The best cooling towel

Steph Coelho

In the winter, a cozy sweater or snuggly blanket can provide relief from the chilly weather. Cooling your body down during the summer or after a hard workout, however, is not as simple. A cooling towel is a quick way to lower your body temperature and find relief, whether you're basking in the sun on a hot day or huffing and puffing on the treadmill. Our shopping guide will help you find the right product for you and includes more about our top choice, the Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Towel, which keeps you cool without getting wet.

Considerations when choosing cooling towels

How does a cooling towel work?

Wet any type of fabric, and it'll provide a refreshing burst of moisture when applied to the skin. The effect, however, doesn't last long. Cooling towels, on the other hand, are made of high-tech fabrics that are designed to retain moisture and provide long-lasting cooling effects by way of evaporation.


Cooling towel materials vary. Some are softer, while others are designed to provide ultra long-lasting relief.

PVA: Towels made of PVA (polyvinyl acetate) are extremely absorbent and remain cool for several hours at least. The advanced fabric won't soak your clothing, because even when wet, it feels dry to the touch. PVA is also machine washable. Avoid sticking a PVA towel in the fridge or freezer, though; as it hardens, it becomes brittle and may break.

Cotton: Runners know that cotton is a poor material option for endurance pursuits, because it retains moisture and dries incredibly slowly. While these properties are beneficial in a cooling towel, cotton ones don't stay chilled as long as synthetic options.

Microfiber: In addition to providing reliable cooling, microfiber towels are soft to the touch and feel nice against the skin. They won't cool you off as long as a PVA towel, though, and they're not dry to the touch when wet.

Whichever type of cooling towel you choose, you'll be able to use it over and over again. Always allow your cooling towel to dry thoroughly before storing it. Stuffing it in a bag or closet when damp is a surefire way to encourage mold and mildew growth.


The towel size you pick depends on your needs and the size of the user. Extra small and small towels (between 15 to 35 inches in length) are ideal for small children or for use around the neck or head. Towels around 40 inches in length can be hung around the neck or tied around the waist. Larger towels (between 50 to 60 inches) are big enough for full body use.


Machine washable

Check the care instruction tag on your towel to verify whether it's okay to throw it in your washer. In most cases, you should avoid tossing your towel into the dryer.

UV protection

Some cooling towels are constructed from UV blocking material. For outside use, UV protection is a handy bonus feature, but don't forget to always wear sunscreen when heading out into the sun.

Cooling towel prices

Cooling towel pricing increases according to the size of the towel. Large and extra-large towels cost at least $15. Smaller towels are priced between $3 and $10. Extra features like UV protection and proprietary materials increase the price.


Q. How long will a cooling towel keep me cool?

A. About two to five hours, depending on the towel materials and the weather. If it's extremely hot and dry, your towel will dry off quickly. If it's exceptionally humid, you may also find the cooling effects lessen over time. When you notice your towel is no longer cooling effectively, wet it with cold water to reset its cooling abilities.

Q. Does a cooling towel always need moisture to activate its cooling properties?

A. Yes. Cooling towels don't utilize chemicals, so cold water is necessary in order to activate the cooling effects. If you're heading outdoors and won't have a way to wet your towel, you have a few options. Wet it in advance or bring a frozen water bottle along. The ice will melt, and you can use the cold water to wet your towel.

Cooling towels we recommend

Best of the best: Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towel

Our take: For when you're overheating but don't want to soak your clothes.

What we like: The unique material cools without getting wet, so you stay dry and comfortable. Also offers UV protection and includes a carrying case.

What we dislike: When dry, the towel's texture is hard and unpleasant.

Best bang for your buck: Crenics Six-Pack of Cooling Towels

Our take: A value pack of six towels for on-the-go cooling.

What we like: Excellent for travel purposes or for storing in a gym bag. Multiple colors allow for easy tracking of towels.

What we dislike: Requires frequent rinsing.

Choice 3: Chill Pal Ultimate Mesh Cooling Towel

Our take: Lightweight and breathable cooling that's perfect for after a workout.

What we like: Compared to other cooling towels, this one is very lightweight. Mesh is breathable and soft.

What we dislike: Dries rapidly.

Steph Coelho is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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