The 10 Best Gym Towels of 2022

PackTowl’s Personal Towel dries quickly and comes with a handy storage pouch

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10-best-gym-towels-of-2022-tout

Amazon / Lululemon

Gym towels are a must-have in your gym bag. When you’re sweating during a tough workout, a high-quality towel can keep you feeling clean and fresh so you can stay focused. They’re a safety essential, too—use them to absorb sweat or condensation from your water bottle that may make exercise machines slippery.

Reviewed & Approved

Our top overall pick is PackTowl's Personal Towel, which is incredibly absorbent and comes in four different sizes. We also recommend Utopia’s White Salon Towels because they’re budget-friendly and come in a large pack, so you’ll always have one on hand.

Fleur Powell, fitness coach at Nordic Lifting, says absorbency is key when it comes to choosing your gym towel. “A gym towel should be absorbent, with longer fibers, which increase a towel's absorption. Think of a towel used for exercise that is sufficiently absorbent but not too thick or heavy to hold bacteria,” she says.

When you’re searching for the right gym towel, you’ll want to think about material, size, and whether you’ll need a carrying case. We considered dozens of gym towels available on the market, searching for the most effective, durable, and absorbent gym towels, with help from experts. 

Based on our research, here are the best gym towels.

Best Overall: PackTowl Personal Towel

packtowl-personal-towel

Amazon

Pros
  • Machine washable

  • Quick-drying

  • Comes with storage pouch 

Cons
  • Colors may bleed

PackTowl’s Personal Towel is our top overall pick because it has an antimicrobial treatment to prevent odors from building up and comes with a convenient storage pouch. It’s thin, lightweight, and comes in a variety of colors and sizes: Choose from a face, hand, body, or even a beach towel. 

Absorbency is key when it comes to finding the right gym towel, and the PackTowl can hold up to four times its weight in water. Whether you’re hiking the trails or toweling off after a tough workout, this durable towel can do it all. Sore arms following a lifting session? No worries—it’s easy to wring out your towel in seconds.

While the PackTowl is machine washable for easy care, some users have noted that the dye can bleed. Consider washing your towel before using it to prevent any bleeding. 

Price at time of publication: $10-$85

Materials: Polyester, nylon | Size: 10” x 14”, 16.5” x 36”, 25” x 54”, or 36” x 59” | Care: Machine wash

Best Budget: Utopia White Salon Towels

utopia-white-salon-towels

Amazon

Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Absorbent

  • Soft material

Cons
  • May fray over time

Looking for a simple stack of towels you can keep on hand whenever you’re ready to hit the gym? We recommend this cotton set from Utopia. Keep a few on hand in your gym bag to get out the door fast—since you get 24, you’ll never have to worry about not having a clean towel ready when you want to squeeze your workout in. 

While this set is more expensive than other single towels on our list, the price works out to under $2 a towel. Made of 100 percent cotton, these towels are lightweight and absorbent. And we like that they’re soft, yet strong enough to wipe down sweaty gym machines with ease. However, some users note that they may fray over time.

Price at time of publication: $44

Materials: Cotton | Size: 16” x 27” | Care: Machine wash separately

Best Cooling: Cool Links Instant Cooling Towel

cool-links-instant-cooling-towel

Cool Links

Pros
  • Multiple ways to use

  • Magnetic closures

  • Wide range of colors

Cons
  • Only lasts for two hours

  • May be less absorbent

The Instant Cooling Towel from Cool Links is our pick for staying comfortable in hot weather. Whether you prefer to wet it or fill it up with pre-frozen cubes, you’ll get around two hours of cooling relief. While these towels aren’t meant to absorb sweat, they are moisture-wicking. So as the cubes melt, you won’t have to worry about condensation putting a damper on your workout. 

We like that the cubes in Cool Links’ towel won’t weigh you down–even a frozen towel weighs in at just one pound. Magnets hold the cubes in while you sweat, while an additional magnetic tab keeps the towel sitting comfortably around your neck and shoulders. 

Price at time of publication: $25

Materials: Fabric, magnets, non-toxic cubes | Size: Not listed | Care: Machine wash

Best for Your Gym Bag: Lululemon The Towel

the-towel

Lululemon

Pros
  • Wide range of colors and patterns

  • Soft fabric with good grip

  • Quick-drying

Cons
  • Colors may bleed

lululemon’s The Towel is our pick for a quick-drying gym towel that can take you from your yoga class to the shower. We love that it has the absorbency of a cotton towel, while still providing the softness and grip that’s expected from a tech fabric. (For even more grip during hot yoga classes, you can lightly spray the top side of The Towel with water.)

