Who Makes the Best Bath Sheet?

Who makes the best bath sheet? An honest review of several bath sheets and the best one for softness, durability, and absorption.

You know how things around the house all seem to fall apart at the same time? I think it's due to the time since you moved in, got housewarming/wedding/shower presents, had milestones that caused purchases, but it is annoying how suddenly one weekend you need to replace all the things. Both my husband and I realized when drying off with different torn and threadbare towels that it was time to upgrade the contents of our linen closet, starting with towels. It had been a while since we had bought towels and bath sheets, let alone any we liked. I was on the hunt for the best bath sheet and who makes the best bath sheet out there now in 2021.

A good towel is a form of self-care. You live that life, it gets you dirty, you wash yourself clean. You deserve a good towel to celebrate the accomplishment. The thing is, if you're buying a towel for quality as well as a form of self care, your needs may not be the same as my needs.

What Kind of Bath Sheet I Like

I've used a lot of different towels and bath sheets over the years, many that have been recommended to me by people I trust and respect. But that doesn't mean they want the same thing out of a towel. This is what I am looking for:

  • Bath Sheet, not Bath Towel. I am short and round, my husband is tall and lean, and so between the both of us we desire a bath sheet. A bath sheet is 40″ x 70″ long while a bath towel measures 30” x 56”. I have used the terms interchangably in this article but really what I am looking for is the best bath sheet which is the larger option.
  • Made from 100% Cotton. We've done bamboo and microfiber and whatever and we desire 100% cotton.
  • I Can't See Light Through It. If I can put the towel up to the window and see sunlight through it, it won't last and it won't feel cozy on a cold winter morning.
  • Classic Style. No fringe, no fabric trim, no ribbing or waffle weave or… I don't want anything. I want a solid color, maybe with that smooth band near the bottom but that's it.
  • Great Color. I don't desire a matched set, and I do desire color. There's nothing better than opening up the linen closet and seeing a rainbow of terrycloth.

Who Makes the Best Bath Sheet in 2021?

Asking about the best bath sheets or towels is one of the most popular questions in most of the Facebook groups I'm in and subreddits I read. And the bath sheets most recommended are from Costco. Yay, Costco has great prices. Boo, I don't have a Costco membership.

I'm Not Going to Buy a Costco Membership Just to Buy Some Towels!

I live in a not-big home with not a lot of storage, not a lot of people, not a lot of specific needs, so I've never had Costco membership. I know, sacrilege! But I have done just fine for two decades in this not-big home with not a lot of storage without a Costco membership.

I remember when my mom got a Costco membership; she still lived in my childhood home which was a split-level with a full basement and then a finished cellar underneath offering plenty of space to stock up on things. When she got the membership, she could add a second person and added me.

When my then boyfriend, now husband moved in together 20 years ago, Costco was my JAM. There was a Costco just down the street from my job and I'd drive over after work to grab groceries and maybe a bunch of hydrangeas to brighten the living room. It was so close, my coworkers and I would sometimes go at lunch to grab a hot dog and Coke and do a bit of our weekly shopping (and snacking on samples). When I changed jobs, I stopped going to Costco. It just wasn't convenient anymore, no matter how good the deals. I sort of forgot about Costco.

That was until I decided I wanted some awesome highly rated Costco towels but wasn't going to buy a Costco membership just to get them. So I asked my mom if she still had a membership. Not only did she, she never removed my name from it. I had a Costco membership all that time!

That being said, a Costco membership is $60/year and Costco has free delivery on a bunch of things and has also partnered with InstaCart for grocery delivery. And in case you want to know about Costco's political donations you can check them out here and here.

which bath sheets are the best

What Costco Towels are the Best?

While I found plenty of recommendations saying Costco made the best bath towels, few of those recommendations said WHICH Costco towels are the best. That's the problem with social media; lots of voices but they're not always providing the depth or detail you desire. Was it Turkish Towels? Purely Indulgent? Charisma? Hanae? Zoey?

So I did a bit of Googling to find out WHICH Costco towels were the ones everyone vaguely raved about. Because while social media offers instant gratification, websites offer a hell of a lot more detail and there are some you just know to trust more than others. Wirecutter recently changed its towel review; it used to have Charisma from Costco prior to September 2021. Apartment Therapy is still a fan of the Charisma towels.

