Every bathroom needs a solution for hanging towels, and when it comes to ensuring your bath towels completely dry out after showers and baths, a towel bar is often the ideal option. While hooks take up less space, the best towel bars allow you to spread out towels so they dry before bacteria and mold have the chance to grow while bringing some organization to your bathroom. The smell of moldy towels doesn’t exactly contribute to a relaxing, spa-like bathroom atmosphere.
A variety of towel bars are available on the market to organize both the tiniest and most spacious bathrooms and help keep them smelling fresh. This guide will explore several important features to look for as you shop and then offer choices for some of the best towel bars for your bathroom.
- BEST OVERALL: KES 23.6 Inches Towel Bar for Bathroom
- RUNNER-UP: JQK Double Bath Towel Bar, 30 Inch Stainless Steel
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Moen DN8424CH Preston 24-Inch Bathroom Towel Bar
- BEST FREESTANDING: Kingston Brass SCC8261 Pedestal 2-Tier Steel
- BEST SWIVEL: KES Towel Holder Swing Out Towel Bar SUS 304
- BEST SET: Franklin Brass KIN5PC-SN Kinla 5-Piece Bath Hardware
- BEST OVER THE DOOR: iDesign York Over the Shower Door Towel Rack
- BEST ADHESIVE: KES Towel Bar for Bathroom 24-Inch Self Adhesive
- BEST HEATED: Brandon Basics Wall Mounted Electric Towel Warmer
Features to Look for When Choosing the Best Towel Bar
While it’s easy to assume that all towel bars perform similarly, there are a number of factors that affect their functionality. A towel bar should have sufficient length and weight capacity and be constructed with high-quality materials. It should also be easy to install and complement your bathroom’s decor. Keep reading to learn more about several of the most important features to look for when choosing the best towel bars.
Towel bars for bath towels are available in a variety of lengths, but the most common are 18 inches, 24 inches, and 30 inches.
- 18- and 24-inch towel bars are most suitable for small spaces and standard 40-square-foot bathrooms. Bath towels are 27 to 30 inches wide, so when folded in half lengthwise, a single towel can fit on a towel bar of this size.
- For bathrooms that are 45 square feet or larger where space isn’t as much of a concern, a 30-inch towel bar will comfortably fit an unfolded towel. It’s also long enough for two towels to fit side by side if folded lengthwise.
Double- and multi-bar designs can hold a higher number of towels while taking up a similar amount of space.
There are several unique styles of towel bars, each of which has different installation requirements.
- Wall-mounted towel bars are relatively easy to install. They do typically require an electric drill, and anchors may also be necessary if wall studs aren’t present.
- Freestanding towel bars don’t require any installation, though they may require assembly. They simply sit on the ground, making them a good choice for larger bathrooms where limited floor space isn’t an issue.
- Adhesive towel bars simply stick to the bathroom wall and don’t require installation. They usually include an adhesive strip that sticks to drywall or tile, similar to some styles of paper towel holders. They’re a logical choice for renters because they don’t create any permanent damage to walls.
- Over-the-door towel bars also don’t require installation and won’t damage walls. They’re an ideal space-saving solution because they can be hung over the bathroom door or shower door.
- Towel warmers require access to an electrical outlet and can be either freestanding or wall-mounted.
In general, look for towel bars that include the necessary mounting equipment as well as clear installation instructions.
Towel bars are also available in a wide variety of finishes, each with advantages—and some disadvantages.
- Chrome features a high-shine finish but does require frequent cleaning with soap and water or distilled vinegar to keep it looking bright.
- Brushed nickel boasts a high-end look, and the matte finish makes it easy to maintain.
- Polished brass is on-trend but also provides a vintage look. It’s easy to clean and maintain but tends to be more expensive than other finishes.
- Oil-rubbed bronze provides a traditional look and adds visual contrast in a bathroom with light-colored cabinets and tiles. It doesn’t show water staining or fingerprints, but it can be expensive.
- Matte black is popular in minimalist bathrooms and is also advantageous due to its minimal upkeep and resistance to stains.
Choose a towel rack that matches or coordinates with your other bathroom fixtures, like tub and sink faucets, drawer pulls, and the showerhead.
Towel bars don’t typically provide a high weight capacity because most of them are designed to only hold a towel or two. It’s important to note that towel bars are distinct from grab bars, which are used as a safety precaution to prevent slips and falls in the bathroom. While grab bars have a weight capacity between 250 and 500 pounds, standard towel bars are not nearly as sturdy and should not be used for support. Towel bars that are wall-mounted to studs or use anchors will generally offer a higher weight capacity than adhesive models.
While some of the most affordable towel bars are made from plastic, the majority of products on the market are constructed with stainless steel. Stainless steel is well suited for bathroom fixtures because it’s rustproof and resistant to corrosion, even in humid environments. It won’t become damaged when exposed to moisture and also doesn’t require much maintenance. The specific cleaning instructions will depend on the type of finish, however.
Our Top Picks
Now that you’ve learned more about towel bars, it’s time to start shopping. The recommendations for some of the best towel bars on the market consider size, material, aesthetic, installation options, weight capacity, and additional features—and, of course, overall product quality to ensure they keep towels dry and bathrooms organized.
Individuals who have particular specifications for their bathroom fixtures will appreciate the variety of options with this affordable, wall-mounted towel bar from KES. The design is simple, but it’s available in eight sizes ranging from 9 inches to 36 inches, so there’s a length that will suit most bathrooms.
This towel bar can be wall-mounted with either screws or strong adhesive glue, both of which are included with purchase. The premium-grade stainless steel construction ensures a durable and long-lasting towel bar that resists corrosion and rust. Choose from four finishes: brushed brass, brushed steel, polished steel, and matte black.
