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What is Towel GSM? Textile Terms Explained

Once you see how towel GSM relates to quality, you’ll be able to choose the best towels for your home. It’s worthwhile to make the right choice since a higher quality will be reflected in many years of use and a long-lasting softness. Let’s learn about towel GSM and how to apply it when shopping for new bath or beach towels.

Towel GSM (grams per square meter) is a weighted measurement that relates to the quality of a towel. A higher GSM means a thicker, softer, and heavier towel, such as those used at spas or hotels. This is, of course, a matter of preference and there’s nothing wrong with using lighter towels. It’s all about your preference and what works best in your home. As always, taking proper care of your towels will allow them to last longer and hold on to their divine softness and feel.

Let’s dive into what towel GSM means more thoroughly and how this translates to different qualities of towel fabric.

Towel GSM Meaning Explained

It’s important to know that GSM is the standard measurement used to compare fabric weights and is not strictly related only to towels. This metric can be applied to various items to describe their durability and strength. Such items include clothing, carpets and even paper! In terms of fabrics that touch our skin or those that we wear, GSM refers to the weight of cotton or bamboo fabric. This makes sense when related to towels, since they are most often made of cotton. The number will relate to the qualities of this material.

Towel Weight GSM – What Numbers Am I Looking For?

We’ll spare you the mathematical calculations. Towel GSM usually ranges from 300 to 900 GSM, and this is the number to pay attention to. A luxury towel may be around 900 GSM while a thinner towel could be around 300 GSM. To help put these numbers into perspective, let’s use some other items for comparison: a light cotton t-shirt might be around 100 GSM while denim is about 400 GSM.

Best GSM for Bath Towels

Now that you understand the basics of towel GSM, what’s next?

This short towel GSM guide can help describe the look and feel you can expect with various GSM levels:

GSM Count Qualities
300 - 500 Light, thin, coarse, more affordable
500 - 700 Medium weight, soft, absorbent, ideal bath and beach towels
700 - 900 Heavy, very soft, high absorbency, luxurious, pricier


So where to start? In general, a soft-to-the touch towel that will help you dry off and not feel itchy will come at a minimum of 400 GSM. Begin looking for cotton towels in the 500 – 700 GSM range. These are medium to heavy in weight, and you can effectively compare the difference in softness and quality if you stick to this range. These can also be quite affordable depending on where you shop.

A good trick is to pick up different towels and compare the weights you feel. It may surprise you that the towel may be much heavier than it appears. A heavier towel means there is more thread, and the fabric is made up of tighter and thicker loops. If you like the look and feel of something around 700 GSM, stick with that. Want something plusher and thicker? Go higher.

Check out this timeless 700 GSM count Edged Terry from Flato Home

Towel GSM & Quality

A higher GSM relates to better quality. Why? The material is woven more tightly together, thus increasing durability, absorbency, and softness. The more tightly packed and thicker the loops in the fabric, the denser and more absorbent it will be. These three characteristics not only make a towel feel luxurious but will also result in durability and many years of use.

However, there’s more to it then just the number on the package. Another aspect to consider is the cotton’s quality. For example, Egyptian cotton is considered a ‘long staple’ and has been cultivated and perfected for centuries to have a long, durable staple. This translates to less fraying, pilling and wrinkles – which makes this type of cotton a classic choice for towels worldwide.

Check out the 100% Egyptian cotton Lisbon Decorative Towel set

 A Bit More on Cotton – Is it Really the Best Material for Towels?

What makes cotton such a popular choice for towels? Cotton is known for its comfort and longevity. It is a breathable, moisture-wicking natural fiber. For those with sensitive skin, the smooth surface of cotton material alleviates friction. If you are prone to dryness (hello, winter!) or have other skin conditions, then a cotton towel of a high GSM count may be just what your skin needs. A high towel GSM will be unbelievably soft, plushy and will not aggravate or pull on your skin.

Proper Care of Your Towels – Make Them Stand the Test of Time

While higher GSM towels are the more luxurious choice, the high price tag that comes with them means you’ll want to take proper care to ensure their longevity. Regardless of the towels you choose, always follow the care instructions as this greatly affects their lifespan. A high GSM towel will naturally be able to withstand more wear and tear, but this will be amplified if you take good care from the start.

There are many tips and tricks, such as using specific fabric wash for linens and taking a step away from fabric softener. A natural alternative to fabric softener is treating your towels to one load with vinegar and another followed by baking soda. These two ingredients are a cleaning super-hero duo. The properties of vinegar make it effective in removing grime and mineral deposits, whereas baking soda eliminates odour. Vinegar does double duty as it is also a natural fabric softener.

Remember that a heavy towel may take longer to air dry or machine dry. They may also require to be washed separately in a towel load because they will take up a lot more space and weight. Higher GSM towels are highly absorbent, and this translates to the dyeing process during production. As such, these towels often come in colourful and patterned styles, so you can go wild and leave traditional white or beige behind! Taking proper care will not only maintain the softness but will keep the colours vibrant for longer.

Check out the vibrant colours of the 700 GSM count Terry Towel Set from Flato Home

 It’s Time to Invest in Quality Towels

Towels work hard to keep us dry both inside and outside our home. They also add a decorative touch to our home and are often used to accent the décor and colour scheme of our bathrooms.

Towels are visible aspects of your home that are used often by your family and guests. You will not regret opting for higher quality bath towels since this will add a touch of luxury to your home.