A super-soft, super-absorbent towel is what you need to buy for drying your car. Here’s our group test of the best car drying towels you can buy.
You’ve bought all the top products to wash your car, but what happens when it comes to drying? What car detailing covers is the whole process, not just cleaning.
When it comes to car drying towels, there are a few things to look for. What you want is something super-soft, so it won’t scratch the paint. Something super-absorbent, so it sucks up all the water from your car’s bodywork. And something large, so it can easily dry even the biggest of panels with ease. You also need the proper technique – take a look at our guide to drying your car.
As Fast Car’s Detailing Product Tester, I’ve used a lot of drying towels in my time. Plenty of them have been consigned to the detailing fault. And only a few have made it into regular use. I know what makes a good drying towel, and what makes a bad one. I’ve selected eight of the most popular drying towels to see how they compare.
Best Car Drying Towel At A Glance
- Best Overall and Editor’s Choice: The Rag Company Liquid8r. RRP: $24 / £25.95. Buy The Rag Company Liquid8r here.
- Approved: – Auto Finesse Aqua Deluxe XL. RRP: $32.95 / £21.95. Buy Auto Finesse Aqua Deluxe XL here.
- Approved: – Meguiar’s Microfibre Duo Twist. RRP: $19.99 / £30.00. Buy Meguiar’s Microfibre Duo Twist here.
- Best Value: – Gtechniq MF2 Zero Scratch Drying Towel. RRP: $11.95 / £7.46. Buy Gtechniq MF2 Zero Scratch Drying Towel here.
The Rag Company Liquid8r – Best Overall and Editor’s Choice
- High GSM
- 70/30 microfiber blend
- Dries incredibly well
The Rag Company Liquid8r serves up some impressive stats before you’ve even started drying. This twist loop drying towel measures a massive 36×25”, with an 1100gsm 70/30 blend construction. It also has a hemmed ‘hidden’ edge, making it the only towel in this test with this design. It made a very good first impression, and I was impressed by its size, feel and design the moment I unpacked it. And when it came to the drying experience, I was honestly blown away.
The Rag Company Liquid8r is a beast: it’s so nice to use, absorbs water effortlessly, and leaves panels bone dry. The twist loop construction means it sucks up water incredibly well. Meanwhile, the size means it can hold a lot of moisture without becoming overwhelmed. It’s such an impressive drying towel, the clear winner, and my favorite. The Rag Company Liquid8r is my new go-to drying towel of choice.
Check out our full review of The Rag Company Liquid8r drying towel.
Auto Finesse Aqua Deluxe XL – Approved
- Nice and big
- Very soft
- High GSM
- Dries well
- You might not like the color…
Auto Finesse brings out the big guns with this drying towel. XL by name and XL by nature, it measures a massive 37×22”. Thanks to all that surface area, it makes light work of drying any panel you point it at. The 1200gsm microfiber pile makes it ultra-plush, so it’s safe for all surfaces.
This is a good-sized towel, very soft, and very absorbent. It dries well There’s very little to dislike here, and it’s a very nice drying towel.
For more info on the Auto Finesse drying towel, check out our full review of the Aqua Deluxe XL.
Meguiar’s Microfibre Duo Twist – Approved
- High GSM
- Impressive drying performance
- Quite expensive
Meguiar’s Microfibre Duo Twist drying towel is a bit different. It’s certainly got the size, measuring a hefty 35×20”. It also boasts a 1200gsm microfiber construction, which means it’s nice and soft. However, as its name suggests, it uses duo-twist microfibers. This means that each drying fiber is two strands twisted together. Rather than the soft, fluffy, plush structure, it feels a bit more like a bath towel. I was a little skeptical of how well it would perform, but I needn’t have been.
The Meguiar’s Microfibre Duo Twist dries really well. It absorbed way more water than I expected it to and I was very impressed with how little moisture was left behind. It’s a little pricey compared to its rivals, but that’s honestly the only real downside. A very strong choice of drying towel.
Here’s Buffy’s full review of the Meguiar’s drying towel.
Gtechniq MF2 Zero Scratch Drying Towel – Best Value
RRP: $11.95 / £7.46. Buy Gtechniq MF2 Zero Scratch Drying Towel here.
- Good size
- Excellent drying performance
- Very nice to use
- Feels a bit thin
On the face of it, the Gtechniq MF2 drying towel is a little disappointing. It’s a good size, and measures a generous 35×23”. This makes it comparable to the largest towels on test. However, its low 450gsm makes it almost one-third as plush as the fluffiest towels on this list. It feels very thin and very light and doesn’t look like it’s going to do a very good job. But I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The Gtechniq MF2 performed incredibly well. It dried with minimal smearing and absorbed way more water than I ever expected. Because it’s thinner, it’s also a little more maneuverable and less heavy. Throw in the bargain price, and you’ve got yourself a stunningly good drying towel.
