10 Best Kitchen Towels of 2024, Tested and Reviewed

We tested 23 top-rated kitchen towels to find the best ones for every budget and style.

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Updated on January 17, 2024

Our Top Kitchen Towel Picks

From wiping up spills to drying hands and dishes, kitchen towels get used probably more than almost any other item in your kitchen, so choosing the right ones can make a big difference in everyday chores. Not all towels are created equal — some are multipurpose workhorses that can do it all, from soaking up spilled drinks to doubling as an oven mitt. Some are more for aesthetic purposes and only light hand-drying, and some are ideal for homes without a dishwasher where almost every dish gets dried with a towel. Whatever your kitchen needs are, we have recommendations. We tested 23 top-rated kitchen towels and narrowed them down to our top 10 picks, with options for every budget and style.

From dual-sided kitchen towels to lightweight flat-weave towels that cost just $1 per towel, we put stacks of kitchen towels to use in our home kitchens to find the best ones. With kitchen styles and decor in mind, we selected towels either in solid colors or simple patterns like classic stripes and windowpane checks that look good in any style of kitchen.

From dual-sided kitchen towels to lightweight flat-weave towels that cost just $1 per towel, we put stacks of kitchen towels to use in our home kitchens to find the best ones. With kitchen styles and decor in mind, we selected towels either in solid colors or simple patterns like classic stripes and windowpane checks that look good in any style of kitchen.

What to Look for in a Kitchen Towel

  • Material and Weave: Cotton, linen and microfiber are the most common materials for kitchen towels. Most of our recommendations are cotton because it is affordable, easy to care for and a natural, durable fiber. Plus, it comes in several weaves for various tasks like plush terry, medium-weight waffle weaves and lighter, durable flat weaves like plain weave or herringbone. Linen, which comes in a plain weave, is a nice material for towels you primarily want to keep on display and for light jobs like hand-drying, but linen is not as absorbent and can't hold as much water as terry cloth cotton or microfiber. Plus, linen is expensive. Microfiber, a popular lint-free material used for cleaning cloths, makes for an absorbent towel and is ideal for kitchens with frequent spills and surfaces like stainless steel, glass or chrome. Microfiber towels can pick up lint from other fabrics in the wash, so it's recommended to wash them separately and avoid fabric softener, both of which can build up and cause streaks on glass.
  • Absorbency: Generally, the thicker the towel, the more absorbent it is. Towels with terry loops, like bath towels, will drink up and hold liquid. Medium-weight towels with a waffle weave fall in the middle for absorbency, but will dry faster than terry. Thinner towels with plain weaves, like linen towels, tea towels and flour sack towels, will not be able to absorb as much liquid but will dry the fastest. Non-terry towels with tightly woven threads will feel more durable and be less prone to snagging, but they can't soak up liquid as well and can push liquid around instead. These types of towels are mostly useful for display, light hand-drying and wiping up crumbs. The ideal level of absorbency will depend on what tasks you need kitchen towels for most. Do you live in a home without a dishwasher and need to dry most dishes by hand? Do you clean up ample spills from kids' cups or pets' water bowls? You'll want to prioritize absorbency. For hand drying and occasional dish drying, you can opt for something less absorbent and prioritize aesthetics.
  • Dry Time: Cotton towels with terry loops are one of the most absorbent types but will take the longest to dry since they retain the most water. Microfiber, on the other hand, dries quickly even though it's absorbent, too. Cotton waffle-weave towels and dual-sided towels — typically where one side features terry loops and the other side is a flat or waffle weave — will dry faster than plush microfiber, but linen and thinner cotton towels, like flour sack and tea towels, can often dry the quickest. If you live in a home without a dishwasher where you dry dishes by hand, you may want to prioritize towels that dry fast or keep larger quantities of towels so you're not constantly reaching for a still-wet towel.
  • Lint-Free Weaves: If you dry a lot of dishes, especially glassware, by hand, you'll want to look for a lint-free towel to prevent stray fibers from sticking around on your glasses. Towels with terry loops aren't usually lint-free, but microfiber towels are. Flatter towels like linen, flour sack and tea towels are usually lint-free. Washing towels on their own cycle can also help prevent them from collecting lint from other fabrics.
  • Dimensions: Most kitchen towels fall in the range of 14-20 inches by 18-30 inches, with most of our picks falling around 20 by 30 inches. Larger towels like this offer more mileage since you can tackle more mess and liquid before they're too wet to use. If you're drying a dishwasher's worth of dishes by hand, a larger towel offers more surface area you can rotate to find more dry areas. Depending on the weave and style, medium to large towels can double as a cover for dinner rolls in a bread basket, and smaller towels may even be able to double as dinner napkins or placemats.
  • Style: While function always comes first for utility items like kitchen towels, within the top-performing towels, we prioritized aesthetically appealing options or at least options that don't take away from our kitchen's aesthetic. (Read: No hot pink microfiber kitchen towels in my cottagecore kitchen, please.) After all, if it's something you look at and use every day, it might as well be stylish. Terry towels tend to look a little out of place in a kitchen since they're so similar to bath towels, so for style, look for flatter weaves like plain, waffle and herringbone.

