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The Best Car Drying Towels 2021

microfiber towel for cars

After washing your car, the drying process is regarded as one of the most important parts. It’s crucial that you use a clean car drying towel that’s designed for automotive surfaces. Failing to do so may result in scratches or streaks appearing upon the paintwork after you have finished drying it.

Most car drying towels are constructed using a waffle or terry weave, chamois or thick wooly materials. If they are made from anything else, we would recommend using them with caution.

After hours of research and testing, we found that the best car drying towel is the Dry Me A River Jr by The Rag Company, which is made from a premium Hysoung split microfiber and is highly absorbent. However, if you are willing to invest slightly more, the Adams Ultra Plush is the ultimate car drying towel.

In terms of rating the car drying towels within this article, we based our recommendations upon our experience of using them, testing and a number of factors. The factors that were considered included their construction, size, edge design, colours available and value for money.

Table of Contents

Car Drying Towel Comparison

Car Drying ToolGSMType
THE RAG COMPANY400Waffle Weave
Adams Ultra Plush540Terry Weave
Griot's Garage 555901,250Terry Weave
Chemical Guys880Woolly Mammoth
Meguiar's X2000300Waffle Weave
The Absorber200Chamois
Viking Car Care300Waffle Weave

It’s important that you choose a quality drying towel for your car as this avoids scratches, streaks and water spots. Waffle, terry weaves and plush towels are highly recommended by professionals as the safest way to dry your car.

Using a car chamois used to be the most popular method of drying your car but they can be less forgiving for cars that are not completely clean.

Below is a list of the best drying towels for cars that are designed specifically for automotive use.

The Best Car Drying Towel

1. The Rag Company “Dry Me A River Jr” Microfiber

The Rag Company Car Drying Towel
The Rag Company is one of the most popular drying towel brands in the USA and this particular towel is one of their most rated. It’s nicknamed the “Dry Me A River Jr” and it has a waffle weave construction with over 400,000 fibers per square inch.

It’s made from a 100% South Korean Hyosung split microfiber that’s highly absorbent and is available in multiple sizes to best suit your requirements.

Other features of the Rag Company Dry Me A River Jr include:

  • Rated at 400 GSM
  • Microfiber suede edges
  • Gets softer after each use
  • Completely scratch-free and paint safe
  • Sizes range from 16 x 16 to 26 x 59
  • Available in 5 colors
  • Made in the USA

Overall, the Rag Company Dry Me A River Jr is a high quality microfiber drying towel that can hold up to 10 times its weight in water. Whether you are drying the paintwork or windows of your car, these drying towels are an excellent option that won’t disappoint.

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2. Adam’s Ultra Plush Drying Towel For Cars

Adam's Ultra Plush Drying Towel For Cars
The Adam’s Ultra Plush car drying towel uses a highly absorbent microfiber cloth for soaking up water quickly and with ease. It’s made from a high quality microfiber fabric that’s registered at 540 GSM and is designed specifically for cars. Although it’s a large in size (29 x 39 inches), it can be easily folded in quarts for maximum drying efficiency.

Other features of the Adam’s Ultra Plush Towel include:

  • High quality towel designed for drying cars
  • Stitched fibers woven within the cloth
  • Premium silk banding along the edges
  • 110% satisfaction guarantee
  • Available in smaller sizes

Although the Adam’s Ultra Plush towel comes with a premium price tag, it’s by far one of the best on the market. It provides scratch-free drying that’s highly absorbent and allows you to dry an entire vehicle without requiring multiple towels.

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3. Griot’s Garage Terry Car Drying Towel

Griot's Garage Terry Car Drying Towel
Another premium option is the Griot’s Garage 55590, which is a unique terry weave car drying towel. The brand state that it’s able to hold up to 5 LBS of water at one time, which is made possible by the double-lined construction.

It’s been designed specifically for cars and the brand claims that it doesn’t drag whatsoever unlike similar priced thick towels.

Other features of the Griot’s Garage 55590 include:

  • Measures up as 25 x 35 inches in size
  • Rated at 1,250 GSM
  • Terry weave microfiber construction
  • Satin edges to prevent scratches
  • Double sided design
  • Reduced surface tension

The Griot’s Garage 55590 is by far the most expensive car drying towel but it’s built to the highest of standards. The Terry weave construction is rated at 1,2500 GSM and is able absorb large amounts of water without the need of additional towels.

