Are all towels the same? And what should you consider when buying new towels? There are differences but the first thing to establish is that it really does pay to buy good quality cotton towels, simply because they will stay softer longer.

Towels come in different weights of cotton called GSM. This stands for Grams per Square Metre which is a measure of how much cotton the towel is made from. In general terms, the higher the GSM the more cotton used, and the heavier the towel. So this leads us on to the question of the weight of a towel and what is ideal, and this in turn is all about usage.

But let’s consider the average family, where towels will be used daily and need to be absorbent, ideally will dry fast and be easily washable. You could take a leaf out of the average hotel’s book because their requirements are similar to any family’s only more so. Hotels tend to use white cotton towels of about 450 GSM because they hit all the buttons. Interestingly King of Cotton sells hotel-quality towels, with prices for a hand towel just £2.50 – so this is a really practical and affordable option.

There is another factor to consider which is drying – both during use and after washing – so here’s another thought. Zero-Twist towels are created using untwisted yarn in the spinning process which results in towels that, though they are 600 GSM, are very light, soft and dry very easily.

With energy costs increasing all the time, families do have to think about the cost of tumble drying, which really is not necessary with zero-twist towels. Of course, these towels are a bit more expensive (at £5.75 for a hand towel) but they look and feel very special.

Whether you choose white or coloured towels is a personal decision but good quality pure cotton coloured towels will keep their colour and last a long time. There are some interesting choices here such as Lenzing Modal towels that are infused with beechwood (yes from the tree!) which miraculously makes them even softer and more absorbent.

Towels go right up to 900 GSM for absolute luxury but for most general domestic uses any towel of 200 GSM is okay and 400GSM and above is very high quality. Towels like the ones above will last for a long time and withstand regular washing – just give them plenty of time to breathe and dry to keep them in good condition.