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Towel Guide: What is GSM?

Zenith Towels - 700 GSM (grams per square meter)Here at The Turkish Towel Company we field a lot of questions about GSM, from “What is it?” to “What’s the best for me?”  The first question is the easiest to answer, so let’s tackle that one first!

What is GSM?

GSM is short for grams per square meter. All fabrics have a weight, and the standard measurement for the weight and quality of fabrics (including towels) is grams per square meter. This number refers to the density of the towel. High quality Turkish cotton towels are generally heavier and are more absorbent.

Towels can vary anywhere between 300 GSM and 900 GSM. The lower the number, the lighter and thinner the towel. For instance:

300-400 GSM – In this weight, as noted, the towels are lighter and thinner. But, depending on its use, you might want a lower GSM for the gym towel or a kitchen towel. A lightweight, quicker-drying beach towel might be around 350 GSM, for instance.

400-600 GSM – This is a medium weight. This weight is great for beach towels, bath towels, guest towels and so forth. Each consecutive gram weight –400, 500, 600– gets a little heavier, and a little more absorbent.

600-900 GSM – This is a premium, luxury weight. The towel will be denser, heavier, more absorbent. It will probably take a little longer to dry.

Other factors that will influence the towel’s softness and absorbency are: type of cotton, whether the manufacturer uses a polyester blend (as we say here at The Turkish Towel Company “Ixnay on the olyesterpay!”), whether the cotton is a single or double loop, and so on.

Which GSM Weight is Right For Me?

Assuming the towel is made from quality Turkish cotton, what GSM is right for you? That’s a harder question to answer…

For instance, our Lexi towels are 600 GSM. A single loop cotton, they offer good absorbency, and have a slightly shaggier feel to them. This shaggier finish offers a more invigorating experience when drying off. They also dry a little quicker.

On the other hand, the Zenith and Mini Squares lines are 700 GSM and made from double-loop cotton. They are more absorbent, and have a smoother finish. They are incredibly soft, and a very high-end bath product.

So, what GSM is right for you? There are no rights or wrongs here; put seven people in a room, and you will get seven different answers. Anything over 600 GSM becomes a matter of personal taste and lifestyle.


  1. Jamie

    Thank you for your explanation. I was about to purchase some towels when I saw the GSM acronym. Your explanation is very helpful, now I know I need to check the towels I have so that I can get something similar if not the same.
    Thanks again.


    if possible without being biased what is the difference in cotton quality between countries and do you have a table say best to worst.

  3. Turkish Towel Company

    Hi John,

    There are so many factors to consider, not just the type of cotton (Turkish, Egyptian, US, etc.) but how it manufactured, length, uniformity, strength and so on.

    Here is a little more information:

    How Does Turkish Cotton Compare to Egyptian Cotton?

    Egyptian Cotton is known for its absorbency, which is especially suited for apparel and sheets. However, in towels too much absorbency means that a towel remains wet long after use. Also, towels that are too absorbent tend to become wet in humid climates all by themselves.

    Turkish Cotton provides the perfect balance between absorbency and softness which makes it the best cotton to be used in towels.

    Turkish Cotton, when used in towels, provides maximum absorbency and efficient drying.

    Hope that helps…
    The Turkish Towel Company

  4. Leezette James

    I haven’t purchased towels for years. Mine got thinner over the years and now I must start looking for the best quality I can afford. I have not heard of your company but I will because your article was honest and truthful. I respect this in a business. Thank you, Lee

  5. aka

    Thank you for this helpful article. I knew Turkish towels were popular but had never used them.
    Your article helped me understand. Thank you so much.