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Turkish Towels Are the Quick-Drying and Lightweight Upgrade Your Bathroom and Beach Bag Need

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Investing in a high-quality towel is an easy way to add a little luxury to your daily routine. Turkish towels are a simple upgrade that makes getting ready feel a little more comfortable.

What’s so special about Turkish towels? “Because of Turkey’s weather, cotton grown in Turkey is longer in length than standard cotton (it’s often referred to as long-staple cotton),” says Ajoy Sarkar, professor and assistant chair of Textile Development and Marketing at FIT. “That makes the resulting yarns finer and smoother, which ultimately makes the towels softer.”

These extra-long fibers also make Turkish towels more absorbent than standard cotton towels. That means they’ll dry faster and soak up more excess water. Additionally, Turkish towels are woven in a way that makes them lightweight and resistant to wear and tear. Plus, they’ll make your bathroom feel like an expensive spa.

In search of the best Turkish towels available, we spoke to textile experts and tested towels in the lab and at home for up to six months.

Read on for the best Turkish towels PEOPLE Tested.


PHOTO:

Serena & Lily


Our Ratings

  • Quality

    4/5

  • Absorbency

    4.5/5

  • Texture

    4/5

  • Durability

    5/5

  • Value

    5/5

Pros

  • Quick-drying

  • Terry cloth on one side

  • Beautiful Design

These warm, large and soft towels from Serena and Lily are incredibly quick-drying and luxurious, thanks to two absorbency sides. The front is expertly woven in the traditional Turkish towel style, while the back boasts plush terry cloth. Made of 100 percent Turkish Aegean cotton, these towels soak up excess water with ease and efficiency. In fact, we even tried soaking up a bowl of water with this towel, and it was able to do it! This was a rare occurrence in our testing, so we know this towel looks beautiful but also works extremely well.

The Serena and Lily Turkish towels are durable with yarn-dyed stripes on the front that are reminiscent of traditional Turkish towels. The subtle herringbone design accents the wide and narrow stripes, which come in soft colors like light blue, gray, and dark blue. It’s apparent these towels are well-made, and it’s easy to see the high quality when looking at the expertly-woven threads. Best of all, the terry cloth backing makes them extra soft and plush. The only downside we could find is the limited color offering. 

Dimensions: 56 x 30 inches |  Care Instructions: Machine wash warm and tumble dry on low |  Color Options: 3

Coyuchi Mediterranean Organic Towel

PHOTO:

Coyuchi


“Turkish towels are usually very lightweight and easy to pack, which makes them a great option to bring to the beach or on a camping trip,” says textile expert Frej Lewenhaupt, co-founder and CEO of Steamery, a Scandinavian textile care brand. Despite being lightweight, they absorb excess water quickly and easily, so you don’t have to stand dripping on a breezy beach for too long. We love that this towel is extra large, so it can double as a beach blanket or tanning mat.

This Mediterranean-inspired towel is made from 100 percent Turkish Aegean cotton, and it’s woven from yarn-dyed organic cotton. The edges are hand-knotted to create a decorative fringe that’s subtle and elegant. This is a light and airy towel that’s quick-drying and highly absorbent.

Dimensions: 71 x 39 inches |  Care Instructions: Machine wash cold on a gentle cycle and tumble dry on low |  Color Options: 4

People / Anna Popp


Cacala 100% Organic Cotton Pestemal Turkish Bath Towel

PHOTO:

Amazon


Our Ratings

  • Quality

    4/5

  • Absorbency

    3.3/5

  • Texture

    4/5

  • Durability

    4.3/5

  • Dry Time

    5/5

Traditional Turkish towels are lightweight and thin, and this option from Cacala puts the best qualities of Turkish towels on full display, at a fraction of the price. The oversized option is perfect for the beach because it can serve as a towel, blanket, or even a sarong-style cover up. It’s available in 39 colors, which means the classic towel has an option for everyone. 

Made of 100 percent Turkish cotton, the quick-drying towels are absorbent and durable, and an amazing value. In a recent bath towel test, we found these towels air-dried quickly and easily, thanks to the lightweight and airy construction. We think these would be great for the beach or the bathroom, because they performed so well in our tests. They dried bodies off better and covered more area than any of our other towels, so we were impressed that this high-performing Turkish towel is available on Amazon for such a low price.

