Towel Weight Guide
- Created: Friday, 31 July 2020 12:31
Choosing a towel based on touch or softness alone can be misleading. Most towels are made with added softeners that make them appear fluffy and luxurious in stores — but these softeners quickly wash off, leaving you with a coarse and rough towel.
One of the secrets to a towel’s durability and long life is having double stitching at its hems around all edges to cut down on future fraying. Usually, you can tell whether a towel is well-made by touching it, but that might not be an option if you’re shopping online.
The next best indicator of whether a towel was stitched for longevity is its weight. Generally, a towel’s weight signals what the towel was made from and how it was manufactured. The heavier a towel is, the higher its quality and the more absorbent it will be. But depending on what you plan to use your towel for, the heaviest option might not be the best fit for your purposes.
So whether you’re a home decorator trying to choose the perfect bathroom towel to wow visitors or a hospitality manager looking for the sturdiest hotel towels to buy in bulk, use this guide to towel weight to simplify your towel search.
How to Pick the Perfect Towel
If you’re constantly having to purchase new towels because the old ones couldn’t survive a single day at the beach without fraying or stiffening, you’re probably buying low-quality towels. The true test of a towel’s quality is its weight. This is because of the many factors that contribute to its weight, such as the material it’s made from, how it’s stitched and its thread count. To help you pick the perfect towel, we’ll discuss all these aspects, as well as how to take care of your perfect towel once you’ve found it.
A towel’s weight is measured using the grams per square meter (GSM) system, which calculates the density of the towel. A lower GSM from 300 to 400 means the towel is light and thin, while a higher GSM from 450 to 900 indicates a heavier, thicker towel. As a general rule, a higher GSM makes a more absorbent towel that will perform its primary function of mopping liquids up better overall.
If a towel weighs less than 400 GSM, it is extremely thin and portable. Such lightweight towels are great for a quick day trip to the lake or storing in stuffed gym bags. For fulfilling roles like that of a hand towel or guest towel, it is best to get a towel that is at least 400 GSM. For a more heavy-duty job like a bath towel, you will want a towel with a higher GSM of 500 or more.
Here is a breakdown of the main categories of towel weights and what they are best used for:
- 300 GSM to 400 GSM: Because these towels are the most lightweight, they dry the quickest after being used. These towels’ fast-drying nature makes them perfect for traveling or any other time you don’t want to have to put a wet towel in your bag.
- 400 GSM to 620 GSM: A bit sturdier than lighter towels, towels within this medium-weight category serve as great bath towels or guest towels. As towels approach the higher end of the medium range, they become increasingly absorbent and thick.
- 620 GSM to 900 GSM: Towels that fall within the highest tier of GSM at 620 to 900 are regarded as the premium luxury weight. These towels are the thickest and most absorbent, and they have the highest density you can find.
If you want to make sure your towel does not lose its softness after the first wash, the material is the most important factor to consider. Make a point of checking a towel’s label before purchasing to confirm it’s made from 100% cotton. Cotton is the preferred towel material because of cotton fibers’ natural ability to attract water and take in nearly 25 times its weight in liquid.
Polyester is occasionally used to make towels, but it is not an absorbent or soft material. Polyester does dry fast, so it can be useful in the kitchen or at the gym. Other than that, you may not want to buy many polyester towels.
Although the majority of towels are made from cotton, the texture and appearance of the towel vary depending on which type of cotton it’s made from. Here are the main types of cotton used to produce towels and what makes them unique:
- Egyptian cotton: Egyptian cotton has fibers that are finer, longer and more porous than regular cotton fibers. These qualities make Egyptian cotton more absorbent, dense, strong and better able to hold moisture than other towels.
- Turkish cotton: Similar to Egyptian cotton, Turkish cotton has extra-long fibers that boost its luxuriousness, absorbency and durability. Although slightly less absorbent than Egyptian cotton, Turkish cotton is still a premium product able to endure much wear and tear while maintaining its softness.
- Supima cotton: Supima cotton, also known as Pima cotton, is hailed as the cashmere of cotton. Pima cotton has extra-long fibers that make it a soft, strong and absorbent towel material. Its durability makes it all the more valuable because it won’t wear out quickly.
- Organic cotton: To be certified as an organic material, organic cotton must meet the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). This means towels created from organic cotton are free from toxic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Aside from that, organic cotton offers the same features as regular cotton.
- Bamboo: Often blended with cotton or other materials, bamboo is an extremely soft, high-quality, natural and eco-friendly fiber. It absorbs well and dries quickly — two of the greatest qualities for a towel. Bamboo also has antibacterial qualities, meaning it’s resistant to germs, mold and mildew.
Once you’ve decided what type of towel material is right for you based on your application and budget, it’s time to explore thread count and style. Thread count is the term that refers to how many threads an item contains, both horizontally and vertically, per square inch of material. A higher thread count means a towel has more supportive fibers, making it softer and more durable than towels with lower thread counts.
