The best baby towels to buy in 2021

07 May 2021

baby wrapped in a towel

Bathing your baby is one of the best bonding experiences you can have. Keep the fun going with a cosy cuddle in a soft towel. Here are our choices for the best baby bath towels to keep your little one warm and dry.

We all know the importance of bathing your baby. It’s not just about the practicalities of getting them clean, but also about bonding. Bath time is a great opportunity for extra cuddles and to splash about and explore different sights, sounds and textures.

But why stop when you lift your baby out of the bath? Research has shown that there are countless benefits around wrapping your baby in a soft warm towel and enjoying positive interactions to encourage feelings of security and closeness.

Here are the best baby towels to buy in 2021.

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

Price: From £12.09 | Buy now from Amazon

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

Made from hypoallergenic microfibre, this towel is safe for sensitive baby skin and is durable enough to withstand repeated washing. Microfibre isn’t renowned for its thickness as the focus is more about absorbency but the feel of the towel itself is very soft. It also offers SPF 50 protection and is chlorine-resistant so you can use it confidently on holiday.

It has a hood and a clever swaddle design, with flaps at the sides and feet area so you can completely wrap your baby up securely once out of the water. It comes with a soft pink or aqua blue trim and the hood is shaped into a cute penguin, perfect for those moments when you want to grab the camera.

Buy now from Amazon

2. Best budget baby towel: Ikea Rödhake Baby

Price: £9 | Buy now from Ikea

“IKEA has large hooded towels – great quality and cheap! We actually use Ikea towels as swimming towels as they are large!”

2. Best budget baby towel: Ikea Rödhake Baby

This is a super choice for a bargain price. The Rödhake towel is made from 100% sustainably grown cotton, so it’ll be soft on your baby’s skin. The hood is attached to the edge of the towel rather than fashioned out of a corner, meaning that the full body of the towel can be wrapped around your baby.

The unisex rabbit and blueberry detail is attractive, although a white towel will almost certainly lose its brightness over time.

This towel doesn’t have the thick plushness of other more luxurious brands, but for the price it’s a great option.

Buy now from Ikea

3. Best overall baby towel: Tutti Bimbi Certified Organic Bamboo Hooded Baby Bath Towel

Price: £19.99 | Buy now from Amazon

3. Best overall baby towel: Tutti Bimbi Certified Organic Bamboo Hooded Baby Bath Towel

Combining a number of important features for a pretty reasonable price, this baby towel is a great all-rounder. Firstly, it’s made from completely natural materials which is worth investing in to avoid your baby’s sensitive skin being irritated by harmful chemicals often added to man-made fabrics during the production process.

This towel also measures 90×90cm so you’ll be covered from the newborn baths all the way through to the toddler stage. It’s also luxuriously thick for a guaranteed snuggly feel and has a hood for keeping your baby’s head nice and warm, with a super cute mouse design.

Buy now from Amazon

4. Best for older babies: Pottery Barn Kids Rainbow Hooded Bath Towel

Price: £39 | Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

4. Best for older babies: Pottery Barn Kids Rainbow Hooded Bath Towel

Pottery Barn is a well-established brand with a reputation for high-quality materials and interesting designs. This Rainbow Hooded Bath Towel Wrap is an ideal choice for a baby past the newborn stage or moving towards toddlerhood thanks to its generous size.

The attractive hood is attached to the outside edge of the towel sheet, so the full length can be wrapped around the child, giving you several years’ use. It’s made from soft and ultra-absorbent cotton, certified as safe for sensitive skin. It’s available in a range of beautiful designs including rabbits, lambs and even French Bulldogs.

At £39, this towel is at the higher end of the price spectrum so it would be ideal as a generous gift for a friend or family member. If you’re looking for a towel that’ll be warm, practical and last a long time (and look really pretty hanging on a bathroom peg!) then this is one to consider.

Buy now from John Lewis & Partners

5. Best for clever design: Cuddledry Hands-Free Baby Apron

Price: £34.99 | 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”.

5. Best for clever design: Cuddledry Hands-Free Baby Apron

This towel has a really great design for making bath time easier for young babies. It works like an apron – you attach the towel to yourself with a strap around your neck, leaving you with both hands free to cradle your baby and hold them close to you while drying at the same time. Made from mostly natural material, this bamboo towel is safe for sensitive baby skin too.

