If you have ever tried to use the standard towels at a gym, you know the problem. In the showers, they never cover what they need to cover. At the machines I inevitably get a gym towel with a hole.
A few years ago, I started to bring a gym towel from home, and it was a great decision. I still like that the gym offers towels in case someone forgets their own—I wouldn’t want someone walking around without one. But you’d be surprised at how your gym experience will improve just by bringing your own gym towel.
There are a lot of scenarios in which you need a towel at the gym. Towel shopping might seem like a time when you just grab the first thing you can find. In reality, though, it’s better to take a little time and think about what features might work best for you when looking for the best gym towel.
When Do I Need a Gym Towel?
Sometimes, it can feel like packing for the gym is like packing for a vacation. You need water, shoes, gloves or grips, fresh clothes, towels—the list goes on. A lot of people I know buy a set of headphones just for the gym so they’ll never forget them.
A gym towel can seem like something you don’t need to remember when you know they have clean towels waiting for you at the gym. But when you think about how often you need them during your workout, it’s actually worth the hassle. Here are a few scenarios when having your own gym towel may come in handy.
Mat and Machine Cover
If you ever lie down on the gym mats or benches, you’ll want to cover it with a towel. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if it has been cleaned since the last person used it. Plus, if you sweat, the water can pool under your body while you work out and become bothersome.
If you sweat a lot, a towel will be important for wiping off your hands, legs, and arms. Doing so will ensure that you maintain a strong grip on the machines and weights.
A lot of people workout before work or during lunch. If so, you likely take a shower before you head back to the office. In that case, you’ll need a gym towel for the shower. If you have long hair, it can be nice to have a second towel for your hair as well.
Being a good gym citizen means cleaning up the machine after you’re done. This will make everyone more comfortable and can reduce the spread of illness.
Watch this YouTube video for more:
What Should I Look for in a Gym Towel?
Not all towels are the same, and some are better for certain circumstances than others. Here are a few features you may want to consider before buying a pack of gym towels.
Some materials absorb better than others. Microfiber towels will dry really fast. People with sensitive skin can be especially vulnerable to certain fabrics. Think about your lifestyle and your body and find the right material for you.
If you are fine with using the gym’s towels for the most part and only want your personal towel for certain activities, think about what size you’ll need for those activities. You probably don’t need a body towel to wipe your hands before lifting. If you want to bring your own gym towels for all circumstances, you might need several different sizes.
Washing and Drying Needs
Some gym towels need to be air dried. Others can be dried in a machine, but only on certain settings. If that really isn’t possible where you live, or your schedule doesn’t allow for it, check the label before purchasing.
The Best Gym Towels
Now we’ve gone through the details, let me share my choice of the best gym towels on the market.
Coming in a pack of three, each one a different size, makes these great for the gym. These gym towels are a microfiber-polyester blend, which is good for people who don’t like the feeling of 100 percent microfiber.
There is enough microfiber, however, to ensure that they dry quickly, so you won’t have to carry a wet towel in your gym bag.
A large body-size towel is good for the showers or for covering yoga mats and weight machines. The second towel is a hand towel measuring 30 inches by 15 inches, ideal for wiping down your hands, legs, and arms. Finally, there is a face towel, which you can also use to clean machines and mats after you’re done.
- Three sizes for different uses
- Three color options
- Lifetime warranty
- Carrying bag included
- Can’t be machine dried
Hopeshine’s 100 percent microfiber gym towels come in a pack of three large hand towels. They measure 16 inches by 32 inches—a perfect size for wiping down during a workout. The terry cloth texture of the towel makes them more absorbent than your typical microfiber towel.
Microfiber gym towels tend to dry more quickly, making them perfect for a gym bag that has to hang around in your car while you finish working. Because they are all the same size, there is less of a chance that you will be caught without a clean one.
- Come in many different color options
- Can be machine washed and dried
- Will last through 500 washes
- Only one size—not big enough for showering or covering an entire mat
Not everyone likes microfiber. It has a lot of benefits, but the texture can be off-putting to some. Cotton gym towels might be the way to go for people who don’t like other materials or for those with sensitive skin.
These gym towels are 100 percent ringspun cotton. Cotton is really absorbent but not as quick to dry—so you might have to leave them out of your gym bag. Because they are double stitched, they will last for a while without disintegrating or losing threads.
Available in a pack of four towels, they measure 16 inches by 28 inches. This size is great for wiping the sweat off of your body or for wiping down the machine after you are done.
- Machine washable and dryable
- Many different color options
- Free from harmful chemicals and synthetic materials
- All four towels are the same size
These 100 percent microfiber gym towels come in a pack of three different sizes. The largest is 50 inches by 30 inches, big enough for your entire body. The second towel is 30 inches by 15 inches, and the smallest is 15 inches square.
Each towel comes with an elastic band to keep them rolled up and neat in your gym bag or at home. The set also includes a mesh bag to carry the towels. When the towels are in use, the mesh bag can hold your phone, keys, and wallet.
When using the towel for a mat cover or on a machine, it is designed to stay in place and reduce the potential for slipping. This will keep workout interruptions to a minimum.
- Comes with four different color options and three sizes
- Towels are hypoallergenic for people with sensitivities
- Mesh bag has a hanging hook for easy storage
- Some reviewers experienced color leaching when machine washing
A unique blend of bamboo and nylon, the Grounded Sport gym towels are designed to work in a variety of gym scenarios. They dry quickly and are machine washable.
When dry, these gym towels work as other towels—they wick sweat away from your body to keep you dry. However, when wet, they also keep your body cool and hydrated.
These towels are cut a bit differently—longer and narrower than most towels, they’re 12 inches wide and 39 inches long. This design enables you to keep the towel around your neck or wrapped around your head to cool you down. This is a great feature for people who visit outdoor gyms often or who just want to go for a run.
- Come in a pack of three different shades
- 50+ UV protection to shade from the sun
- Come in multiple colors
- Not designed to be super absorbent
My Choice for Best Gym Towels
Having your own gym towels can make your workout experience more convenient and more comfortable. Adding any bit of extra convenience will definitely make you more likely to go to the gym.
My favorite gym towels are the Country Bound microfiber towels. I love having the three different sizes with me to cover all the bases. The zippered storage bag makes them really easy to carry around, especially when taking them to the shower.