Best of the Test

We Tested 10 Bathrobes—& Found the 6 Best

Because life is tough.

by:
February 15, 2022
Photo by Rocky Luten

Welcome to Best of the Test, a thoroughly tested, expertly vetted, only semi-serious product recommendation series. Join us as we sleep with a dozen different bed sheets, make gallons of ice, air fry all the wings, and more in pursuit of the very best things to buy.


There’s loungewear like sweat suits and hoodies, perfectly suitable for movie marathons and lazy weekends where “meals” consist of whatever you can microwave. And then there’s Loungewear with a capital L that makes you feel like you’re gazing out over the Aegean Sea with an espresso (or a little shot glass of ouzo, depending on the time of day) in hand and not a care in the world. A good bathrobe falls squarely into the latter category, a rite of passage for those who are considering lounging as a profession.

And for the past month or so, it was actually mine (even if I was looking out onto a foot of snow and not deep-blue waters) as I tested 10 of the most popular bathrobes in search of the very best.

How we tested the best bathrobes

I dug into our community’s favorite bedding and bath brands, researched Amazon’s best-sellers, polled our community, and checked in with Food52 Shop buyer Shareen Singh. I ended up testing 10 bathrobes from direct-to-consumer startups like Brooklinen to shopping behemoths like Amazon.

With each robe, I noted first impressions, colorways, and price points, as well as:

Sizing: I measured all the robes as I unpacked them, comparing them to their respective size charts. I took a second set of measurements after they came out of the dryer to account for shrinkage, which many brands noted would happen.

Washability: I machine-washed and dried the robes with similar colors in cold tap water three consecutive times, and noted whether they wrinkled or stretched during washing. I set aside the waist-tie as a control group for color and texture during the initial washing test period.

Color: Once all the washing and drying was done, I compared the robes to their respective waist-ties, noting whether any color had faded and if the fabric had gotten softer or more wrinkled.

Absorbency: I used each robe in place of a towel after showering and as I was doing my skin-care routine, to gauge absorbency.

Comfort: I wore each robe for five consecutive days over my favorite Eberjey PJs as I went about my day making coffee and lunch, shuffling to grab deliveries (which were usually even more bathrobes), and walking out to pick up the mail. I took notes on breathability and ease of movement (especially around the arms, as someone who’s testing and typing all day), as well as how often the waist-tie needed adjusting.

Not every robe I tested was a winner, so here’s how the best ones stacked up against one another. For all the deets, including runners-up, keep reading.

Photo by Angelyn Cabrales

1. Best cotton bathrobe: Parachute Cloud Cotton Robe

Photo by Parachute

Price: $109
Feels like: An airy, lightweight dream
Color range: 10 shades

The aptly named Cloud Cotton robe from Parachute feels like a wispy, barely-there cirrus cloud with its wonderfully soft, slightly nubby texture and weightless long-staple Turkish cotton. It felt like the most un-robe-like robe because of the subtle, rumpled weave, almost like wearing a favorite cotton T-shirt that gets softer with every wash.

I’d also attribute the waist-tie staying secure all day to the robe’s texture—something that I’d never noticed until Home52 Editorial Lead Arati Menon pointed it out recently. The plush terry and soft fleece ties would loosen and unravel during the day, but this one stayed put.

While absorbent and breathable, the long, wide sleeves were hard to cuff, so they’d roll down and get wet constantly when I’d wash my hands or do my nighttime skin-care routine.

There was minimal shrinking, so the slightly oversize robe fit well over my Eberjey PJs and didn’t bunch up the fabric awkwardly. The angled side pockets are also perfectly positioned at the hip, but despite the generous pocket, my iPhone 13 Pro Max still peeked out precariously; those with a smaller phone will probably not have this issue.

I was nervous that the clay color I tested would come out of the dryer dull and lifeless, but to my surprise, the color stayed vibrant. With 10 shades ranging from classic white to a summery mint green, is it weird that I want one in every color? That’s enough for every day of the week, and then some.

Photo by Riley

Runner-up: There were so many similarities between Parachute’s Cloud Cotton Robe and Riley’s Four Layer Robe, it felt like being stuck between a rock and a soft place. While Riley’s is ever so slightly more breathable and with a slightly larger color section, there was more shrinkage—especially with the waist-tie, which was already the shortest to begin with. Sizing up will likely solve this issue.

