add to your beach bag. We believe this list will make it simple for you to find the best beach towel for your next water adventure.

Read more: Here are the best carry-on luggage for your next getaway

Browse our picks for the best beach towels

the H&M Beach Towel in white and beige stripe design
Our top pick overall
H&M Beach Towel
$34.99 at H&M
the Textiles Turkish Cotton Fun in Paradise Beach Towel in light blue with white tassels
Best Turkish beach towel
Textiles Turkish Cotton Fun in Paradise Beach Towel
$51 at Macy's
the Decathlon Nabaiji Microfiber Towel in black
Best microfiber beach towel
Decathlon Nabaiji 43 x 69-Inch Microfiber Towel
$12 at Decathlon
Faded Stripes Cotton Velour Quick-Dry Oversized Beach Towel by Blue Nile Mills in yellow and white
Best oversized beach towel
Faded Stripes Cotton Velour Quick-Dry Oversized Beach Towel by Blue Nile Mills
$33 at Target

Our top pick overall


  • Material: 100% cotton

  • Color: Taupe/white

  • Machine-wash: Yes (warm)

Pros & Cons
  • Made from 100% cotton

  • Machine-wash with warm water

  • Hanger loop attached

  • Only available in one color

This H&M Beach Towel is our top pick for a good reason. It’s made from 100% cotton for an extra-soft texture, delivering a velvety quality that feels comfortable on the skin. The towel has taupe stripes for unique appeal and a hanger loop for convenient hanging.

You can machine-wash it with warm water and tumble dry it at medium temperature. However, do not dry clean it.


  • Material: Turkish cotton

  • Color: Gray, navy, seafoam, or powder pink

  • Machine-wash: Yes (cool)

Pros & Cons
  • Made from Turkish cotton

  • Machine-wash (cool)

  • Available in four colors

  • Only available in one color

  • Higher price point

Turkey is popular for its high-quality cotton, delivering a luxurious touch to different products, including towels and bathrobes. So, if you want to pamper yourself with such treatment, the Textiles Turkish Cotton Fun in Paradise Beach Towel is a great pick.

This lightweight towel is made of Turkish cotton for luxurious softness and features a hand-knotted fringe for dramatic appeal. Its bird's eye body weave with a plain weave border creates an exceptional look.

It’s also multi-purpose – you can use it as a beach blanket, bath towel, bed topper, sarong, or sofa throw. The towel is fast-drying and fits easily into your beach bag.

Best microfiber beach towel


  • Material:  87% Polyester

  • Color: Black

  • Machine-wash: Yes

Pros & Cons
  • Easy to dry

  • Machine-wash 

  • Lightweight

  • Plain design

  • Only available in one size

If you prefer a microfibre towel, then the Decathlon Nabaiji 43 by 69-inch Microfiber Towel will definitely peak your interest. This easy-to-carry towel is ideal for a day at the beach and has high absorbency to dry your body fast.

It’s made of 87% polyester, resulting in a compact, lightweight, yet soft construction. You can throw it into a washing machine without ruining it.


  • Material: Cotton & velour

  • Color: Yellow and white stripes

  • Machine-wash: Yes

Pros & Cons
  • Large size

  • Machine-wash 

  • Made from cotton and velour

  • Available in four colors

  • Quick dry

  • Might be bulky for storage

Wrapping your whole body in a towel after a dip just feels nice and comfy, and you can do that with an oversized towel like this Faded Stripes Cotton Velour Quick-Dry Oversized Beach Towel by Blue Nile Mills. It measures 64 by 34 inches for warm coverage, and it’s made of cotton and velour for optimal softness and absorbency.

The towel features fading stripes with white to add details, and you can machine wash and tumble dry it for easy care.


  • Material: 100% organic cotton

  • Color: Navy, blue, red, or green.

  • Machine-wash: Yes

Pros & Cons
  • Made from 100% organic cotton

  • Available in four colors

  • 50% thicker than most towels

  • Only available in one size

  • High price point

If you’re always traveling, the Delilah Home 100% Organic Cotton Sand Resistant Sunset Beach Towel makes a great addition to your travel bag. This 36 by 70-inch towel is made of 100% organic cotton for a super soft and comfy feel when relaxing in the sun.