Types of Kitchen Towels + Terms to Know

  • Terry Cloth: A terry towel is a cotton towel comprised of little loops, similar to a bath towel, that is super-absorbent and ideal for spills and sopping up large amounts of liquid. Terry towels usually have more lint than other towel styles, meaning they're not ideal for cleaning glass or stainless steel. Terry cloth also retains more liquid, meaning longer dry time.
  • Bar Mop: Aptly named, a bar mop is a super-absorbent terry kitchen towel, or dishcloth, that you've probably seen bartenders use in restaurants and bars to wipe down, well, the bar. Bartenders also use them to wipe glasses and stemware. Bar mops are typically white, making them easy to bleach, though some brands offer other colors. A bar mop is primarily a utility cloth used for spills and wiping down countertops; they're not very stylish or display-worthy.
  • Tea Towel: An English term for dish towel, a tea towel is a lightweight, flat-weave towel made of cotton or linen. It can be used for light spills, drying, and polishing delicate items. It's usually a more decorative towel that comes in a wider range of colors and patterns. Tea towels and flour sack towels are similar, with a few minor differences.
  • Flour Sack Towel: As the name suggests, a flour sack towel was originally used for packaging flour. While its functionality in the kitchen is essentially the same as a tea towel, it's usually even larger than a tea towel and often comes in plain, unbleached 100-percent cotton. While flour sack towels don't have as much aesthetic appeal as tea towels, four sack towels are great for culinary jobs like drying water off produce post-wash, covering dough for rising, draining tofu and other food tasks.
  • Swedish Dishcloth: A Swedish dishcloth is a reusable and compostable sponge cloth made of cellulose and cotton that's usually a small square, about the size of a paper napkin. It's a popular eco-friendlier replacement for single-use paper towels. These cloths are mainly used for cleaning messes and wiping counters. They feel stiff when dry but become pliable when wet. Stains can be rinsed out with water immediately after use, and most brands of Swedish dishcloths can be washed in the dishwasher or washing machine. They come in a wide range of colors and patterns, but due to the size and material, they're not as easy to hang or display as traditional kitchen towels.
$27.45 (Pack of 3)
Amazon

With small terry loops on one side for ideal absorbency for spills and a flat, lint-free side for drying and polishing, these top-performing 100-percent cotton kitchen towels from All-Clad can do it all. Available in 11 colors and featuring a minimal stripe pattern, these towels are aesthetically pleasing without sacrificing any function. Since the terry side is absorbent and the flat side is lint-free, they're ideal for almost every kitchen task, from mopping up spills to drying glasses and silverware. The weight feels heavy and durable, and they're perfect for folding over and using as an oven mitt in a pinch. They're on the pricier side, but they're cheaper than others we liked and are multipurpose enough to warrant the extra few dollars per towel. Note: the product description says these towels come with loops for hanging, but the ones we received after purchasing did not.

$18.99 (Pack of 15)
Amazon

While we tried several cheap towels boasting thousands of five-star reviews on Amazon, several disappointed us with their loose threads and flimsy construction, but not these! These inexpensive Zeppoli Classic Kitchen Towels pleasantly surprised us in testing. Featuring a simple stripe in the middle of the towel and available in five color combinations, these towels feel thin but durable. With a herringbone weave, the construction feels thicker than a tea towel but thinner than terry and dual-sided towels. Mostly lint-free, these towels are great for drying dishes and hands and wiping up light messes and crumbs. In testing, we found them not as absorbent as terry or microfiber, but these offer a few benefits that kept them in our top 10. Thanks to the flat, tight weave, we noticed these towels don't wrinkle as easily as others and maintain their structure a bit more than flour sacks or tea towels when draped over an oven handle. Measuring just 14 by 25 inches, these kitchen towels are one of the smallest we tested, but in combination with the herringbone weave, the smaller size actually means these double as the perfect dinner napkins. Since they come in 15-pack and 30-pack options, for about $1 per towel, the more ways to use them, the better. Plus, the blue-and-white style, in particular, has a classic bakery-inspired flair we love.

