How To Calculate GSM Of Towels

I can see the advertised “GSM” of the towel, now what?

For years I’ve been struggling with the idea of GSM as the measure of a wholesale towel’s quality. Our industry is made up of two distinct schools of advertising the thickness of a towel, GSM and Weight per dozen. I thought it would be best to explain clearly the difference and tie the two components together, so there is a clear understanding of how they relate and more importantly, what that means to you, the consumer.

The problem with showing GSM is that it is an unknown term to those outside the industry. Many consumers do not understand the connection of GSM, thickness, and quality of product, but it matters a lot in the overall quality of the towel. Here is a thorough explanation of the differences between thickness and GSM and how they are tied together.

The Meaning of GSM in Towels

GSM stands for “grams per square meter,” which measures how “thick “the terry is on your towel. It is easy to feel and something most consumers intuitively feel for as they buy towels. The easiest way to explain the difference in GSM is through examples of towel quality that most people already know from experience.

  • A 350 GSM towel is a product you’d find in a prison, hospital, or basic gym (similar to those in our Arctic collection). 
  • A 500 GSM bath towel is a standard thickness. The most common places to find an example is at a mid-level hotel property or in a mid-price point towel section in a big box store (similar to our Admiral or Pearl towels). 
  • A product that is “plush” typically would have a GSM of 650 or higher. Plush towels are often found in spas, high-end hotels, and specialty towel stores (similar to our Magellan towel collection).


How to Calculate the GSM of a Towel

Not every towel’s label includes the GSM level, so how can consumers know what they are buying? There is a formula that manufacturers use to determine GSM. If you have the towel in hand and can measure and weigh it, you can determine the GSM.

A couple of steps are involved (listed in the tables below) because this is a metric term, and you’ll need to convert the measurements from inches and pounds. You can also use our GSM calculator below.

Find The GSM Of A Textile When Weight And Size Are Known.

Here’s the long form version of the GSM calculation:

Weight per dozen calculation if you have a target GSM and know the size:

Even if you can’t touch and feel the towel, it is still possible to determine GSM. As an informed consumer, you may have a starting point on what you’d like to buy from the calculator above. Always look for GSM level when purchasing wholesale towels. If you are very particular, grab a simple digital scale and determine if the product arrives as advertised. 

Now, does this mean you’re getting a towel you’d like to wrap around your body or that fits your specific need? Not necessarily. Towel yarn, softness, construction, and quality vary greatly. But that is another topic to dive into later. 

If you are interested in buying wholesale cleaning products or wholesale hotel linens, check out our collections with varying GSM qualities available.

Author: Hal Kanefsky
Title: President, Monarch Brands
Contact: [email protected]


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