This design is a great way of helping babies to feel safe after being lifted out of the bath. It’s also important for babies to keep warm, so being nestled close to your body while you wrap them in the towel is an added bonus.

It's pretty expensive but this is definitely a premium product and one that you’ll enjoy using when you have a newborn to keep them as close to you as possible.

Buy now from Amazon

6. Best luxury baby bath towel: The White Company Hydrocotton Baby Towel

Price: £24 | 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.”

6. Best luxury baby bath towel: The White Company Hydrocotton Baby Towel

When you’re looking for luxury then The White Company is a great option for high-quality products. Amazingly soft to the touch, the hydrocotton feels softer and thicker than what you’d expect from a traditional towel. The brand claims that this is down to the weaving process. Research into the qualities of hydrocotton has shown that it’s considerably more absorbent than normal cotton and extremely fast-drying to boot.

The Hydrocotton Baby Towel comes in two sizes, so if you invest in the smaller one for your newborn, you’ll definitely need to replace it with the larger size after a couple of years.

Available in a soft pink, blue and classic white, it makes a stylish choice for a generous baby gift.

Buy now from The White Company

7. Best hooded baby bath towel: Little Tinkers World Premium Hooded

Price: From £16.99 | Buy now from Amazon

7. Best hooded baby bath towel: Little Tinkers World Premium Hooded

If you’re looking for a good quality towel with a focus on fun, then the World Premium Hooded Towel is one for you. Little Tinkers has got the ‘dressing up’ element of bath time well and truly sussed. There's a great range of characters to choose from including a dinosaur, a lion, an elephant and a unicorn, all in fantastically bright colours with clever embellishments.

This towel is more suited to an older baby due to the generous sizing, which is helped by the attached hood existing as a separate element (not made up of one of the towel’s corners). This means that the full surface area of the towel can be wrapped around your child. So if you want a towel that’ll last a few years, this is a good option.

Buy now from Amazon

8. Best baby bath robe: M&S Organic Cotton Baby Robe

Price: £18 | Buy now from M&S

8. Best baby bath robe: M&S Organic Cotton Baby Robe

Often you’ll want to be sure that your baby is completely covered and in that case you may prefer a towel with sleeves. A specially designed bathrobe is a great idea, and a lot of parents believe this to be a must for a trip to the swimming pool.

This option from M&S is made from organic cotton and is super soft and absorbent. It also has a hood with cute novelty ears and a tie fastening at the waist, although a zip or popper fastening would be more practical for a young baby.

Bathrobes are more size specific than regular baby towels. You’ll want to buy the right size for your baby to be sure of a snug fit and, since babies grow at a rapid pace, you may need to replace it before too long. However, if you manage to get hold of one as a gift, you’ll almost certainly enjoy having it, even if it’s used instead as an extra layer to play in before bedtime.

Buy now from Marks & Spencer

9. Best for classic style: Shnuggle Bamboo Hooded Baby Towel

Price: £17.22 | Buy now from Amazon

9. Best for classic style: Shnuggle Bamboo Hooded Baby Towel

When you think of a classic baby towel, this pretty much fits the bill. It has all the elements you’d want, such as being made from a bamboo and cotton blend, making it naturally antibacterial and safe for baby’s skin.

The classic unisex style of white towelling with a soft grey trim makes it an ideal gift to buy before a baby arrives.

It also has the all-important hood feature to keep your baby’s head snug and warm after a bath. However, with the hood being made up of a corner of the towel’s main body, this means there’s less material left for wrapping around your baby.

You’ll likely find that your baby will outgrow this towel more quickly than other designs, but for the low price it’s cheap enough to justify buying for your baby’s first year.

Buy now from Amazon

10. Best baby beach towel: JoJo Maman Bébé Embroidered Towelling Poncho

Price: £19 | Buy now from JoJo Maman Bébé

10. Best baby beach towel: JoJo Maman Bébé Embroidered Towelling Poncho

When you’re having fun at the beach or around a hotel pool, you don’t want to faff around trying to wrap a towel around a wriggly baby or toddler. This poncho design is perfect to throw over their head and shoulders, keeping them snug, dry and protected from the sun. It also has a convenient hood for added head protection.

