Bedding is an essential component of your sleep space. The sheets and pillowcases you use can play a major role in how well you sleep each night. With so many types of bedding available, choosing the right sheet set can be challenging.
The most common materials for sheets made today include cotton, polyester, linen, Tencel, and viscose derived from bamboo. Other qualities, like weave and thread count, can also affect the feel, breathability, and lifespan of your sheets. You should also take into account practical factors, such as pocket depth, ease of care, and pricing.
We’ll walk you through the process of buying sheets that align with your sleep style without exceeding your budget. We outline our top picks for the best sheets below. Further down, you’ll find our comprehensive guide for choosing, buying, and using new sheets.
The Sleep Doctor's Picks
Saatva Organic Sateen Sheet Set
- Organic cotton with a sateen weave offers a balance of softness and breathability
- GOTS certification ensures sustainable growth and production
- Available in three colors and nine sizes
- Hot sleepers
- People who own mattresses up to 16 inches thick
- Eco-conscious individuals
During our hands-on tests, we found that the Organic Sateen Sheet Set epitomizes Saatva’s reputation for luxurious and eco-friendly sleep products. The sheets and pillowcases in this collection consist of organic cotton certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), a leading authority for sustainably produced fabrics. The sateen weave gives each item a buttery-soft feel that glides gently across the skin.
A midrange thread count of 300 ensures the sheets are lightweight and breathable without feeling flimsy. We found that the bedding sleeps cool in hot temperatures but also drapes closely enough to provide insulation on chilly nights, making the set suitable for year-round use. Easy care is another perk for owners, as all components in the set can be washed and dried in household machines. The fitted sheet’s pocket depth accommodates mattresses up to 16 inches thick.
You can choose from three neutral colors to complement your bedroom decor. The set is also available in nine sizes, including standard mattress dimensions as well as split king. Additionally, the queen upper-flex and king upper-flex options are exclusively compatible with Saatva’s Solaire upper-flex mattress and adjustable base.
Approachable pricing and free shipping within the contiguous U.S. make the Organic Sateen Sheet Set a good option if you want to invest in high-end bedding without breaking the bank. Your order comes with a return policy that allows you to test the sheets for up to 45 nights. If you decide to keep the set, you’ll also receive a one-year limited warranty against defects in workmanship.
The components of Saatva’s Organic Sateen Sheet Set are soft, breathable, long-lasting, and easy to clean. In other words, this is a quintessential bedding collection. Sustainable craftsmanship further sweetens the deal for eco-conscious shoppers.
Silk & Snow Egyptian Cotton Sheets
- Certified Egyptian cotton can be traced to the Nile River Valley
- Long-staple composition ensures excellent durability and softness
- Below-average pricing for value seekers
- People who reside in hot or humid places
- Those who own mattresses up to 15 inches thick
- Shoppers who want to invest in authentic Egyptian cotton sheets
Egyptian cotton is sought after for its superior softness, breathability, and longevity. These characteristics also often drive up the price-point. Silk & Snow’s Egyptian Cotton Sheets use cotton certified by the Cotton Egypt Association, ensuring every fiber has been sourced from the Nile River Valley. The long-staple composition makes these sheets and pillowcases highly durable. Despite these luxurious qualities, this is one of the most affordable Egyptian cotton sheet sets we’ve tested.
With a thread count of 300 and a sateen weave, our testers found these sheets struck a balance between coziness and breathability that makes them appropriate for year-round use.
Silk & Snow offers the set in five neutral colors, all of which accentuate the sateen weave’s elegant luster. You can wash and dry the sheets in a household machine. Standard sheet sets include a flat sheet, one or two pillowcases, and a fitted sheet with a pocket depth of 15 inches. Alternatively, you can opt for a duvet cover or pillowcase set if you don’t need new sheets.
In addition to accessible pricing, the Egyptian Cotton Sheets qualify for free ground delivery throughout the contiguous U.S. and provincial Canada. Each order includes a 100-night sleep trial. Should you decide to keep the sheets, you’ll also receive a one-year limited warranty against material defects.
The Silk & Snow Egyptian Cotton Sheets offer the supreme softness and durability people expect from this bedding material at a price-point approachable to most shoppers. These sheets are the real deal with a Cotton Egypt Association certification to back them up.
