Which cooling towel is best?

Towels are commonly used to take moisture off of our bodies, but some towels can cool our bodies when wet. Cooling towels are specially designed to be used when you want to be cooled off. They’re perfect if you have an outdoor job that requires you to work in hot temperatures or if you’re going on a hike in warm temperatures. 

If you’re looking for towels that are lightweight and breathable, the Sukeen 4 Pack is the top choice.

What to know before you buy cooling towels

Materials

Cooling towels generally use materials made of microfiber, cotton or a combination of multiple materials, including polyvinyl acetate.

  • PVA: This is a synthetic material that is highly absorbent and retains moisture longer than other fabrics. PVA is machine-washable and dry to the touch, so it won’t get your clothes wet unless it’s completely soaked.
  • Microfiber: Many cooling towels are made from microfiber. Resembling the feel of a bathroom towel, microfiber towels are generally made from a polyester blend. Unlike PVA, microfiber won’t get stiff when dry, but it won’t stay cool as long as PVA. More suited for short-time usage, a dampened microfiber towel can transfer moisture to your clothes. 
  • Cotton: Cotton cooling towels are uncommon, usually shipped pre-moistened in resealable bags and you can dampen them when dry. Some of these towels have special oils infused into the towel.
  • Combination: Some cooling towels combine PVA and microfiber, and they tend to stay cool for a long time. 

Size

The common sizes for cooling towels are extra-small, small, medium, large and extra-long.

  • Extra-small towels tend to be 15 to 20 inches long, most suitable for children and pets.
  • Small towels are around 30 to 35 inches long, perfect for adults. 
  • Medium towels are about 40 inches long and are great for wrapping around your waist.
  • Large towels are around 47 inches.
  • Extra-long sizes are about 60 inches.

Those last two sizes are similar to bath towels in that they can cover your whole body. However, they may feel a bit heavy when wet, especially if made of PVA. 

Drying

While some cooling towels are machine-washable, most can’t be put in a dryer. The dryer can damage the material or shrink the towel, making it less efficient. It’s best to just let the towel air dry after you wring it out or follow the drying instructions on the towel, if the manufacturer provides them. 

What to look for in a quality cooling towel

UV protection

Cooling towels with ultraviolet protection can stay cool when out in the sun. They’re perfect after you’ve played an outdoor game, engaged in outdoor festivities or taken care of outdoor tasks such as mowing the lawn. Some towels that aren’t UV-resistant can wear down in long exposure to the sun. 

Storage case

Many cooling towels come in some type of case, pouch or bag. Waterproof pouches are even better, as they keep the towel dry and secure until you’re ready to moisten it. Just make sure the towel is completely dry when putting it in a storage case, since mold can accrue if it’s damp. 

Machine-washable

Not all cooling towels are machine-washable; some must be washed by hand. This may not be too tall a task if the towel is small, but a bigger towel may be tedious to wash in a sink. Towels that aren’t machine-washable can get damaged in a washer, and can bleed color into other fabrics. 

How much you can expect to spend on cooling towels

They tend to come in packs for $3-$4. Individual cooling towels cost around $7-$8 per towel. Towels made from microfiber or PVA tend to be around $10 per towel. Larger towels or those with extra accessories can cost $15 and higher. 

Cooling towels FAQ

Why does my cooling towel recommend waving or snapping it to start it cooling?

A. When waving or snapping a cooling towel, the movement activates the circulation of moisture. This involves an increase in airflow, thus allowing evaporation, which is what makes the towel give you a cool feeling. This process is common among cooling towels.  

How long will a towel keep me cool?

A. Cooling towels generally keep you cool for two to five hours. The duration depends on quality of the towel’s material as well as the air temperature and weather. In low humidity and high temperatures, it will dry faster. In hot, humid climates, the towel may retain its moisture longer but may start to become warm with your body temperature. 

Can I use my cooling towel under my shirt during the day or under pajamas at night?

A. Putting a cooling towel under your shirt or pajamas may cut off air circulation to the towel, resulting in poor cooling. Laying down at night with a cooling towel under pajamas restricts evaporation even more, which could make the towel get moldy or musty. 

What’s the best cooling towel to buy?

Top cooling towels

Sukeen 4 Pack

Sukeen 4 Pack Cooling Towel

What you need to know: There are four towels in this pack, with different colors for each towel. 

What you’ll love: The towel cools temperatures for up to three hours, keeping you from getting overheated on short trips. It’s chemical-free, making it safe for people of all ages. 

What you should consider: It requires washing before first use because it comes with an unpleasant smell. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cooling towels for the money

QIK-LABS 4 pack Cooling Towel

Qik-Labs 4-pack Cooling Towel

What you need to know: These individually wrapped towels are easy to grab when you’re on the go. 

What you’ll love: Each towel comes in a waterproof pouch, as well as a carabiner clip so you can attach it to your bag. The set inclludes towels in four colors.

What you should consider: Machine-washing can damage this towel permanently. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Chill Pal Ultimate Mesh Cooling Towel

Chill Pal Ultimate Mesh Cooling Towel

What you need to know: This is one of the lightest towels around, with a mesh material that gives you a cool feeling while putting barely any weight on your shoulder. 

What you’ll love: It’s thick to retain coldness, but with its light weight you’ll barely notice its thickness. Its material is highly breathable, so it brings in cold air easily. 

What you should consider: Because it’s so porous, it tends to dry it out quicker than others. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Ade Hennis writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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