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Best baby towels: hooded, soft and fast-drying styles for bath time, swimming or the beach

Keep little ones dry, cosy and warm with a soft towel specially designed for babies, from newborns to toddlers. Here’s our pick of the best.

By Gemma Lumley | Last updated Apr 13, 2023

newborn baby in towel

A bath time routine is an important part of signalling the end of a fun day, and wrapping your baby in a warm and fluffy towel after splashing in a lavender-scented bubble bath is one of the loveliest parts of parenthood. Softness, washability and a snug hood are essential features of a baby towel, and with quality and effectiveness in mind, we’ve brought you the best to buy this year. 

Hopefully, your little love will be calm and ready for bed as you gently dry them. Though as they get older, these moments are likely to be more about trying to calm down a giggling bundle of energy, while making sure they’re all dried off. 

Hooded towels are a fantastic way to envelop your child in cosy softness before snuggling up with a favourite book and drifting into blissful sleep. Environmentally and skin-friendly organic bamboo is an excellent option if quick-drying towels are a priority too. Alternatively, there are robust cotton beach and swim towels available in jolly, bright designs that would work well at home too. 

To help you pick the right towel for your baby, we’ve extensively researched parents' tried and tested suggestions on the Mumsnet forums. We’ve also evaluated the products that trusted baby care experts recommend, along with honest reviews from parents on retailer sites to bring you the top 10 towels you can rely on. 

Here are the best baby towels to buy.

1. Best overall baby towel: The Original Cuddledry Hooded Apron Towel

Cuddledry towel

Price: £39.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“My mum bought my children Cuddledry towels. I think they come in two sizes and she bought the larger one. You can really wrap the baby up in it and my four-year-old still uses it. It was a bit big when she was walking around in it at age two, but they also do a smaller size.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user BendingSpoons)

Parents and their babies have loved award-winning Cuddledry towels for years. The innovative design attaches to the carer for security and protection from wetness then wraps newborns, older babies and toddlers in softness. 

They are crafted from soft, antibacterial bamboo and hard-wearing, sustainable cotton so they are gentle on delicate skin while lasting for wash after wash. 

Cuddledry towels aren’t cheap, but the way they are designed means that the larger of the two sizes available will work beautifully from birth to independent bathing. They are also an excellent idea for swimming as you won’t accidentally drop them on a potentially dirty floor. 

Key specs 

  • Size: 112 x 1 x 75 cm
  • Fabric: ‎56% bamboo; 35% cotton; 9% polyester
  • Colours available: Oatmeal; white; grey; pink; blue

Read next: The best nappy bins to eliminate smells, as recommended by parents

2. Best budget baby towel: Liname Organic Bamboo Hooded Baby Towel

Liname towels

Price: £13.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Liname has developed some of the best value baby towels available in the UK. There is a choice of cute animal designs, and they are made from high-quality bamboo and cotton fabric that is soft, quick-drying and robust. 

We were impressed by the size and clever design of these towels. The rectangular shape with the hood in the middle of the long side means that they will grow with your child, and the thick fabric will last for years of machine washing

The reasonable price of these hooded baby towels allows carers to purchase enough to have one ready to go while the other is being washed or to have one for each child. They would make a great gift too. 

Key specs 

  • Size: 89 x 89 cm
  • Fabric: Bamboo; cotton
  • Colours available: Grey; white; blue; pink

3. Best baby bath towel set: Aden + Anais Pack of 2 Hooded Towels

Aden Anais baby towels

Price: £17.64 | Buy now from Amazon

Aden + Anais are a trusted baby brand that Mumsnet users have tried and loved time and time again. While they're most well known for their muslin cloths, this set of two cosy hooded towels is a fantastic buy at a great price. They are made from 100% premium quality cotton that feels soft on delicate skin and soaks up an impressive amount of water. 

We loved the addition of the smoother, muslin cotton on the inside of the hood, which will feel lovely as the little one snuggles their head and face in. Each towel is a generous size that will comfortably wrap up both newborns and toddlers. 

For maximum softness that will improve over time, make sure you machine wash your new towels before the first bath. They can be tumble-dried on low too. 

Key specs 

  • Size: 76 x 76 cm
  • Fabric: Cotton
  • Colours available: Pink and blue

4. Best baby swimming towel: ClevaMama Hooded Apron Bath Towel

Clevermama towel

Price: £17.20 | Buy now from Amazon

“Wrapped DS up in a hooded towel with a snack whilst I got dry and by then the snack was finished and he was pretty much dry and I got him dressed.” (Towel design idea recommended by Mumsnet user RestingPandaFace)

This extra-large ClevaMama towel is ideal for swimming as it is big enough to keep your baby or toddler warm. It can also be attached around your neck so that it won’t fall onto the wet floor as you use both hands to dry a wriggly little body. 

