Bath Towel Size Guide

Whether you’re outfitting your home with new linens or refreshing your current supply, purchasing bath towels can feel overwhelming.

Bath Towel Size Guide

With so many sizes, materials, weights, and styles to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start.

What Are The Common Bath Towel Sizes?

Bath towels come in a range of sizes, with each serving a different purpose. Below are the typical dimensions for the most common types of bath towels:

  • Washcloth – 12″ x 12″
  • Hand towel – 16″ x 28″
  • Bath towel – 27″ x 52″
  • Bath sheet – 35″ x 60″

Keep in mind that towel sizes can vary slightly between brands. For example, a hand towel may range from 15″ x 25″ to 20″ x 30″. When shopping, focus on the general size category rather than exact measurements.

Key Takeaway: Standard bath towel types include washcloths, hand towels, bath towels, and bath sheets. Each has its own typical size and intended use.

Exploring Common Bath Towel Sizes and Uses

Now let’s take a deeper look into each towel type, including how it’s used and what to look for when making your selection.


The diminutive washcloth measures about 12″ x 12″, making it the smallest towel option. Washcloths are primarily used to cleanse the face, but can also scrub the body in the shower. Their small size allows them to be tossed in the laundry after each use, which is important for hygiene.

When choosing washcloths, opt for 100% cotton, which is softer and more absorbent than synthetic fibers. Purchase them in white for easy bleaching. Stock up on at least six to eight washcloths per household member.

Hand Towels

The hand towel is essential for drying freshly washed hands. With dimensions around 16″ x 28″, hand towels are compact enough to have one or more stationed at every sink. They can also work for children after bath time.

Since hand towels get used frequently, choose soft, plush ones that absorb moisture quickly. Have enough hand towels on hand to switch them out between laundering – figure at least two to three per person.

Bath Towels

After bathing, showering, or swimming, we wrap up in a bath towel to dry off. The standard size of 27″ x 52″ is large enough to envelop the body while being easy to wrap and hold in place.

When selecting bath towels, 100% cotton is best for softness and absorbency. Stock up on at least two to three bath towels per household member.

Bath Sheets

For a more deluxe drying experience, upgrade to bath sheets. At around 35″ x 60″, bath sheets offer more coverage so you can fully cocoon yourself after bathing. Their oversized proportions also come in handy when getting out of a steamy tub or sauna.

High-quality bath sheets can be made of Turkish or Egyptian cotton. Purchase one to two per family member if space allows. They’re quite bulky, so make sure your washer and linen storage can accommodate them.

Key Takeaway: Washcloths cleanse, hand towels dry, bath towels wrap, and bath sheets cocoon – each bath towel size serves a unique purpose.

Other Towel Sizes and Specialty Options

In addition to the standard bath towel sizes, you may come across some other specialty options:

  • Beach towels – around 35″ x 65″, lightweight and quick-drying
  • Gym towels – roughly hand towel size, made of moisture-wicking microfiber
  • Kids hooded towels – about 35″ x 35″, with a hood for playing
  • Guest towels – approximately 12″ x 16″, for decorative hanging in powder rooms
  • Golf towels – mini size, clips to a golf bag to wipe equipment
  • Fingertip towels – small decorative towels, like guest towels

There are also oversized shower towels up to 40″ x 80″ for wrapping from top to bottom when directly exiting a shower. For lounging poolside or at the beach, extra large beach towels like 40″ x 80″ provide plenty of space to spread out.

How To Choose The Right Bath Towel Size

Now that you know the common bath towel dimensions, how do you choose the best size for your needs? Consider these tips:

  • Buy a variety of sizes to have the right towel for each use.
  • Purchase bath sheets or extra large beach towels if you like to wrap them up completely after bathing.
  • Opt for smaller towel sizes like washcloths if you have limited storage space.
  • For children, buy hooded towels along with smaller baths and hand towels.
  • Get fingertip or guest towels to decoratively adorn powder room sinks.

Also, think about your laundry routine. The larger the towels, the more space they’ll take up in the washer and dryer. And extra bulky towels like bath sheets will take longer to dry fully.

Key Takeaway: Choose bath towel sizes based on your personal preferences, space constraints, laundering frequency, and who will be using them.

How Many Towels Should You Buy?

The number of towels you need depends on factors like household size, available storage, and laundry schedule. But here are some general guidelines on quantities to purchase:

  • Washcloths – At least 6 to 8 per household
  • Hand towels – 2 to 3 per household member
  • Bath towels – 2 to 3 per household member
  • Bath sheets – 1 to 2 per household member

Adjust quantities based on your own needs and usage frequency. And add a few extras if you regularly have overnight guests.