It’s 50% thicker than most towels for ample warmth and excellent absorbency. The towel has stripes and fringes for a unique look. You can machine wash and tumble dry your towel when cleaning and use non-chlorine bleach if needed.


  • Material: Cotton

  • Color: Red and white stripes

  • Machine-wash: Yes

Pros & Cons
  • Made of 420 gsm cotton

  • Highly absorbent

  • Available in seven colors

  • Only available in one size

If you prefer a plush option, this Exclusivo Super Absorbent Soft Plush Beach Towel is a must-have for beach escapades. This oversized 35 by 70-inch stripe towel is made of 420 GSM of cotton, making it softer and more absorbent.

Its retro style and cabana-striped design deliver an eye-catching appearance when you’re out enjoying the beach. The towel is very soft and lightweight, and you can throw it in your washing machine for easy washing with normal detergent.

Best beach towel for extra coverage


  • Material: Cotton

  • Color:  Black/beige

  • Machine-wash: Yes

Pros & Cons
  • Large size for extra coverage

  • Highly absorbent

  • Complex care instruction

  • Only available in one color

Made of cotton fabric, this Contrasting Jacquard Beach Towel measures 37.4 x 70.9 inches for ample coverage. The unique design lends a stylish feel, and it can double as a sofa throw and bath towel.

For care, you can machine wash your towel but do not use whiteners or bleach. Also, do not dry clean it. You can also put it in a dryer, but be sure to use low temperatures. When ironing the towel, use a maximum temperature of 230 degrees Fahrenheit.

How to choose your beach towel

Here are some of the common questions that users ask when shopping for the best beach towels.

Which materials are best?

The most popular fabrics for beach towels include cotton, terry, microfiber and polyester. That said, according to Consumer Reports, experts recommend 100% cotton towels. This is because cotton has a high absorbency rate, soft texture and quick-drying abilities, with Turkish and Egyptian varieties being favorites.

Plus, they come in different construction. For example, you can opt for towels made of long-staple cotton, characterized by long cotton fibers. The longer the fibers, the plusher the towel. Also, it’s ideal to pick an option with single-ply yarn for a lightweight design.

Is microfiber better for the beach?

Microfiber towels tend to be more absorbent than traditional cotton towels, and some users prefer them for different reasons. They tend to be lightweight and more absorbent than cotton towels.

They’re also quite compact, allowing them to fit easily and take up minimal space in your beach bag. More importantly, microfiber towels are also sand-free; you can quickly shake your towel to remove beach sand.

Should beach towels be thick or thin?

While you might want a fluffy beach towel, you shouldn’t go for an option that’s too thick. A thick towel offers optimal absorbency and comfort, but it can be heavy to fit in your bag -- if you’re carrying two or more towels, you’ll need several bags.

Thick towels also dry slowly and hold on to sand easily. This can be pretty inconvenient while at the beach. Instead, opt for light or thin to medium towels. They dry quickly and fit easily in your beach bag.

Our top choices for beach towels

To help make your shopping experience even more streamlined, our editors chose our two favorites that we think are the best beach towels overall. 

  • H&M Beach Towel: Beach towels can get expensive, but this H&M towel comes at a reasonable price point — and it’s made from 100% cotton. Plus it’s machine washable and features a hanging loop for drying. 

  • Zara Contrasting Jacquard Beach Towel: It has a unique design and it’s fairly priced. The large towel is made of 100% cotton fabric for softness, comfort and absorbency. 

  • Exclusivo Super Absorbent Soft Plush Beach Towel: is an exceptional pick. It’s made of 420 GSM of cotton for more absorbency and softness. Plus, you can use it as a beach blanket, thanks to its large size of 35 x 70 inches.

Prices updated on 11/16/2023. We are not responsible for any changes to the prices mentioned above.

Written by
Odinga Fanuel

With over nine years working within media, Odinga Fanuel is passionate about sharing reliable information with everyday readers. For Smart Shopper, Odinga specializes in writing about tech products, household appliances, travel, automotive and more.

Specialized topics