Whether it's at the beach or your local pool, those who swim frequently know that the right towel is an essential must-have. But not all towels are designed the same, and some may take too long to dry, may not be absorbent enough or may not be the correct size. Consequently, it's a good idea to get a swim towel that you can fit to your body needs. To help you navigate the products available, we’ve gathered 5 of the best towels for swimmers and a buyers guide to help you choose which is right for you.
Best Towel For Swimmers Reviewed
1. Dock & Bay Towels
Anyone heading to the beach or the pool needs to make sure that they have a great towel to make drying off and sitting on a hot beach chair or the sand comfortable. These Dock & Bay microfiber towels are light enough to be packed in a beach or pool bag, but they easily spread out to 160 x 80 cm, which provides plenty of coverage and surface area.
Thanks to the included travel pouch that ships with these towels, it’s easier than ever to take them on the go, making them perfect for long trips as well as last minute afternoons at the beach or pool. The attractive strips are bold and bright, which helps to really set them apart from other similar towels, ensuring that there isn’t confusion when it’s time to dry off.
Additionally, even though they are made of microfiber and designed to quickly dry off a body, sand doesn’t stick to the material. This means that users won’t have to worry about bringing a lot of sand with them in the car after their vacation. Because they are easy to clean and fast-drying, they’re perfect for the traveler on the go.
Unlike some microfiber towels that are rough and abrasive when rubbed on the body, Dock & Bay uses incredibly absorbent and soft materials when constructing these towels. This means that they are perfect for any user who has sensitive skin and are also a great option for younger children. They won’t rub or irritate sunburns, rashes, or soft baby skin.
2. Flow Swim Towel
Swimmers need to have a reliable towel that is easy to use and quickly helps them dry off, and a chamois is a great sports towel that every swimmer should have when they need to dry off after swimming. Thanks to the compact size of the Flow Swim Gear sports towel, this swim chamois is the perfect size for taking on the go. This makes it ideal for school swim meets, days at the beach or pool, or even kids’ swimming lessons.
The storage case keeps this swim towel just a little damp, which ensures that it is able to work the best that it can, ensuring that the material is absorbent and usable. Rather than allowing it to dry out, swimmers can simply roll up their swim towel, place it into the storage case, and have it ready to go for the next swim.
One problem that a lot of sport and swim towels have is that they can easily and quickly attract bacteria and mold, which is one thing that sets this towel apart from others on the market. It’s designed to resist the growth of both bacteria and mold, making it an ideal option for use by children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly.
With a few different bright colors to choose from, all swimmers will be able to select a swim towel that they love. The vibrant colors make them easy to spot and help them to stand out if they do fall on the ground.
3. Youphoria Travel Towel
Spending time out in the woods is a lot of fun, but it’s important to always have a quick dry towel for adventures. This towel from Youphoria Outdoors is designed not only to be fast drying, but also highly absorbent. At just 5, 8, or 12 ounces, they don’t take up much space in a bag and won’t add too much weight to a backpack.
This travel towel is made from a fine blend of microfiber, which ensures that it is soft and comfortable and won’t catch or irritate dry skin. Additionally, the microfiber is designed to repel mold, mildew, bacteria, and the unpleasant odors that they create. Thanks to their bright colors and durable stitching, these towels are designed to be easy to spot in the woods and to last for a long time.
They dry quickly in the sun, which makes them wonderful for a day at the pool or beach or for camping for extended periods of time. Washing them regularly will ensure that they continue to stay absorbent and don’t pick up strange odors.
4. RainLeaf Microfiber Towel
If you want a lot of size variety, these towels are a fantastic option. What makes these towels stand out more than others is the huge variety of sizing options. The smallest start at 12”x24” and the largest are 40”x72”. In between those options are 4 more sizes to help you with getting the perfect size for whatever it is you need. Additionally, this product comes in a variety of color choices to suit your individual aesthetic preference and personality.
Furthermore, the microfiber and quick drying design is lightweight, easy to pack and even easier to use. You'll be able to store it in your beach bag, and use the snap loop for hanging the towel to allow it to dry very quickly. In addition, this option is made to be anti-bacterial to prevent mold or mildew, and to ensure convenient use. Additionally, the remarkable soft material is great for sensitive skin and highly absorbent.
