One of the interesting gimmicks that showed up in my inbox earlier this year was a Mizu Smart Towel. It promised that it was a bacteria fighting super towel, made with naturally self-cleaning silver fibers that would change colour when the towel became a little less clean and fresh.

With promises like quick drying, a smart indicator to tell when you should wash it, and being comfortable and able to hold a lot of water, I thought I’d give it a try.

Should you?

The short answer is you probably don’t need to spend this much on a towel. There’s two main size options – a bath towel for $50 USD (or about $85 AUD) and a hand towel for $25 USD (or $42 AUD). That’s a hell of a lot to spend on a towel, when you can get deliciously comfy towels from Kmart, Target or Big W for a quarter of the price or less.

Sure, they have some great qualities. They ARE quite comfortable, and they DO absorb a lot of water. However, the cheap ones from local stores do the same thing.

I used the bath towel a few times, before largely giving up on it. As bath towels go, it felt kind of small, and being a larger fellow, I found it rather uncomfortable to tie it around my waist. Sure, it did its thing – the indicator strip changed colours after a week or so, suggesting the towel needed a wash. However, I didn’t really need an indicator strip to tell me that.

Like most other people, I’m assuming, you kind of gauge when your towel needs a wash by whether it’s discolouring, staying a bit damp, or starting to smell a bit .. old. At that point, you toss it in the wash and grab a fresh one from the linen press, right?

Well, I do.

I used the hand towel rather more frequently, as it was the right size to be a good gym sweat towel, and there it did its job admirably. The “self cleaning silver fibers” seemed to stop my towel from getting too stinky, as compared to a normal hand towel, but if you wash your gym towel every few days (as you probably should, gross) then this really isn’t a huge issue, making the $42 hand towel rather expensive.

The other thing I noticed – which, after the fact, I see a number of actual customers found too – is that the towels fray very, very easily, both around the edges and should the fibers catch on anything. In fact, they fray far more (and worse) than the typical cheap bath sheet from Big W.

For such an expensive towel, I found this a bit disappointing.

Thus, I wouldn’t recommend the bath towel – it’s too expensive, too small, and doesn’t really solve a problem that needs solving.

The hand towel, though, despite its price is rather handy (pardon the pun). As a gym towel, it keeps the stink at bay for a few days longer than a normal towel does, meaning you can comfortably wash it on a weekend and return it to service. The stink factor seems to correlate closely with the indicator strip – when that colour starts to go, you know it’s time for a wash (and without the strip, you’d know, because it becomes a little fragrant).

At $42, not everyone’s going to buy one, but if you do, it will do what it promises. Just don’t get it caught on the velcro from your weights gloves, or it’ll very quickly start to look a bit shabby.