And while it’s large enough to cover your entire yoga mat, it rolls up into a small, lightweight bundle that can easily fit in your gym bag. Care for The Towel is simple—after a quick wash, it’s ready to toss back in your bag. But some users noticed that the colors can bleed onto yoga mats, especially with the darker patterns. 

Price at time of publication: $42

Materials: Polyester | Size: Yoga mat (26” x 71”) | Care: Machine wash cold with like colors, tumble dry low

Best for Hot Yoga: Manduka YogiToes Yoga Mat Towel

manduka-yogitoes-yoga-mat-towel

Amazon

Pros
  • Good grip

  • Can be used dry or wet

  • Made with sustainable materials

Cons
  • Silicone grips may be uncomfortable

For a towel that can take the heat during hot yoga classes, we recommend Manduka’s YogiToes Yoga Mat Towel. It’s available in several modern colors and patterns, plus it comes in two large sizes. Silicone grips anchor the towel firmly to your mat, so you can ease into Pigeon pose without worrying about slipping and sliding. However, some users note that the grips can feel uncomfortable under their palms. 

We like that you can layer this towel on top of your mat dry, or spray it with water for an even better grip. Rest assured that your hands and feet will stay put, no matter how tough your class gets.

Price at time of publication: $49-$67

Materials: Recycled polyester, polyester, nylon | Size: Standard yoga mat (68” x 24” or 71” x 24”) or long yoga mat (79” x 24”)  | Care: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low or hang dry

Best Cotton: Brooklinen Super-Plush Hand Towels

brooklinen-super-plush-hand-towels

Amazon

Pros
  • Wide range of colors

  • Soft material

  • Convenient size

Cons
  • Long drying time

  • May fade in wash

Ready to add some luxury to your next workout? These Brooklinen towels are our pick for the best, ultra-plush cotton gym towels on the market. They’re large enough to drape over the treadmill when you still have many miles left to go, but small enough to easily tuck into your gym bag next to your favorite sneakers.  

Since these towels come in packs of two, you can toss one in the wash after each gym session and still have a second ready to go. Some gym goers say that these towels can take a long time to dry, so you may want to up the drying time for each cycle. 

Price at time of publication: $45

Materials: Cotton | Size: 20” x 30” | Care: Machine wash warm or cool, line dry or tumble dry low

Best Compact: Matador Nanodry Towel

matador-nanodry-towel

Moosejaw

Pros
  • Absorbent 

  • Quick-drying

  • Comes with travel case and carabiner

Cons
  • Carrying case is heavy

For a full-size towel that you can easily bring with you on the trail or to the gym, we recommend Matador’s Nanodry Towel. This quick-drying towel makes it easy to dry off after your shower and get moving. It’s absorbent but lightweight, so you won’t be hauling around a wet towel all day. 

The Nanodry also comes with a travel case and a carabiner. We like that the towel also has a front-release buckle, so you can hang it up wherever you are. Some users note that the carrying case can feel heavy, so you may want to fold it up and tuck it into your bag instead. 

Price at time of publication: $35

Materials: Polyester | Size: 52” x 24” | Care: Machine wash

Best Microfiber: Desired Body Fitness Gym Towels

desired-body-fitness-gym-towels

Amazon

Pros
  • Anti-odor

  • Quick-drying

  • Budget-friendly

Cons
  • May be too thin for some

Desired Body’s Fitness Gym Towels are our pick for the best microfiber options—and they come in a set of two. They’re compact and ideal for carrying around the gym, whether you’re looking for something to wipe down machines or to keep you cool and dry. Gym goers love the way these towels remain odor-free, even after multiple uses. 

We like the loop on each towel, which makes it easy to hang them to dry after each wash. And at $19 for two, they’re also budget-friendly. However, some users note that they are very thin compared to other towels.

