The 4 Best Beach Towels

There's nothing better than a day at the beach — except for the sandy towel that eventually becomes a wet ball of odor in your bag. The best beach towels, in contrast, will repel sand, block odor, and dry quickly. Here are a few things to consider when shopping around:

  • Material: Although terrycloth feels great against your skin after a hot shower, it becomes a sand magnet on the beach. For that reason, it's usually best to go with microfiber material (which will also dry faster). If you absolutely prefer the feel of cotton, pick one that's breathable and not too bulky.
  • Absorbency: You obviously want your towel to be absorbent, but some are more absorbent than others. While this measurement isn't always given, when possible, look for a towel that can retain at least three times its weight in water.
  • Odor-resistance: Unlike your bath towel, which gets hung up right away, beach towels typically spend a lot of time in your bag after getting wet. That's why it's extra important that it be odor-resistant. Look for technology like Polygiene or other anti-bacterial coatings that will reduce odor and help keep your towel smelling fresh.

Other than that, things like hanging loops or carrying bags are great additional features. To help you make a decision, I've made a list of the best beach towels below. Take a look, and get ready for an amazing day at the beach.

1. The Overall Best: A Microfiber Towel With Odor-Fighting Technology

Material: 85-percent polyester, 15-percent nylon

Dimensions: 36 by 59 inches

Not only is this lightweight beach towel awesome at repelling sand, but it's super absorbent, too. In fact, it can soak up nearly four times its weight in water (plus, it wrings out easily and dries fast). Made with soft microfiber, it's big enough for the beach but still compact enough to fold or roll-up into your bag. Best of all, it features no-smell Polygiene technology that helps prevent odor, even if you leave your towel crumpled up in a hot car. There's a loop on one end for easy hanging, and it comes with a convenient travel pouch, too.

2. The Runner-Up: This Microfiber Towel That's Surprisingly Soft

Material: 85-percent polyester, 15-percent spandex

Dimensions: 30 by 70 inches

I personally own this sand-repelling beach towel, and it's one of my go-to beach day items. I've taken it with me on extended vacations to Hawaii and Baja, as well as day trips to the coast. It's ridiculously soft (a rare trait for a non-terrycloth towel) and unlike a lot of microfiber towels, it doesn't feel itchy. However, it is heavier than some microfiber towels, which is a disadvantage if you're carrying it long distances. But on the plus side, it's has a high-quality, durable feel. Made from a mix of polyester and spandex, it's quick-drying and stretchy.

3. The Best Cotton Beach Towel

Material: 100-percent cotton

Dimensions: 33 by 58 inches

If the feel of microfiber just isn't for you, this 100 percent cotton surf towel from LEUS is a fantastic option. Although it doesn't repel sand quite as well as microfiber, the tradeoff is that you get the more luxurious feeling of soft, plush cotton. The bulk-free cotton is breathable, so it feels nice against your skin and won't retain odors. Available in a wide range of colors and patterns, reviewers say it's super absorbent. "Love this Towel!" wrote one reviewer, who described it as "Absorbent [without] being bulky."

4. The Best Budget Option

Material: 85-percent polyester, 15-percent polyamide

Dimensions: 30 by 60 inches

If you'd rather not plunk down $30 or more on your purchase, this affordable beach towel from Rainleaf is a great alternative. It's made with a quick-drying polyester-polyamide blend that feels soft and smooth. Able to hold up to three times its weight in water, the towel is great at repelling sand and is also anti-bacterial, so it won't get stinky if you can't hang it to dry right away. On top of that, it's thin enough to easily compress into the waterproof carry-sack that comes with it. As a bonus, it has a convenient mini-pocket to stash your phone or some cash.

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