Best Car Drying Towel 2020 (Review & Buyer’s Guide)

Last Updated 2nd August 2020

Best Car Drying Towel 2020: Drying your car is a crucial step to any car cleaning process. One of the most effective and accessible ways of drying your car is with a dedicated microfibre drying towel. In this article we’ll provide you with the Clean Car Talk recommendations of the best microfibre drying towels you can buy for your car.

When using a drying towel, the ultimate aim is to dry your car – and most drying towels will help you to achieve this. However, there are some factors which distinguish the best drying towels from the rest.

A good drying towel is efficient at absorbing water from the surface of the paint. Any old towel can soak up water but a good car drying towel will do so quickly and effectively, which will reduce the effort required from you and make the drying process quicker.

As with any contact process, there is always the risk of causing swirls on the paintwork. It’s important that towels are soft and plush enough to avoid scratching the paintwork and to lift any remaining contamination away from the surface.

Finally, all good drying towels should offer good value for their money. This can be measured by the amount of towel you’re getting for the price (cm² per £1). However, there are other factors to consider like towel density, quality and materials used too.

Key Features

Here are some key features of a car drying towel, and more importantly, what this means for you:

Size – A large surface area will give you more towel to utilise when soaking up water, allowing for more efficient drying. It also gives you the option to fold the towel, meaning that you can keep revealing fresh sections of towel.

GSM – GSM stands for grams per square meter, and is a way to measure the density of a towel. Low GSM towels are lighter and thinner, high GSM towels are denser, more absorbent, and usually safer on the paint.

Pile – Often confused with GSM, a high pile towel has fibres that are longer and looser. Whereas a low pile towel has fibres that are shorter and tighter. High pile towels tend to be safer on paintwork as they’re better at lifting contamination away from the paint.

Softness – Fabric softness is a result of the overall quality of the towel. There’s no benefit to having a large towel with a high GSM if the fibres themselves are not soft. 

Here are the best drying towels available:


1. Meguiar’s Supreme Microfibre Drying Towel

Best all-round drying towel.

Meguiar’s Supreme Microfibre Drying Towel

Pros

  • Effective absorption
  • Safer on paintwork
  • Very practical to use
  • Colour contrasts most paint colours
  • Soft microfibre edging
  • Good durability compared to other towels

Cons

  • Bright colour can attract flies during summer (it’s not a deal breaker)

Meguiar’s Supreme Drying Towel is a great all-round drying towel with usability being a key benefit. Meguiar’s haven’t gone to the extremes of size and density, which means they haven’t sacrificed the usability of this product. It’s an all-rounder which is easy to use and offers consistent results.

This towel has a high density of 920gsm which makes it one of the denser towels in this review. With a medium/high pile, the fibres aren’t too long which means it glides over the paintwork without much resistance.

Absorption is good and we found Meguiar’s Supreme dying towel capable of drying regular sized hatchback. If the towel does become saturated it’s much easier to wring out than some of the heavier/larger towels in this article. 

As with any product in the Meguiar’s range, quality is always good. Meguiar’s Supreme Drying Towel is no exception with it’s quality, improving the longevity and robustness of the towel. A word of warning, the bright yellow colour can attract flies during the summer – but for us this isn’t a dealbreaker.

  • Size: 55 x 70
  • Area (cm²): 3850
  • Density (gsm): 920
  • Type: Microfibre

View on Amazon: Meguiar’s Supreme Microfibre Drying Towel 

2. Chemical Guys Woolly Mammoth Drying Towel

Best XL drying towel.

Chemical Guys Woolly Mammoth Drying Towel

Pros

  • Very quick to work around car
  • Lots of towel to utilise
  • Huge saturation capacity
  • Good absorption
  • Offers the most towel for the price

Cons

  • Size can make it awkward to use
  • Size makes it difficult to wring out

Mammoths were not small animals, and the Chemical Guys Woolly Mammoth is not small either. The “XL” nature of this towel quite simply gives you a lot more towel to play with, instantly increasing its absorbency and saturation capacity. You’ll be able to dry for a lot longer before it becomes saturated.

