Does your search for the perfect yoga towel make you feel like throwing in the towel?
There’s an abundance of brands out there, but not all of them are created equally.
The best yoga towels don’t slip or bunch up, and they absorb like sponges. Since they cost more than your average bath towel, it makes sense to do some shopping around before settling on a brand.
If you’re in the habit of bringing a regular towel from home to your yoga class, you’ll be surprised by the difference between a terrycloth bath towel and a towel that’s specifically designed for use during yoga.
Why use a yoga towel?
1. They're absorbent.
A yoga mat towel is a great addition to your workout gear collection. The top reason, especially if you’re a hot yoga practitioner, is that they absorb sweat.
Do you know that if you weighed yourself before and after a yoga class, you’d often find that you weigh less afterward? It's possible to lose up to 1.5 liters of water during one hot yoga class.
Much of those 1.5 liters of sweat will wind up on your yoga mat. That's a problem because a wet yoga mat is a slippery yoga mat, and if you're like me, you don't want to face-plant during downward dog.
Using an absorbent yoga towel can take some anxiety out of your hot yoga class because with a good one, you'll know there’s less chance of slipping and sliding on your mat.
2: They give you a better grip.
Yoga towels are engineered to allow for more grip than a pad or mat alone. They’re typically made of microfiber materials that become even more ‘grippy’ as they get wet.
Moreover, unlike a beach towel, they’re designed to stay in place. Some yoga towels come with sleeves or bands that help them to attach to the yoga mat to stay put during an entire vigorous workout.
Others have rubber nubs on their undersides that help to keep them in place. All this adds up to increased safety and stability during your workout.
3: They protect against germs.
Fitness facilities' practices of cleaning yoga mats vary widely. Since the rise of popularity in yoga, doctors have seen a spike in the number of patients suffering from contagious conditions like athlete’s foot and plantar warts.
If you’re using a yoga mat provided by the studio or gym, putting your yoga towel over that mat can help to ensure proper hygiene.
There are products like yoga mat wipes and hand and foot mitts that you can wear, but it makes sense to simplify the process by bringing a clean yoga towel with you when you're using a shared mat.
Using yoga towels is also an excellent way to keep your own mats clean and in good condition.
Yoga towels versus regular towels
Regular towels are poorly suited to yoga class. Towels made for yoga have non-skid surfaces on both sides; this provides needed stability and safety. Bath or beach towels will bunch up and slide around. Who wants to waste precious class time adjusting and readjusting their towel?
Yoga towels are sized to fit over mats precisely and to stay in place. Some types feature small rubber grips on one side to give added skid proofing.
They also are much better at absorbing sweat than bath towels, which is particularly appreciated by Bikram and hot yoga practitioners. They also provide more cushioning than ordinary towels.
How to use a yoga towel
All you have to do is place the towel on your mat. You want it to cover the mat only and not spill over the edges; this allows you to have precision with your yoga positioning.
Some yogis recommend sprinkling water on the towel before starting to exercise for improved grip. After class, just throw your towel into the washing machine and then tumble or air dry.
What makes one yoga towel different from another?
The best yoga towels have their own patented materials that make the feel, grip and absorbency of their towels stand out from their competitors.
Others provide a means of attaching their towels to pads and mats that other towels simply don't have. Thicknesses, sizes and color options also vary.
Not just for Yoga
You don’t have to save your yoga towel for yoga class only. Since they’re exceptionally absorbent, they’re ideal companions for any fitness class.
They also dry quickly, so you’re not left with heavy, soggy fabric when you're done working out.
Some folks even use their towels in a pinch when a mat or pad isn’t available since yoga towels provide softness as well as grip and stability.
Where to buy
Most yoga studios or gyms that offer yoga classes sell yoga towels. You can also find them online and at sporting goods stores.
These towels are available in a broad spectrum of colors, thicknesses and fabric blends. The cost for the best yoga towels ranges from about $20 to $60.
I actually prefer to buy everything on Amazon - because...well...it is so easy.
The best five yoga towels
Ok now let's have a look at the yoga towels I liked best during my test.
NamaSTAY sets itself apart from its competitors not just with its clever name.
It's the only hot yoga towel that attaches to your mat.
- NamaSTAY towels attach to yoga mats at the corners using sleeves that keep the towel in place.
- They're made from 100 percent microfiber to wick away sweat.
- They stay in place well even during very active yoga classes.
- They have a grippy feel that keeps you from sliding thanks to the finger-like texture of microfiber.
- They please the environmentally-minded among us since they're made from 100 percent recyclable fabric.
- They hold up well after multiple washings.
- The main con of this brand is that the microfiber doesn’t seem to absorb as well as the fabric of other yoga towels.
- Some users of NamaSTAY complain that they're pricy for the quality.
Yogitoes is perhaps the Rolls Royce of yoga towels. It’s a top-selling brand with rave reviews that’s been around since 2002, but it’s also one of the most expensive yoga towels out there, weighing in at a hefty $64 retail.
- Yogitoes are non-slip towels. That’s probably because of the little silicone nubs on their undersides.
Yogitoes has the patent on these dots, so you won’t be able to find this exact feature on any other yoga towel.