$25 (Set of 2)
Food52

Available in an ultra-absorbent utility style and a quick-drying flour-sack style, these towels feel splurge-worthy. If it weren't for the cost per towel when not on sale — $17 for a single utility and $10 for a flour sack, respectively — these stylish, luxurious towels from Food52 would be our top overall pick. Food52 does offer bundles where you can buy combos of utility and flour sack-style towels to save some money, but those options have been sold out for several weeks. If you're willing to splurge a bit though, here's why we love these towels: The utility towels are the softest non-terry towels we've tried, and even with a flat weave, they're thick enough to absorb quite a bit of liquid and double as an oven mitt or trivet in a pinch. While the utility towels aren't completely lint-free, they're pretty close. But for a truly lint-free option for drying glassware, the quick-drying flour-sack style is the way to go. These are also one of the most stylish options available, with a windowpane check pattern in seven stunning colors like paprika and eucalyptus. Plus, some bonus features that make them splurge-worthy: Each towel features a loop for hanging, strategically placed in the middle of one side to ensure the towel drapes above counters and floors, and the check pattern varies slightly for each towel so you can easily designate ones for different tasks, like hand-drying, dish-drying or spills, and keep them straight. While they're a bit of a splurge, these would make a great gift or wedding registry item.

$17.99 (Pack of 8)
Amazon

By far, the most absorbent towels we tested are these plush microfiber ones. During testing, we completely soaked one of these towels, it didn't drip and felt like it could continue absorbing with continued cleaning. Despite how much liquid it retained, it also dried completely within six hours, the quickest of all the towels tested for the absorbent category. At just over $2 per towel, this microfiber towel set is a great choice for homes with frequent messes from kids and pets or frequent dish drying. Since microfiber is lint-free (though avoid washing it with other fabrics to keep it that way), these towels are great for drying dishes and glassware and cleaning surfaces without causing streaks. This cloth would work well for dusting and non-kitchen cleaning tasks, too. With six colors available in a simple stripe pattern and corner loops for easy hanging, a big bonus of these towels is that they're actually stylish — not a feature microfiber is typically known for. The only downside of this option is that it doesn't look or feel like a good table napkin or bread cover option and it's made of polyester and polyamide.

$19.95 (Pack of 4)
Williams Sonoma

If you prefer to use cotton over microfiber, these bar mops from Williams Sonoma are made of ribbed terry cotton that's Oeko-Tex-certified. They're another great absorbent option for sopping up spills and taking care of messes. We got these towels soaking wet and they didn't drip, but they did take a good bit longer to dry than the microfiber ones. We also used them on dishes and glassware and didn't notice any lint or stray fibers. Only available in white and measuring on the smaller side at 18 by 16 inches, these towels do not feature corner loops for hanging and look and feel a bit like bath towels, so they're not really worthy of display in the kitchen.

$24.95 (Set of 2)
Amazon

Made from durable flax fibers, natural linen has a relaxed organic look that's always display-worthy in our books. We first came across these linen towels from LK PureLife in one of our favorite curated Amazon shops, Perfectly Imperfect, and the positive reviews convinced us to give them a try. While these did show wrinkles after washing (to be expected with anything linen), they also came out feeling softer. Measuring on the larger side at 20 x 27 inches, these towels come in six colors and are ideal for display, hand-drying, glass-drying and light cleaning. The lightweight fabric is not ideal for mopping up large amounts of liquid and isn't all that absorbent. However, these linen towels are totally lint-free, which is ideal for drying glassware and cleaning surfaces without streaks, and they do dry super quickly. While these are a bit too large for dinner napkins, they could work for that purpose with a few folds. Though they're on the pricier side since they're linen, this set would make a great housewarming gift.

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$19.99 (Pack of 12)
Amazon

While we loved the Food52 flour sack towels from the splurge category, this pack of 12 from Utopia Kitchen is a great value, and we like that they come in six colors, not just white. Though they're very lightweight and will likely not last as long, these towels are large at 28 by 28 inches and surprisingly absorbed liquid pretty well during testing — almost as well as the splurge flour sack towels. Plus, they're lint-free and didn't leave any streaks on glasses and silverware during testing. Overall, they're best for hand-drying, light cleaning and food-related tasks like drying produce after washing, covering bread dough or draining tofu. Due to the large size, these do need to be folded multiple times to hang over a cabinet pull, but they do come with a corner loop for hanging, too. This type of towel, which is 100 percent cotton, is also nice for craft projects like tie-dyeing and embroidery. Since they're so inexpensive, needing to replace these towels after a while due to stubborn stains or snagging wouldn't be as big a deal as the more expensive options.