Boll & Branch Signature Embroidered Sheet Set
- Long-staple cotton offers a luxuriously soft feel and exceptional durability
- GOTS certification indicates sustainable production
- Available in four embroidery colors and eight sizes
- Those who prefer bedding that drapes closely to the body
- Anyone owning a mattress up to 17 inches thick
- Shoppers who prefer to purchase sustainably made products
If you’re in the market for new sheets and shopping with a flexible budget, the Boll & Branch Signature Embroidered Sheet Set is both luxurious and long-lasting. The sheets and pillowcases in this collection use durable long-staple cotton with a GOTS certification, ensuring sustainable production and a lengthy lifespan. Our testers also noticed a supremely soft feel, which is largely due to the set’s silky-smooth sateen weave.
You can choose from four color schemes, all of which feature a lustrous sheen and hand-finished embroidery to give the bedding a hotel-inspired look. Eight sizes are available, including standard mattress dimensions and a split king size for partners who share an adjustable bed. Another option is a king size set with standard size pillowcases. Each size has a fitted sheet with a pocket depth of 17 inches. All components are fully machine-washable for quick and easy care.
You may add two additional pillowcases to your set for an additional charge. Boll & Branch provides free ground shipping within the contiguous U.S., and all orders come with a 30-night return period.
Boll & Branch’s Signature Embroidered Sheet Set is a solid choice for high-end bedding shoppers, eco-conscious individuals, and those who want to invest in long-lasting sheets. Hand-finished embroidery and a lustrous finish create a hotel-like look for this luxurious collection.
Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set
- Long-staple cotton with a sateen weave creates an exceptionally soft feel
- Wide range of solid colors, patterns, and limited edition designs
- Backed by a 365-night trial period
- Hot sleepers
- People who own mattresses up to 15 inches thick
- Those who prefer bold prints and vibrant colors
While comfort is a subjective quality that varies from sleeper to sleeper, our testing team agreed that the Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set was among the softest bedding collections we’ve evaluated. Long-staple cotton composition, a sateen weave, and a 480 thread count ensure the set is silky smooth with close body draping. The cotton is breathable enough to promote airflow and sleep cool on hot or humid nights, but this material also provides decent insulation when temperatures dip.
The wide design selection for the Luxe Core Sheet Set includes vibrant and neutral solids, stripe patterns, and splashy limited edition designs to brighten up your sleep space. You can also choose from six sizes that correspond with standard mattress dimensions. The fitted sheet in each set has a pocket depth of 15 inches, ensuring compatibility with most mattresses made today. “Long” and “short” labels along the sides help you make your bed with ease. Every component is fully machine-washable.
Luxe Core sets include a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and two pillowcases. You can also opt for larger Brooklinen bundles that include additional components, such as duvet covers, comforters, and additional pillowcases. Conversely, the Luxe Starter Bundle features a fitted sheet and pillowcases for those who don’t need a flat sheet.
We expect the Luxe Core Sheet Set to appeal to shoppers with tight budgets thanks to its affordable pricing and free shipping across the contiguous U.S. Your order comes with a generous sleep trial, allowing you to try the new bedding for up to a year. An additional one-year limited warranty protects against manufacturing defects.
One of the most comfortable bedding collections we’ve tested, the Brooklinen Luxe Core Sheet Set is an affordable option for anyone who enjoys exceptionally soft sheets. The company’s generous year-long sleep trial gives you ample time to decide whether the set is right for you.
Cozy Earth Bamboo Sheet Set
- Bamboo-derived viscose is breathable with moisture-wicking properties
- Luxuriously soft feel from the sateen weave
- Sheets and pillowcases are warrantied against pilling
- People who tend to sweat while they sleep
- Those who own exceptionally thick mattresses
- Sleepers with sensitive skin
Quality sateen bedding is generally soft, but the sheets and pillowcases in the Cozy Earth Bamboo Sheet Set feel exceptionally silky and smooth thanks to their composition. Each item uses viscose derived from bamboo, a material best suited to people who want sheets that drape closely to the body. The fabric glides gently without feeling coarse or rubbing too harshly, so sleepers with sensitive skin may also benefit.
