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Best beach towel 2023: The best lightweight and comfy towels money can buy

Want to claim your patch of sand by throwing down a stylish beach towel? Here's our pick of the best beach towels

As summer essentials go, a beach towel sits pretty high up on the list. As with most holiday buys, the best beach towels prove practical purchases that are fun to spend your money on, with plenty of colourful options to brighten up even the cloudiest of days. Not only will a beach towel keep you dry and warm after a dip, but you can use it to claim your patch of sand on the beach or nab a prime poolside lounger. If you keep resurrecting the same threadbare towel from the back of the airing cupboard, it’s time for an upgrade.

Whether you’re staying close to home or heading off on an exotic escape, you’ll want a beach towel that’ll dry you and that’s comfortable to lie on – and one that easily fits under your arm or in a beach bag. Beyond the basics, consider the size of the towel and the material it’s made from. Most towels are made from cotton, but microfibre is a great alternative: it’s lightweight, highly absorbent and can be conveniently squished into a small carry-on bag.

On the size front, the average beach towel measures around 160 x 90cm (bigger than a bath towel) but you can buy extra large versions (200 x 90cm); a crucial purchase if you’re tall and handy for family bathing or doubling up as a picnic blanket.

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Save 40% on this circular H&M beach towel

H&M’s pretty circular beach towel – emblazoned with tigers, leaves and pretty pink florals – has seen its price cut by 40% to a mere £12. Formerly £20, this elegant towel would get as much use at a park picnic or a back garden lounging session as it would beachside. A neat investment at a knock-down price.

H&M Was £20 Now £12 Buy Now

This John Lewis beach towel is now JUST £12

John Lewis is known for its reliable quality, so we were thrilled to see 20% lobbed off the price of this whimsical beach towel. Formerly £15, this July you can snap one up for a mere £12. Perfect for lounging in Lefkada or snoozing in Split.

John Lewis £12 Was £15 Buy Now

Best beach towels: At a glance

How to buy the best beach towel for you

How much do you want to spend?

You can buy a beach towel for under a tenner, but paying more will get you more luxurious materials, great designs and a high-end brand.

How long does it need to be for you to lie down comfortably?

You want to lie down on this thing, right? Buy a towel with enough length to cover you from your head down to your knees or ankles – or even further.

Will you need to squeeze it into a carry-on suitcase?

If space is limited, a bulky towel won’t cut the mustard. Look to a microfibre or travel towel to reduce size and weight.

Are you a frequent swimmer? Do you need a quick-drying towel?

Again, look to microfibre towels for something that will get you dryer, faster.

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The best beach towels you can buy

1. Fit-Flip Microfibre Towel: The best cheap beach towel

Price when reviewed: From £8 | Check price at Amazon

If you want an affordable, light and practical beach towel, then this towel from Fit-Flip might be just what you’re looking for. Due to the microfibre fabric, the Flip-Fit is highly absorbent and dries far quicker than your standard cotton towel. What’s more, each towel has been fitted with a press stud that enables you to hang it up on chairs, pegs or even trees.

It also comes with a bag, so you can pack it away into a small, travel-friendly package with ease. The Fit-Flip is available in a wide array of sizes and colours, so there’s plenty of personalisation options.

Key specs – Size: 50 x 30cm (smallest size) 200 x 100cm (largest size); Material: 88% polyester 12% polyamide

2. John Lewis & Partners Desert Palm Beach Towel: The best patterned beach towel

Price when reviewed: £12 | Check price at John Lewis

Whether you’re throwing it down on the beach, by the pool or in the park, this rustic towel is sure to put a smile on your face. This graphic-print towel features a palm tree against a shaded sand dune, with a simple tri-colour background. Also worthy of mention is the fact that John Lewis’ cotton products are made in conjunction with the Better Cotton Initiative, which works with partners across the globe such as WWF, Solidaridad and Cotton Connect to help educate people on how to produce cotton more sustainably.

Key specs – Size: 160 x 90cm; Material: 100% woven cotton

Check price at John Lewis

3. Dock & Bay Microfibre Towel: Best fast-drying beach towel

Price when reviewed: £25 | Check price at John Lewis

You have to wonder why all beach towels aren’t made from microfibre. This lightweight material dries three times faster than a normal cotton towel and can absorb more than twice its own weight in water. Towels made from microfibre fold up really small, so they’re easy to squish into a suitcase or sling into a beach bag, and you can shake the sand right off them at the end of the day instead of carting half the beach home with you.

Made from 80% polyester and 20% polyamide, these towels from Dock & Bay are available in a range of fun retro designs including Bondi blue and Phi Phi pink. They’re also available in large and extra-large sizes. If the brand name sounds familiar, it’s probably because the company is backed by Dragons’ Den doyenne, Deborah Meaden, after the founders appeared on the TV show back in 2017.

Key specs – Size: 160 x 80cm (large), 200 x 90cm (extra large); Material: 220gsm suede microfibre (80% polyester, 20% polyamide)

Check price at John Lewis

4. LeStoff Turkish Hammam Beach Towel: The best hammam-style beach towel

Price when reviewed: From £26 | Check price at Amazon

Made in Turkey, the LeStoff hammam-style towel is soft, lightweight and quick-drying. It may not be as fluffy as some of the traditional beach towels on this list but it’s incredibly versatile and could easily be used as a sarong, a picnic blanket and a summer throw too. It is made from 100 percent organic cotton and weighs around a third of a similarly sized terry towel so it’s handy to travel with. Created with a unique diamond weave pattern, the typical Turkish design features stripes and twisted fringing; the salmon pink is a top pick for summer but should you desire something else, LeStoff has a handy 33 colours to choose from.

Key specs – Size: 180 x 95cm; Material: 100% cotton

5. H&M Round Beach Towel: The best round beach towel

Price when reviewed: £12 | Check price at H&MWith an intricate floral pattern against a turquoise background, this round towel is great for the beach, pool and even picnics. Made from 100 percent cotton, it’s a soft, quick-drying towel that doesn’t hold back in size. Cleaning it after a day out is also a breeze, as it’s machine washable at 60°. If you’re looking to make a statement poolside, this vibrant round towel will offer comfort and style at reasonable price.

Key specs – Size: Not specified; Material: 100% cotton

Check price at H&M

6. Ted Baker beach towel: Best designer beach towel

Price when reviewed: £40 | Check price at John LewisYou’ll never lose sight of your beachside spot again with this apple green towel from Ted Baker. With vibrant two-tone hues and a signature Ted Baker scrawl emblazoned horizontally down the length of the towel, this design is simple, punchy and eye-catching. The towel has a luxe velour front and a terry back, for both comfort (the former) and utility (the latter). It also promises endurance: the towel comprise chlorine resistant yarns which means it’s less susceptible to pesky swimming pool chemicals. 

Key specs – Size: 180 x 90cm; Material: 100% cotton

Check price at John Lewis

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