A while back I was trying to decide which type of towels I should choose as replacements for my current set. I’d read a few articles online about the benefits of Turkish towels and so I wondered how Turkish towels stacked up against regular towels for various criteria I felt were important.
As a general rule when comparing Turkish towels to regular towels most people that purchase Turkish towels would not go back to using regular towels. Reduced weight, shorter drying times, colourful designs and eco-friendliness are among the reasons why people continue to use these types of towels.
Below is a lookup table you can use to make your own mind up based on what’s important to you. I’ve included more detailed information below if you’re still not too sure.
Turkish Towels vs Regular Towels
|Criteria||Turkish Towels||Regular Towels|
|Easy to care for||Good||Great|
|Good for travelling||Excellent||OK|
By the way, if you’re thinking of buying a microfiber towel then I wrote an article “Turkish Towel vs Microfiber: Which is the best” which I’d encourage you to read next.
From a softness perspective, regular towels are a clear winner. It’s not that Turkish towels are not soft by any means, they are, but regular cotton towels, especially the fluffy, luxurious type really are soft.
Using fabric softener on Turkish towels is not recommended and so this will also affect the way the towel feels. Whether you use fabric softener when laundering towels or not, regular towels washed with fabric softener do come out feeling super soft.
2. Drying time
When drying time is a concern, for example when you’re at the beach or at the gym then Turkish towels are the way to go.
The way the fabric is manufactured means that Turkish towels are very thin. This ensures that the towel will dry very quickly in almost any environment. Compare this to a thick, fluffy regular towel which even in warmer climates will take much longer to dry.
We performed a very rudimentary experiment (no real science involved 🙂 ) and found that in the same conditions the Turkish towel dried in just over half the time of a regular towel.
When it comes to eco-friendliness I’d consider neither of the towels “excellent” but the Turkish towel just pips the regular towel to the post for a couple of reasons.
Firstly manufacturers of Turkish towels are now keen to differentiate themselves from companies making regular towels by ensuring their towels are made from sustainable cotton and do not contain any harmful chemicals. Of course, as the world wakes up to the environmental issues surrounding us manufacturers of regular towels are catching up in this area but many have a long way to go.
Secondly, although we will talk about towel care in a moment the fact that Turkish towels are so thin they ultimately need less laundering which uses less water and using fabric softener and tumble drying is not recommended therefore using fewer resources compared to regular towels.
Over time it just feels as though regular towels start to degrade. They get less fluffy and less soft due to shedding and sometimes lose their colour.
Compare this to Turkish towels which, if cared for correctly, will last you a lifetime. Due to the fine, tight weave, they tend not to shed and the colours will not fade away even when regularly washed.
Turkish towels definitely win the durability test.
5. Easy to care for
Caring for Turkish towels is a little more work than caring for regular towels. With regular towels in most cases, you don’t have to worry too much when laundering them. You can wash them in slightly warmer water, you can use fabric softener and they can be placed in the tumble dryer in order to dry them.
Essentially regular towels have been made so you don’t really have to think too much and if this is important to you then this can be a benefit.
Although Turkish towels are still simple enough to care for, there are a few things to be careful of.
For example, fabric softener is not recommended as it will make the towels much less absorbent. Tumble drying is also not recommended although as the towels dry so quickly you could, and probably should for eco reasons, argue the tumble dryer is a bad idea anyway.
For more detailed information on how to launder a Turkish towel go ahead and read my article “How to Wash Turkish Towels, our complete guide” next.
6. Good for travelling
Anyone who has taken beach towels on holiday will know that once you’ve packed your regular towel into your suitcase there doesn’t seem to be space for much else.
The fact that they are so fluffy makes them heavy and thick.
In contrast, Turkish towels are super lightweight and incredibly thin making them a dream to pack on your next vacation.
Choose Turkish towels and you’ll be able to fit another couple of dresses into your suitcase!
When it comes to design I very nearly scored both towels equally however there are a couple of reasons why I feel regular towels are slightly better in this area.
Turkish towels almost always come with the infamous fringe which will not be to everyone’s taste. With regular towels, you can purchase almost any design which may or may not include a fringe.
Secondly, Turkish towels come in some amazing styles and colours but I think it’s fair to say that regular towels come in way more options and so there will always be a design to suit everyone.
I’d always recommend a good quality Turkish towel and whilst there may be some cheaper options on the market the slightly more expensive towels will last you a lifetime if cared for correctly. This is why we scored this criterion as just OK.
In comparison, as a general rule, regular towels are cheaper than Turkish towels and so I scored them as Great. Of course, as with anything, there are some really expensive regular towels on the market these days.
The team and I here at greenerlyfe prefer the Turkish towel over the regular cotton towel.
Our research suggests that the Turkish towel is better overall for day-to-day living however there may be certain situations or uses where regular towels would be the better choice. Perhaps if you run a boutique B&B or hotel for example where luxury is expected by your customers.
From an eco-friendly perspective though, this is a fairly simple swap to make.
Let me know what you think in the comments.