The Best Beach Towels, According to Our Tests

Our top pick is Tesalate’s The Alchemist beach towel.

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Best Beach Towels Tout

Tesalate and Amazon

If your summer plans include swimming in the waves or lounging poolside, a good beach towel is a must-have. For drying off, soaking up the sun, or enjoying an ocean-side picnic, there are plenty of high-quality beach towels to enhance your next tropical vacation.

To find the best beach towels on the market, we tested 35 options to determine which beach towels were the most absorbent, durable, and repellent to sand. We recreated a sandy beach in our lab to see how sand-repellent each beach towel was and dipped the towels in water before and after washing them to test for absorbency. Our top pick is Tesalate’s The Alchemist beach towel thanks to its soft, lightweight material that absorbs water quickly.

Here are our top picks for the best beach towels.

Best Overall: Tesalate The Alchemist

4.5
Tesalate The Alchemist
Our Ratings
  • Quality
    3/5
  • Absorbency
    5/5
  • Texture
    3/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5

Why We Love it: It’s lightweight, soft, and absorbent, and there were no traces of sand left after shaking it out. 

What to Consider: The material is thin and resembles the texture of a sham towel.

Tesalate’s The Alchemist beach towel is lightweight and durable, making it ideal for anyone traveling far to get to the beach. It comes with a small pouch that easily holds the folded towel without needing to shove it in like a sleeping bag, and there is a loop for securely hanging it up to dry. We loved the towel’s multi-patterned print, and it was wide enough to comfortably lie on. In testing, all it took was one quick shake of the towel and all the sand came off. Made of Tesalate’s thin AbsorbLite fabric, the towel absorbed ¼ cup of water in under a minute, and the towel dried off our tester’s hand with one swipe. Our tester noted that the towel looked brand new after going through the washer, so the quality of this towel should last. Because the towel is lightweight, it doesn’t provide much cushion or support, but we still thought it was worth the price thanks to how absorbent and durable it was before and after testing. 

Dimensions: 63 x 31 inches | Material: AbsorbLite Fabric

Best Overall, Runner-up: Venture Large Sand-Free Beach Towel

4.4
 Venture Large Sand-Free Beach Towel

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Absorbency
    5/5
  • Texture
    3/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5

Why We Love it: The snap loop makes it especially easy to hang for drying. 

What to Consider: The thin microfiber material is less absorbent than that of other towels we tested.

During our tests, this towel was soft to the touch, and our tester had no issues shaking off all sand clinging to the bottom after lying on it. The towel is made of a thin microfiber fabric, but our tester was pleasantly surprised with how durable it was both before and after a wash cycle. Although they were initially skeptical about the yellow color bleeding or fading, our tester added that the yellow remained “very vibrant” after a wash. The fabric is thin, meaning it’s not the most cushioned towel to lie on. In testing, the towel absorbed one-fourth of a cup of water in under five minutes and remained equally absorbent after a wash and dry cycle. We also appreciated that the towel comes with a drawstring pouch for easy storage and a snap loop for hanging it up to dry easily. 

Dimensions: 63 x 31.5 inches | Material: Microfiber

Best Lightweight: Rainleaf Microfiber Towel

4.3
Rainleaf Microfiber Towel

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    3/5
  • Absorbency
    4.5/5
  • Texture
    4/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5

Why We Love it: The towel weighs just 9 ounces but feels sturdy and durable despite the thin material. 

What to Consider: It’s a little on the small side for a beach towel.

The Rainleaf Microfiber Towel is compact and weighs just 9 ounces — about the same weight as a can of soda, making it a great choice for beachgoers who travel light. Our tester was impressed by the softness of the towel texture and added that sand was no match for this towel, as it was easy to brush off the towel or give it one shake to rid the fabric of all sand particles. The sturdy towel held up well in a wash cycle, showing no signs of loose threads or fading.Though this towel isn’t the most stylish one on the market, it makes up for it with its lightweight and durable build that is ideal for backpackers or campers. 

Dimensions: 60 x 30 inches | Material: Microfiber

Best Sand-free: Tesalate Bora Bora Sand-Free Towel

4.3
Tesalate Bora Bora Towel
Tesalate photo.
Our Ratings
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Absorbency
    4.5/5
  • Texture
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    3.5/5

Why We Love it: There was not a single grain of sand left on this towel after a light shake.

What to Consider: It felt especially heavy after absorbing ¼ cup of water.

If your least favorite part of going to the beach is bringing it back home with you, then the Tesalate Bora Bora Sand-free towel is the towel for you. According to our tester, the towel barely needed a shake to get all the sand off, eliminating any lingering grains with ease. The towel is made of the brand’s AbsorbLite fabric technology, which is designed to dry in half the time a regular beach towel would, and it still has the ability to absorb up to 1 liter of water. During testing, it absorbed ¼ a cup of water quickly — though it did feel noticeably heavier after. Our tester noted that this towel would be ideal for windy days as the heavier material felt durable for breezy beach trips. 