The Woolly Mammoth has an overall density of 880gsm which puts it at the higher end of the spectrum. Although it’s not the densest towel out there, what it lacks in density is makes up for in size – and let’s not forget that 880gsm is still a very dense towel.

Combined with the size of the towel the Woolly Mammoth has a very high capacity of water with Chemical Guys boasting that it can absorb 4 litres of water!

The pile height is roughly 0.7cm which gives it enough length to ensure a safe drying process. The pile is long enough to safely absorb any remaining dirt particles away from the paints surface – reducing towel inflicted paint damage. 

If you are comfortable using a towel of this size then this is a great choice that will make the drying process a lot quicker.

  • Size: 60 x 90
  • Area (cm²): 5400
  • Density (gsm): 880
  • Type: Microfibre

View on Amazon: Chemical Guys Woolly Mammoth Drying Towel 

3. Auto Finesse Aqua Deluxe Drying Towel

Best high pile drying towel.

Auto Finesse Aqua Deluxe Drying Towel

Pros

  • Fast & effective absorption
  • Safer on paintwork
  • Good saturation capacity
  • Soft microfibre edging
  • Stunning colour

Cons

  • Can produce excessive lint
  • Very thick for the size of the towel

Auto Finesse Aqua Deluxe drying towel comes in at a huge 1200gsm, making it the densest towels in this article. Whilst this makes it quite heavy, the long fibres make this towel very thick, giving it a luxurious, shaggy feel. It also boasts a stunning turquoise colouring, giving it a premium feel.

With such long fibres, the Auto Finesse Aqua Deluxe drying towel is able to lift any remaining contamination away from the paint, lowering the risk of damaging the paintwork. The thick nature of this towel means that the absorption is very fast and efficient. 

The longer pile makes it quite grabby on the paint work, making dragging the towel over the paintwork tricky – we recommend patting the car dry with this towel.

Due to the high pile nature of this towel, it can be prone to linting – especially in the early stages of its lifetime. We’d definitely recommend washing this towel before its first use to minimise the linting. 

If you’re going to be using this towel at shows then we’d probably suggest looking for a towel that will produce less lint.

  • Size: 50 x 70
  • Area (cm²): 3500
  • Density (gsm): 1200
  • Type: Microfibre

View on Amazon: Auto Finesse Aqua Deluxe Drying Towel 

4. Gtechniq MF2 Drying Towel

Best low pile drying towel.

Gtechniq MF2 Drying Towel

Pros

  • Medium pile side for paintwork
  • Low pile side for glass & trim
  • Lighter alternative to heavy microfibre towels
  • Large towel can be folded multiple times

Cons

  • Lower saturation capacity
  • Less safe on paintwork

Gtechniq MF2 has two different piled sides: one with 450gsm microfibre, the other with a short pile tight loop microfibre. This provides a lot of versatility as the fluffier side can be used to dry the paintwork, and the short pile side becomes useful on glass and trim. 

The fact that the towel is essentially single side also reduces its weight making it one of the lightest towels in this review. The thinner nature of the Gtechniq MF2 makes it very easy to fold multiple times. Doing so allows you to keep revealing fresh sections of the towel – a safer technique on such a low density towel. 

Whilst the Gtechniq MF2 is practical to use, it lacks that absorption and capacity demonstrated by some of the denser towels in this review. This does mean that it will probably need wringing out multiple times on a single vehicle. But as long as you’re wringing it out regularly, this towel will keep on lifting water from the paintwork!

  • Size: 50 x 90
  • Area (cm²): 5400
  • Density (gsm): 450
  • Type: Microfibre

View on Amazon: Gtechniq MF2 Microfibre Drying Towel 

5. Meguiar’s Water Magnet Drying Towel

Best waffle weave drying towel.

Meguiar’s Water Magnet Drying Towel

Pros

  • Medium pile side for paintwork
  • Low pile side for glass & trim
  • Lighter alternative to heavy microfibre towels
  • Large towel can be folded multiple times

Cons

  • Lower saturation capacity
  • Less safe on paintwork

Meguiar’s Water Magnet Drying Towel is 55cm by 76cm which gives it a rectangular shape without being too long. The water magnet is much thinner than most of the other towels in this review which means it isn’t cumbersome and it is quite easy to use. 