The fabric is sustainably sourced, naturally antibacterial cotton that will last for years, absorb water efficiently and has a clever weave that will dry the delicate area between fingers and toes. 

This towel is hooded for extra cosy comfort and it's a lovely design too, s0 we think it would make the perfect gift for new parents. 

Key specs 

  • Size: ‎99.06 x 99.06 cm
  • Fabric: 100% cotton
  • Colours available: Pink; grey 

5. Best baby towel for newborns: Tommee Tippee Newborn Swaddle Dry

Tommee Tippee baby towel

Price: £14.99 | Buy now from Amazon

“The hooded towels are great for babies so have a few of those.” (Towel style tried and tested by Mumsnet user Chelyanne)

Tommee Tippee have developed the Swaddle Dry towel specifically for newborns, so it’s just the right size to wrap up a tiny baby without having to faff with complicated fabric folding. 

The hypoallergenic microfibre material is soft from the first use, perfect for a tiny baby’s delicate skin. These towels dry quickly, trap radiant heat and have a small hood so that your newborn can stay warm without being swamped by material. 

Swaddle Dry towels are great for the beach and swimming too as they are resistant to chlorine damage and have an impressive SPF rating of 50. 

Key specs 

  • Size: 40 x 40 x 24 cm 
  • Fabric: 80% polyester; 20% polyamide
  • Colours available: Pink or blue

6. Best baby towel for toddlers and older children: IKEA JÄTTELIK Dinosaur Hooded Towel

IKEA baby towel

Price: £19.00 | Buy now from IKEA

“IKEA have large hooded towels, great quality and cheap! We actually use IKEA towels as swimming towels as they are large!” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Bol87)

IKEA’s JÄTTELIK towels are fun, generously sized and feel lovely against the skin. We adored the reptile-skin print funky green design with dinosaur spikes and a cute hood. Your dino mad kids will love wrapping up warm at home, the pool, or the beach. 

These cool towels are made from brushed, sustainably grown cotton terry cloth. They are super absorbent and are free from dyes, toxins and additives.

JÄTTELIK towels have a handy hanging hook, plus a large hood that will keep heat escaping from your child’s head from the pool to the changing room. It also keeps the towel in place as you dry them. 

Key specs 

  • Size: 140 x 97 cm
  • Fabric: 100% cotton 
  • Colours available: Green 

7. Best cotton baby towel: The White Company Hydrocotton Baby Towel

White Company towel

Price: From £26.00 | Buy now from The White Company

“I was given a large hooded towel from The White Company for DD2, it's lovely. Still really soft, and still big enough now that she's 17 months.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user LangClegsOpinionIsNoted)

The White Company’s hooded baby towels are made from hydrocotton, a unique fabric with ‘low twist’ technology. This innovation means they feel wonderfully thick and soft without being too heavy. In addition, the cotton absorbs water quickly, keeping your baby warm, but then dries quickly too. 

These towels are a luxury buy, but as they are effective, velvety and will maintain their quality and shape even after years of washing, we think they are worth the extra cash.

The hydrocotton towels come in pristine white, pink and blue and have adorable bear ears attached to the hood. They are also the perfect size for babies and toddlers alike. 

Key specs 

  • Size: 100 x 100 cm (two sizes available)
  • Fabric: Hydrocotton
  • Colours available: White; pink; blue

8. Best baby towel for thickness: HIPHOP PANDA Bamboo Hooded Baby Towel

Duck baby towel

Price: £28.79 | Buy now from Amazon

“Bamboo towels are super soft and my three-year-old still loves her hooded duck towel.” (Towel type tried and tested by Mumsnet user Fispi)

HIPHOP PANDA's gorgeous duck towel is great fun. The high-quality, chunky bamboo is robust; it has eco-friendly properties and a lovely thick and fluffy texture. It also dries quickly after each wash or use thanks to the two layer bamboo design, which claims to absorb 160% more water when compared to single layer bamboo fabric.

This fantastic towel works beautifully for children from the baby stage onwards, and the duck design of these hooded towels will delight little ones and make getting dried after a bubble bath less of a chore. 

One thing to note, however, is that it is shipped from the US so it may take a little longer to be delivered, but we think this cute towel is worth the wait.

Key specs 

  • Size: 76.2 x 76.2 cm
  • Fabric: 100% rayon made from bamboo
  • Colours available: Yellow

9. Best baby towel for a fun design: John Lewis and Partners Hooded Fox Baby Towel

John Lewis baby towel

Price: £22.00 |  Buy now from John Lewis and Partners

This bright and cheerful fox design, from John Lewis and Partners, is ideal for bath time, swimming, as a beach cover-up and even a fancy dress day as the Fantastic Mr Fox. It also comes in pink llama, blue dinosaur and penguin designs. 

