What do you look for in a towel? Many people are merely looking for a specific colour, pattern or other decorative element, taking the towel’s quality, actual material and feel into account afterwards. All textile products have quality indicators, even one as seemingly insignificant as a towel. It’s called a GSM and is to towels what a thread count is to bed linen. But what is GSM?
What is GSM?
In short, GSM refers to the fabric weight and density of your towel in grams-per-square-meter. A towel with a higher GSM measurement is thicker and plusher than one with a low GSM, meaning it can absorb more water due to the higher pile and is usually made from a more luxurious type of cotton. They’re also more durable, which can prove a godsend for owners of B&Bs, small hotels, guest houses and even restaurants, where regularly washing towels to ensure the utmost cleanliness is paramount.
You can calculate the GSM of woven fabric yourself with this calculator.
What are the main types?
The main categories of GSM are as follows:
300-400 GSM: a towel of this quality is, of course, thinner. It’s also rougher in texture than its counterparts, so wouldn’t be too ideal for use as a bath or face towel. However, its quick-drying qualities make it perfect for use in the gym or as a kitchen towel at your premises.
400-600 GSM: this measurement indicates a medium weight towel. Lighter than a premium towel but softer than one boasting a 300-400 GSM, this type is mostly used as a bath or guest towel at B&Bs and other small hotels.
600-900 GSM: this kind of towel is considered a luxury or premium weight product. Although it may take longer to dry, it’s super absorbent, kind to the skin and extremely comforting to be wrapped in, making it perfect for your guests to use in the bathroom.
As with the thread count of bed linen, you must take the actual fabric of a towel into account alongside its GSM rating. You might be able to pick up a linen towel with a luxurious sounding GSM, but it’s still made of linen, a considerably rough fabric in comparison to cotton which would be much more suitable for face and body use. But don’t dismiss linen towels out of hand; they’re great for drying glassware and other kitchen utensils.
Obviously, the preferred GSM weight differs from person to person, but choosing a better quality product that leans towards a higher GSM should avoid disappointment, complaints or other mishaps. After all, who doesn’t want to wrap themselves up in a soft, fluffy towel after a bath?
So when someone asks you the question ‘what is GSM?’ you now have the answer!