The thin nature of this towel does mean that it doesn’t always sit well on the paintwork which means it can leave some areas wetter than others – meaning you’ll have to go back and make another pass. With this in mind we’d definitely recommended folding two-fold, three-fold or even four-fold to add some thickness to the towel. This will give you more control when drying the car.

Absorption of this towel is good, and it picks up water fairly consistently across the panel due to the waffle weave structure. However, the lower GSM means that this towel becomes saturated a lot quicker than the thicker towels in this article. This means that the Water Magnet has to be wringed out multiple times when drying a single vehicle. 

Linting is pretty much non-existent with this towel throughout its lifetime – making it perfect for taking to shows. It’s also very effective on glass due and will leave no streaks due to the waffle weave structure. 

  • Size: 55 x 76
  • Area (cm²): 4180
  • Density (gsm): Very Low
  • Type: Waffle Weave

View on Amazon: Meguiar's Water Magnet Microfibre Drying Towel 


Guide to Car Drying Towels

How to Dry a Car With a Microfibre Towel?

Work Top to Bottom

It may seem obvious but working from top to bottom when drying your car will not only be more efficient but also more safe. Firstly, water naturally drips downwards, so there’s a point drying the bottom of the car for the water still at the top to drip down and make it wet again.

Secondly, the lowest points of the car are more prone to unwanted contamination, even after washing, to work from top to bottom so you’re not carrying any contamination back to the top of the car.

Clean Towel, Dirty Towel

When we refer to the lowest points of the car, we’re referring to the sills, wheel arch lips and rear diffusers. These are places that may still be dirty after a quick maintenance wash to also be wary of using your best drying towel here. At the very least, save these areas until last.

Quick Detailer is Key

Even though your car should be very clean at the point of drying, it’s still a contact process. Therefore there is a higher risk of swirling the paint. For extra safety, drying the car with a quick detailer for added lubrication.

Drying Methods To Avoid

1. Chamois

Once upon a time, Chamois leathers were the go-to solution for drying your car – with people paying a lot for a high quality leather. However, unlike microfiber towels, chamois are not purposely designed to absorb water. This is why chamois leathers tend to push water off the car rather than absorbing.

In terms of safety, chamois leathers are not a safe choice of car drying. There is no pile on a chamois leather which means any remaining dirt will just get dragged across the paint surface rather than being absorbed into a towel.

2. Water Blades

Water blades are essentially a rubber squeegee used to dry cars. The rubber blade is usually made from a flexible silicon compound. The idea is that you push the water off the surface of the car by running the blade across the paints surface and the windows. However, whilst this can be a quick solution, the plastic will no doubt inflict some scratches/marring on the paint.

3. Bath Towels

Although bath towels may look very similar to car drying towels, you still should use  a bath towel to dry your car. Whilst a luxury bath towel might be plush enough to soak up water – your average bath towel will not. 

Furthermore, a lot of bath towels tend to have stitched patterns and harsh edging – both of which have the potential to inflict horrific scratches on your paintwork. 

How to Make the Drying Process Easier & Quicker?

Drying aids can be used to make the drying process easier. A drying aid will disperse water from the paints surface, making the paint very slippery – and making the drying process very easy. 

Most drying aids simply require you to spray them on a wet paint surface before being immediately rinsed off. We recommend Turtle Wax Dry & Shine – read out in-depth review here!

How to Dry the Wheels?

Drying the wheels is a step which is often overlooked by most people. However, drying your wheels has several benefits:

  • Less risk of unwanted streaks and drips upon driving the car (more of an issue on darker coloured wheels)
  • Enhanced gloss when drying with a quick detailer or spray wax
  • Tyre dressing has a stronger bond when applied to dry tyres

A microfibre towel is one of the best ways to dry your wheels, however, there is one golden rule:

Never dry the wheels with the same towel as the paintwork.

The wheels are the dirtiest part of the car so there’s no need to use your best microfibre drying towel – save that for the paintwork.

If you have one, demote a microfibre drying towel previously used on the paint work, and dedicate this towel for drying the wheels. If not, pick up a cheap microfibre drying towel and dedicate this for drying the wheels.