2. Best terry cloth bathrobe: Brooklinen Super-Plush Robe

Price: $98
Feels like: Breakfast on the balcony of a fancy-schmancy hotel
Color range: 8 shades

You know in movies when there’s a scene with a character leisurely eating a full breakfast with not a care in the world, usually at some incredible hotel and overlooking an even more incredible view? That’s what wearing this Brooklinen robe feels like—and looks like.

A classic cotton terry cloth bathrobe with some modern twists, the robe remained perfectly oversize, overly plush, and oh-so-cozy after repeat washing. In fact, the fluffy terry cloth actually felt softer than when it began and was the most absorbent among the robes I tested. While others felt a bit stiff after coming out of the dryer, Brooklinen retained its drape and fluidity. However, the thick material didn’t dry as quickly as the waffle-weave robes, so I’d often have a damp patch on my back from my wet hair for an hour or two after showering.

Still, it’s the little details that make this robe truly stand out. The deep side pockets made for more convenient wearing, and the small opening prevented things like my phone and snacks from falling out when I moved around. The shawl collar and hems were also finished well and looked sharp—something you wouldn’t expect from what’s basically a giant towel.

The robe was the longest I tested and hit mid-calf on my 5'4" frame—not a bad thing, especially if you’re lounging. But the longer arms also needed to be cuffed and the extra-thick cuffs made it uncomfortable while typing away at my laptop for long stretches—which is basically what’s happening right now.

Photo by Brooklinen
Photo by Frontgate

Runner-up: Frontgate’s Resort Plush Robe has a terry cloth interior and a plush fleece exterior, making it a bit more unique and luxurious than your usual terry cloth robe—at a higher price, naturally. If you have the budget, this would be a great self-care gift for yourself or a loved one, and you can even get it monogrammed.

3. Best waffle bathrobe: Boll & Branch Waffle Robe

Photo by Boll & Branch

Price: $98
Feels like: A relaxing day at the spa
Color range: 3 shades

Spa days are hard to come by (especially during a pandemic), but Boll & Branch’s Waffle Robe can almost transport you to the Biologique Recherche flagship spa in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Lightweight and airy, this waffle robe had the best oversize fit and didn’t overwhelm me as I moved from my home office to the kitchen and back again in search of snacks. The waffle weave was plush but still breathable, whereas others were just a tad too thick at times. It also had the least amount of shrinkage after washing and drying.

But if you were looking for something a bit more fun or unexpected, you won’t find it here. With only three colors to choose from, you’re limited to white, gray, and blush—which, I guess, is in line with the zen spa vibes.

The piping along the hems made the robe look sharp and pulled together, despite the fact that you’re essentially wearing a glorified towel (albeit a luxurious one) with a waist-tie. There are also two side loops for the waist-tie to accommodate various heights, and in a flat-woven cotton that stayed flush against the robe and didn’t protrude awkwardly like all the others I tested.

At under $100, it’s comparable to most of the other robes I tested, though still an investment. Thankfully, it’s much less expensive than a facial at Biologique Recherche.

Photo by Brooklinen

Runner up: Brooklinen’s Waffle Robe was a close second, but I experienced a lot of shrinkage after the wash tests that made the arms much more fitted than intended—order a size up to avoid this. Those who run hot might also find the robe a bit too thick for comfort, unless you, again, size up for extra ventilation.

4. Best budget-friendly bathrobe: NY Threads Fleece Bathrobe

Photo by Amazon

Price: $19.99+
Feels like: Curling up in a cozy cocoon
Color range: 9 shades

Imagine a cozy lil’ cabin with a wood-burning fireplace, hot cocoa in hand, a pup by your feet, and a long weekend ahead of you. Possibly the softest bathrobe I’ve tested, this best-selling Amazon robe has all the never-want-to-leave-the-house vibes—and at a much more budget-friendly price.

There was no shrinkage or wrinkling to speak of, and the fleece came out of the dryer as smooth and buttery as when it went into the washer. You’ll also get a ton of amusement out of brushing your fingers across the robe to rough it up and then smooth it back down.

The downside with such a plush robe is that, unlike the cotton robes I tested, this one is not absorbent at all—I couldn’t even get my arms through after showering because the material would cause the robe to stick to my skin. This is definitely more of a robe for lounging pre- and post-shower (as long as you’ve toweled off).