Dimensions: 63 x 31 inches  | Material: AbsorbLite Fabric

Best Oversized: Wise Owl Outfitters Beach Towel and Yoga Towel

4.4
Wise Owl Outfitters Beach Towel and Yoga Towel
Amazon photo.
Our Ratings
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Absorbency
    4/5
  • Texture
    4/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5

Why We Love it: It’s large and spacious with a soft, suede-like texture on both sides. 

What to Consider: The towel was less absorbent than others we tested.

There is no shortage of space to sprawl out and relax on the Wise Owl Outfitters Beach Towel. Although this large 84 x 48-inch beach towel is less absorbent than the others we tested, it has a soft suede texture on both sides and quickly repels sand with one shake. In testing, the beach towel felt durable and washed well without any snags or fading. If you’re looking for a towel to share or keep your beach accessories off the sand entirely, this towel is a great option.

Dimensions: 84 x 48 inches | Material: Microfiber

Best Turkish: Kassatex Block Pareo Fouta Beach Towels

4.6
Kassatex Block Pareo Fouta Beach Towel

Kassatex

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    5/5
  • Absorbency
    4.5/5
  • Texture
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4/5

Why We Love it: The towel has a soft, plush material on both sides, and it’s oversized for extra space.

What to Consider: Getting all the sand off the towel took a few shakes.

The Kassatex Block Pareo Fouta Beach Towel is a luxurious Turkish cotton towel that resembles a towel from a resort. Noted for being “incredibly soft” by our tester, the Kassatex towel has different textures on each side, both of which are plush and soft for a cozy beach lounging experience. The thicker material absorbed ¼ a cup of water quickly and left just a few small droplets behind.

Dimensions: 70 x 40 inches | Material: 100 percent zero twist cotton

Most Comfortable: Clowood Plush Bamboo Cotton Beach Towel

4.6
Clowood Plush Bamboo Cotton Beach Towel

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    4.5/5
  • Absorbency
    4.8/5
  • Texture
    4/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5

Why We Love it: Made of 94 percent cotton and 6 percent bamboo, the towel is plush and comfortable for sitting or lying on.

What to Consider: It’s heavier than other towels we tested and was slightly less absorbent after a wash cycle.

If lounging in the sand is your ideal way to spend a beach day, the Clowood Plush Bamboo Cotton towel makes for a comfortable and soft cushion. Our tester was impressed by the thick and soft fabric that quickly absorbed water and left their hands completely dry after a few swipes across the towel. Although the towel was slightly less absorbent after being washed once, the texture remained soft and the threads stayed intact. Since this towel is made of heavier materials, it would be best suited for beachgoers who don’t need to travel long distances to get to the beach.

Dimensions: 72 x 40 inches | Material: Cotton, bamboo

Best for Families: Ben Kaufman Sales 100% Cotton Velour Striped Beach & Pool Towel 4-Pack

4
Ben Kaufman Sales 100% Cotton Velour Striped Beach & Pool Towel Pack
Our Ratings
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Absorbency
    4/5
  • Texture
    5/5
  • Durability
    4/5
  • Value
    3.5/5

Why We Love it: This set of towels comes with four brightly colored towels that are soft and thin for easy packing. 

What to Consider: The towels were less absorbent and had a few loose threads after a wash.

This multi-pack is ideal for families traveling to the beach. These towels have two different textures on either side of the towel with one plush side and onecoarser side. In testing, a quick shake of the towel removed all of the sand on the towel, and our tester had no issues drying her hands with a brief wipe. After being washed, the towel had several loose threads and our tester noted that the less soft side was more absorbent than the plush side. 

Dimensions: 60 x 30 inches | Material: Cotton

Best Microfiber: Elite Trend Store Microfiber Towels

4.4
patterned microfiber towel
Our Ratings
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Absorbency
    4.5/5
  • Texture
    4/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5

Why We Love it: It makes for a solid barrier to the sand and folds up into a convenient travel pouch. 

What to Consider: The towel left behind a noticeable amount of sand after shaking and was less absorbent after a wash.

This towel is thin, soft, and lightweight, and our tester was pleasantly surprised with how well it absorbed water in a bowl and when drying hands despite the sham-like feel of the towel. There were a few stray particles of sand left over after shaking it, but our tester noted that the towel was a good barrier against the sand. The thin material doesn’t provide much of a cushion, but you can fold the towel into the included pouch for compact storage.

