The most important feature of any towel is its fiber content. Most towels are made of cotton or cotton blends. The quality level of cotton is based on the length of its staple or fiber. The longer the staples the more luxurious, durable and absorbent the cotton will be.
The most common types of COTTON are:
EGYPTIAN: A long staple cotton that is grown in the Nile River Valley. The optimal climate conditions of this area make for exceptionally fine quality yarns. This highly-absorbent cotton is strong yet breathable.
ORGANIC: A cotton that is grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. If an organic product is certified, it will have a United States Government approved 3rd party certification to ensure authenticity.
PIMA: Named after the Pima Native American tribe. Grown in the Southwest of the United States and South America, this cotton is high quality and long staple.
SUPIMA®: An abbreviation for "superior pima". Supima cotton is the finest yield of long staple Pima cotton that is grown exclusively in the United States by certified farmers.
TURKISH: A long staple cotton that is grown exclusively in Turkey. It is often noted for its natural sheen and extra durability.
BRAZILLIAN: A basic cotton grown exclusively in Brazil and has a standard staple length.
BAMBOO: A natural fiber blended with cotton to produce a towel that is ultra-absorbent and possesses a natural silky sheen.
Towels are available in various sizes as listed below (not all sizes in all styles):
BATH: The standard body towel for drying off after a shower or bath.
BATH SHEET: Larger than a bath towel, it's a more luxurious size towel that you can really wrap yourself up in.
HAND: For drying hands after washing.
WASHCLOTH: Used in and out of the tub/shower for body, hands and face.
FINGERTIP: Smaller in size than the hand towel and often used in guest bathrooms or when entertaining.
TUBMAT: Dense and absorbent it is used for stepping out of the tub or shower.
WHICH TOWEL SUITS YOUR NEEDS BEST
TERRY: When you see terry, it simply means that the towel has loops. The most absorbent towels will be made of cotton with loops across the entire surface. The longer and denser the loops are, the more durable and absorbent the towels will be.
VELOUR: The fibers of velour towels stand up on the surface like blades of grass and are identified by cut loops which make the surface of the towel smooth. This surface lends itself to a clear display of a printed design and is ultra soft, though not as absorbent as terry.
DECORATIVE: These towels also come in various styles:
JACQUARD: Pattern is woven directly into the fabric.
PRINT: Design is printed on the surface of the towel.
EMBELLISHED: Accented with decorative trim and/or designer embroidery.
OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW
COMBED: The fibers of the towel are combed to create soft and strong yarns by removing short uneven fibers. The fibers that are left behind are long, straight fibers that are even and aligned.
MICROFIBER: Modal or Beech are woven with cotton to create an ultra absorbent towel that also dries quickly.
ZERO TWIST: Twist refers to the number of twists per inch of yarn, therefore the lower the amount of twist in a yarn, the longer the loops leaving the towel extremely plush. With long staple cotton yarn, low or zero twist fabric can be achieved.
TWO PLY: Double the amount of yarn is used in the manufacturing process for increased absorbency and durability. The two ply towels tend to have a densely woven pile and a substantial, weighty feel.
HYGRO COTTON: The yarn has a hollow core to allow air space at the center of the yarn to absorb water as it runs down the loop which enables it to capture more water. The towel also lofts well and becomes extra fluffy with washing.