How to choose the best towels
We set out to craft the best towels, a range of bath towels that we would love to use in our own home - soft, fluffy, spa-like towels made from 100% combed Egyptian cotton. It took us over a year to design a range of towels that we were happy with!
We tested lots of different materials, construction methods and styles and learnt a lot along the way. It’s the small details that make a big difference to how your towel feels and performs. Here's what we learned ...
In summary the best towel has:
- Zero twist pile
- High GSM
- Combed cotton
- Certified 100% long staple certified Egyptian cotton (the whole towel), not just the pile
- Double stitched edging
- Free from harmful chemicals
- Has a loop to hang the towel up
- Plastic free packaging
TWIST - WHAT IS IT AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT
The terms zero twist, twisted or low twist are used to describe towels, but what does this really mean?
Think of your towel as having a base (sometimes called the ground) with lots of cotton yarns woven into it (the pile). The yarns that make the pile can either be woven into lovely loops (zero twist) or they can be twisted. Yarns that are twisted use lower quality cotton, are harder and less absorbent.
ZERO TWIST – In a zero twist towel the cotton yarns are woven into loops. To make these loops you need high quality, long, strong cotton fibres (like Egyptian cotton). The advantages of loops are that they are softer than twisted stubby cotton, so feel more luxurious. The air gaps and high surface area of the loops adds to the softness and means that the towel dries you quicker and the towel itself dries faster. Zero twist towels are also better for sensitive skin as the soft luxurious loops don’t irritate the skin.
We only use zero twist in scooms towels. It makes our towels feel luxuriously soft and fluffy and helps them to dry faster.
TWISTED TOWEL – in a twisted towel the yarns are typically made from shorter, often inferior fibres that need to be twisted. Twisted yarns are harder, don’t feel as plush and are not as good at drying.
LOW TWIST OR SINGLE TWIST – Is a compromise between zero and high twist. Yarns are typically twisted one or two times. They just don’t feel as plush and are not as good at drying as zero twist towels.
The towel GSM refers to the weight of the towel in grams per square meter. Along with the quality of the cotton and the towel construction, GSM is a good indicator of the quality of a towel.
The higher and denser the cotton loops that make up the pile are, the higher the GSM will be. This produces an extra soft, absorbent towel. We chose a particularly high GSM - 720gsm - so we could pack in more of those lovely loops.
PILE HEIGHT AND DENSITY
This refers to the height and density of the loops or twists that make up the pile. There is a balance between getting the pile height and the pile density right. Too low a pile and the towel won’t be as plush, too high and it will take too long to dry. The same for the density. We spent a long time getting our towel pile just right.
SEWN IN LOOPSWe have added handy sewn in loops to our towels so that they easier to hang. It helps them dry quicker and keeps the towel off the floor. We just need to train our kids to use them!
DOUBLE STITCHED EDGES
We take extra care and double stitch our edges, ensuring that your towels have a long and happy life.
CHOOSE COMBED COTTON
Combing is a process that is only possible when using the best grades of cotton. The cotton yarns are combed to remove the shorter, inferior fibres and debris leaving pure, long, strong and smooth yarns, which keeps the towel soft and prevents pilling.
WHY IS EGYPTIAN COTTON BEST FOR TOWELS?
Egyptian cotton comes from a different plant to regular cotton and has different properties. Egyptian cotton has extra long fibres which can produce yarns that are thinner and smaller in diameter yet stronger than other cottons. This is ideal for creating zero twist towels. Check the care label for the Egyptian cotton trademark to make sure that your towels use genuine certified Egyptian cotton.
ARE YOUR TOWELS REALLY 100% EGYPTIAN COTTON?
During our research, we discovered that some towels from well known stores are described as Egyptian cotton but the towel base is actually a standard cotton and only the towel pile is made from Egyptian cotton...!
The towel pile can have a number of different weaves. All scooms towels use terry cotton. Here are the differences:
TERRY COTTON: A woven cotton with long loops that increase the towels surface area, feeling super soft. Can absorb large amounts of water.
RINGSPUN COTTON: A twisted combination of short and long fibres. Ringspun towels can be hard wearing but don’t feel as luxurious.
WAFFLE WEAVE: Woven in a honeycomb pattern, they are not as plush but can be fast-drying.
PLASTIC FREE PACKAGING
A lot of towels come wrapped in single use plastic packaging. Look for towels that come in plastic free or reduced amounts of packaging, which will be more environmentally friendly.
All scooms products come in plastic free packaging without any unnecessary wrapping or paper inserts. Our towels and bath mats are folded and tied with a simple cotton ribbon.
Here are the scooms towel sizes:
- Hand towel: 50 x 100 cm or 19.6 x 39.4 inches
- Bath towel: 70 x 135 cm or 27.5 x 53.1 inches
- Bath sheet: 100 x 160 cm or 39.4 x 63 inches
- Bath mat: 50 x 80 cm or 19.6 x 31.5 inches
ACCREDITATIONS TO LOOK FOR
When choosing your towel, what is important is the source and quality of the cotton and how the towel is made.
Check for these certifications on the product labels and packaging.
- Egyptian cotton - 100% certified authentic Egyptian cotton. (Make sure that all the towel is Egyptian cotton. Some manufacturers skimp by using Egyptian cotton for the pile and a lower grade cotton for the base.)
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification - verifies products have been tested for harmful toxins and chemicals.
TOP TOWEL FAQS:
What are the best quality towels to buy?
scooms believe the best quality towels to buy are: 100% certified Egyptian cotton, zero twist pile, high 720 GSM, combed cotton, OEKO-TEX certified free from chemicals, with plastic free packaging, A towel loop is also handy.
Are Egyptian cotton towels the best?
Yes, Egyptian cotton towels are the best. Egyptian cotton produces yarns that are thinner and smaller in diameter making luxurious towels. Check that your towels use genuine certified Egyptian cotton.
What is the difference between a bath towel and a bath sheet?
The difference between a bath towel and bath sheet is its size. A bath sheet typically measures 100 cm x 160 cm (39.4 x 63 inches). A bath towel measures 70 cm x 135 cm (27.5 x 53.1 inches). Hand towels measure 50 cm x 100 cm.
Who makes the best quality bath towels?
While many companies make good towels, only scooms make 100% certified Egyptian cotton, zero twist pile, high 720 GSM, combed cotton, OEKO-TEX certified towels that are free from chemicals and with plastic free packaging.
What is a zero twist towel?
The yarns that make up the pile of your towel can either be woven into lovely loops (zero twist) or they can be twisted. To make these zero twist loops you need high quality cotton fibres like Egyptian cotton. Zero twist towels are softer, feel more luxurious and dry you faster. Zero twist towels are also better for sensitive skin. Twisted or low twist yarns use lower quality cotton, are harder and less absorbent.