Drying towel triple test: is there any real-world difference?

Three different price points, three noticeably different towels?

Three drying towels resting on a car bonnet

by Ryan Gilmore |

The most cost-effective way of drying a car is to go and use a drying towel. Made from microfibre, these thick slabs of cloth are capable of absorbing up to six times their body weight in water without leaving any nasty scratches on a car's paintwork.

There are a lot of drying towels on the market, in different sizes and colours all promising to do the same thing - dry a car quickly and effectively without leaving any scratches in the paintwork.

So with this in mind, we're testing three differently priced drying towels to see if there was any noticeable performance difference.

The contenders

Duel Autocare Triple Twisted Loop Drying Towel

Duel Autocare Triple Twisted Loop Drying Towel

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This tennis ball green drying towel comes courtesy of Duel Autocare. At 40 x 60cm, it's the smallest drying towel in the test but also the most affordable. The 1400GSM (grams per square metre) mean it's a particularly dense towel and makes use of triple twisted fibres for the maximum absorbency without being a scratch risk. Will its lower price and handy storage bag mean victory for Duel?

Detailers United Hydro Hoover XXL

Detailers United - Hydro Hoover XXL

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A self-proclaimed XXL drying towel, this option from Detailers United measures in at a whopping 70 x 90cm and makes use of 1400 GSM for its twisted loop microfibres. The mid-price option in this test, can its rich golden colour and humongous size help it stand above the rest?

26JPN Double Layered Drying Towel 

26JPN Double Layered Drying Towel 

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The final option is from 26JPN. Boasting the same huge 70 x 90 cm footprint as the Detailers United example but a higher price tag, 26JPN proudly talk of the double-layered design for better absorbency and the fact it's made from the finest South Korean microfibre. Will its lower GSM of 1080 hamper its finishing position though?

The test

All three drying towels were put to the test at a charity car wash where their performance could be directly compared. Each was used with the same technique too, draping and patting panels with no buffing.

Up first is the bright green Duel Autocare option. The colour is an immediate bonus as it'll quickly start to show up any grit which makes avoiding leaving any scratches very easy.

It was also the first towel to become saturated. Its smaller size simply meant it couldn't dry cars for as long as the other two examples and there isn't the physical space to store extra water. It still managed to dry two cars before becoming saturated however, a very noble effort.

Detailers United Hydro Hoover XXL was up next, a behemoth in every sense. Not only can it easily cover a smaller car's bonnet, but its also natural weight helped lift water without any need to pat the car. Yet despite this incredible weight, it's fairly easy to wield, even when cleaning the sides of a car.

The gold colour was alright at showing up dirt and debris but you'll need to keep an eye out to avoid leaving any dreaded scratches.

Saturation occurred after drying nearly three medium-sized cars, an outstanding effort. Even when the towel was close to this point it was rather rare that it wouldn't lift all the water with a single pass.

That being said, its huge size and weight once saturated made drying the towel a long and drawn-out affair.

The final towel used was the 26JPN, which faced an immediate challenge, the dark grey fabric didn't show up dirt anywhere near as clear as the other examples which makes it a scratch risk.

The same size as the Hydro Hoover, its performance was identical becoming saturated after drying nearly three cars. The slightly lower density also meant that it dried a little quicker than the other towels, but it still took a fairly long time.


Is there really any difference between these drying towels? Not at face value. Without performing some deeply scientific tests it's hard to actually notice any real-world performance difference between the three towels.

It's only when looking at other factors like price and ergonomics that any ranking can be clearly decided. The huge size and value of the Hydro Hoover can't be dismissed which makes it our top selection.

The Duel Autocare towel comes second thanks to its value, quality storage bag and bright colour.

The 26JPN comes last simply because it's the most expensive option here and the dark grey colour hides dirt - which is not good for avoiding scratches.

How we tested them:

The venue for this test was a charity car wash where each of these towels could be tested in similar conditions and with the same variables while still keeping it a real-world test. Each was used until it was either saturated with water or visibly dirty and required cleaning.

Other products used in this test: Zirconite Shampoo | Nilfisk Core 140 Pressure Washer

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