Being in this business, I always wonder if online reviews are altered not based on better products found but better affiliate revenue. Costco does NOT offer commissions on sales from their site. There is no financial benefit to stating Costco towels are the best, while there is a benefit to say, recommending Frontgate which offers around a 10% commission on each sale or anything on Amazon since one doesn't just buy towels and the site gets a commission on all bought. For more info on this check out this post on how blogs make money.

Charisma is not a Costco brand, it's just a brand that is regularly available at Costco, like Venus razors and OralB toothbrush heads. Back in 2011, Good Housekeeping reviewed Charisma towels and stated they were available at Bloomingdale's. Charisma has a whole storefront on Amazon. Charisma is also available at Macy's and Bed, Bath & Beyond. If Charisma was such an accessible brand, why was it so special from Costco? I wasn't going to question it, I was just going to get the Costco version. I figured at least I'd be getting a good price.

Armed with my Costco membership number and brand name, I head to the Costco website. Charisma at the time has two types of towels, one style called “Bumpy Rib” and one called HygroCotton. By the way, they look nothing like the Charisma towels available at other retailers. I read about the Bumpy Rib, it's quite popular and some say more absorbent, but I desired a classic towel so I went to figure out what HygroCotton (or Hygrocotton, or Hygro Cotton depending on which product listed on the Costco site) was.

What is HygroCotton?

what is hygrocotton

HygroCotton is a term patented by the company Welspun. Per the HygroCotton website, “HygroCotton® is crafted with our proprietary spinning technology, producing yarn with a revolutionary hollow core. That means our sheets wick away moisture, keep you cooler in summer and warmer in winter, and actually get softer and more comfortable over time.” Below that quote is a photo of towels more fluffy after three washings. There is a call to action to watch the video of how it works and the link is broken. I found the video on YouTube; here is the link but it provides no additional information.

However, I found this article on the Mayfair Hotel Supply website that compares Egyptian cotton to HygroCotton and it made me feel that HygroCotton is quite a superior yarn for towels if you like them fluffy as well as absorbent. I decided to order a set of two of the Supima HygroCotton bath sheets from Costco. The price for the duo was $32.99 which was cheaper than buying two Threshold brand bath sheets at Target.

Costco Charisma HygroCotton Bath Sheet Review

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The Charisma 100% Hygrocotton 2-piece Bath Sheet Set in Blue

The color selection for the Charisma HygroCotton bath sheets is pretty meh. Pale blue, pale gray, sage green, ivory, and white. While I am more a fan of orange, fuschia, and cobalt, I went with the set of two bath sheets in pale blue.

The towel duo cost $32.99 and shipping was free. I received my order within a week. The towels look exactly like they do online: same color, same thickness, same weave. They felt very silky and were quite plush. The silky finish concerned me, thinking it wouldn't be absorbent. I put them in the wash and hoped that would wash off any silky finish so the towels would be super absorbent.

the best towels from costco
A closeup of the Charisma towel after multiple washings.

Our towels are washed with Tide detergent, no fabric softener, no dryer sheets. The Charisma towels came out of the dryer and appeared to be thicker than before, still soft but not with that silky finish. I had just finished a Peloton ride so I grabbed one and headed to the shower.

After my shower, I used the towel to squeeze my hair before drying my body and was shocked. That single squeeze pulled out more water than my microfiber hair towels; my hair was only damp, no longer wet! And even better, that part of the towel wasn't saturated.

I barely had to brush my skin with the towel; this towel was soaking up water like it was auditioning for a Bounty paper towels ad. I was floored. I had bought fancy towels before but never experienced such absorption. And it seemed with the first few washes, each time the towels got loftier and more absorbent without losing their softness. We have now washed and dried these towels a dozen times and believe that they are the best bath sheets on the market. And it's nice that they are also cheaper than many other brands that claim they make the best bath sheets.

Honorable Mention: Best Bath Sheets

who makes the best bath sheets 1
Comparing the Charisma HygroCotton from Costco to the Casaluna Organic and the Threshold Signature Spa that are both from Target. The towels were all bought within a month of one another.