One of the towel’s nicest features is the popper front neck opening, which allows you to pull it over your child’s head really easily to eliminate unnecessary stress or discomfort.

Made from super soft cotton towelling, it comes in a choice of pink or blue.

Buy now from JoJo Maman Bébé

Do you really need baby towels?

This is a big debate amongst parents. On a practical level, a specific baby towel is indeed a luxury, as a regular towel will of course do exactly the same job.

However, and particularly if you are a first-time parent, you'll be keen to make bath time as easy and enjoyable as possible. The best thing about a baby towel is the size. It’s so much easier to wrap a baby up quickly and safely if the amount of material you are using is the perfect size for the child.

Baby towels are typically designed with a focus on softness and are usually made from natural materials – a great reassurance when you want to protect sensitive skin at all costs.

We looked into what Mumsnetters thought, and the response was pretty divided. Here’s what some parents had to say on the matter:

“I have the hoodie ones and still use them for DD1 (nearly four) and DD2 (two). I think they are great”.

“Your baby should have their own towel(s) – but it doesn't need to be a special design/style.”

“I wouldn't bother – after a couple of months, they are too small to really wrap your baby up. Just use towels you have already or buy normal bath towels. At least then you will get some good use from them”.

Our final verdict?

A baby towel is not an essential baby item but if you have the cash to spare (or even better, you have friends wanting to buy a useful gift) then a soft, cosy towel tailored perfectly to the size of your small baby is something you’ll probably love using.

What towels should I use for a newborn?

A newborn’s skin is extra sensitive, so you’ll want to pick a towel that is soft. Try to find one made from natural materials, to avoid harmful chemicals (sometimes used in manufacturing processes) which might irritate your baby’s skin.

The style or design is totally up to you, but many parents like a hooded option to trap in body heat that can quickly be lost through your baby’s head. A cosy warm hood should keep your baby warm for longer, adding a few more minutes of that all-important cuddle time after the bath.

How many baby towels do I need?

You could get away with having just one towel per child (it’s not recommended to share towels), but it depends on your washing facilities and time on your hands. If you can easily complete a load of washing in a day before it’s bath time again, then there’s no reason why you couldn’t just have one good quality towel and simply wash it when you need to.

However, many parents like to have at least two or even three towels, as babies can be unpredictable and surprise accidents when nappies are off are inevitable. Also, it’s definitely more relaxing when you're going through those sleep deprived nights with a young baby to be able to leave a couple of dirty towels in the laundry and not need to get to them straight away.

What is the best baby towel?

To make this decision you need to look at the overall key features and find the product that covers these the most effectively at the most reasonable price.

Important features for a baby towel:

  • Softness
  • Quality of material – will it protect your baby’s skin?
  • Thickness
  • Durability – will it withstand lots of washing?
  • Design – does it have a hood, added sleeves, is it suitable for a newborn?
  • Is it highly absorbent, and how quickly does it dry?

We think the best baby towel to buy is the Tommee Tippee Newborn Swaddle Dry Towel.

The hypoallergenic microfibre towelling is safe for sensitive baby skin and is durable enough to withstand repeated washing. It’s super absorbent and quick-drying which, with the added features of SPF 50 and being chlorine-resistant, makes it a great option for the beach, swimming pool and bath time alike.

The hood and practical swaddle design make it easy to use, especially for the newborn stage.

At just under £15, the price is reasonable enough to invest in more than one, so you’ll have a spare on those days when you can’t keep up with the laundry. All in all, a recommended buy.

How we chose our recommendations

Before looking at any reviews, we first went to the experts; real parents who'd bought the products themselves. We trawled the Mumsnet forums for recommendations on potties and toilet seats for all occasions, lifestyles and budgets, also noting any that parents said were a waste of money or a disappointment in any way.

Next we researched the reviews market, looking at what products other websites and print titles had recommended, and consulted consumer sites such as Which?.

We also looked at which products had won awards and accolades, and why. We then collated all this information to see which came out on top to create a final roundup.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us to fund more helpful articles like this one (more details here).