Our testers identified breathability as another standout quality. Bamboo-derived viscose sleeps cool in most environments, and the material has moisture-wicking properties to keep you dry and comfortable on humid nights. The fabric is also highly durable and shouldn’t pill or tear easily in the wash. Cozy Earth’s warranty lists pilling and abnormal rips as covered defects, so you may qualify for coverage if the sheets wear poorly.
The Bamboo Sheet Set is available in five sizes that correspond to standard mattress dimensions as well as a split king for co-sleepers with adjustable bases. You can also choose from five neutral colors. A generous pocket depth of 20 inches makes the fitted sheet compatible with virtually any mattress sold today. As an added bonus, each component is machine-washable and stain-resistant.
Standard ground shipping is free of charge, and each purchase is backed by a 100-night sleep trial with free returns. The manufacturer’s warranty for this sheet set covers pilling and other defects for up to 10 years.
The Cozy Earth Bamboo Sheet Set’s ultra-soft feel is a selling point for people with sensitive skin and those who prefer a close drape from their bedding. Other key strengths include excellent cooling and a long lifespan.
SHEEX Original Performance Sheet Set
- Performance fabric designed to dissipate heat
- Knit for a soft, stretchy feel
- Pocket depth ranges from 14 to 20 inches, depending on the size
- Those who prefer the soft, stretchy feel of knit bedding
- People who own mattresses up to 20 inches thick
- Hot sleepers
Cooling sheets are indispensable for hot sleepers, people who sweat in bed, and anyone who resides in an exceptionally hot or humid climate. Each component of the SHEEX Original Performance Sheet Set is engineered to release body heat and sleep cool in any environment. The company’s proprietary fabric also has moisture-wicking properties to help you stay dry and comfortable throughout the year.
The sheets and pillowcases in this collection are knitted with a blend of polyester and spandex, ensuring a stretchy and pliable feel. The jersey-like knit also makes the items soft to the touch. Our testers compared the feel of these sheets to a well-worn T-shirt. The sheets should retain their cooling power over time, even after numerous laundry cycles.
The fitted sheet’s pocket depth depends on which size you choose, ranging from 14 inches for twin/twin XL sets to 20 inches for California king sets. The Original Performance Set is fully machine-washable, making the sheets and pillowcases easy to clean. SHEEX offers free shipping for U.S. orders of $150 or more, a price range that covers all sizes of the set. Returns and exchanges are available within 60 days of the original purchase date. The purchase also includes a one-year limited warranty.
Those seeking cool, moisture-wicking sheets need look no further than the SHEEX Original Performance Sheet Set. The company’s proprietary, stretch-knit fabric dissipates body heat without sacrificing softness or comfort.
Luxor Linens Adriana Sateen Egyptian Sheets
- Premium, long-lasting Egyptian cotton sheets at an affordable price-point
- Generous pocket depth accommodates mattresses up to 19 inches thick
- Optional monogramming available
- Hot sleepers and those who tend to sweat while they sleep
- People who own mattresses up to 19 inches thick
- Those who want to personalize their bedding with monograms
As its name suggests, Luxor Linens specializes in Egyptian cotton bedding. It offers a wide range of sheet sets to fit different budgets and preferences. The Adriana Sateen Egyptian Sheets are one of the company’s midrange options. Premium cotton with a 300 thread count sateen weave gives each sheet and pillowcase in the collection a silky-smooth feel. According to our testers, these items also embody other beloved qualities of Egyptian cotton, such as superior cooling and above-average longevity.
The sheets are available in three neutral colors as well as twin, full, queen, and king sizes. Each set consists of a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and one or two pillowcases depending on which size you select. The fitted sheet has a pocket depth of 19 inches, making it compatible with the vast majority of mattresses made today. Every component is fully machine-washable, and your bedding should gradually soften with each laundry cycle.
You can choose to have your bedding monogrammed for a personal touch. However, this voids your ability to return or exchange the set. Unmonogrammed sets come with a 30-day trial. Luxor Linens backs the Adriana Sateen Egyptian Sheets with a one-year limited warranty against material and workmanship defects.
The Luxor Linens Adriana Sateen Egyptian Sheets are proof that premium Egyptian cotton bedding doesn’t need to break the bank. Additional perks for buyers include an extra-deep pocket fitted sheet and optional monogramming.
