Bath time is an integral part of the bedtime routine for babies and toddlers, and there’s nothing nicer than wrapping them in a soft, fluffy towel afterwards.

Nowadays there are a wealth of baby and toddler towels on the market, all with slightly different benefits – from hoods, animal ears and hanging hooks, to clever fastening towels that keep your hands free to hold the baby.

Lisa Clegg, maternity nurse and author of The Blissful Baby Expert, says: "You should ideally have a few separate towels for your little one that aren’t shared with you or your partner, or other members of the family to maintain good hygiene.

"Whichever you choose, the bigger the better usually works best, so they can be wrapped up cosy and warm straight after the bath or a swim to get dry as soon as possible."

We’ve tested all of the towels below on the grounds of how appealing they are to a both toddlers and parents, how easy, effective and comfortable they are to use, and how hardwearing and durable they are when used and washed. As well as their cost. Here are our favourites.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Shnuggle hooded wrap towel: £24.95, Shnuggle

This product is ingeniously designed so that you can wear this towel while you’re bathing your baby and then easily release it once you pick them up out of the bath and wrap it around them. The towel easily hooks over one shoulder and fastens around the waist, then can be released easily with one hand once you’ve picked your baby up.

Another added benefit is that because it hangs over your front, it prevents your clothes getting wet during bathtime and eliminates any awkward attempt to hold the towel under your chin and dropping it. Made from soft 100 per cent cotton and measuring nearly 1.5 metres wide (although this is including the long wing bits) it’s ideal for wriggly newborns and babies.

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JoJo Maman Bebe grey elephant hooded towel: £16, JoJo Maman Bebe

Made from 100 per cent cotton this towel is gorgeously soft and the elephant hood is a really good size for actually staying on your baby or toddler’s head (unlike some which slip off easily). Our tester’s toddler loved the floppy three-dimensional ears of the elephant design, and the fact it can be personalised too (for an additional cost) makes it an ideal gift. Measuring 75cm square, it’s more than big enough for a baby and wraps comfortably around toddlers too.

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The White Company elephant hooded baby towel: £22, The White Company

Dreamily soft, this hydrocotton towel is perfect for newborns. Measuring 76cm square, it’s an ideal size for wrapping up your newborn while leaving no cold bits exposed. The mother and baby elephants embroidered on the hood make it a timeless classic and it washed well too, feeling just as soft and fluffy when it came out as when it went in.

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Cath Kidston icons hooded baby towel and wash mit: £24, Cath Kidston

Both the towel and mitt in this set are trimmed with a quirky contrast piping edge adorned with Cath Kidston icons including penguins, red buses, cowboys, robots and ducks. The same fabric also features on the triangle hood of the towel and the mitt has a bear face embroidered on it. Packaged together with a ribbon, it makes a coveted gift, and measures approximately 86cm square which is very generous.

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Scandiborn liewood augusta panda towel: £33.95, Scandiborn

This huge towel was an instant hit with our tester’s toddler, largely because of the size (100cm square) which meant it was suitable for our tester’s 6-year-old too. The children and mum both loved the fact it was so incredibly soft. The cute panda design is characteristically Scandi, as are the monotone colours. There were definitely no cold toes poking out of this luxurious snuggler.

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1 Two Kids three sprouts racoon towel: £22.99, 1 Two Kids

The cute racoon design ensured that this was a favourite with our tester’s toddler. It’s described as being suitable from baby to 18 months, but measuring 76.2cm square it was just right for our tester’s big 2-year-old too. This towel is made up of two layers with cotton knit on one side and spa grade natural terry towelling on the other. The instructions say not to tumble dry this towel, but it looked as good as new and just as fluffy after a gentle machine wash.

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MORI hooded baby bath towel: £27, MORI

Dreamily soft to touch and made form 100 per cent pure micro-cotton, this towel says it’s designed for babies from birth to nine months before moving up to their toddler towel. However measuring 75cm by 75cm, our tester found it suitable for a toddler too. This towel promises to absorb 250 times more water than normal cotton and dries in half the time, and our tester really did notice how quickly and effectively it dried the skin. It washed well and can be tumble dried which is a bonus. There’s the option of having it personalised too for an additional cost, which makes a unique gift. It’s also available in three colours.

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The White Company hydrocotton baby towel: £24, The White Company

There’s a scientific reason for this towel being so wonderfully fluffy – apparently it’s all down to the fact it’s made from 100 per cent hyrdrotton using "low twist" technology, which makes it feel thicker and softer. Our tester certainly thought it felt incredibly soft but lightweight too. It dried quickly after being used and came up like new after being through the washing machine.  Another good thing is that it’s available in two sizes, one that’s more suited for newborns (76cm x 76cm) and one that would work for toddlers and older too (100cm x 100cm). It’s also available in pink and blue too.

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Boden supersoft hooded towel: £19.20, Boden

This towel comes packed in an adorable cotton drawstring bag made from the same gorgeous design as the hood of the towel itself. The fabric illustrations feature teddies, rocking horses, skittles and ducks which would be suited to girls and boys alike. The print definitely captured the attention of our tester’s toddler, which made drying them easier. It’s made from 100 per cent cotton, is super soft and measures approximately 75cm square. The little ears on the hood make it truly irresistible and the drawstring bag is a good idea for storage when taking it to the swimming pool on or holiday.

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IKEA klämmig towel with hood: £9, IKEA

This towel is more suited to toddlers than newborns and features lots of brilliantly thought-out helpful extras – such as the handy hook for hanging, the removable hood and the side poppers – which are ideal if you’re using it on holiday or for swimming. It’s also perfect for if there’s a bit of waiting around afterwards – if you’re getting another sibling dried, for example. The bright geometric design would be a welcome addition to a bathroom or nursery, and the price means it’s an absolute bargain.

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Bathing Bunnies personalised toffee teddy baby towel: £20.99, Not On The High Street

Featuring an adorable teddy hood, this towel is made from 100 per cent cotton and can be personalised with your baby’s name beautifully embroidered across the back (for an additional cost). Measuring 78cm x 58cm, plus the hood, it’s the perfect size for getting baby dry and warm after bathtime, and the personalisation means it will definitely be treasured forever in the memory box.

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Cam Cam Copenhagan baby towel: £27.95, Cam Cam Copenhagan

Made from 100 per cent GOTS (global organic textile standard) certified organic cotton, this towel is a lovely 80cm square and is woven into a Cam Cam wave pattern – which not only makes the towel feel incredibly thick, but also lets it dry fast. Our tester thought that this towel felt incredibly luxurious and of fabulous quality. The hood is a perfect size and the towel is finished with a neat piped edge. Better still, it can be machine washed and tumble dried, and came out as fluffy as new. It's available in five colours – petroleum, grey, off-white, blossom pink and sand.

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The verdict: Baby and toddler bath towels

For practicality with a newborn, look no further than the Shnuggle hooded wrap towel. It's ideal for making newborn bathtimes easier, especially if you’re doing it on your own. If you’re looking for a towel for older babies or toddlers, the Boden supersoft hooded towel is gorgeously soft, stylish, and comes in a drawstring bag which is both useful and makes it an ideal gift. And for holidays or going swimming, the IKEA klämmig towel is an absolute bargain.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.