Dimensions: 63 x 31 inches | Material: Microfiber 

Best Round: band.do All Around Giant Circle Beach Towel

4.1
ban.do All Around Giant Circle Towel

Bando

Our Ratings
  • Quality
    4/5
  • Absorbency
    4.5/5
  • Texture
    5/5
  • Durability
    5/5
  • Value
    3/5

Why We Love it: This circular towel is comfortable to sit on and quickly absorbs water..

What to Consider: The towel requires several shakes to get the sand completely off, and the circle shape makes folding it slightly difficult.

The Ban.do All Around Giant Circle Towel is an adorable, watermelon-patterned beach towel that comes in a circular shape. Made of lightweight terry cloth, the towel has a softer texture on the top side and a rougher texture on the bottom that requires more vigorous shaking to disperse the sand particles. During testing, the Ban.do beach towel soaked up water in a bowl immediately, leaving no traces of wetness in the bowl. The circular design makes it slightly awkward to fold, but if you’re in search of a unique beach towel for your next beach trip, this Ban.do towel is a charming pick.

Dimensions: 60 x 60 inches | Material: Terry cloth

Our Testing Process

We recreated a sandy beach in our testing lab to test 35 beach towels in order to determine which ones performed the best based on quality, texture, absorbency, and durability. After unboxing and spreading out the beach towels for the first time, we examined the construction of each one, keeping in mind the design and aesthetic, as well as searching for defects like loose threads. We felt each side of the towel to test the texture and noted if the material felt soft, coarse, thick, or thin. Then, our testers placed the towels on the sand to sit and lie down on them, noting, if their limbs fit when they sprawled out. Then we folded up each towel to see how sturdy or flimsy the towel felt, whether it would be compact for packing, and if the towels that came with a travel pouch could easily fit into their carriers. 

Next, we placed the towels back in the sand, then shook them out three and five times to determine how well they repelled sand. For towels c claiming to be “sand-free,” we laid out the towel to closely examine the previously sandy side for any grains left over. Then we tested absorbency by placing the corner of each towel into a bowl with ¼ cup of water in it, setting a timer for five minutes before removing the towel to see if it absorbed all the water or dripped. Our testers also washed their hands and used the towel to dry them, noting how many swipes it took for their hands to be dried. After putting each towel through a wash and dry cycle, we repeated this process to evaluate absorbency after being washed. We also inspected the durability of the towels after being washed where we looked for loose threads, broken stitching, color fading, and shrinkage.

Other Beach Towels We Tested

Brooklinen Artist Series Beach Towel: While we liked these plush and eye-catching towels, we thought they were too heavy and bulky for taking to the beach.

Pottery Barn Classic Awning Striped Organic Beach Towel: A luxurious and soft towel that performed well across testing, we found better options for a fraction of the price of this Pottery Barn beach towel. 

Serena & Lily Mallorca: This beach towel was soft and absorbent, but it didn’t make our list due to the unjustifiably high price point, as some less expensive towels performed better on our tests. 

Tips for Buying a Beach Towel

Double check the size 

Most beach towels are around 60 x 30 inches and can comfortably fit one person. Depending on your height, we recommend checking the length of a towel before purchasing it. 

Material matters

Certain types of materials can offer different benefits to fit your texture and absorbency preferences. If you’re looking for a beach towel that dries quickly, a microfiber or Turkish towel is a good choice (and they tend to be lighter in weight, too). For those who want a comfortable, plush beach towel, a towel made of cotton or thicker fibers could be a good choice. 

Prioritize portability

A beach towel that comes with a storage pouch could be particularly helpful for those traveling a distance to beaches. We tested a variety of towels that included pouches and found that the majority of them were easy to fold and place into the bag without an issue. The pouch can also be convenient for keeping a damp and sandy towel in your bag or car while you head home.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How should I fold a beach towel?

    Depending on the size of the towel, you can fold it in half or thirds, or roll it up for storage or packing. If your beach towel comes with a pouch to store it in, you will likely need to fold it four or five times to fit in the bag. Before you fold up a beach towel to store for a while, be sure to let it dry all the way through to avoid that musty towel smell that can come from towels made of synthetic fabric like microfiber.

  • How should I wash a beach towel?

    Most towels will come with washing instructions on the tag, and it’s important to note any special instructions like water temperature or drying method. To avoid a sandy washing machine, be sure to shake out your towel as best you can before putting it in the wash. We found in our testing that some new towels can bleed dye, so be mindful of that if you’re washing your towels for the first time.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

Anna Popp is the Commerce Writer at Travel + Leisure, where she writes and reviews travel products. She has been travel writing since 2018 and product testing since 2021. Anna worked with travel editors to determine the results for the best beach towels based on a series of tests completed in our testing lab.

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