The size of this gorgeous towel and the attached hood is suitable for a newborn to a 2-year-old, which is ideal if you don’t want to use a large towel on a newborn, but you do want your purchase to be value for money and last. 

Made from premium brushed cotton, these towels are machine washable, can be tumble dried and are durable enough to last for wash after wash. 

Key specs 

  • Size: L47 x W74cm
  • Fabric: 100% cotton 
  • Colours available: Orange

10. Best baby towel for the beach: Little Tinkers World Hooded Beach Towel

Lion bath towel

Price: £17.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Little Tinkers is a small family business, and their hooded beach towels come in two sizes, one for small babies and toddlers and the other for use up to seven-years-old. 

The bright and bold yellow and orange lion design is cheerful and fun. Your little ones will love playing make-believe as they keep warm after a bath or swim. 

The reassuringly thick fabric is made from 100% cotton that is sourced from renewable sources. We like that it is easy to machine wash and quick to dry too.

The texture of these cute towels is super soft, will absorb moisture efficiently and will last for as long as you need them to. The smaller version for babies does work out quite pricey though. 

Key specs 

  • Size: 35.8 x 26.7 cm 
  • Fabric: 100% cotton 
  • Colours available: Yellow lion or green dinosaur

Do babies need special bath towels?

Becoming a parent can be expensive, so it’s natural to want to avoid wasting money on unnecessary kit. However, we think buying at least two towels specifically for the baby’s use, and designed just for them, is a good idea. 

Good quality baby towels will be softer than standard towels, which are kind to sensitive skin. They will be smaller and so are easier to wrap a tiny baby in. Plus, child-specific designs may have special features such as head-warming hoods, buttons to keep them in place and quick-drying fabric. 

What towels should I use for a newborn?

The best baby towel material for a newborn is soft and fluffy cotton or bamboo. Both will absorb water quickly so that your baby is warm and dry moments after being lifted out of the bath. In addition, a hood will look adorable and trap heat escaping from your baby’s head. The size is important too; a bigger towel will be used by your child for much longer and therefore be better value for money. However, a smaller towel might be a better plan as it won’t swamp a newborn in swathes of material. 

How many baby towels do I need? 

The experience of many Mumsnet forum members is that they received baby towels as gifts from friends and family, so we suggest only buying a couple of towels to wash and use in the first week or two. 

Extra towels will be needed if you go on a beach holiday or take your little one to swimming lessons. Look for options that have SPF protection, chlorine resistance and clever ways to keep the towel from falling to the floor. 

What to look for when buying baby bath towels

  • Size: Some baby towels have a square shape with a small hood and are designed for small babies. Others are the size of a bath towel and, with folding, will suit newborns but will be big enough to fit toddlers and older children; these tend to be better value for money.
  • Washability: Not all baby towels can be washed at high temperatures or tumble dried, so check the care label. If you don’t have a tumble dryer, choose bamboo as it dries quicker than cotton. 
  • Material: Brushed cotton, terry towelling, microfibre, bamboo and cotton/bamboo mixes are popular fabrics for baby towels. The primary consideration for most parents is softness so look for towels with a high GSM (indicating quality) to make sure it meets your requirements. To ensure a snuggly texture, we suggest you buy one premium quality towel that will wash well rather than several cheap ones. 
  • Clever features: Hanging hooks for drying and fabric innovations providing softness and thickness while still being lightweight are both useful features to look out for. Similarly, buttons to adjust the fit of a towel and SPF protection are great ideas. 

What is the best baby towel? 

Cuddledry Hooded Apron Towels are a superb investment; they have a velvety texture, feature an innovative apron fastening to free up both hands for drying and cuddles, and wash and dry beautifully. 

How we chose our recommendations

Tried and tested products suggested by real parents

First we took to the Mumsnet forums to seek the opinions of real, unbiased parents on the baby towels they have rated over the years. From this, we collated a shortlist, noting the different brands and styles they'd tested and loved. 

Expert recommendations

Many hours have been spent evaluating independent baby and childcare expert websites and best buy lists. We looked for the towels and brands that came up time and time again, and had also been given awards for their quality. We also thoroughly researched recommendations from specialist retailers such as Mothercare at Boots and Mamas and Papas.

Authentic consumer reviews

We spent a lot of time reading through customer reviews for each product, weighing up the features parents found useful, and also making sure each product we suggest is up to task and worthy of the award title we have given it.

Why you should trust us

Mumsnet has been helping parents make their lives easier since 2000 and, in that time, we've seen, tried and reviewed thousands of products.

As the mother of two children, Jasmine and Liam, our writer Gemma was determined to provide honest and independent advice on baby towels you and your little ones will love using. 

Our writers always spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find amazing products that real parents will love. 

Transparency is vital to us, and that's why we're always honest about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their friends and family.