Best Gym Towels For Workouts, Shower & Sports to Keep Dry, Clean & Wipe Away Sweat

For many gym goers, it is simply good etiquette to take a towel and wipe down your sweat after using machines or weights.

Nobody wants to sit in someone else’s sweat pool, right?

Aside from concern for other users, having a towel will help you to cool down and stay comfortable during your workout.

Furthermore, you are going to want your own towel for showering after a workout. Whether you are going straight home or heading back the office, you’ll appreciate a freshen up after a hard workout.

The problem is that you are then stuck with a wet towel.

This is where gym towel technology comes in. More and more gym towels are coming in light weight, moisture absorbent material that won’t weigh down your gym bag or leave you with a damp smell.

In this review, we will look at some of the best gym towels for sweat and workouts.

The 5 Best Workout Towels Reviewed

1. Youphoria Outdoors Microfiber Quick Dry Towel

Our Verdict: Best Overall

The best gym towel for versatility and a great all-round option is the Youphoria Towel. This is a best seller and very popular product. It is great for a number of activities as well as the gym.

This towel is a great option for travel as it rolls up and fits into any bag without taking up a lot of space. If you are always trying to squeeze a heavy cotton towel into your luggage, this could be a great alternative.

You can put it in a small backpack and take it on a walk or hike, take the larger option to the beach, or throw it in your gym bag and barely notice the added weight.

The smaller towels are even more portable.

If you are looking for a full body towel to shower with after the gym or take to the beach, there is a 32x72 inches option. If you just want a face towel or a neck towel to remove sweat from your hands and face during your workout, there are two smaller options in 28x56 inches and 20x40 inches.

Of course, the most important aspect is how absorbent the towel is for sweat. This microfiber towel dries 10 times faster than normal terry cloth or cotton and absorbs five times its weight in water. This effectively soaks up sweat at the gym so that you don’t get irritating sweat dripping down your face or into your eyes. In addition, the fabric is ultra-soft, preventing skin irritation caused by repeatedly wiping your face or hands.

Furthermore, if you are using the large option to shower with after your gym session, it will dry quickly whilst you change, and fit back into your gym bag without being damp and weighing you down for the rest of the day. It even has a snap hang loop so you can hang it easily to dry. However, some customers have found that it can smell despite being odour and mildew resistant.

Although it absorbs sweat fast, it is dirt resistant. It also rolls up and fits into the included carry bag. The thin material is easy to roll and slips nicely into the carry bag without having to force it.

Finally, it comes in several colour options to suit your style and gym wear, with different fabric and border colour combinations. Unfortunately, some customers have found that the border stitching can come undone at the edges after a few uses.

Pros:

  • Good for travel and gym
  • Three sizes
  • Various colours
  • Ultra-soft
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Comes with a carry bag

Cons:

  • Some customers have found it can start to smell
  • Some customers have found that the stitching comes undone

2. Desired Body Fitness Gym Towels

Our Verdict: Best Multi-Pack Option

The Desired Body Fitness Towel is ideal for couples as you get two towels in one order. Whether you regularly hit the gym with your other half or have a gym buddy who always joins you to work up a sweat, you can get two towels in this pack and give one to them. 

Even if you’re a solo gym goes, having two towels in one means you always have one ready to go while the other is in the wash.

It comes in white with a silk grey border which means you won’t have the problem of border stitching unravelling. The unisex design is great for couples; however, it only comes in white which is one of the harder colours to clean so you might struggle to get out any stains. Luckily, it is machine washable.

This is one of the best towels for gym because you can also comfortably use it to cover gym equipment. Recent studies have found that gym equipment can contain more bacteria than a toilet seat, meaning you might want to use your towel for more than just your own sweat.

This is where this workout towel can be really effective as the waffle design makes it a comfortable padding option. You can place it over a bench for added padding and protection from bacteria, and just throw it in the laundry afterwards.

Being lightweight, you can fold this towel up easily and fit it into any gym bag. Made from microfiber, this towel is lighter and more absorbent than a cotton towel, however, some customers have found that the material can be a little abrasive on the skin if you are repeatedly rubbing your face.

Having said that, it doesn’t have any wash tags or hooks that might scratch your skin. But this also means that you don’t have a hook to hang the towel up easily. It is 44x16.5 inches in size, making it a decent body towel whilst still being small enough to carry around your neck, and weighs just 5.3oz so you won’t notice a lot of added weight at the gym or in your bag.

Pros:

  • Good cover for gym equipment
  • Unisex
  • 2 towels in one pack
  • Stretchy microfiber material
  • Machine washable

Cons:

  • Only comes in white
  • Only one size
  • No hook to hang up
  • Some customers have found the material to be rough on skin

3. Fitness Spirit Super Absorbent Microfiber Towels

Our Verdict: Best Sweat Absorption

This option also comes in a pack of two towels, making it great for sharing and meaning you can wash one and always have another on the go. It is also the best towel for sweat absorption and yoga, avoiding slips and skids when you’re working out on the mat.