As I mentioned, I have tried several brands of bath sheets before finding the Charisma HygroCotton at Costco. Here are some of them and my honest thoughts:

  • Company Store Company Cotton™ Turkish Cotton Bath Towel: I am a Company Store fan and have been for decades. These are good towels; thick and soft and come in a fab range of colors. However, they are not nearly as thick at the Charisma HygroCotton, not as soft, and they lint far much more (the dryer lint trap will be coated with the color of the Company Store towel, even if it's the only one in the dryer). But if you are focused on color or monogram, this is a solid choice.
  • Amazon Basics Cotton Bath Sheet: Seeing this towel recommended by sites I trust made me buy it… and stop trusting these sites. This is not a good towel. It is thin and scratchy and lint so bad within two months my towels were threadbare in spots. Don't buy this crap, you can find equal at Target for half the price.
  • Cotton Paradise Bath Sheet: This is also highly recommended by some reputable sites and… it's much better than the Amazon Basics. It's thicker Turkish cotton and feels like a B version of the Company Store towel. But the quality is lacking and within a couple of months they began to fray on the edges.
  • Threshold Signature Spa Bath Sheet: IMO this is one of the best bath sheets at Target. It is thick and soft and absorbent, though the color selection is kind of bland. However, they are no comparison to Charisma, or even Company Store. This is a high-quality big box retailer towel, but keep in mind one is $20 at Target while you can get two superior towels at Costco for only $12.99 more.
  • Casaluna Organic Bath Sheet: This is the second-best bath sheet at Target in my opinion. It's thicker than Threshold, but not as soft. It doesn't have the stitched band like many towels and instead a rougher cotton band at the hem which can hurt if the edge brushes your face or sensitive skin. And that hem is prone to unraveling after a couple of months. But the towel itself is nice.
  • Cariloha Bamboo Bath Sheet: This bath sheet is huge and soft and thick… but I don't find it especially absorbent. But if you find even bath sheets to be a bit small, this towel is for you. My tall husband LOVES these; but also he doesn't have a lot of hair nor does he apply lotion or other skin products after his shower so I don't think absorbption is such a big deal for him. Ours are two years old and still look like new, though that may partially be because my husband really is the only one in the household that uses them anymore!
  • Brooklinen Super Plush Bath Sheets: These are super nice Turkish cotton towels… but honestly, the Charisma towels at Costco are just as thick and soft and plush and about a THIRD of the price. I also think the Charisma towels are more absorbent.
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Do you have a favorite bath sheet that isn't mentioned? Disagree with my reviews? Let me know in the comments below!

33 Comments

  1. Jo
    October 30, 2021 / 2:15 pm

    Frontgate has the best towels per Wirecutter? I don’t think so! I will never read a Wirecutter review without ‘following the money.’ We remodeled our house and I needed new towels. Frontgate had THE color, so despite them being VERY pricey. I bought 4 sets for the master bath. A summer set and a winter set. I expected them to last a lifetime, so the cost per drying off was low. After 2 summers of use, one set has frayed at the edges, the pile has thinned, and the color faded. My usually oblivious husband commented they did not dry well. I got upset and put them in the rag bin! On my weekly visit to Costco, I saw they had THE color at the entrance! They were Calvin Klein, but a very thick, luxurious CK. They dry well, and don’t leave as much lint in the dryer trap as the Frontgate.

  2. Karin
    October 29, 2021 / 8:17 pm

    I don’t even need towels, but this review was so fantastic I’m tempted to go out and buy those towels. Things in our home have been breaking down too and I’ve been really frustrated with reviews….I have come to the point I don’t trust anyone. For ex: Dozens of “best of” lists named Parachute featherbeds the best, and when you go to the site it looks like all their ratings are five star – which made me suspicious. Well, I discovered that Parachute has hidden all the bad reviews at the END of the reviews….you have to go to, like, page 90 of reviews, but then the bad ones are pouring in! I feel completely disenchanted. Along the same lines, dozens of “best of” lists name such-and-such item the best, link to it on Amazon, but Amazon has 2,000 reviews and . . . a 3-star average? How did this make all the “best of” lists? I’m even losing faith in Consumer Reports as now you have to buy a membership to see reviews. Is nothing sacred? LOL, anyway, just to say thank you for being an honest reviewer!