Dimensions: 37 x 70 inches | Care Instructions: Machine wash cold and hang to dry | Color Options: 39

Super-Plush Bath Towels

PHOTO:

Brooklinen


Our Ratings

  • Quality

    3/5

  • Absorbency

    4.5/5

  • Texture

    4/5

  • Durability

    2/5

  • Value

    4/5

Pros

  • Plush

  • Luxurious, spa-like feel

Extra-plush towels are the key to creating a spa-like experience at home. Wrapping yourself in one makes stepping out of the shower feel warm, cozy and oh-so-luxurious. Though most Turkish cotton towels are thin and lightweight, Brooklinen’s line of extra-plush towels are super thick, while being woven from 100 percent Turkish cotton. That means you get the quick-drying benefit of traditional Turkish towels with the softness of extra-plush towels. Thanks to this dual functionality, they excelled in our tests, and they’re a great pick for someone looking for a quick-drying plush towel.

Available in 14 colors, this set of two is a great buy with a wide variety of style choices. The specific weaving pattern is designed to make them extra durable, and the lined edges mean that the fibers won’t fray. To keep your towels feeling soft and plush for longer, make sure to machine wash cold and tumble dry on low. 

Dimensions: 30 x 58 inches | Care Instructions: Machine wash cold and tumble dry on low | Color Options: 14

Smyrna Turkish Cotton Turkish Hand Towels

PHOTO:

Etsy


Pros

  • Set of two

  • Affordable

  • Available in 12 colors

This set of two towels is lightweight and quick drying, which makes it the perfect option to stick in the bathroom for use after washing your hands. Woven with 100 percent Turkish cotton, the extra-long strands mean that moisture will dry quicker. That means these towels are a must near any highly-trafficked sink, like your downstairs powder room or kitchen sink. 

Available in 12 colors, they’re made with decorative stitching and elegant fringe. True to the Turkish towel style, these are lightweight and thin, which also makes them a great option to pack in your gym bag. Although we haven’t tested this set firsthand, we love that it comes in a set of two at a super affordable price. 

Dimensions: 39.3 x 16 inches |  Care Instructions: Machine wash cold on a gentle cycle and tumble dry on low | Color Options: 12

Quince Organic Turkish Cotton Baby Towel Set

PHOTO:

Quince


Babies and toddlers have sensitive skin, so it’s essential to dry them with a towel that’s soft and gentle. Quince’s line of organic Turkish cotton towels are super soft to the touch, with lined edges that prevent fraying. They’re a high-quality option that’s durable and easy on a baby’s sensitive skin.

Made from 100 percent Turkish cotton, they’re more plush than traditional Turkish towels, which makes them a great choice for keeping your little one cozy after bathtime. These Quince towels are a perfect size for newborn babies, but they’re suitable for bigger toddlers, too, and they are hooded, which is fun for kids.

We didn’t test these in the lab, but we’ve used them in the real world and stand behind this pick. We also love that they come in two neutral colors — white and pink — so they’ll pair perfectly with any decor aesthetic. 

Dimensions: 30 x 30 inches |  Care Instructions: Machine wash cold on a gentle cycle and tumble dry on low | Color Options: 2

Quince Organic Luxe Turkish Cotton Bath Robe

PHOTO:

Quince


Sure, individual Turkish towels are nice, but wouldn’t it be great if you could wrap yourself in Turkish towels from head to toe? That’s what it’s like using this Turkish cotton robe. The 100 percent premium, long staple Turkish cotton is woven in a way that makes it feel just like a high-quality Turkish towel, in the form of a full-body robe. It’s soft, quick-drying and cozy, which makes for the ultimate spa-like experience. The best part? It comes at a remarkably affordable price compared to most other robes of the same quality. 

Quince offers Turkish cotton robes in the standard style or a waffled construction, depending on your preference. Two front pockets add convenience, and a shawl collar keeps wet hair off your neck. Keep in mind that this robe is only available in white. 

Sizes: Small, Medium, or Large | Care Instructions: Machine wash cold and tumble dry on low Color Options: 1

What to Consider Before Buying Turkish Towels

Size and Weight

One of the benefits of Turkish towels is that they’re often larger than standard towels. As a result, they’re a versatile option that can double as a picnic blanket, beach towel, or beach blanket. While the size of the towel itself is usually larger, the thickness of the towel is typically much thinner than a standard bath towel. As a result, Turkish towels are a great option for packing in a beach bag or overnight bag

The lightweight, airy construction is true to the traditional Turkish towel style. Alternatively, Turkish towels can be offered in thicker, more heavy-duty construction, too. For example, Brooklinen’s Super-Plush Turkish towels share the same thick feel and heavier weight as standard towels, making them a perfect choice for someone looking for a cozy towel made from Turkish cotton. 