The non-slip technology also makes it a great option for weights and gym equipment. I know that having sweaty hands can really affect my reps and can even be dangerous. If you lose your grip during a set you could end up with some serious strains or injuries, which is why it is better to keep your hands sweat free while weight training.

Another benefit of the non-skid towel is that it doubles as a yoga mat. I always find that when I’m using a yoga mat for body weight exercises or yoga practice, sweaty hands can really get in the way. When you are in the middle of an exercise and your hand slips on the mat you can jolt your shoulder or elbow or even sprain your wrists.

Using a microfiber towel ensures that your sweat is absorbed whilst you work out and you aren’t taking any slips or slides on a rubber surface. 

What’s more, it is easily rolled up and inserted into your gym bag, so you don’t have to worry about carrying a heavy yoga mat around with you. As well as yoga, this towel is a popular option for swimming, traveling and camping as it is easy to transport.

The durable material is ideal for taking on the extra use of bodyweight floor exercises, and it comes in a range of sizes to suit your body and your purpose, whether you want a full body towel or a small compact face towel.

The material is fluffier than other microfiber options meaning you still feel the comfort of a normal cotton towel with the sweat and absorption and fast drying benefits of a microfiber towel.

Although the material is very soft and easy on the skin, some customers have found that the sewn in label can cause some irritation if you accidentally rub it on your face. Also, with the fluffy material some customers have found that the fluff can attach to other clothes in the wash so you might want to wash them separately.

Pros:

  • Range of colours and sizes
  • 2 towels in one pack
  • Can be used for range of activities
  • Durable
  • Soft, fluffy material
  • Lightweight and absorbent
  • Can be used as a yoga mat with non-slip material

Cons:

  • Some customers have found it can shed fluff in the wash
  • Label is abrasive on the skin

4. Alfamo Cooling Towel

Our Verdict: Best Cooling Relief

The Alfamo Cooling Towel is the best sports towel if you are looking for something that will also cool you down after a workout. It is great for a range of activities, including running and gym, where you might be overheating and looking for some cooling relief.

When the towel is wet you can snap it and activate the cooling feature. The towel is designed to stay cool for up to three hours but some customers found that it stayed cool for less time than expected. Nevertheless, it makes a nice cooling bandana or scarf during your workout and absorbs cool water without dripping.

The cooling feature is also great for injuries, headaches or anyone who just lives in a hot country and needs some quick relief from the weather. What’s more, it has UPF 50 sun protection, so it is a great addition to beach holidays.

It comes in a range of sizes and colours and the large option is wider than other towels, making it a great towel for yoga. The mesh material makes it different from fluffy towels and easy to clean. However, you might prefer towels which have a similar feel to a traditional cotton bath towel. Having said that, the material is soft, sweat absorbent and dries out quickly after use so you can put it straight in your gym bag.

Also, this gym towel comes with an antibacterial plastic ziplock bag, meaning if it is still sweaty or wet when you are done using it, you can keep it separate from your other belongings. This will prevent bacteria and odour from spreading in your bag. The ziplock bag also has a clip so you can attach it to the outside of your gym bag or your belt and transport it easily, whether you are heading to the gym or out on a run.

Pros:

  • Wider option
  • Range of colours and sizes
  • Cooling technology
  • UPF 50
  • Comes with plastic ziplock bag
  • Mesh material

Cons:

  • Doesn’t stay cool for as long as advertised
  • Some customers have found that the colours can run
  • Some customers might prefer material similar to a cotton towel than mesh

5. SUNLAND Microfiber Towel

Our Verdict: Best for Showering

This is one of the best gym towels for showering as it is comfortable and fast drying. If you don’t like the feeling of microfiber, this is a good option as it doesn’t have the sticky feeling that some other microfiber towels can have.

If you want to shower and get out if the gym quickly, this towel can dry your body super quickly and be hung up to dry out itself while you get dressed, using the attached hook.

Even if it hasn’t dried completely by the time you want to leave, you can insert it easily into the included mesh bag which allows the towel to dry on the go without getting smelly from staying damp. This makes it the best gym towel for showering.

You can carry the towel separately from the rest of your gym stuff, using the handle on the bag. This gives it more air to dry and keeps it away from your gym clothes and other bacteria.

It also comes in a great range of colours and sizes and can be easily folded and inserted into the bag, saving space in your gym bag and your luggage if you also want to use it for travel, backpacking or camping.

The material is super soft so you won’t feel irritation when you are using it on your face. I know that just having a lot of sweat on my face can irritate my skin, so having a soft towel to get rid of any excess sweat is a relief in the gym.