    • Karen
      October 30, 2021 / 8:03 am

      Hmmm… I thought that Consumer Reports always made you pay for reviews. It’s how they make money. But anyway, i bet your public library has a subscription/accesses.

    • Jax
      October 30, 2021 / 2:56 pm

      I find that a lot or most of these online/digital businesses usually bury their worst reviews at the far back of the line. And they often don’t let you sort for lowest ratings to highest, etc. They might let you see “Most Recent” or “Most Relevant” at most. I hate it. And of course, there’s also the businesses that probably suppress their negative reviews.

      On the topic of towels, our household has converted to Turkish style towels (Peshtemal) in the past couple years. We love that they’re thin but absorbent and they dry much quicker. We live in a small city apartment and all of those aspects help — thin means less storage needed. Our area has a great deal of humidity, so the fast-drying helps too.
      However, I do miss the feel of a good thick terrycloth towel sometimes (esp. when it’s colder). If we lived in a place with real winters, I might gravitate back. For now, this really works.
      Because of the thinness and lightness of the peshtemal towels, it’s also easy to pack them for a trip and have our own backup towels for an airbnb/hotel room with shitty towels or a quick jaunt to a beach. In a pinch, they make great picnic blankets as well. You can get peshtemal towels anywhere now, but I like sourcing them from etsy. There’s some great sellers in Turkey and they don’t cost a lot.

      • Jax
        October 30, 2021 / 3:27 pm

        BTW, for long or thick hair toweling, I highly recommend the Japanese waffle towels (onsen). I bought my first Uchino waffle towel on discount at Bloomingdale’s and have never looked back. It also works great, wrapped up around my drying hair. And they are thin and dry quicker too.

    • Jane
      October 30, 2021 / 11:43 pm

      I’m pretty sure you’ve always had to pay for Consumer Reports, first in magazine form, and now online. I have had a Consumer Reports online subscription for about five years, and as annoying as it is to pay for, it is worth every penny. I researched and saved money on my car, dishwasher, washer and dryer so far, and have been happy with each choice.

      • Karin
        October 31, 2021 / 12:29 pm

        Yes, I’ve subscribed to the magazine for 30+ years, but they revamped a few years ago and now even subscribers can’t access full reviews without paying extra. That bothers me! It is definitely worth it if you’re making a big purchase like appliances though. And their car issue is amazing.

  3. B.A.
    October 29, 2021 / 1:32 pm

    I was nodding along with almost everything in the post! My husband had always used bath sheets while I only had big towels. A few years ago I decided all I wanted for my birthday was a bath sheet! Like you, I wanted it in bright orange, though, and that was way more difficult to find than I thought it would be. I ended up with one from the Company Store, and I really like it. I bought my husband one more recently, and noticed how much softer and fluffier a new one was, so the idea of a towel getting fluffier over time is really appealing. The reason I bought husband a new one is because the ones from Target he had been using all started fraying/unraveling at the ends, just as you mentioned.
    You’ve definitely convinced me to try these from Costco (with three teenagers in the house, a Costco membership is practically required), but I hate that there aren’t more color choices.

  4. MaryInMaryland
    October 28, 2021 / 5:26 pm

    Costco items are generally cheaper in-store than online, so I suggest dropping by a store. Also, a few times each year, Costco offers several dollars off the Charisma towels, but I am not sure about the bath sheets. I have used both the Charisma and the Lands End supima and give a slight edge to the LE, but one must wait until a 50% off everything with free shipping offer. There should be one in the next few weeks.

  5. Susan
    October 28, 2021 / 3:05 pm

    I’ve been wanting to replace our towels for a while and I’ve looked around for info and you don’t know who to trust (did they get paid to write a review) or you can’t be sure if the version they reviewed is still the one available–so I close the browser windows and put it off. BUT this Allison is is why I love your blog!! You research something and you recommended the best option even if it’s one you won’t make any money off. Your readers trust you. I do try to navigate from a link on your site anytime I plan to actually buy something from Anthro or Talbots. Hopefully some pennies from my meager online shopping boost your bottom line and support you and your family.