For a family of four, a good starting supply would be:

  • 8 washcloths
  • 8 to 12 hand towels
  • 8 to 12 bath towels
  • 4 to 8 bath sheets

How To Care For Bath Towels

To keep bath towels soft, fluffy, and absorbent, proper laundry practices are key:

  • Wash frequently – at least once per week, more often for heavily used towels.
  • Wash towels separately – from clothing to avoid lint.
  • Use mild detergent – without dyes, fragrances, or brighteners that can damage fibers.
  • Skip the fabric softener – it coats towels and reduces absorbency.
  • Dry thoroughly – in the dryer on a low heat setting to avoid shrinkage.

With the right care, high-quality bath towels can last for years! Rotate them from the linen closet to the laundry regularly so they wear evenly and don’t stay bunched up.

Common Confusions About Bath Towel Sizes

With so many towel sizes and terminology, it’s easy to get confused about what each one means and how they differ:

  • Bath towel vs. washcloth – A bath towel is much larger than a washcloth and used for drying off, not cleansing.
  • Bath towel vs. bath sheet – A bath sheet is bigger than a bath towel, more like a beach towel size.
  • Hand towel vs. washcloth – A hand towel is rectangular and larger overall than a square washcloth.
  • Beach towel vs. bath sheet – While beach and bath sheets can be similar sizes, beach towels are lighter in weight and often more colorful.
  • Bath mat vs. bath rug – A bath mat is designed to absorb moisture as you exit the tub or shower. A rug lays on the floor decoratively.

The key is to focus on each towel’s intended use and size category over terminology, which can sometimes overlap across brands.

Bath Towel Materials Guide

In addition to getting the right size towel for your needs, it’s also important to choose a quality material that’s soft, absorbent, and durable. Here’s an overview of common bath towel materials:


Cotton is the most popular choice for its softness and absorbency. Pima, Egyptian, and Turkish cotton are all luxury options:

  • Pima cotton – Very soft, quick-drying, resists fading; from the Southwest US
  • Egyptian cotton – Long cotton fibers make it exceptionally soft, absorbent, and long-lasting
  • Turkish cotton– Revered for extra-long staple length and softness


Bamboo rayon makes velvety soft yet durable towels. They are also antimicrobial and absorbent. However, bamboo is less environmentally friendly than cotton to produce.


Microfiber towels dry exceptionally fast. They are lightweight and take up less space. However, some find microfiber scratchy against the skin.

Modal & Tencel

Both modal and Tencel are silky soft and absorbent types of rayon made of beechwood fibers. They are pricier than cotton but dry quickly.

Bath Towel Weights Guide

In addition to fiber, bath towels come in different weights. Heavier towels feel more luxurious and substantial, while lighter ones dry faster. Weights are measured in GSM (grams per square meter).

Towel WeightGSM Range
Lightweight200 – 400 GSM
Medium-weight400 – 600 GSM
Heavyweight600+ GSM

Choose lighter towels if you live in humid climates or dry them outdoors. Go heavyweight for a plush hotel-style feel.


What is the standard bath towel size?

The most common and versatile bath towel size is 27″ x 52″. This medium-sized towel is substantial enough to dry off an average-sized adult after bathing or swimming.

What size bath towels do hotels use?

Many luxury hotels opt for oversized 35″ x 60″ bath sheets to envelop guests after bathing. However, some also stock standard 27″ x 52″ bath towels.

What size bath towel should I buy?

The best bath towel size for you depends on factors like your height, who else is using the towels, available storage space, and laundry frequency. Try a few different sizes to see what you like best for shower, post-pool, etc.

How many bath towels should I own?

Plan on at least two to three bath towels per household member. More may be needed for larger families or if you don’t do laundry frequently. Extras are great to have when guests visit.

What towels last the longest?

High-quality 100% cotton bath towels last for many years when properly cared for. Look for extra long staple cotton like Pima, Egyptian, and Turkish for the most durable and luxurious towels.


With so many options, choosing bath towels can be confusing. By understanding the different towel sizes and materials available, you can select the right ones for your needs.

Stock up on a variety of sizes for each use case, focusing on soft, absorbent fabrics like cotton. Keep them fresh and fluffy by washing them frequently on a gentle cycle.

Emma Kellam
Emma Kellam

I'm Emma, and I run Towels Edition, a website for fellow home goods enthusiasts who, like me, are passionate about textiles. After working in high-end retail, I was amazed by how little most people (myself included!) know about all the towel options out there.

I research and write all the content myself. Whether it's specialized towels like bar mops, Turkish cotton production methods, or comparing hair towel absorbency, I cover it. My goal is to share my knowledge and enthusiasm to help others.

Running Towels Edition allows me to constantly expand my own expertise too. I love learning about innovations in bamboo fabric or ideal bath towels. It's so rewarding to receive emails thanking me for recommendations that improved my readers' routines.

I want Towels Edition to be the ultimate online towel resource, making this overlooked necessity far more fascinating. My aim is to open people's eyes to how specialty towels can thoroughly enhance hygiene, cleaning, recreation and self-care.