$28 (Set of 2)
Food52

Another splurge-worthy option from Food52, these Hawkins New York Essential Waffle Dish Towels come in six color combinations, featuring complementary colors for each set, such as olive and sage. Made in Portugal and constructed of 100-percent Oeko-Tex-certified cotton in a waffle weave, these towels feel durable, heavy, soft and have a thick, almost-spongy texture, similar to a waffle-weave bath towel. After wiping up liquid and drying dishes, our tester swears these are, by far, the most absorbent towels she's ever used and said it was like magic happening before her eyes — one to two passes, and the water was gone with no streaking. Speaking of no streaking, these towels are also completely lint-free and didn't leave any residue on glasses. These towels also dried in just a couple of hours, faster than most of the competition. While the colors are stunning, the large 21.5-by-29-inch size and lack of loops for hanging make these towels a little less ideal for displaying than the other Food52 towels on this list, but they're still one of the most attractive towels in this review. Overall, these towels would be ideal for any kitchen task that involves absorbing liquid, from cleaning up big spills to quickly drying dishes or hands. A bonus feature that makes them splurge-worthy: In testing, we appreciated the care tag is neatly sewn into a corner so that no loose tags stick off and need to be cut, ensuring the care instructions will always be there.

$58 (Set of 6)
Wayfair

For anyone who prefers organic options, this GOTS-certified cotton towel in a waffle weave from the brand Coyuchi is a great overall kitchen towel. While our tester said this waffle option wasn't quite as "spongy" or quick-to-absorb as the previous pick, she did note that washing the towels caused quite the transformation. When she first unpacked the towels, she was underwhelmed with how they felt and looked — very thin. However, much to her surprise, they fluffed up tremendously after washing and drying them. Absorbency aside, these towels share most of the pros of waffle weaves: quick-drying, lint-free, soft-to-the-touch and attractive. In fact, our tester appreciated the bottom border that gave these a more "finished" look for hanging on a bar or handle. Side loops also make hanging these on hooks and knobs a great option, too.

$17.16 (Pack of 10)
Amazon

While some people use paper towels for similar tasks as fabric kitchen towels, especially when certain messes might stain the towel or when they want to avoid laundering. Swedish dishcloths, reusable and compostable sponge cloths made of cellulose and cotton, can prevent waste from single-use paper towels and cut down on things you need to restock. We tried out several popular Swedish dishcloth brands, as well as some thin flannel cloths designed to be paper towel replacements, and we liked these the best. Available in a few solid colors including white, our tester loved using these to wipe up liquid and cleaning around the kitchen. These are great for cleaning the counters, windows, mirrors, some dishes and even floors. Our tester was so impressed with how easily they cleaned with just water and how quickly they dried (with no smell!). Only measuring 8 by 7 inches, these are primarily for cleaning and not displaying. While the texture is stiff when dry, after getting them wet, these cloths become flexible and won't ever return to being completely flat. Letting them dry flat is best, so using a clothespin or some other kind of clip is a good option for hang-drying. Though rinsing and air-drying these is often all that's needed, we love that they can go in the dishwasher and washer and that they can last up to 100 uses, according to the manufacturer.

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How to Care for and Maintain Kitchen Towels

After typical everyday use, laundering kitchen towels on a cold-water cycle with detergent is usually all that's needed, but we always suggest following the manufacturer's care instructions. For grease and oil stains, spot-treat with dish detergent before adding to a hot water wash cycle.

For all-white towels, you can use chlorine bleach to keep them bright white, and for all other towels, oxygen bleach can help remove most stains. If possible, it's best to wash kitchen towels on their own cycle or at least in a separate delicates bag to prevent the towels from snagging or collecting lint from other fabrics that could then transfer to dishes and glassware the next time you use them for drying. Washing alone also keeps them looking new and not dingy.

How We Tested

After researching top-rated kitchen styles and reading customer reviews, we narrowed down key features and categories to consider. In total, HGTV editors tested 23 kitchen towels for this review.

We washed the towels according to the manufacturer's care instructions and noted any snags, lint, shrinkage or wrinkles. Over the course of several weeks, we used the towels to dry hands, dishes and glassware. We made notes on which towels left any lint or streaks behind on glasses and how much. We observed how quickly the towels dried after getting wet. We noted the size, thickness, softness and absorbency. We folded the towels to see if they were appropriate for makeshift oven mitts in a pinch. With multifunctionality in mind, we noted if the size, material and style of the towels were conducive to use for secondary purposes like table napkins or a cover for keeping dinner rolls warm.

Beyond function, we considered the style and display-worthiness of the towel and bonus features like whether or not they had loops for hanging on hooks vs just bar cabinet pulls, oven handles or dishwasher handles.

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