To ensure worry-free shopping, the Rainleaf microfiber towel comes with a lifetime worry-free warranty from the company.
5. Your Choice Microfiber Towel
If you want a brightly colored and affordable towel for swimming, then this is the way to go. This towel is available in a variety of both colors and sizes to suit your needs as an individual. Whether you’re looking for a convenient and highly-absorbent face towel, or a large and oversized beach towel, this product is highly versatile and stylish. Additionally, constructed of a quick-drying microfiber material, this product is great for swimming, camping, backpacking, hiking and more.
Furthermore, it includes a handy traveling bag that can give you a place to store it when needed. The ultra-light and super compact design is highly portable and easy to pack for an adventure or trip to the shore. Due to the anti-bacterial nature, it's also one that will keep unwanted bacteria from your body. The material is both thin and super absorbent, holding up to 4x its weight in water.
To ensure worry-free purchasing, this towel comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee from the manufacturer.
Swim Towel Buyers Guide
Back in the day, the choice of a towel when you were headed to the beach or the pool or a sports activity was pretty much limited to a cotton towel. With the growing popularity of a variety of water sports like swimming, surfing, paddle boarding, and scuba diving has come the advent of the swimmers towel.
The evolution of the swimmer/sport towel is based on consumers looking for a highly functional towel to not only dry off but to address a variety of other desired functions. For this reason, we’ve pulled together the following information to explain towel fabrics and materials and what to look for in choosing the best towel for your individual needs.
Types of Towels
There are a variety of materials that are used to make a towel and the one that you choose will largely depend on what you personally prefer and are looking for in a towel. Some towels are designed to feel softer on your skin, others are intended to function efficiently, others to dry quickly, or repel odors. The following are the basic material types available for you to consider in your search:
Microfiber is the most common material used in making swim towels. This material is a thin synthetic fiber, that is a man made product that is highly absorbent. The benefits in choosing a microfiber towel include:
- Highly absorbent
- Durable and long lasting
- Dries much faster than a cotton towel
- Compact and easy to fold for travel and storage
- Antibacterial properties
Although manufacturers have been very innovative in creating a much softer feel they do not offer the fluffy, full feel of a cotton towel.
A chamois swim towel is made from a synthetic rubber material. These products are sometimes referred to as a “shammy”. The synthetic fiber used in making these towels creates a highly absorbent product. The following are characteristics of chamois swim towel:
- Highly absorbent
- By simply wringing out this towel, is can be reused every time you need to dry off
- Saves space and is easily stored and transported in a backpack
- When dried completely, requires soaking in water, completely saturating to make usable again
- Can serve as a cooling method, simply soaking in cool water and wrapping around your neck, over your head or patting your face
- Downside is it dries hard, requiring water to work effectively and usually has a higher price tag
Cotton is a natural material found in traditional bath towels. The following are factors for consideration in your search for a swim towel:
- Soft, fluffy and pleasant feel on your skin
- Less expensive option
- Wide variety of uses
- Durable if maintained properly
- Require washing after use
- Take longer to dry
- Bulkier for storage and transporting
If bacteria, germs, fungus, mold or mildew is a concern for you, considering a towel that has been either infused or made with an antimicrobial and/or antibacterial substance should be part of your considerations.
Antibacterial/antimicrobial towels are typically infused with a treatment that destroys harmful pathogens. There are several products that use all natural technologies for your health and that are environmentally friendly.
Other products utilize natural antibacterial properties, using a wide range of fibers to combat these issues. The fiber attaches to the bacteria’s membrane, preventing respiration, which kills the bacteria naturally and effectively.
Check the care tags of the products you are considering. Because of the wide range of fibers utilized, how they perform differs. Some are more absorbent, or color-fast, softer or more durable. We always recommend choosing eco-friendly products to lessen your carbon footprint.
Features to Consider
When you begin your search for the best towel for swimming or other water sports there are a few important factors to consider. These different options can influence your towel’s performance, feel, and durability, making it important that you choose the towel that has the features that best suit your individual needs.
The following are a list of the factors you should consider in making your decision:
- Moisture Absorbent: Absorbency is a significant factor when considering any swim towel. Unfortunately, the only way to truly determine the amount of absorbency is to use the towel. Generally speaking a thicker, heavier towel (cotton) is more absorbent. The downside being that once wet they take a longer time to dry.