Pure Parima Ultra Percale Sheets
- Extra-long staple Egyptian cotton offers supreme durability and softness
- Percale weave gives each item an initially crisp feel that softens over time
- Cotton Egypt Association certification verifies authentic sourcing
- People who prefer the crisp hand-feel of percale bedding
- Those who own mattresses up to 18 inches thick
- Shoppers looking for authentic Egyptian cotton bedding
The Pure Parima Ultra Percale Sheet Set delivers the invitingly crisp feel and exceptional breathability people expect from percale bedding. Each item in the set uses extra-long staple Egyptian cotton, one of the most luxurious bedding materials available today. Our testers found that the cotton offers exceptional breathability, making the set suitable for hot and humid climates.
While the 350 thread count sheets and pillowcases initially feel crisp, the fibers will relax and soften with each laundry cycle. While caring for your sheets is fairly easy, it’s best to wash them alone and hang them to dry. These extra measures can minimize wear and tear to help ensure you enjoy them for as long as possible.
Our team also found some of the set’s special features convenient. Fully elasticized edges and four corner straps helped the fitted sheet stay securely positioned throughout our testing process. Meanwhile, the pillowcases’ envelope closures kept the pillows encased while imparting a polished look.
The set is available in five sizes. Twin and full sizes have a 17-inch pocket depth, while queen, king, and California king sizes have an 18-inch pocket. You can also choose from four neutral colors.
This set holds a Cotton Egypt Association certification, ensuring the fibers are sourced from Egypt and are not blended with other materials.
Given the high-end materials and design, the Ultra Percale Sheet Set is reasonably priced. Pure Parima also offers free shipping to all 50 states and accepts returns within 100 nights.
Pure Parima’s Ultra Percale Sheet Set capitalizes on the luxurious quality of authentic Egyptian cotton. The result is a bedding collection that’s comfortable, breathable, and durable.
Quince European Linen Sheet Set
- Pure linen offers a crisp, breathable feel that gradually softens
- 365-night return policy
- Extensive color selection, including striped options
- Hot sleepers
- People who prefer the crisp feel of linen bedding
- Shoppers looking for sheets backed by a lengthy return period
Linen has a characteristically crisp feel that many sleepers prefer to the close draping of cotton sateen and other silky fabrics. These individuals may appreciate the Quince European Linen Sheet Set. Each item in this collection is constructed using pure linen from European flax, a material that feels coarse at first but softens over time as the fibers relax. The fabric should also resist rips and tears for a longer-than-average lifespan. Our testers found the sheets balanced coziness and breathability, making them appropriate for year-round use.
Five sizes are available, ranging from twin to California king. The sheets naturally have a lived-in look, adding a casual elegance to the sleep surface. You can choose from more than a dozen designs, including solid colors and stripe patterns. The fitted sheet in each set is compatible with mattresses up to 16 inches thick. When laundering these sheets and pillowcases, use a gentle wash cycle and either hang them to dry or use a low-heat dryer setting.
The European Linen Sheet Set is quite affordable compared to other linen collections, and shipping is free. Quince’s 365-night return policy is one of the longest in the online bedding industry, giving you plenty of time to test your new sheets and decide if they are right for you.
Linen isn’t for everyone, but those who appreciate the natural coarseness and excellent breathability of this fabric should consider the Quince European Linen Sheet Set. Approachable pricing and an exceptionally long sleep trial also make this a good set for value-seeking shoppers.
Standard Textile Percale Sheet Set
- Long-staple Supima cotton offers natural durability and breathability
- Percale weave ensures an initially crisp feel that gradually softens over time
- Decent selection of solid colors and stripe patterns
- People who dislike bedding that feels overly drapey or clingy
- Anyone with a mattress up to 16 inches thick
- Hot sleepers and those prone to night sweats
Many people enjoy the sumptuous feel and luxe detailing of hotel-style bedding — but many of these sheet sets carry steep price tags. The Standard Textile Percale Sheet Set manages to be both affordable and high-end. Each item in the collection is composed of Supima cotton, a long-staple variety that holds up well over time and sleeps exceptionally cool.
