No one wants to lug a big, terrycloth bath towel to the gym. Instead, you need something that's lightweight and compact with great moisture management abilities. The best gym towels will be portable, quick-drying, and odor-resistant.
When you're picking out a towel, first consider the material. You'll want to avoid cotton, which holds on to sweat and will get stinky fast in your gym bag. Instead, opt for microfiber or synthetic fabrics that dry quickly and resist odor — if the material features specific anti-bacterial technology, such as silver threads or anti-microbial coatings, that's even better. And of course, you'll want to make sure the towel is absorbent; it should be able to hold at least three to five times its weight in water (or sweat).
Also, think about portability. Your gym towel spends much of its life sitting in your bag, so it should be lightweight and easy to pack down or roll up. A carrying pouch or some type of clip will be super helpful for this.
To help you find the best choice for your personal gym routine, I've made a list of the best gym towels on Amazon — all of which feature the qualities I mentioned above. Read on, and get ready to crush your next workout.
1. The Best Overall: PackTowl Luxe Microfiber Towel
What's great about it: Made from looped, terry-knit microfiber, this lightweight gym towel is soft, absorbent, and machine-washable. It can hold five times its weight in water, which is helpful whether you're showering or simply wiping your face mid-workout. On top of that, this towel is coated in Polygiene odor-control technology to keep it smelling fresh, even after it's been sitting in your bag. For added convenience, there's a hanging loop on the end and a zippered pouch to stash a key or cash.
What fans say: "It's my everyday gym towel. Good size, fast drying, no funk."
- Available sizes: 10 by 14, 16.5 by 36, or 25 by 54 inches
2. The Most Travel-Friendly: SYOURSELF Microfiber Sports & Travel Towel
What's great about it: This convenient travel gym towel folds into a tiny pouch, making it super portable and saving space in your bag. The pouch is made of breathable mesh to help keep odors and bacteria from festering, and it features a handy carabiner you can use to clip it onto your bag. Made with 100-percent microfiber, the towel itself holds up to four times its weight in water, so it's absorbent, too. It's available in a single- or double-pack, as well as a wide range of color choices.
What fans say: "I originally purchased this for the gym since it folds into a smaller space. I ended up using it as my general purpose towel because it is huge and actually soaks up water much better than the other terry cloth towels in my house. It also dries very quickly. I am very happy with this towel and would recommend to anyone who camps, swims, goes to the gym or just wants a general purpose towel."
- Available sizes: 16 by 32 or 20 by 40 inches
3. The Best Cooling Towel: Alfamo Cooling Towel
What's great about it: If you're one of those people who gets really hot during work-outs, this cooling gym towel will be your best friend. Just ask the 1,400-plus reviewers on Amazon who swear by it. Many reviewers noted that the towel helps cool them down quickly and stays soft even after being washed. It can stay chilled for up to 3 hours, and when you're done with it, just pack it up in the included waterproof carrying pouch until you can get home to wash it.
What fans say: "I have several different brands of cooling towels that I have tried and this one is my favorite. It stays cold throughout my gym classes no problem. I love that after I wash [it,] it doesn't go hard when i hang dry it."
- Available sizes: 13 by 40 inches
4. The Best Set: Acteon Premium Gym Towel 4-Pack
What's great about it: The microfiber towels in this Acteon gym towel four-pack are super soft and loaded with extra features. On top of holding up to three times their weight in water, they're also constructed with tiny strips of anti-bacterial silver to reduce odor and prevent them from getting mildewy and gross. Built-in snap bands make it easy to roll these towels up or hang them to dry. Lightweight and compact, they even come in a variety of fun colors and patterns.
What fans say: "After my first trip to the gym, I was really surprised how well the thin, smooth material handled a metric ton of sweat. I do interval training in an infrared studio where every centimeter of my shirt is drenched by the time I leave. I bought these to try to defend my eyes from the familiar salty sting. They're great! They dry so quickly and I've just hand-washed them after each workout."
- Available sizes: 15.5 by 23.5 inches
5. The Best For Yoga: Laguna Beach Textile Yoga Mat Towel
What's great about it: If yoga is part of your gym routine, this lightweight mat towel is the perfect option. It's constructed with special pockets that allow you to tuck your mat into each corner, as well as a customized non-slip surface so it doesn't slide around while you move. This towel also features "PurThread" technology that reduces odor with the help of antibacterial yarns and super-absorbent fibers. Also suitable for mat-free workouts, it's machine-washable, too.
What fans say: "Can't say enough about this towel! It's lightweight but incredibly absorbent, and the yoga mat style bag makes it so easily portable-- infinitely more so than a regular towel. The color was lovely as well. Would make a great gift for anyone who is on-the-go and active. Definitely recommend!"
- Available sizes: 26.4 by 70 inches
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