Although it has all the qualities of a good microfiber towel, some customers were disappointed with the carry bag which seemed to be undersized for the towel. It is foldable and easy to carry around but can still be a struggle to squeeze into the small bag.

Others have found that it is not as absorbent as some microfiber towels on the market possibly because it is designed not to feel like microfiber, meaning it might lose some of its absorbent qualities.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact for travel
  • Soft on the skin
  • Carry bag included

Cons:

  • Some customers have found that it is not very absorbent
  • Carry bag undersized for the towel

Why Do I Need a Gym Towel?

For your own comfort and safety, a workout towel can be used to remove excess sweat from your hands and face during your workout. 

You can also take a workout towel outdoors while wearing your cooling vest to lower or stabilize your body temperature when you're exposed to warm climates during workout. 

Comfort and Safety

Although sweat does not cause acne, build-up of bacteria can clog pores. A gym towel also prevents injury caused by slipping or losing grip of your equipment.

With a tighter grip you will be able to maintain your form and complete more reps, making your workout more effective. Of course, using a towel is no replacement for proper grip strength training, which you can achieve with finger & forearm strengtheners found here.

woman with sweat on forehead close up

Minimizes Skin Irritation

Personally, I find sweat to be very irritating to my skin so a gym towel is essential. If you have sensitive skin you might experience similar itchiness and discomfort from sweating, which is going to make you want to give up on working out.

A good quality workout towel can solve this problem and protect your skin from damage so try one with soft fabric, if you have issues with your skin, to make sure it doesn’t cause any more rubbing or discomfort when you use it.

Avoid Harmful Bacteria

Aside from your own hygiene and safety, gym towels can help to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria. As mentioned, studies have found that some gym equipment can have more bacteria than a toilet seat.

For this reason, it is a good idea to cover shared gym equipment, like a workout bench or even just a crossfit jump rope,  with a towel and wipe it down afterwards to avoid spreading bacteria.

Perfect for Showering on the Go

Imagine yourself just got done with an intense tramp routine... I bet you'd prefer to shower at the gym, especially if you are heading back to work or out to meet friends straight from a workout.

Of course, having your own gym towel is essential for showering and you might even want to have separate towels for showering and the gym to avoid carrying bacteria from sweat and the gym equipment.

dumbbell with towel and water bottle on floor

This is why the two towel packs in this review can be really handy, and all the gym towels featured here are lightweight and foldable so you can easily fit a couple in your gym bag.

Which Material is the Best?

The gym towels featured in this review are made from microfiber, which has several benefits over cotton. Microfiber is typically a combination of polyamide and polyester and has become a very popular choice for gym towels because of its absorbent qualities.

Benefits of Microfiber

Another benefit of microfiber, aside from absorbance, is that it is extremely lightweight and easy to roll up into a tight and compact roll which you can take to the gym or anywhere you like.

It is bacteria resistant and fast drying, helping you to avoid carrying bacteria from gym equipment, and keeping the rest of your gym bag dry and fresh.

Comparison to Cotton Towels

In comparison, cotton towels can have a softer feel but are less absorbent, don’t dry as quickly and are bulky to transport.

woman sitting down in gym with towel around neck

Image by Supreme Nutrition, shared unmodified under CC 2.0

This means that you might be stuffing a wet towel into your bag after your workout which is going to make everything smell pretty damp.

Which is the Right Gym Towel for Me?

The gym towels in this review offer different benefits, but are all made from the same microfiber material and have the qualities that make them great for sweat and the gym.

Best for Multiple Uses

If you want a towel that you can take traveling as well as to the gym, try something which can easily fit into your luggage and comes in a range of sizes for whatever your purpose, like the Youphoria.

Best for Yoga

If you need a non-slip towel that can double as a yoga mat, the Fitness Spirit is a great choice as it will keep your position on the mat secure.

Best for Covering Equipment

If you are looking for a towel that can also be used as a comfortable padding for gym equipment, take a look at the Desired Body Fitness Gym Towel. This towel features soft, padded material that will protect you from sweat and bacteria and provide comfort during bench presses or weightlifting.

Summary

The gym towels in this review are designed to cope with sweat and bacteria in the gym. The microfiber material makes them lightweight absorbent and easy to dry so you can transport them easily to and from the gym.

The stand out choice for me is the Youphoria Towel as it offers the benefits of a great gym towel but is also designed for outdoor use so you can take it on any adventure. It comes in a range of sizes and the fabric is soft and comfortable, preventing skin irritation from using it repeatedly.

It is also one of the best options for absorbing sweat and dries quickly after use, which is ideal for the gym and the shower.

Take a look at all the options to see which one might suit you the best!

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