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4. Chemical Guys Woolly Mammoth Drying Towel

Chemical Guys Woolly Mammoth Drying TowelChemical Guys offer a range of car drying towels but the Woolly Mammoth version is their most rated. It’s been built to the highest of standards with each of the fibers being precisely split with spiral patterns. This has the effect of ensuring it’s as soft as it can be and highly absorbent, which is a major requirement for safely drying a car.

It’s a thick car drying towel that measures up at 25 x 36 inches and has the benefit of being completely safe to machine wash when required.

Other features of the Chemical Guys Wooly Mammoth include:

  • Rated at 880 GSM
  • Highly absorbent
  • Lint-free and scratch-free
  • Silk banded edges
  • Constructed from a 70/30 microfiber
  • Light gray that shows up dirt
  • Extra plush construction

The Wooly Mammoth Towel by Chemical Guys is an ultra-soft and highly absorbent car drying towel that won’t disappoint. Unlike many other thick or wooly towels, it can be machine washed and you can even use a fabric softer to reduce its static properties.

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5. Meguiar’s Water Magnet Car Drying Towel

Meguiar's Water Magnet Car Drying Towel
The Meguiar’s Water Magnet drying towel for cars is by far the most popular and offers the best value for money. It’s available as a 22 x 30 or 31 x 21.5 inch towel and uses a waffle weave construction to absorb water.

According to the brand, they claim that their drying towel for cars is able to absorb up to twice as much water when compared to similar priced alternatives.

Other features of the Meguiar’s Water Magnet include:

  • Rated at 300 GSM
  • Waffle weave construction
  • Small and large sizes
  • No scratch design
  • Machine washable
  • Spot-free drying

Overall, the Water Magnet by Meguiar’s is the best car drying towel for the money that also has a reputable brand backing it. Compared to similar priced alternatives, it has a far more superior build quality and can absorb up to twice as much water.

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6. CleanTools Synthetic Drying Car Chamois

CleanTools Synthetic Drying Car Chamois
Many detailers prefer to use a chamois to dry their car but you will have to pay a premium price for a high quality example. However, choosing a synthetic alternative is the best option as it maintains the beneficial qualities of the leather chamois. The CleanTools brand offer their drying towel for cars in 6 different colors with each of the towels measuring up as 27 x 17 inches in size.

Other features of the CleanTools Absorber include:

  • Resistant to mold and mildew
  • Storage tube included
  • Machine washable
  • Scratch-free and safe on all surfaces
  • Available in six colors
  • 27 x 17 inches in size

The Absorber by the CleanTools brand is the best chamois that offers great drying qualities at an affordable price. The car chamois also comes with a storage tube to keep it safe and dry when not in use.

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7. Viking Car Care Waffle Weave Drying Towel

Viking Car Care Waffle Weave Drying Towel
For those looking for the cheapest car drying towel that’ actually worth buying, the Viking Waffle Weave is the best option. It’s 28 x 36 inches in size and is only available as a blue towel that the brand states can absorb up to 3 times its weight in water.

According to the brand, the micro-bead action provides a lint-free finish and also doesn’t cause any scratches to appear upon the paintwork of the car.

Other features of the Viking Waffle Weave include:

  • 300 GSM rated
  • Deep waffle weave construction
  • Machine washable and reusable
  • 28 x 36 inches in size
  • Absorbs three times its weight in water
  • Quickly and gently dries

The Viking Waffle Weave is a cheap car drying towel that safely absorbs water without leaving streaks or scratches. It may not be the most absorbent towel but it’s a fraction of the price when compared to many of the alternatives.

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How We Rated The Drying Towels

As we are detailing enthusiasts, we are constantly washing our cars, which also means we use drying towels quite regularly. Over the years, we have used towels produced by a variety of brands and gained a great deal of experience along the way. Therefore, in order to rate the car drying towels within this article, we based our recommendations upon our experience as well as multiple factors. The factors that we considered included their construction, size, edge design, colours available and value for money.

Car Drying Towel Buying Guide

Using a microfiber drying towel is essential in order to safely dry your car without leaving scratches or streaks. Although they have been in existence for many years, there are still many car owners that are drying their cars with the wrong towels. Microfiber strands have a diameter of fewer than ten micrometers, which makes them even smaller than a single strand of silk. Subsequently, this results in the material having unique features ideal for drying a car’s exterior and interior.

