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Best beach towel 2022: The best lightweight and comfy towels money can buy

Rachel Erdos Joe Coombs
17 Jun 2021

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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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: From £4.99 | Buy now from 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 Lemon Beach Towel: The best patterned beach towel

Price: £16 | Buy now from John Lewis

Whether you're throwing it down on the beach, by the pool or in the park, this colourful towel is sure to put a smile on your face. This graphic-print towel features rustic watercolour-style lemons against a lovely salmon pink 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 86cm; Material: 100% woven cotton

Buy now from John Lewis

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

Price: From £7.50 | Buy now from Amazon

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)

4. Kadirli Hammam Towel: The best hammam-style beach towel

Price: £19 | Buy now from Urbanara

Made in southwestern Turkey using ancient weaving techniques, this authentic 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. And it weighs around a third of a similarly sized terry towel so it’s handy to travel with. The gentle waffle-effect is created by a two-tone cotton weave and the typical Turkish design features stripes and twisted fringing; the mint green shade is a top pick for summer.

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

Buy now from Urbanara

5. South Beach Cotton Velour Holiday Towel: The best round beach towel

Price: £20 | Buy now from Amazon

Available in a range of colourful designs including an ideal-for-Instagram watermelon motif and a bold leopard print, this round towel is great for picnicking and posing. Made from cotton velour with a tasselled edge, it's a soft towel (but not especially thick) and it's large enough for two people to lie on. Bear in mind that you'll need to hand wash it, as you’re not able to bung it in the washing machine.

Key specs – Size: 140cm in diameter; Material: 100% cotton velour

6. Calvin Klein Core Solids beach towel: Best designer beach towel

Price: £54 | Buy now from Calvin Klein

Nothing says lounging in luxury more than relaxing on an opulent designer towel (preferably in St. Tropez or some such), like this Core Solids beach towel from Calvin Klein. Made from 100% cotton, of a lovely, regal shade of blue, it's incredibly soft and is larger than your average beach towel at 170 x 90cm. It's certainly more expensive than other offerings on this list, but you get what you pay for: a classy towel that will make a statement every time you use it.

Key specs – Size: 170 x 90cm; Material: 100% cotton

Buy now from Calvin Klein

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