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Putting Kitchen Towels to the Test

September 15, 2022

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Whenever Chris is doing anything in the kitchen, he’s got a kitchen towel tossed over his shoulder. It’s a little trick of the trade he’s been doing ever since I can remember and it’s purely practical. Chris is all about doing things effectively and efficiently, even down to wiping up messes. When he’s cooking he likes to be able clean as he goes, rather than walking over and rinsing his hands off between every chopped vegetable. Time is everything baby, especially in the kitchen. We’ve been testing products from pillow inserts to stick vacuums and it only made sense that we put kitchen towels to the test next.

Let’s do this!

Testing Kitchen Towels

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Over the span of two weeks, Chris has been using and abusing a bunch of kitchen towels. He has his own particular set of qualities he likes in his kitchen towels (I would expect nothing less) so he wanted to really test them out. He even washed and dried them all a couple of times because they tend to show their “true colors” after a few washes.

Here’s everything Chris looks for in a kitchen towel:

Above all, absorbency is critical. You want a kitchen towel that can really work! Fun fact about kitchen towels (and probably all towels) is that they’re not super absorbent out of the package. A couple of washes does the trick, so we took note of that.

Size is also important! You want it to be large and heavy enough to toss over the shoulder and stay put! Not too small, but also not too big. The mama bear of kitchen towels, if you will.

We also took notes of how each towel feels and looks! Let’s get into it.

Kitchen Towel Round-up

1. Williams Sonoma $27

These kitchen towels have been Chris’s go-to for years! They get an A+ on looks, feel, size and absorbency. Just an all around great towel for cleaning up spills, drying your hands and drying your dishes! Great price for a pack of 4.

2. Amazon Utopia $15

A 6 pack for this price is almost too good to be true. They look cute, but they’re a little small for Chris’s liking. You’re not going to be able to dry a whole round of pots and pans with one towel.

3. Coyuchi Organic Waffle $58

These are stiff! They feel more like dinner napkins than towels. Chris said he did not expect to get through cooking a whole meal with one of these. The price for a pack of 6 doesn’t hold up to the quality.

4. Olive & Linen Dots $20

There is not a cuter kitchen towel than this, and they come in more colors! I’m obsessed. We’ve been a fan of Olive & Linen for years and this holds up. The size is a tad large, and the price is up there, but if you’re looking to invest in a beautiful, absorbent kitchen towel, this is it! It also has a hanging loop in the middle if you prefer to hang your towels on hooks. We usually just hang ours over the oven rails.

5. Homaxy Grid $19

I really wanted to love these but they’ve actually got a really narrow shape and they shed. Maybe that would improve after more washes? Still really cute and they come in a pack of 4.

6. Py Home Waffle $16

First impressions? These were kind of stiff and abrasive. Chris noted that they might even scratch his knives which is alarming haha. They did soften up with a few washes and they were surprisingly absorbent! Nice that it comes in a color variety pack and they do have a hanging loop and tear away tag.

7. Olive & Linen Turkish Terry $18

These are very soft and very huge. What’s nice about this towel is that it has a smooth flat weave on one side, and a plush terry loop on the back. Really absorbent and definitely the softest. Also has a hanging loop!

8. Ripple $18

These ripple towels were actually great! They have a really right weave, so they’re really absorbent. I can see these towels living a long life.

9. Target Cotton Striped $6

Really good size on these! They have a looped terry side and seem to be really thick and absorbent. Great quality and price for a pack of 2.

10. Geometry $17

If you haven’t heard of Geometry before, they have these tea towels with a Geoweave technology. Feels like a microfiber cloth but it’s supposed to be absorbent and quick drying. In our experience they don’t absorb as well as the Olive & Linen ones. They have so many prints to choose from but I’m all for this simple grid. I don’t love that it’s one layer, but this isn’t going to shed one bit.

11. All-Clad Striped $20

This has a similar design to the Olive & Linen Turkish towel. Flat weave on one side and terry on the other. It’s not as soft, but it absorbed just fine and it’s you get 3 towels for the price of one Olive & Linen.

12. All-Clad Checked $9

This kitchen towel was great! It was able to dry the most dishes before starting to leave streaks. I personally don’t love the logo embroidered into the towel, but the grid design is so nice.

13. Blue & White Cotton Tea Towels $17

These tea towels are so so cute but they don’t hold their shape well at all and they get basically a 0 for absorbency. Kind of a gauzy material. Again, super cute, but not functional for how we use kitchen towels.

14. Crate & Barrel Oversized Waffle $17

These babies are soooo nice. The waffle texture is really lovely and they held their shape well after a few washes. They aren’t #1 in absorbency but they definitely got the job done.


