Waffle Towel Review

What is a waffle towel? It’s a special weave bath towel designed to dry faster, smell less, and be a super towel for your bathroom. We review the Nutrl, Gilden Tree, Onsen, Brooklinen and Imabari waffle towel to see which one is better, and to determine if they’re better than a traditional towel.

To buy your own towel!
Nutrl: https://amzn.to/36cSR8t (affiliate)
Gilden Tree: https://amzn.to/3a3qWsQ (affiliate)
Onsen: https://fave.co/36Kan4j (affiliate)
Imabari: https://fave.co/2O7boNf (affiliate)

NutrlGildren TreeOnsenBrooklinenImabari
Dry Weight334g363g490g446g580g
Material100% Supima Cotton loops100% Natural Cotton100% Supima Cotton100% Turkish Cotton100% Cotton
Country of OriginChinaPakistanChinaTurkeyJapan
Chart of Towels!

Dry Time and Smell

These towels do dry faster than a traditional terry towel and as a result are less prone to smelling. We did our dry time test in a room that was 72 Fahrenheit with all towels hung on a bar. They dried completely within about an hour or so of each other (despite the thickness of the Onsen, Brooklinen, and Imabari). And each towel dried several hours faster than a traditional terry towel. This leads to less mildew and odor build up and it’s also nice to be able to shower at night and morning and have a dry towel in the morning. These towels are SO much better at odor management, that one tester used a towel for two weeks without washing (The Imabari) and it still didn’t smell.

Feel and Look

At first touch, the Nutrl is a little softer. Imabari is noticeable thicker and heartier. The Gilden lays the flatest. Gilden and Imabari have similar feel in terms of their coarseness. Neither as soft as Nutrl.

Gilden has a different collar than the rest. Nutrl and Imabari both have a flat collar with the Imabari feeling the most robust. By a long shot. The Imabari feels like a tank. Plush, thick, woven well. And while its not soft new out of the box, I think it will get softer with use. Still. It feels great to wrap around yourself because of its size.

The Brooklinen has an almost waxy feel to it. Feels thick and well constructed but with a bit too much stretch than desired. The Imabari doesn’t have a ton of stretch but still feels flexible.

Practical use

The Imabari towel feels great. It’s thick, sturdy, and feels like it can dry you in one pass. Superior to American towels for sure. It’s thicker collar doesn’t dry as fast as others, but the rest of the towel does fine.

The Nutrl feels like a “cheaper” version (and it is) of this Imabari towel.

Gilden is kind of its own thing. Different look, texture. Feels more akin to the Imabari but doesn’t use nearly the same amount of plush or material.

The Gilden Tree Waffle Towel

Onsen is like the Imabari but with less material. Less thick, less plush, less absorbent. Overall it feels fine in hands and when wrapped around. It dries well but requires a little more “rubbing” to dry than the one-pass Imabari. Considering the price, it’s a no brainer to buy the Imabari.

Brooklinen felt like it had an almost waxy coating on the outside. It also stretched pretty bad when hung up or coming out of the dryer. It was fine and for its price beat out the Nutrl and Gilden Tree. We’d buy this over the Nutrl and Gilden Tree, but would still buy the Imabari.


To do the absorbency test, and I know this isn’t the most scientific test around, I soaked both towels until absolutely saturated. I then rung both towels until absolutely no more water came out of them, then weighed them. I compared this wet weight with its dry weight and came up with my number for absorbency.

As suspected the Nutrl towel had the least absorbency. It makes sense because it weighed the least, thus less fiber material, and practically speaking when my wife and I used it, we felt this towel did the least effective job at “drying”. Felt more like an American towel vs the premium Imabari towel which took like one pass to feel dry. The Nutrl also became slightly warped when hanging it. Now I know some people use towel bars but with a hook the towel is more bunched together thus making dry time less effective, so I felt this was fine as a practical test instead of using a towel bar.

The rest were pretty much in order of the chart. The more material, the more water they absorbed, and thus felt like they dried you better coming out of the shower or tub. Ironically, the most water they absorbed didn’t affect their dry time.

Terry Towel – a classic. A thick terry towel absorbs water off your body just fine but retains the water for so long the towel smells and feels damp too fast.


Check the above chart for pricing of the various towels. The Imabari, although the most expensive, is the one we’d buy. If you don’t want to spend the money, buy the Brooklinen. It’s the cheapest and comes in “third” as far as towels performance is concerned. We do not recommend buying the Onsen as it’s almost as expensive as the Imabari but is not as good (although it does a fine job).


The Imabari is the best towel in every possible way. It’s so good, despite its price, its the ones we’re keeping and buying. If you don’t want to spend the money for it, the Brooklinen is the next best option. Each towel is better as a bath towel than a traditional terry towel.

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