- Because of the dots, these towels stay in place on mats, hard floors and carpets. Just about anywhere you place them, you’re going to have a stable place for your poses.
- Yogitoes are lightweight, making them easy to carry around in your gym bag.
- Yogitoes are eco-friendly. Each towel is made with eight recycled plastic bottles. It also takes less energy to make these towels since they have 50 percent recycled content.
- They're machine washable.
- They come in a huge selection of colors and sizes.
- They're expensive for a yoga towel. Most yoga towels average about $20.
However, you can typically find deals on Yogitoes towels on . Expect to pay around $50.
- Their deeply-colored towels may bleed the first few times you wash them. It’s best to wash them separately the first few times to remove excess dye.
You also need to be careful if you’re using a darker towel on a light mat or while wearing light colored clothing; there can be some color transfer.
Yogitoes states this bleeding occurs because they use dyes that are free of heavy metals, azo and lead.
The Yoga Towel
With a name like The Yoga Towel, you’d think this must be the yoga towel of choice. However, it seems like that might depend on what you plan to use this towel for.
It’s not equally suited to both vigorous and chilled-out exercise.
- These towels come in a rainbow of colors and a selection of sizes. It’s always nice to be able to coordinate with your other workout gear or at least make your yoga station easy to find in the sea of yoga mats at the gym.
- Care of The Yoga Towel is easy; machine wash cold with like colors and tumble dry.
- They don't bleed in the wash like some other yoga towel brands are known to do.
- The towels are thick for added comfort; this is handy for those times when you need to use the towel in place of a mat.
- The Yoga Towel is half the price of some premium brand yoga towels.
- They fold down tight for easy carrying.
- The Yoga Towel bunches more than comparable or even cheaper towels.
The bunched-up fabric can feel annoying under your feet, and it can be aggravating to have to keep adjusting the towel during class.
- The Yoga Towel might be better suited to static stretching and floor work.
- For the same reason, if you drag your feet, this may not be the best towel for you.
I’ve heard this towel described as a replica of the microfiber towel you’d find in the automotive section but bigger.
Well, I suppose they are both made from the same soft and super-absorbent material.
This towel has many happy customers, which is what places it on this list of best yoga towels.
- These towels come in multiple sizes. Their website lists a choice of 24 different sizes to choose from.
- They're known to be extremely absorbent, which is essential during a hot yoga class.
- The colors of these towels are vibrant. It's nice to get a little extra pep for your workout with a brightly colored towel.
- The material is thick compared to other towels, which gives it extra softness and cushioning.
- They're lightweight towels that are easy to carry around.
- These towels are only available in five colors. Some people like to have more choice than that.
- The microfiber fabric is "grippy" enough that it feel like it snags at your skin; some users find this unpleasant.
- The lightness of these towels makes them prone to bunching. They don't have any grips on the undersides like some other brands.
One way to help with this is to sprinkle some water on your towel before starting your practice. That can help it to grip better.
- The towels are very long but slightly too narrow for many yoga mats.
Susama seems to be a company that focuses on simplicity. While some yoga towel makers offer a delightful assortment of colors or sizes, Susama offers only one size and one color yoga towel.
Instead of investing in variety, they seem to invest in marketing and customer service.
For example, they’re one of the few yoga towel companies I’ve seen that offers free shipping with a purchase of two, and they also include what they call a ‘sports book’ with your purchase.
- This towel is versatile. The makers recommend it for optional use as a premium bath or beach towel; something you can’t say about yoga towels that have rubber nubs on their undersides.
If you decide to take a break from yoga or give it up entirely at some point, you can find other uses for these towels.
- You can receive free shipping if you order two, so if you know you’re going to be using yoga towels, it can save you money.
- This towel is very absorbent, which is especially useful for hot yoga classes.
- This towel moves around a lot. Again, it probably sticks better once it’s soaked. But depending on how much you sweat, this may not have enough grip, especially for classes where you move around a lot and change position quickly.
- It may not hold up that well in the wash. I’ve noticed more comments about the Susama towel than about any other that it started to get ragged around the edges after only a few washings.
The stitched-on trim seems to be the issue. Clearly, you want a yoga towel that’s going to hold up to multiple launderings.
- It only comes in one size and one color: gray with a lime green trim. Not everyone sees their yoga towel as a fashion accessory, but typically, choice is good.
The best of the best yoga towels
I wish I could say my choice of best yoga towel was a little-known, dirt-cheap underdog. However, once you get past the sticker shock, there really are no drawbacks to Yogitoes.
They come in a large selection of attractive colors and prints, they have nubs on the undersides to make sure they stay in place no matter what surface you have them on, and they're highly absorbent.
Throw in the fact that each of these towels contains the equivalent of eight recycled plastic bottles, and the decision is easy.
The only minus with Yogitoes is you have to watch out for color bleeding the first few times you wash them, and that's only due to the safety of the dyes they contain.
I think it's worth it to spend more for a high-quality towel like Yogitoes; you can be confident your towel won't budge or bunch during your yoga routine.
So, what do you think? What is your favorite yoga towel? Any recommendations? Let us know in the comments!