Chris’s tried and true Williams Sonoma towels were still his favorite. I was doubtful they would hold up against all these towels but after all these years, they’re still the best.

And me? My favorite are the Crate & Barrel waffle towels. I love the subtle texture so much and they really nice to dry those oversized dishes with.

Shop Dish Towels

Be sure to check out all of the other product tests we’ve done and continue to send us recommendations of what we could test next!

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What do you think?

  1. Annie says:

    You should try the Sur la Table kitchen towels. They were one of the most popular items when I worked there.

  2. Gigi says:

    We have used W-S kitchen towels for decades; the retired ones are even now doing good work in the car-washing department. I also use thirsty white cotton towels for drying crystal and glass. Cheers.

  3. So funny that ya’ll did this! I definitely have my go to towels that I pull first and then the ones that sit at the bottom of the drawer and I honestly probably just need to get rid of. This makes me want to figure out what brand the ones I love are, stock up, and then get rid of everything else!

  4. CMR says:

    Did you wash the Coyuchi towels before using them? They are stiff out of the package but I found they fluff up a lot after washing and become super absorbent. They’re my favorite

  5. Ann says:

    I’ve been buying the Williams Sonoma towels for years, but my latest set sheds a ton of very fine lint! Super obvious on surfaces I wipe. Really hoping it’s a one-off problem, but I have a little less faith now. I use a gifted Geometry towel to dry dishes and it’s my new favorite – super absorbent! Thanks for the round up :)

  6. Jennifer Baldwin says:

    Totally agree— Williams Sonoma are the best!

  7. Sarah says:

    William Sonoma have been my favorite for years but then I heard that they aren’t the same so I was hesitant to reorder. Glad you still think they are worth it.

  8. Jennifer says:

    I love these comparison posts! I can attest to the longevity of these towels. They hold up so well, I wasn’t tempted to buy new towels after our kitchen remodel – the old ones look just great!

  9. Cheryl says:

    I like Bed Bath & Beyond’s Our Table Everyday Solid Kitchen Towels – it took me a long time to find towels that weren’t a pattern including white that soon looks dingy! They are a good size and a nice weight cotton towel. So they are the towels on display by the sink or hanging on the oven door.

    My workhorse towels (used in place of paper towels for a lot of tasks) are Walmart’s Mainstays Flour Sack Kitchen Towels. They are thinner cotton but very absorbent and cheap enough that I don’t care how stained they get.

  10. Sheila says:

    Thanks for this. Do the WS towels roll or curl on the ends after washing? It is annoying to me when towels look like they need to be ironed to lie flat for storage.

  11. Stacy says:

    Thanks for this roundup – I love your blog
    I’m pretty surprised you didn’t test a for flour sack towel!

    • Jaymi Leigh says:

      Ah you’re totally missing out if you haven’t tried the cotton hearth and hand kitchen towels! They’re nice and big, good weight, and super duper absorbent. I think they’re $3.99 a piece and absolute workhorses. Quick dry time too!

  12. Jennifer says:

    I love this series – so helpful! I was wondering if you had additional information on the shedding of these towels, as I have struggled to find kitchen towels to dry glasses (specifically wine glasses) with that don’t shed fibers. Thank you so much!

  13. Lauren says:

    We have two kinds of kitchen towels – the cute ones on the oven rail for drying hands, and then the workhorse towels that live in a drawer or over my shoulder. These towels take a beating, wash well, are super absorbent, and do a great job at polishing.

    SINLAND Microfiber Dish Drying Towels Dish Towels Waffle Weave Kitchen Towels 16 Inch X 24 Inch 10 Pack Grey

  14. Kate says:

    Agree with the Williams Sonoma towels, they are our perennial favorites. We also love the super cheap Ikea dishtowels (the ones that sort of look French) – they cost less than $1, absorbent, soft, hanging loop, and because of the price, easy to ruin and dispose of. We have the Ikea towels in two different stripes – one is towels, the other is used as napkins. I’ve even ironed them and used them at Thanksgiving.

  15. Laura says:

    How do you keep your towels looking nice? mine stain so quickly, no matter how I wash them.

  16. Thao Tran says:

    100% agree! We’ve been using William Sonoma towels for 20 years ever since my sister worked at Pottery Barn in high school and got them at a discount hahaha best kitchen towels, hands down!

  17. Justy says:

    I’m a believer of having a couple different types of towels, deep absorbent – really thin tea, an a mid-weight, along with dish cloths.

    I fell in love with a pack on amazon last year and I’ve bought them 3 more times so I always have a stash. it has all three categories! And recently bought new dishcloths that hold up to washing too. and

  18. EmilyH says:

    This is great! I find it hard to find good kitchen towels because they’re all so thin and don’t seem absorbent. But it sounds like Chris values the same things that I do in towels! Ha

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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