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How to Buy Towels

Towels come in three basic types of cotton: Egyptian, Supima, and standard.

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Know your cotton

Towels come in three basic types of cotton: Egyptian, Supima, and standard. Egyptian, which is most expensive, has the longest threads and is therefore softest and most absorbent. Supima, the next most expensive, is American-grown and has shorter threads but is a little more durable. And finally, there’s standard cotton, the least expensive of the three. Though it’s not as high quality, it’s absorbent and long-lasting. And terrycloth towels aren’t inherently better; they just have longer thread loops.

Know what you need

Figure out just how many towels you need before heading into the store. Decide how many bathrooms you’re buying for and if you want all the same towel. How many sets of towels do you need for each bathroom? Are you even buying sets (meaning face cloths and hand towels), or do you just want bath towels?

Know your sizes

There are two basic towel sizes. Standard bath towels are roughly 52 inches long, and bath sheets run from about 60 to 70 inches. Standard sizes dry faster and are easier to store while bath sheets give better coverage and feel a little more warm and luxurious. They’re also a bit on the pricier side.

Know your bathroom

Your towels should somehow coordinate with or complement your bathroom. If you have a muted bathroom, you may want to stick with muted towel color tones. Or if your bathroom is solid, patterns could offer your look a little punch of fun.

Now that you know how to buy towels, check out our fabulous bathroom photos for inspiration.

-- Paula Kashtan

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