Choosing the right towel can be baffling. Should you choose them based on softness, texture or colour? And if you’re buying them online, how do you know they’ll be of a high quality? After all, they’re one of the hardest working items in the bathroom, so you want to make the right choice. Luckily, looking out for the GSM is a great way to find the highest quality towels. Keep reading to learn what GSM in towels is and how it can play a vital part in the selection process.

What is GSM in towels?

GSM stands for grams per square metre and is used to measure the weight of a fabric. When it comes to towels, GSM can help to gauge their quality. Typically, a low-GSM towel is light and thin, but towels with a higher GSM are thicker, softer and more absorbent. 

When buying a towel online, GSM can be a good indicator of what to expect. Here are some rough guidelines:

300-400 GSM towels are: Thinner, more lightweight and a coarser texture.

400-600 GSM towels are: Softer and more absorbent with a medium-high weight.

600+ GSM towels are: 5* hotel quality, and even more absorbent with a luxurious soft texture.

Generally speaking, the higher a towel’s GSM, the better performance you can expect from it. However that isn’t always the case.

What is the best GSM?

Choosing a towel with the right GSM depends largely on what it’s needed for. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. For example, towels that weigh 400 GSM or less may be too lightweight for bathing, but could be perfect for the gym or trips to the beach. They’re also quicker and cheaper to launder as they take less time to dry. If you’re looking for a guest towel then you should choose a GSM of 400 or higher. For everyday bathing, the GSM in bath towels should be 500+ to make sure they’re soft and absorbent. 

So, when buying new towels, consider what you’ll be using them for. That way you’ll get the most out of your investment.

Can you choose a towel based on touch?

If you’re shopping for towels in person, then you could be forgiven for choosing the softest one available. After all, there’s nothing better than stepping out of the bath and being enveloped in a soft, white towel. But that isn’t necessarily the best move. Towels may appear nice and soft in store. However after a few washes, these towels may start to feel coarse and rough. So, when shopping for towels it’s important to avoid choosing them based on touch alone. Looking for the towel’s GSM can help you make a more informed purchase, as can the material.

Insider tip: Towels won’t always look correct until they’ve been washed and tumble dried. That’s because they’re often flattened from shipping. Once washed, the fibres will be plumped up properly.

What material is best for towels?

Towels that are made for everyday use tend to be made from cotton. That’s because cotton fibres naturally attract water and can hold almost 25 times their weight in liquid. Always check the care label to make sure your towel is 100% cotton. If towels are made using synthetic materials then that can be a red flag that the absorbency and quality is low. One exception here is microfibre towels. These towels are often made using synthetic fabrics and are a lightweight option for camping or backpacking. 

If you’re looking to bring more luxury to your bathroom, quality bath linen is the way to go. Look no further than Richard Haworth’s high GSM towels.