  6. Michele
    October 28, 2021 / 1:39 pm

    My husband has used the Costco Charisma towels for several years now in his bathroom, and they have held up well, still look new. Too bad the colors are so boring. I’ve had navy Hotel Collection towels from Macy’s in my bathroom for at least 5 years and while I like them, the dark color did stain my white washcloths and hair wraps, and the lint trap on the dryer is still full after drying them. I probably wouldn’t get them again even though I love the rich color.

  7. Angela
    October 28, 2021 / 1:16 pm

    I can’t speak to any reviewed as I haven’t tried them. I do love the Lands End cotton supima towels (only purchase on sale). I’ve had two sets for years and they do not have the stink that towels get after many uses. I may need to try some of these mentioned though…Great idea though for a gift

    • Erin
      October 29, 2021 / 8:47 am

      We also settled on Lands End bath sheets after a long hunt. Absorbent, soft, and not too heavy.

  8. Lucylou
    October 28, 2021 / 12:53 pm

    My hubby works in the hospital and he takes a shower when he gets home and then his hospital clothes and the towel from the shower go in the hot wash cycle, day after day. I tried a bunch of different towels over the years that would hold up to that repeated washing and always come back to Land’s End Supima Cotton Bath towels. They are super thick and heavy and hold up well. Price is not too bad when on sale. And they come in lots of colors, although we only get the white ones, so I am not sure how well the dark colors would hold up.

  9. Bonnie Grove
    October 28, 2021 / 12:13 pm

    Hmm, I could use some new bath towels. And I have a Costco membership. Done! 🙂

  10. Sandi Katz
    October 28, 2021 / 11:42 am

    I have had the Costco Charisma for several years. I only buy white towels (I know boring) but they wash and dry beautifully. I always wait for a sale and add a couple more so we have plenty. Empty nesters with extra room. Worth the Costco membership. Also, I live in Colorado so everything dries quickly.

  11. Sandi Katz
    October 28, 2021 / 11:41 am

    I have had the Costco Charisma for several years. I only buy white towels (I know boring) but they wash and dry beautifully. I always wait for a sale and add a couple more so we have plenty. Empty nesters with extra room. Worth the Costco membership.

  12. Anne
    October 28, 2021 / 10:49 am

    I bought a set from Brooklinen about a year ago. Within six months the edges were frayed on the hand towel. These were pricey towels and I was so disappointed. Another thing is that they only have the raised pattern on one end of the towel. Not a big thing, but for the price it seems like I shouldn’t have to check how I am hanging them every day. Thanks for the recommendation. I love Costco and will go there the next time. One warning though, my husband (and many of my friend’s husbands) seem to think that Costco is the only place to go for fashion. It is funny the weird clothing items he comes home with. Ha!

  13. E E Deere
    October 28, 2021 / 9:37 am

    This is great information, although I don’t have a Costco subscription for the same reason: no storage and a very small household. I guess it’s time to get past it.
    I bought Frontgate towels because Wirecutter recommended them. They have faded far more than any other towel I’ve used. They are all still serviceable, but the color now is so ugly and faded.
    Sheets: I have bought West Elm’s 100% organic cotton sheets for years and like them. They are definitely not 600 thread. Either 200 or 400, I can’t tell from the label.

    • Jax
      October 30, 2021 / 3:22 pm

      We didn’t renew our CostCo membership for years. We live in a city apartment with maxed-out storage. But we recently decided to renew it, so that my husband could buy good-quality meat and fish at decent prices and then just store them in our freezer. So we only go for food. We also buy good-quality cheese and coldcuts and freeze those as well. We don’t generally get the super-big packs of toilet paper and kitchen towels, etc.

  14. Bette
    October 28, 2021 / 9:14 am

    Love the description of the Charisma towels, however, like you, I want better colors. Right now, I have a set of Lands End supima cotton towels in turquoise and one in purple — and another set of forest green from TJM, where I used to find all my best towels.