Thread count is important because the number and length of loops a towel contains reflects the quality of the towel. Denser loops indicate the towel was made from thick, tightly packed loops that will make it more absorbent than towels with looser stitching.
Thread count is not quite as simple as it may seem because it can be affected by how the material was manufactured when the towel was made. For example, Egyptian cotton towels have extra-long threads that automatically increase a towel’s absorbency without needing to have a staggering number of stitches. For this reason, it’s important to think about thread count, stitching technique and material when shopping for towels.
Here are some thread styles to take into account before committing to a towel:
- Combed: When cotton products are considered combed, it means their fibers were combed to get rid of any short or unwanted threads so only the long, strong cotton threads remain. This technique results in soft, durable towels and prevents pilling.
- Ringspun: With both short and long fibers, ringspun towels use tightly twisted fibers to produce a smoother and stronger yarn. By including all the threads in the process, ringspun towels become more plush and luxurious than most types of towels.
- Microfiber: Microfiber towels are made from fibers that are split at their ends, making them all the more absorbent. These super-fine fibers make microfiber towels smooth, soft, strong and more long-lasting compared to other types of towels.
- Terry cloth: Contrary to microfiber, terry cloth is composed of thick, uncut loops of material. The large loops give terry cloth a greater amount of surface area, increasing its absorbency. Terry cloth towels made from cotton are especially absorbent and soft.
Along with weight, material and thread count, the size of a towel may play a significant role in helping you determine which towel to purchase. Depending on what you plan to use your towel for, you will need a larger or smaller amount of material. For example, you may want a small microfiber towel for efficiently holding cleaning spray when wiping windows and a larger combed cotton towel for drying off after a shower without getting towel fuzz all over you.
To help you choose which towel is for you, check out these standard towel sizes and common applications:
- Washcloth: As the name suggests, washcloths are generally used to wash items rather than to dry them off. Typically squares of about 12 by 12 inches, these small towels are useful for getting completely wet to clean all sorts of surfaces, from dishware to your face.
- Bath towel: Perfect for drying off after a swim, these larger towels are usually about 27 by 54 inches and are useful for just about anything. Those who enjoy being wrapped in a larger towel after bathing might prefer a bath sheet, which, at 40 by 68 inches, is slighter bigger than a bath towel.
- Hand towel: This size of towel sits right in the middle of washcloths and bath towels at around 16 by 30 inches. Hand towels’ size makes them ideal for drying your hands after washing them or simply acting as an accent piece.
- Bath mat: Bath mats are essential for ensuring you don’t slip when stepping out of the shower. The size of bath mat you want will depend on how much floor space you want to keep dry, but they’re usually sold at about 20 by 34 inches.
Caring for Your Towels
You can buy a towel made from the sturdiest material with the highest thread count possible, but if you really want your towel to last, you have to care for it well. Looking after your towel properly can help retain its softness and absorbency and extend its overall longevity. To ensure your towel lasts, follow these tips for towel care:
- Wash well: Always wash your towels before their first use. Each time you wash your towels after that, be sure to separate your colors and only wash like with like. Wash them on a gentle cycle and without too much detergent so you don’t wind up with towels that are stiff and rough.
- Stop softening: Avoid fabric softeners when you wash your towels to protect their fibers from damage. Fabric softener can weaken towels’ fibers, causing them to lose their absorbency prematurely. Liquid fabric softener in particular can reduce your towels’ absorbency by causing a waxy buildup on their surfaces.
- Shake it out: After taking your towels out of the washer, give them a quick shake to fluff them up. Ruffling the towel’s individually stitched loops in this way will preserve the fabric’s absorbency. Once your towels come out of the dryer, give them another quick shake to fluff them up again.
- Dry delicately: Try to use low heat when drying your towels so their softness stays intact. Be certain your towels are dry before removing them from the dryer so you don’t end up with damp towels. Any leftover moisture on towels can quickly turn into mildew. Be equally careful not to overdry your towels because that can burn out the fibers.
- Store safely: After you finish washing, drying and folding your towels, make sure you keep them in a cool, dry and well-ventilated space.
- Avoid skincare products: Keep your towels from touching any skincare products so you limit the chances of spotting or bleaching them. If it’s not possible to prevent your towels from coming in contact with such products, consider purchasing bleach-resistant towels.
Find the Perfect Towel for You at Towel Super Center
Now that you know what to look for in a towel, you’re ready to find your dream towel at Towel Super Center. We offer a wide variety of towels to choose from, including premium and premium-plus options. We also sell towels in bulk so you can save money on a large order for your hotel, restaurant or business. The low prices and high quality of our wholesale towels make us the number one outlet for all your towel needs.
If you already have an idea of what towel you’d like, you can narrow down your selection by searching our vast inventory by size or quality. If you’re still not quite sure where to start your towel search, browse Towel Super Center’s full range of products to find what’s best for you.