Other qualities from a car drying towel include softness, durability, electrostatic properties, excellent absorption and filtering capability. These properties make the microfiber towel best suited for drying not only car surfaces but also most other surfaces.

To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding car drying towels.

microfiber drying towel

The Composition of Microfiber Towel

Microfiber towels are made up of polyamide, polyester or a combination of the two. Some manufacturers may even add polypropylene to make the towels recyclable. The polyester in the fabric helps in strengthening and improving the fabric’s durability even after frequent washing, wrinkling, scratches, shrinkage and stretching.

Polyester has an exceptional capability of being able to dry quickly along with great insulation thus making them easy to wash and dry. On the other hand, polyamides make the microfiber robust and able to resist damage caused by being in contact with oils and chemicals, which when cleaning greasy parts of a car can be very useful.

The polyamide makes the towels elastic, which makes them perfect for cleaning the hard to reach areas or tight spaces. Just like polyester, the polyamide is easy to wash and dry as well as being resistant to scratches.

Therefore, from the above information regarding their composition, you can see why there is often a mixture of materials used within the construction of a car drying towel.

Various Types of Microfiber Towels

Microfiber drying towels can be classified by their pile height and their blends. Higher pile towels are softer and are often more expensive than the shorter pile, which is more compact and robust. Below are the benefits and drawbacks of each type of pile length.

Short Pile

These towels are great for all-purpose cleaning especially for the non-sensitive surfaces. This means they aren’t ideal for the bodywork of your car because they may leave swirl marks or light scratches that may need a swirl remover polish to remove.

These will usually be blends of 80/20 and rated below 300 GSM, which makes them ideal for plastic trims, upholstery, exhausts and other surfaces.

Medium Pile

The medium pile microfiber towels come in three different variants; the standard medium, medium-long pile and medium plush pile.

The standard medium is useful for the application of car waxes as well as the removal. Additionally, it’s also helpful in surfaces that don’t need rinsing, which is why it’s used in the cleaning of the vehicle’s interior. With a blend of 75/25, they have a softer feel in comparison to the short pile towel.

Medium plush piles are ideal for transparent plastics, glass, chrome trims and covers that can become scratched easily. They are usually a blend of 75/25 and are far softer than the standard medium. In terms of the GSM rating, they are usually around the 600 GSM rating.

The medium long is more plusher and has a GSM rating of around 400 GSM. It’s very similar to the medium plush in terms of its application but is often more expensive.

Long Pile

Long piles are ideal for car drying towels and provide excellent absorption capabilities. They usually have a blend of 70/30 and a GSM of around 600, which makes them much softer and ideal for drying the water from the paintwork.

Waffle Weave Pile

Waffle weaves are very popular car drying towels and are a blend of 80/20 as well as a 350 GSM rating. You are able to dry all surfaces using this towel, which includes the paintwork, glass, mirrors and much more.

Towel Maintenance

Once you begin to dry your car after washing it, you may pick up dirt on your drying towel. This needs to be washed because the dirt can transfer to other surfaces.

Many premium drying towels for cars can be machine washed but this is dependent upon the brand’s instructions. Many state that you can use a detergent or even a fabric softener, which may improve the drying towel and prevent it from going rigid.

Drying the Towel

After using a car drying towel, it will require drying itself from the water held in the fibers. However, exposing the towel to high temperatures isn’t recommended as it can cause the towel to become rigid and no longer be suitable to sensitive surfaces. It’s strongly recommended that you allow the towel to dry naturally.

Color Coding System

Most brands offer their car drying towels in multiple colors, which is highly useful for car detailing. For example, you may want to use a specific color for painted surfaces, interior, exhaust, wheels and much more.


Using a high quality car drying towel is strongly recommended in order to avoid streaks or scratches. You could go to the effort of purchasing a dedicated car dryer for drying your car but a premium towel is just as effective. As long as you properly maintain them, they should be long lasting too.

All of our recommendations are suited to a range of budgets and different towel materials types. Using any of the towels within this article allows you to improve your efficiency and ensure that you don’t leave any swirl marks or scratches on the paint.

procarreviews author

Written By Dan

About the Author

Dan is an automotive journalist and owner of over 10 cars ranging from supercars, tuned cars, classics and your good old beater cars. He always likes to get his hands dirty with nut and bolt restorations or detailing sessions using the best products on the market.

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