A percale weave makes the sheets and pillowcases crisp to the touch at first, but over time the fibers will relax and soften for a comfortable, lived-in feel. Percale is a tight one-over-one weave, so the sheets won’t drape closely to the body or trap heat like sateen-woven bedding. Double-pleat detailing adds to the urbane vibe, and the pillowcases feature envelope closures to help ensure full shape retention with minimal flattening during the night.
You can choose from six sizes that correspond with standard mattress dimensions. Twin and twin XL sets feature a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and single pillowcase, while larger sizes include all of these components as well as an additional pillowcase. The fitted sheet’s pocket depth makes the set compatible with any mattress measuring up to 16 inches thick. “Foot of bed” labels assist you when making the bed.
The set is also available in five stripe patterns, along with white and cool green color schemes. You can launder the entire set in your household machines for quick and easy care. Wash in warm water and tumble dry on low heat. Be sure to remove all items as soon as the drying cycle is finished — this helps minimize wrinkling.
Standard Textile ships free to customers in the contiguous U.S., with extra delivery fees for Alaska and Hawaii. Returns and exchanges are permitted within 90 days of delivery.
Linens & Hutch Flannel Sheet Set
- Cozy cotton flannel ideal for chilly temperatures
- Available in solid colors, checkered patterns, and floral prints
- Affordable pricing and lengthy return window
- People who tend to feel cold while they sleep
- Those who own mattresses up to 16 inches thick
- Shoppers looking for wrinkle-resistant bedding
High-quality flannel sheets are a good investment if you need extra insulation for chilly nights. With the Linens & Hutch Flannel Sheet Set, you can enjoy cozy cotton flannel bedding at a reasonable price-point. Our testers found the brushed flannel draped closely to their bodies, absorbing and storing heat to keep them warm. It also felt exceptionally soft, adding to the coziness.
Linens & Hutch offers a wide range of designs for this set. These include solid colors, checkered patterns, and original floral prints. You can also choose from five sizes. The fitted sheet’s 16-inch pocket depth ensures compatibility with most mattresses sold today, including many luxury pillow-tops and other high-profile models. You can wash and dry each item in the set in your household machines. The fabric resists wrinkling and fading for a like-new look.
The Flannel Sheet Set is affordably priced in all sizes. Each order includes a 101-night return window, giving you ample time to test your new bedding and decide if it’s warm and cozy enough to meet your needs.
The Linens & Hutch Flannel Sheet Set is soft, cozy, and affordable — three qualities that are likely to appeal to anyone seeking high-quality flannel bedding. A wide range of colors and patterns allows you to choose a design that complements your bedroom decor.
Why You Should Trust Us
Each product tester at TheSleepDoctor.com has years of experience evaluating sleep products. Our team consists of people with different body types, primary sleep positions, and personal comfort preferences. This diversity allows us to provide ratings and recommendations inclusive of all sleepers.
We personally tested dozens of sheet sets to determine the best options. Using the same mattress to ensure unbiased results, our testers assessed the flat sheets, fitted sheets, and pillowcases for comfort and breathability. We also applied and removed fitted sheets to see how securely the elastic banding held, and we noted care instructions to evaluate the ease of cleaning.
What Types of Sheets Are There?
Many types of sheets are available for today’s shoppers. You can choose from various materials, weaves, and thread counts to find a set that’s comfortable for you. Other considerations that may influence your decision include ease of cleaning, color or pattern, pocket depth, and price. We’ll discuss each of these factors in detail to help you find the ideal sheet set based on your needs and preferences.
Cotton is a widely grown crop used to produce a multitude of different products. For cotton sheets, one of the most important considerations is the staple length, which is the length of individual cotton fibers used in the sheets. Staples fall into three general categories:
- Short-staple: Shorter than 1.13 inches long
- Long-staple: 1.13 to 1.38 inches long
- Extra-long staple: Greater than 1.38 inches long
Longer staples usually produce softer and more durable fabric. Long-staple and extra-long staple (ELS) cotton are associated with high-end bedding. Short-staple cotton, which tends to wear out more quickly and feel rougher, is common in inexpensive sheets.
Beyond staple length, cotton sheets can fall into additional categories based on their composition:
Types of Cotton Used in Sheets
Types of Cotton
Regular cotton is a generic term for non-organic cotton. There is not a specific staple length or thread count associated with this type of cotton, and it may be constructed using any weave or knit.
