You’ll notice something that all three of our bath towel picks have in common: They all have only a thin border hem, rather than a thick striped border a few inches up from the edge. We’re against those borders for several reasons. One, if the towel shrinks, or is wrinkled, the border gets misshapen easily and starts to look wonky. And two, they are never soft, and it always seems to show up just where you want to dry your face or other sensitive parts. They also make the towels harder to display on hooks. Overall, we’re just anti-borders over here at BuzzFeed Reviews — especially on towels and washcloths — and this AmazonBasics set has a nice waffled border that doesn’t get in the way.
We also didn’t pick any towels that come in sets (besides this one, which comes with a washcloth and hand towel). A very valuable thing we learned in the course of testing for this review is that the only thing more annoying than not having enough towels is having too many! Storing more towels than you have room for in your home is a huge pain, so while there are some good quality towels that come in sets of four (especially this Turkish set that’s only $6+ per towel), being able to get the right number for your household is key.
These AmazonBasics towels are also made in an Oeko-Tex Standard 100 factory, an independent certification program that tests household fabrics and materials for more than 300 known harmful substances — though the towels themselves are not Oeko-Tex Standard 100-certified (likely because they’re a private-label brand from Amazon and they didn’t apply for the recognition).
Among the other cheap towels we tried, these were the best overall in terms of quality, design, colorways, dry time, and absorbency. Durability and softness vary depending on your use and laundering techniques, but at $12.99 for a set, we think it’s the best budget version you’re gonna find.
Get it from Amazon for $13.
Editor’s note: In the course of writing this review, our number one favorite GOAT cheap towel from Target, the Fieldcrest Luxury, was discontinued and replaced with the Fieldcrest Spa Solid. Which is just okay. It’s as good as any other Target towel, which is to say it is soft and seems to be durable for the price and comes in great colorways. But there are a few things that differentiate it from the Luxury Solid that made us hesitant to fully switch loyalties: It’s not benzoyl peroxide-resistant or fade-resistant (and we haven’t yet found another on the market that actually makes that claim). The border is a different design, which makes it wrinkle/shrink easier. And it’s almost TOO soft, if you know what we’re saying. Something about it made us kind of suspicious, and it doesn’t dry quite as well on the floor of a teen’s room or in a windowless bathroom. And maybe we’re resistant to change or too attached to the old ones, but the Spa Solid is still a solid choice, if you will. You won’t go wrong with that one. But it’s just not our FAVORITE in the same way the Luxury Solid was. Amazon Basics Quick-Dry is the new king in town.