Check out the Gtechniq MF2 drying towel full review.
Liquid Elements Silverback XL
RRP: £14.49. Not available in the US. Buy Liquid Elements Silverback XL here.
- Very soft and plush
- High GSM
- Not as big as its rivals
- Doesn’t dry that well
I bought the Liquid Elements Silverback XL based on reviews I’d read myself. It certainly has some impressive stats. You’ve got 1200gsm of plush chenille fibres, so it’s off to a great start. At 31.5×20”, it’s big, but not quite as big as the largest towels I’ve lined up here. It’s very soft and has a safe edge like its rivals.
But something is missing here and it’s never dried quite as well as I wanted it to. The Silverback XL good, but it’s my backup towel, rather than my main choice. This drying towel is still worth a look, but you can do better.
Autoglym Hi-Tech Microfibre Drying Towel
- Feels nice
- Doesn’t dry well
Autoglym offers three different car drying towels, and its Hi-Tech Drying Towel is its top-end towel. This microfiber drying towel measures 24×24”, which makes it one of the smallest towels here. There’s also no mention of gsm, and its construction feels basic, with very short fibres. It’s very thin, too. While I like a lot of Autoglym’s products, sadly the Hi-Tech Microfiber Drying Towel fell short of the mark.
First of all, it really is small, so it struggles with drying. It quickly became waterlogged and was overwhelmed. I’d certainly consider it for drying glass, where the short fibers would be beneficial. But it’s a disappointing drying towel, even more so at this price.
In2Detailing Drinker XL V1 Drying Towel
RRP: £14.95 (V2), buy now. Not available in the US.
- Plush and soft
- Holds loads of water
- Drying performance could be better
The Drinker XL has been my drying towel of choice for years, now. At 35×24”, it’s big and boasts an 1100gsm construction. It’s thick, plush and very soft, everything you’d want in a towel. I’ve always been very pleased with its drying performance in the past but, honestly, it felt a little outclassed here. Initial pickup is good, but it has a habit of leaving behind damp streaks that take multiple passes to clear. Also, despite its size, by the end of a drying session, it feels like it’s struggling a bit.
I tested my old V1 Drink XL here, and it’s since been replaced by the V2. It features a revised design and a much higher gsm, so I want to get my hands on one to see how it performs. I still love my Drinker XL V1, but it’s just not as good as the best towels here.
Chemical Guys Big Mouth (Miracle Dryer)
- Good material blend
- Poor drying performance
Chemical Guys offers such a huge range of drying towels that it’s hard to know where to even start. I opted for a mid-range towel for this test in the shape of the Big Mouth (aka the Miracle Dryer). At 36×25”, it’s certainly not short on size and is one of the biggest towels on test. It’s blended with 70/30 microfiber, which is definitely what you want. It also has two naps for added versatility. Both are good for drying, while the high pile is perfect for catching dust and debris without scratching the paintwork.
On paper, it sounds good, but in practice it underperformed. It just didn’t dry very well, leaving lots of moisture behind, and quickly became waterlogged. It just wasn’t very nice to use, really, and was outclassed by the best towels in this test.
How Each Product Was Tested
The car I was using for testing was washed and rinsed, and then each towel was used to dry a panel. I checked to see how much water each drying towel absorbed on the first pass. After this, I inspected how much moisture was left on the panel. Finally, I then finished drying the panel to see how effective each towel was. While using each one, I also noted how heavy it felt, and how easy it was to use.
What To Look For When Buying The Best Drying Towel
When it comes to shopping for a drying towel, size matters. The bigger the towel, the more easily you can dry your car. A bigger surface area means it can also absorb more water before it gets overwhelmed. The GSM (grams per square meter) is also important. The higher the GSM, the thicker, softer and more absorbent the towel will be. This means quicker, safer and better drying performance. A good drying towel will also have soft edges to protect your paint.
The material ratio of a microfiber towel is also very important. Most microfiber cloths and towels are a blend of polyester and polyamide. Generally speaking, polyester is the scrubbing element of the towel, while polyamide is the absorbent component. Polyamide is more expensive than polyester, which is why cheaper towels might be up to 100% polyester. The more polyamide there is in the blend, the softer the towel will be.
Ideally, you want a 70/30 towel – this means it has a 70% polyester to 30% polyamide blend. Even 80/20 towels can leave behind micro scratches on soft paint due to the higher amount of polyester. A 70/30 towel, however, will not, as well as being softer and more absorbent.