Pima cotton is an extra-long staple variety that originated in Peru. Today, it is grown across the globe. Exceptional softness, consistent breathability, and a long lifespan are some of Pima cotton’s defining traits. Genuine Pima cotton sheets tend to be fairly expensive but durable.
Supima cotton refers to Pima cotton grown in the U.S. Like traditional Pima, Supima cotton offers luxurious softness and excellent cooling. The extra-long staples also ensure above-average longevity. With proper cleaning and care, you can enjoy Supima cotton sheets for five years or more. Expect steep price-points for non-blended Supima cotton sheets.
Egyptian cotton is another extra-long staple variety known for exceptional softness and breathability. To qualify as genuine Egyptian cotton sheets, each fiber must be traced back to Egypt. However, some manufacturers advertise sheets as Egyptian cotton if they contain even a small percentage of the material. A certification from the Cotton Egypt Association can help you verify the authenticity. Egyptian cotton sheets are typically among the most expensive types of bedding sold today.
Organic cotton is grown naturally and cultivated without chemical-based fertilizers, pesticides, or fungicides. While organic cotton does not refer to a specific type of plant, it must be grown from non-GMO seeds to qualify. Genuine organic cotton should carry certifications from authoritative organizations, such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). You can generally find relevant certifications on the product pages for organic cotton sheet sets.
Sheets Made From Other Natural Materials
Cotton is one of the most popular natural fibers for sheets, but it’s not the only option. Other natural materials can also offer superior breathability and durability compared to synthetic alternatives, such as polyester. While you might pay extra for sheets made from natural materials, their cooling abilities and longer lifespans may make them a solid investment.
Other Natural Materials Commonly Used in Sheets
Linen is a textile derived from the flax plant. Most linen sheets are initially coarse, but the feel gradually softens. Certain washing techniques during production can relax the fibers to make them softer at first touch. Our testers frequently note linen’s exceptional breathability and durability.
Silk is derived from cocoons spun by silkworms. While silk bedding is luxuriously soft, smooth, and lustrous, it also tends to be durable. In our tests, silk sheets also usually offer excellent cooling. However, shoppers should be prepared for steep price tags — some silk sheet sets cost thousands of dollars.
Flannel sheets can be made from cotton, wool, or polyester. Most flannel sheets are heavy and intended to provide superior insulation on cold nights. The fabric may be brushed to give the sheets a luxuriously soft, fuzzy feel. Otherwise, flannel may feel somewhat coarse. While flannel sheets are a great investment for cold temperatures, they may be too warm during hotter times of the year.
Synthetic Materials and Fabric Blends
Sheets made from synthetic textiles are usually more affordable than those containing natural materials. While synthetic fabrics may not offer the same durability or overall performance as natural fibers, they can be engineered for potentially beneficial qualities, such as stain or wrinkle resistance. It’s also important to note that some fabrics, while technically synthetic, are derived from natural sources.
Common Synthetic Materials Used in Sheets
Brands often refer to this material simply as bamboo, but it is technically rayon derived from bamboo. Known for exceptional softness and breathability, rayon from bamboo tends to drape well and have a silky appearance. Its resistance to pilling makes it fairly durable.
Lyocell is a fabric derived from wood pulp, and Tencel is a trademarked type of lyocell that frequently uses eucalyptus tree pulp. Our testers often praise their silky-smooth feel, excellent breathability and moisture control, and wrinkle resistance. Tencel and lyocell sheets can be fairly expensive compared to other synthetic options, but they also tend to be more durable.
Polyester is one of the most widely used synthetic fabrics. Sheets made from polyester are typically among the most affordable options, making them accessible for shoppers on a tight budget. They are also widely available online and in stores. In our tests, common drawbacks include limited breathability and a shorter-than-average lifespan.
Microfiber uses extremely fine fibers that may consist of polyester, nylon, cellulose, or other materials. A tight weave makes microfiber sheets wrinkle-resistant and relatively durable. Microfiber sheets are usually affordable. However, they also tend to trap heat and sleep uncomfortably warm in our tests.