    • October 28, 2021 / 9:48 am

      TJ Maxx was my towel go-to as well. I’d always find some Ralph Lauren or hotel brand in the clearance aisle, just one or two in some amazing color. But I found I spent money on things I didn’t need when I went there and the last few times I didn’t see a lot of color or the kind of fab brands I used to see in towels.

  15. Anamarie
    October 28, 2021 / 9:12 am

    I bought a bunch of Charisma bath towels from Costco five years ago when we moved. They still look great, but I had been considering replacing them. I noticed our towels were starting to smell a little musty sometimes and were taking longer to dry after use. Then I read Laundry Love by Patric Richardson. I never thought about it, but the Tide Free & Gentle detergent and Bounce unscented dryer sheets were leaving a greasy film on the towels – And I’m assuming trapping bacteria. It turns out, laundry detergents contain a lot of petrochemicals! So based on the recommendations in the book, I switched detergents (not recommended specifically, but I went with Charlie’s Soap Laundry Flakes and love it!) and stopped using dryer sheets. My five year old towels have gone through the wash with the new soap twice and I’ve already noticed that they seem cleaner, smell fresher, and dry faster. The first time with no fabric softener, they felt a little rough – but after the second wash – they feel like new!

    • Bette
      October 28, 2021 / 9:16 am

      Anamarie, great info. I stopped using dryer sheets years ago after reading about the way they leave a petrochemical film on everything — plus, the fragrance is obnoxious and extremely hard to remove (because of the waxy base). I think I’ll try Charlie’s. They’ve been on my list for awhile — I appreciate the reminder.

      • Anamarie
        October 28, 2021 / 1:59 pm

        Scented dryer sheets always gave me headaches. Good luck with Charlie’s! Another tip from that book I referenced – he recommends washing EVERYTHING in warm water and only on the quick wash cycle – which on my machine is 26 minutes. Saves time, water and gets your laundry just as clean!

  16. Maggie S
    October 28, 2021 / 9:00 am

    I don’t have a membership to Costco -so I looked at the other places -even if I payed more it would be cheaper than getting a membership. Well it turns out that the other stores don’t have the Charisma Hygrocotton towels. The other stores have Charisma American Heritage or Charisma II …so I guess it is to Costco I go!

  17. Krista
    October 28, 2021 / 8:44 am

    Looks like it’s time for me to renew that Costco membership.

    Seriously, why is it so darn difficult to but a quality bath towel? My current favorites are the SALT brand from Bed, Bath & Beyond. However, I can no longer find them there. They’re a quick-dry, cotton blend. Great for humid Florida because they do actually dry out between showers. But I still long for a big, fuzzy, wrap me up, towel.

    • Maggie S
      October 28, 2021 / 9:02 am

      I used to have that trouble …then I got an inexpensive towel warmer –and they are completely dry….and warm!

      • EChic
        October 29, 2021 / 6:55 am

        Ditto on the towel warmer. We put ours on a timer so it only runs 4 hours in the summer, and it still works great to keep musty towel smell at bay.

    • Sadie
      October 29, 2021 / 9:47 pm

      Thirding the recommendation towel warmer. I live in a humid climate and my towel warmer guarantees that I have dry towels when I want them.

      This is such a helpful post and discussion thread – thank you, Alison and everybody!

  18. October 28, 2021 / 8:37 am

    Great article! I also use the Costco Charisma bath towels. Ours are about 3 months old still super soft and super absorbent. I washed and dried them 3x to get rid of the extra fluff, to stop lint/fluff from floating around the bath room.

    I would really appreciate if you could do an article on bed sheets. My favorite sheets were bamboo, because they are usable year round, cool in summer, warm in winter. The first set of sheets lasted a couple years, but other sets barely make it 9 months, before they tear, shred or pill up. I have not been able to find any good quality bamboo -or cotton sheets, and would love some guidance.

    • October 28, 2021 / 9:41 am

      I got a pair of Bamboo sheets from Ettitude last year around this time and they’re still going strong, even with having to yank the heck out of them to get them around our thicker mattress. And they are washed every other week (switched out with a pair not worth mentioning and will be replaced soon) and put in the dryer. In fact, I ordered another pair to be the replacement ones for the sheets we hate: https://bit.ly/3pLQNPp

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