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. SavvyShopper

    Great explanation! Too bad many other companies don’t list the GSM of their towels…it would greatly help when purchasing online!

  2. Jewels Nz

    Thank you very much, your guide on GSM is so helpful, I have now purchased a full set of towels with confidence using your guide. Thanks again

  3. Siddharth Jain


    I am looking for a good Sports Towel. Can you please advise on the ideal size and GSM range one should use?


  4. Ellie

    Where is the GSM located on towels? All I have ever seen, is the laundering description and what towel is made out of.

    I enjoyed reading your information. Who knew towels can be such a “complicated” purchase 🙂
    P.S. Every single towel, tea towel, facecloth always shrinks at the “bends” no matter how cheap or expensive. It’s really frustrating.

  5. Janice O'Neal

    What towels are best for hair salon use. They are washed after every client and are used in chemical services, i.e. hair color, bleach, permanent wave solutions. Must be replaced often , color black is preferred.

  6. Aimee Dell

    Thank – you so much for your help!! I’m repainting my bathroom…buying new towels. I wanted nice quality and long lasting towels. Now I feel like I’m not lost, and am on the right track.
    Thanks again 🙂

  7. cindy

    need help!! I have been looking for towels that are comparable to Cannon or Stevens fifth ave. towels, but I am unable to find anything. I like a very tight loop, so my rings don’t get caught and pull loops out, all cotton so they dry quickly ( not the newer fibers), excellent quality & something that will last.

    1. bart

      I would recommend either our Zenith towels, if you want colors, or our Mini Squares towel in you’d like white and Zenith also comes in white, too. Both are double yarn towels thick, plush, ans with low pile height so rings don’t pull up the loops.

    2. bart

      I would recommend either our Zenith towels, if you want colors, or our Mini Squares towel in you’d like white and Zenith also comes in white, too. Both are double yarn towels thick, plush, ans with low pile height so rings don’t pull up the loops.

      Bart Brass

    1. bart

      It’s not the weight the surface for printing you want as smooth and flat a surface as possible. So best would be a velour towel using any yarn size. Next best would be a 12/1 yarn towel.

    1. bart

      Hi Nikita,

      Thank you for your inquiry, I would strongly suggest that you start with the Lexi quality. We have wholesale prices depending on how many you are interested in purchasing. You may also need robes. Please let us know for the robes I would need to know where you are located to suggest robes to you.

      Bart Brass

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. Ted Melancon

    Are these 900 gsm towels good for auto detailing and are they pure cotton so they won’t scratch the paint?


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

  13. 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.

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