What is the Difference in 10S and 16S Towels?

These towels are considered limited-use (“almost disposable”) as they are light weight terry towels and wash cloths and are purposed for use in environments such hospitals or locker rooms, where products are either used for clean-up or have high loss/theft. If you have not ordered this type of towel in the past we highly recommend ordering a sample first to ensure the towel meets your expectations.

Many people wonder what a “single” in reference to cotton is? 10S, 16S, etc.

The “S” for Singles refers to the thread weight that is used. The higher the thread weight number, the finer and softer feel of the fabric. When a higher thread weight number is used, the thread is finer and a tighter weave can be achieved. This gives the product using a higher thread weight number a softer, finer feel.

Therefore, a 16S towel would be softer than a 10S towel.

10S towels feel more “coarse” than 16S towels and are usually found in economy towels. Other factors come into play, like the weight of the woven product, as well as the size.  It is normal for these towels to have minor defects, discoloration, higher linting and a harsher feel (hand). These products experience high loss or stains, and have limited wear-life/wash/hand (softness) expectations. 

Typically, a higher singles count is a bit more in cost, as well.

Another factor in the “hand” (feel) of fabrics is OE (open end) vs Ring Spun.

OE is the standard baseline method of spinning yarn. Ring spun is an additional process, that makes products much softer with finer yarn.

Expect higher end premium towels to be finer, ring spun yarns, 16S or higher — of course, at a premium price.

10/s-O/E “Economy” Towel Products

10/s-O/E (10 singles/open-end) cotton terry products are typically thinner and more coarse than upgraded 16/s, or premium ring-spun bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths. 10/s-O/E products are the most basic service items available, and are intended for institutions and locker rooms that do not require a “soft hand” or long wear-life. 10/s-O/E products are usually the lightest weight in cotton content as compared to standard industry products. While these economy products generally meet the expectation of limited use, they will not withstand the rigors of long-term industrial washing, and are usually considered somewhat disposable.

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