Price at time of publication: $19

Materials: Microfiber | Size: 44” x 16.5” | Care: Machine wash 

What the Experts Say

“They absorb sweat really well and are lightweight enough to fit in your bag. They even come with a loop that makes for easy air-drying—an important step in cleaning microfiber towels, as high heat can ruin them. You can also use them to wipe down a machine in order to help avoid germs.” —Nick Mueller, fitness enthusiast and director of operations at HawaiianIslands.com

Best Sweat-Wicking: Under Armour Project Rock Towel 2-Pack

project-rock-towel

Under Armour

Pros
  • Modern design

  • Quick-drying

Cons
  • Material may cling too much for some

For a sweat-wicking towel that won’t let you down, even during tough workouts, we recommend Under Armour’s Project Rock Towel. This two-pack of absorbent towels features a sleek, modern design made from brushed fabric that quickly pulls sweat away, so you can stay focused. But they’re also quick-drying, meaning they won’t weigh your gym bag down or hold onto unpleasant odors.  

After each use, you can use the embroidered eyelet on the corner of each towel to hang it up if you’re not able to throw it in the wash right away. However, some users note that the fabric tends to cling to itself, even after a few washes. 

Price at time of publication: $55

Materials: Polyester | Size: 16” x 28” | Care: Not listed

Best Quick-Drying: Waffl Towel

waffl-towel

Waffl

Pros
  • Lightweight

  • Compact

Cons
  • Design includes large logo

Absorbent and lightweight, the Waffl Towel can hold up to four times its own weight in water or sweat—and it can effortlessly wick it all away, too. We love that it dries four times faster than other cotton towels, which is ideal when you’re on a tight schedule after your shower at the gym. This also stops the towel from smelling damp or musty over time. 

The Waffl Towel is easy to toss into your gym bag, as its thin design takes up less space. The waffle pattern isn’t just functional: It’s stylish, too, and comes in a range of bright colors. But the large, embroidered logo may be distracting to some. 

Price at time of publication: $24

Materials: Cotton | Size: 59” x 37” | Care: Not listed

How We Selected the Best Gym Towels

To find the best gym towels, we first asked experts Nick Mueller, fitness enthusiast and director of operations at HawaiianIslands.com, Samantha Zhou, manager of health and mental wellbeing at Freedom Dividend, and Fleur Powell, fitness coach at Nordic Lifting, which features every towel needs to have.

Then, we researched dozens of towels from the most trusted, popular brands. We considered material, price, design, size, care, and more to build our list of the best gym towels.

What to Look for in a Gym Towel

Materials

The type of material that’s best for you will depend on how you plan to use your gym towel. “Cotton is a popular choice, as it is absorbent and can be easily thrown in the washing machine,” Zhou says. Microfiber is a better fit for activities like hot yoga, where you’re depending on your towel to provide some grip. Gym towels made with materials like polyester and nylon tend to be more durable, and will likely hold up to repeated use and washes. 

Size

If you're looking for a towel to simply absorb sweat while you’re going through your workout, you may need a smaller towel. If you’re looking for a towel to use after the shower at the gym or to layer on top of your yoga mat, opt for a larger size. Or grab a towel that’s available in multiple sizes, like PackTowl’s Personal Towel, so you can choose the right one depending on your plans for the day.

Care

Following the manufacturer’s care instructions for your gym towel is key. A simple machine wash is enough for many towels, but others require hand-washing. Drying instructions may also vary, and you may need to dry your towels separately from the rest of your laundry. 

Additional Features

You may want to look for a carrying hook or case, which can be helpful in getting your towel to and from the gym. Many yogis also enjoy hot yoga towels with grips, like Manduka’s YogiToes Yoga Mat Towel, that can be used wet or dry to enhance their practice. And an included loop for easy hanging can help absorbent towels dry even more quickly. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you use a gym towel?

    In the gym, you can use a gym towel to wipe sweat from your face, or to clean machines when you’re using them. You can place a yoga towel over your mat before class, as it can absorb sweat and allow you to get a better grip with your hands and feet (this can be especially helpful during hot yoga). 

  • What’s the difference between gym towels and bath towels?

    Gym towels are designed to fight bacteria and come in a wider range of sizes than bath towels do. You may be able to use a gym towel as a bath towel after taking a shower at the gym. But gym towels typically weigh less and dry faster, unlike a standard towel.

  • How big should a gym towel be?

    The answer to this question depends on your needs. “Gym towels come in a variety of sizes,” Zhou says. “A small towel is perfect for wiping down machines or using as a body towel, while a larger towel can be used as a beach towel or wrap.” Some towels, like PackTowl’s Personal Towel, come in multiple sizes so you can find the one that’s best for you.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Amanda Berkey is a NASM-certified personal trainer, former group exercise instructor, and health coach. She has been working as a freelance health and fitness writer for seven years. She has also written for The Personal Trainer Development Center and Fitness Together.