Style

When searching for a Turkish towel, it’s a good idea to determine how you plan to use it. These towels come in many styles, each of which has its own benefits. Traditional Turkish towels are woven in a flat-weave style, which makes for a thinner towel that’s absorbent and quick-drying. In fact, Sarkar says that in addition to making it absorbent, “the two-dimensional flat weave dries quickly and also lessens the chances of mildew growth.”

Flat-weave towels are in line with the traditional Turkish towel style, though you can also purchase towels that are made from Turkish cotton in a different weave style. For example, Serena and Lily’s Fouta Bath Towel is two sided, with one being the traditional flat-weave and the other being a more cozy, plush terry cloth. That way, you get the quick drying abilities of the traditional style with the warmth and comfort of a thicker towel. 

FAQs

Are Turkish towels better than regular towels? 

Turkish cotton is a highly sought after material that creates soft, durable towels. However, Turkish-style towels are much different than the typical terry cloth towels, so in order to determine which style is best, you must first determine what you’re looking for. If you’re on the hunt for extra-thick, plush towels, traditional Turkish-style towels won’t match the same warmth or coziness as terry cloth-style towels. If you’re looking for lightweight, airy, quick-drying towels that are easy to pack in a beach bag or overnight bag, Turkish towels are far superior to regular towels. Compared to regular towels, Sarkar says that Turkish towels are “soft, fine towels with excellent absorbency and quick drying properties.”

What is so special about Turkish towels? 

Cotton grown in Turkey is special because it is usually longer in length than standard cotton; this is thanks to the country’s weather. This results in fine, smooth, soft yarns, from which the towels and cotton sheets are made.

In addition to how soft the towels are, Turkish towels are also woven in a way that makes them thinner and more lightweight than the more-plush terry cloth style. As a result, Turkish towels dry more quickly than standard towels. The durability also adds a layer of versatility; these towels can be used for the beach or bath and can even be used as a picnic blanket.

Are Turkish or Egyptian towels better?

Egyptian cotton and Turkish cotton are both high-quality materials that produce soft, smooth textures. The resulting towels are durable and high-quality, with warm, absorbent layers. Though both materials are absorbent and quick-drying, Egyptian cotton tends to be more absorbent because the fibers are even longer than that of Turkish cotton. Alternatively, Turkish cotton towels are slightly less absorbent, but they often dry more quickly than Egyptian cotton. Both materials are a great option for towels, but Turkish towels will dry more quickly, making them a better choice to pack for the beach. 

How We Tested Turkish Towels

To find the best Turkish towels on the market, we relied on expert recommendations, editor favorites, and unbiased lab results. For our lab portion of the test, we first inspected each towel, washed it, and then inspected it again, noting any shrinkage or damage post-wash. Then we soaked each towel in a bowl of water and timed how long it took to dry. We also stained each towel to make sure they could last through everyday life. Finally, we took a scrub brush to each one to test for durability. After this portion of the test was complete, we took a look at the price and evaluated the value of each towel.

Once lab testing was complete, we took the best Turkish towels home for at-home testing and recorded our insights on absorbency, durability, and overall effectiveness.

Why Trust PEOPLE?

Laura Denby is a food, home, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in such outlets as Food & Wine, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, Verywell Family, Southern Living. To bring you this review, she consulted our testers, who shared their perspectives about a range of Turkish towels, such as texture, absorbance, durability, and softness. While researching Turkish towels, we spoke with FIT‘s professor Ajoy Sarkar and Frej Lewenhaupt, co-founder and CEO of Steamery.

What Is PEOPLE Tested

We created the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval to help you find the very best products for your life. We use our unique methodology to test products in three labs across the country and with our network of home testers to determine their effectiveness, durability, ease of use, and so much more. Based on the results, we rate and recommend products so you can find the right one for your needs.But we don’t stop there: We also regularly re-review the categories in which we’ve awarded the PEOPLE Tested seal of approval — because the best product of today might not be the best of tomorrow. And by the way, companies can never buy our recommendation: Their products must earn it, fair and square.In short, PEOPLE Tested provides recommendations you can trust — every day, every purchase.

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