From Plush to Quick Dry: The 11 Types of Towels You Need in Your Life

Types of Towels You Need in Your Life

You never knew how indispensable towels could be until you began to build your household. By the time there are kids, teens and pets in the house, your towels seem to somehow disappear! You’ll want plenty extra to keep the troops dried. At Pottery Barn, we understand how enjoyably messy life can be. We’ll guide you through all the types of towels there are for their many uses inside and outside your home. We’ll also help you sort through the various materials so you can see how to choose towels for your needs. 


For the Bath


The rule of thumb is to build a towel wardrobe where each person in the household has two to three sets of towels. That many towels can take up a chunk of real estate in your home. Luckily, there are creative ideas to help store your bath towels, from pretty crates to practical rolling carts. 

Bath towel sets are one of the most popular items on wedding registries. Understanding the various material and weight options will help you in choosing bath towels for a registry. A set, or towel bundle, typically includes a bath towel, hand towel and washcloth. Large bath sheets also come in varying, but always ample, sizes – these are some of the biggest towels you can find. You can also purchase your towels individually to build collections with different designs you love.

In a nutshell, types of bath towels range from thick and luxurious long-staple Turkish and Egyptian cotton to quick-absorbent microfiber and Pima cotton. If you’re considering buying organic cotton bath towels, look for the product’s certification. Take into account the towel’s weight. This is noted as GSM or grams per square meter, and it determines the thickness. Towels, organic or non-organic, with a higher GSM between 550 and 700, will feel absorbent, thick and plush.

You can also find small hair towels. They’re designed to wick away water faster than cotton towels. They come in different sizes to fit all hair lengths. A hair towel dries quickly between uses to keep it fresher longer.


For the Guest Bath


Finger towels for the guest bath, or powder room, are more decorative than practical. They’re the smallest of in the towel family at about 11" by 18". They’re often embellished with trim or embroidery. Use finger towels draped over hand towels. Or, stack finger towels on the countertop for quick access. Guest finger towels are made from cotton and also linen/cotton blends for a more formal look. If you’re looking for an elegant hostess gift, a simple monogrammed guest towel set is ideal.


For the Kitchen


Aside from paper towels and paper napkins, the kitchen is where towels get some of the roughest use in the house. Utilitarian kitchen towels and tea towels do the job paper can’t handle. They dry spills, wipe off dishes, handle hot pots and clean up food. You can never have too many dish towels to dry your dishes! Designed for double duty, today’s kitchen towels and linens look pretty as accessories and act as hardworking tools. Dish towels are sturdy, durable and highly absorbent. They tend to become odorous, and fast, so toss them in the washer frequently – they’re meant to stand up to lots of washing. 


For the Outdoors


No longer do you need to worry about using your good towels to wipe down. Cotton or microfiber beach towels are also useful as bath sheets thanks to their ample length. Beach towels are also thinner than bath towels and dry much faster than regular towels, making them ideal for transport to and from the beach. Exercise and gym towels, typically made from microfiber, are as compact as hand towels. They’re lightweight and designed to be moisture-wicking. Because they’re thin, they’re easy to wring out when sopping wet.

Pet care and car wash towels are typically made of microfiber for super absorbency, durability and softness. They’re designed to feel comforting on your pet’s fur coat and remain safe your car’s painted finish. Pet towels also work well as indoor and outdoor cushioning and bedding. Go for the softest touch.


Towels aren’t just for keeping you cozy after a warm bath. Building your own wardrobe of towels ensures you always have the right one to get any job done.