Double towel bars are a smart use of space for larger households. This stainless steel model from JQK is available in 15-, 20.5-, 27-, 33-, and 39-inch lengths and comes in a brushed chrome, polished chrome, black, gold, or oil-rubbed bronze finish. Because the bars are separated by 2.36 inches of distance, even thick, fluffy towels remain separate if simultaneously hanging on each bar.
While a double towel bar takes up the same amount of wall space as a standard single bar, it does jut out into the room slightly more. The total depth of this model, for instance, is 5.15 inches, so it’s important to take that into consideration. A hardware package, stainless steel screws, and installation instructions are included with purchase.
A towel bar doesn’t have to be an expensive bathroom upgrade. This affordable model by Moen offers a traditional aesthetic and a simple design that will suit most bathroom decor styles. The 24-inch towel bar is available in either a chrome or brushed nickel finish. Since Moen makes a number of other bathroom fixtures, it’s easy to perfectly match the finish with a new or existing faucet or showerhead.
The stamped steel mounting brackets ensure durability when the bar is wall-mounted on a flat surface. Installation is easy because the bar comes packaged with the necessary mounting hardware as well as a guided installation template.
A freestanding pedestal towel bar looks elegant in larger bathrooms that have the floor space to accommodate it. It’s also convenient for anyone who doesn’t want to deal with installation, because the bar simply needs to be assembled and placed in the desired location. This freestanding model from Kingston Brass features two bars, each of which measures 17.31 inches wide, to hang both hand and bath towels. At just 6.5 pounds, it’s easy to lift and move around the bathroom, if necessary.
This towel bar is made of durable steel, and the base is sturdy so there’s no concern about it tipping over. The bottom tray is a convenient spot to store shower essentials or other toiletries. Choose from a polished chrome, brushed nickel, or oil-rubbed bronze finish, all of which are resistant to rust, corrosion, and tarnishing.
Especially for large families, a swivel towel bar is an efficient use of space because it holds a number of towels at once without taking up much room on a wall. This model from KES features six individual swivel arms that each rotates 180 degrees, allowing for both wet and dry towels to be hung simultaneously without touching each other. Constructed from premium-grade stainless steel with either a brushed or polished chrome finish, it’s designed to resist rust and be impervious to humidity.
The maximum weight capacity for the entire towel bar is 33 pounds, while the capacity for each individual arm is 11 pounds. It comes fully assembled, and the required mounting hardware is included with purchase.
This bathroom fixture set by Franklin Brass includes five pieces, each set available in four different finishes to ensure that the hardware in a bathroom matches perfectly. The set includes a 24-inch towel bar, an 18-inch towel bar, a towel ring, a towel hook, and a spring-loaded toilet paper holder, all of which are meant to be wall-mounted and come with the required mounting hardware.
Because of the variety of towel-hanging options, this durable steel set makes a fine choice to coordinate the aesthetic in larger bathrooms. Choose an oil-rubbed bronze, matte black, polished chrome, or satin nickel finish—each prevents discoloration, tarnish, and corrosion.
An over-the-door towel rack is an excellent space-saving solution, especially for tiny bathrooms with little to no available wall space. This towel rack from iDesign provides three bars and can be mounted on doors up to 2 inches thick via the attached hooks. Installation doesn’t require tools; simply hang the rack over the bathroom door or the shower door. It’s made of stainless steel with a chrome and brushed nickel finish that is durable and rust-resistant. The total height is approximately 23 inches, and it can hold up to three bath towels.
Renters who can’t risk damaging a bathroom wall may want to consider this towel bar by KES. The mounting process is easy because of the self-adhesive strip on the back that is designed to be compatible with flat, smooth surfaces like tile, glass, metal, and painted walls. No marks will be left behind when the bar is removed. It’s important to note that due to the mounting style, this bar has a weight capacity of only 6.6 pounds.
Constructed from premium-grade brushed stainless steel, the towel bar can stand up to humidity and won’t rust or corrode over time. Five available sizes range from 9 inches to 23.6 inches, suitable for washcloths up to bath towels.
An electric towel warmer is a simple yet luxurious upgrade that not only ensures towels are toasty warm after a shower but also helps them dry faster, preventing the growth of bacteria. This model by Brandon Basics is a versatile choice because it can be either hardwired or plugged in for a full bathroom renovation or a more short-term solution.
This towel warmer boasts a built-in timer as well as LED indicator lights, ensuring it’s never left heating for too long. It features a sturdy stainless steel construction, and the 12 heated bars dry towels quickly and evenly. The entire towel warmer is nearly 3 feet in height, and each bar is 18 inches long. The garment hook can be used to hang a robe or the day’s outfit. Choose from brushed chrome, polished chrome, or matte black finish.
FAQs About Towel Bars
If you still have questions about towel bars after reading the guide, check out the answers to several of the most frequently asked questions about towel bars below.
Q. Do towels dry better on hooks or bars?
Towel bars are ideal for hanging bath towels to dry because the material is spread out and will dry more quickly and evenly than on a towel hook, helping to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.
Q. Where should towel bars be placed in a small bathroom?
Over-the-door towel bars are a great choice for small bathrooms because they don’t require any wall space.
Q. What size towel bar should I use?
18- and 24-inch towel bars are most suited for smaller bathrooms, while 30-inch towel bars work well in larger bathrooms.
Q. How high should towel bars be hung?
Towel bars should be hung approximately 48 inches from the floor for the typical adult. They should be lowered to 44 inches for individuals with limited mobility and to 36 inches to be accessible for children.
Q. Do double towel bars last longer than single ones?
In terms of durability, the material with which a towel bar is made is more important than whether it’s a single or double bar. For maximum longevity, look for a towel bar constructed from premium-grade stainless steel.