While there are a good number of colors to choose from, expect them to be either classic white and black, or bold like bright pink or fuchsia. And maybe expect them to be slightly off what’s pictured—the “burgundy” I tested ended up being closer to red.

Runner-up: Unfortunately, based on our testing criteria, most of the robes I tested were in the $100+ range, which can be an investment for loungewear. I look forward to testing more budget-friendly robes for our next update—if you have any recs, drop a line below in the comments!

5. Food52 Community Fave: Parachute Linen Robe

Photo by Parachute

Price: $109
Feels like: Perfectly lived-in comfort
Color range: 4 shades

When we polled our Instagram community and team members, Parachute’s Linen Robe was a clear fave. And with good reason: The linen is lightweight, perfectly lived-in, and ideal for year-round lounging.

Similar to Brooklinen’s robes, pockets are along the sides instead of directly in front of your thighs so those with large phones might want to be careful about it dropping out. Many of the reviews on Parachute’s site highlight the robe’s airiness and breathability, thanks to the linen.

There are only four colors, which many reviewers lament despite how earthy and saturated they are. But knowing that our fave Cloud Cotton Robe comes in 10 colors, we’ll bet that there’ll be more linen hues coming out soon.

6. Food52 Buyer Fave: House no. 23 Super Soft Double Cotton Gauze Bathrobe

Photo by Ty Mecham

Price: $128
Feels like: 24/7 loungewear
Color range: 7 shades

Home buyer Shareen Singh loves to lounge in a robe all day, every day, and she can’t stop, won’t stop wearing House no. 23 Super Soft Double Cotton Gauze Bathrobe. And as our buyer for all things textiles, it’s safe to say she knows her way around a good robe. Made with organic Turkish cotton, the robe is super-soft and lightweight, so Singh wears this year-round. Plus, seven calming shades means you can grab one for every day of the week.


FAQs

What’s the best fabric for a bathrobe?

If you’re looking for something absorbent and easy to wash, always go for long-staple cotton because it’s durable and washes up well. Linen is also a good choice, though you might get a good amount of lint when you wash and dry the robe.

How should a bathrobe fit?

This is entirely personal preference, but most bathrobes are meant to be slightly oversize so you can wear loungewear or PJs underneath and not feel constricted—especially around the shoulders and arm. There are short and long robes; the former can hit around your knees while the latter can hit mid-calf or even your ankle. Personally, I prefer a knee-length so I can avoid picking up dust, or dirt and dried leaves if I venture outside.


What are your favorite bathrobes? Let us know below!

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

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Jada Wong

Written by: Jada Wong

Jada is the market editor at Food52 with a decade of experience writing and editing for online publications such as Refinery29, Cosmopolitan, and Insider.

4 Comments

off2cook February 17, 2022
I enjoyed reading the robe reviews though how does one stay in a robe all day? Basically, what was missing was winter warmth rating. Saving money and the planet with no heating at night demands a warm robe upon arising.
 
Harper Z. February 16, 2022
First off I love the Best of the Test series. Greatly enjoy the product recommendations and the attention to detail in testing and documenting. However I have to ask, what does one do with the products after testing? Especially the non-consumables. I'm just so curious. Do you give the best friend gifts ever? Jada Wong please please tell me you now have a dedicated robe closet you peruse each day. (written while sitting in my own Boll & Branch Waffle Robe, color gray, size L.)
 
cyanpineapple February 15, 2022
Really disappointing that absolutely zero consideration was paid to size inclusivity. Only one of these robes is available in plus sizes, and the frequent use of "oversize" to refer to robes that wouldn't fit over the wrists of the majority of American women is honestly pretty irritating.
 
Author Comment
Jada W. February 17, 2022
Thank you for reading Food52 and for your comment, we always welcome your comments—and being held accountable by our readers. You’re right in that there aren’t explicit plus-size options. All of the robes here are available from XS to XL, and I plan on mentioning the range of sizes for the robes I tested in the next update of this story.

I’m usually a medium in most brands, and in my experience (as one tester), most sizes weren’t entirely standard, so I found it best to go by the measurements. I just took a second look at the size charts and it looks like the measurements of some of the L and XL robes are considered to be size 12+ (I compared them to Lane Bryant’s sizing chart for sleep and loungewear). I echo your sentiments about the lack of plus-size robes, and definitely think there’s a larger conversation to be had about inclusive sizing.