An alternative is a fabric (microfiber, chamois) that manages the moisture rather than primarily absorbing water. These fabrics wick water away from the skin’s surface. Moisture-wicking fabrics pull moisture away from the skin, drawing it to the exterior of the fabric, making it easier to evaporate and thus dry quicker.
- Quick Drying: If you are swimming or engaging in other water sports where you are frequently getting wet and needing to dry off, a towel that dries quickly is important. Moisture-wicking fabrics previously described hold a huge advantage for multiple uses versus a cotton towel that once wet requires a relatively lengthy time to dry.
- Bacteria and Odor Resistant: The environment is full of microorganisms that simply require a little water and organic matter to quickly grow and multiply. The typical cotton bath towel, by the very nature of being highly absorbent and in contact with our bodies oils, dirt, etc. are ideal for creating bacteria and in-turn musty, unpleasant odors.
There are fibers that discourage bacteria, germ, mold and mildew growth, resulting in a fresher towel. The prior section titled “Antibacterial/Antimicrobial” provides more detailed information regarding the importance for a swim towel that is bacteria and odor resistant.
A towel that is resistant to odors and bacteria growth is ideal for those requiring multiple use during an outing and in the instances where you need to transport after the event. There are not many smells more unpleasant than opening a backpack or gym bag a couple days after having left a wet towel inside. Antibacterial and odor resistant fabrics can help to eliminate these unfortunate instances.
- Repels Sand: If you will be using your towel on a sandy beach, one that will repel and/or allow you to easily remove the sand is ideal. Towels made of a microfiber with no loops, avoids sand from intertwining with your towel, making it easy to brush off.
- Storage and Transporting: Water sports usually involve other gear being transported in a backpack or gym bag. A bulky towel, taking up space, may limit your ability to pack other gear. A swim towel that allows you to dry off while not taking up a lot of space when transporting or storing may be an important factor to consider.
- Lightweight: In addition to taking up space when transporting, a heavier or bulky swim towel can be a hassle to deal with when you are actively engaging in a water sport. However, if you are going to be in colder conditions and are looking for some additional warmth a thicker fabric might be desirable.
- Towel Size: A larger towel, like a beach towel, has multiple uses and serves a variety of purposes. This type of towel not only can be used to dry you off but can be used to lay on the sand or as a barrier on a hot beach chair. On the other hand if you need a towel that will dry you off, provide multiple uses after getting wet and want convenience while traveling a microfiber or chamois may be better suited for your needs.
- Comfort and Feel: Chamois typically provide the least comfort and softer feel on your skin. Microfibers have come a long way towards innovating a softer feel. Some manufacturers have developed products that closely replicate the soft, gentle feel of cotton. Ultimately, if comfort and a soft, gentle feel is your priority, a cotton swim towel may serve you best.
- Multi-purpose: Consider how you will be using your swim towel. If you plan to take it to the pool, the beach but also want to use it as a cover and to lay on at the beach, this will require a larger, more versatile towel.
- Eco-friendly: With the growth in popularity of water sports, manufacturers have seized the opportunity to innovate in the design and construction of their products. In an attempt to be competitive they have created products that are eco-friendly, especially for individuals who prefer to consider the environmental impact of products they are purchasing.
With the wide selection of products, you are able to get a high-quality swim towel that is also friendly to the environment.
- Color: Although it should not be your primary consideration, having options to consider, such as the color of your towel, is always nice. A bright color, unique design or graphics, allow you to express a little of your personality.
Sport towels are generally used by aquatic athletes or swimmers who exercise in warm temperatures. Since they take up much less space than a large cotton towel, it makes it a popular choice when traveling. Although these types of towels tend to wear faster than traditional cotton bath towels, they’re designed specifically to be highly portable, absorbent and fast drying. While all towels aren’t designed the same, this guide was made to help you find the best towels on the market today for swimming and other water adventures.
Here at Seaside Planet our goal is to get you adventuring as soon as possible, and this guide is designed to do just that. If we’ve helped get you one step closer to diving into your next swim, we would love to hear about it in the comment section below!
Megan Jones leads the editorial staff of Seaside Planet. They are a multidisciplinary team of outdoor adventurers, water sports lovers, and passionate beach goers. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.