A fabric blend consists of two or more types of fibers. Fabric blends may combine exclusively natural fibers, just synthetic fibers, or both natural and synthetic components.
Sheet sets often use synthetic blends or blends of synthetic and natural fibers. Cotton and polyester are the most common pairing. Elastic materials, like spandex, may also be used in blends to make sheets stretchy.
Some blends enhance the fabric’s performance by combining the benefits of two types of materials. Blends can also serve as cost-saving measures. Customers interested in premium components without a high price tag might seek out a blend to cut costs. Meanwhile, some manufacturers use blends so that they can advertise the pricier fiber without spending as much on raw materials.
Common Weaves and Knits for Sheets
In addition to the type of material, the weave or knit used to construct sheets can affect factors like softness, breathability, and longevity. Weaves consist of lengthwise warp yarns and crosswise weft yarns floating over and under one another to create a uniform, grid-like pattern. A knit is composed of a single yarn interlooped through itself. We’ll explain the most common weaves and knits used for bedding.
Percale: Percale is a weave with a one-over-one-under pattern. This strong weave results in a signature crisp hand-feel. With subsequent use and laundry cycles, the fibers relax and become softer. Percale bedding tends to be more breathable and better suited to warm weather than sateen sheets.
Sateen: The sateen weave differs from percale in structure. Most often, it uses a four-over-one-under or a three-over-one-under pattern. This results in a dense weave that produces a silky-soft feel and close draping. Sateen sheets may sleep somewhat warmer than percale options, but using a breathable material can offset heat retention.
Twill: The twill weave creates a diagonal rib pattern. This weave is more commonly used for hardier textiles, like furniture upholstery and denim. While twill sheets are fairly rare, they tend to be quite durable. However, they may feel somewhat rough.
Jersey: Jersey is a knit traditionally used for T-shirts, though many sheets incorporate it today. Threads are continuously looped, resulting in a soft, pliable fabric that clings lightly to the skin but also breathes well. Jersey sheets are generally somewhat stretchy. Some integrate spandex or a similarly elastic material for extra stretch.
Good Thread Counts for Different Types of Sheets
Thread count refers to the number of individual threads in one square inch of fabric. Thread count plays a role in breathability, softness, and durability. Historically, higher thread counts have often correlated with higher quality.
However, some brands inflate their numbers to make their sheets appear higher in quality. A common method to justify this is incorporating two-ply or three-ply threads, which consist of more than one yarn twisted together. A brand may count each yarn toward the overall thread count, which increases the number without adding to the sheet’s overall structure.
So while certain thread counts are a good starting point, this is not the most reliable indicator of overall quality.
Common Thread Counts for Quality Sheets
Cotton sheets typically have a minimum thread count of 200 to 400. While a higher thread count may sometimes enhance the quality, our testers generally report little noticeable difference once the thread count reaches 600. Additionally, thread counts over 900 are often inflated, which can make it difficult to assess the true quality.
Rayon derived from bamboo uses fine threads, allowing for a slightly higher thread count. We recommend a thread count of 300 to 500 for a balance of softness and breathability.
We generally suggest that linen sheets have a thread count between 80 and 140. However, this is rarely listed on product pages. Linen yarns are especially thick, hence the lower range.
Most high-quality percale sheets have a thread count between 200 to 400. This lightweight weave generally uses fewer threads per square inch than sateen.
The denser sateen weave allows for a higher thread count than percale. We recommend sateen sheets in the range of 300 to 600.
Some Materials Are Measured by Weight
Rather than thread count, some sheet fabrics are measured by weight.
- Silk: The momme unit, or pounds per 100 yards, is used to measure the weight of silk. We recommend silk sheets in the range of 17 to 22 momme.
- Microfiber: Microfiber is measured in grams per square meter (GSM). Most high-quality microfiber sheets fall within a range of 90 to 120 GSM.
- Flannel: Flannel sheets are also measured in GSM but tend to be heavier than microfiber bedding. Look for a measurement of at least 170 GSM for flannel sheets.
- Jersey: Jersey sheets typically use GSM, generally hovering around 150 GSM.
Textile Certifications and Eco-Friendly Solutions
Certifications indicate that sheets have met certain criteria regarding their content, production, or carbon footprint. Most certifications involve a rigorous, multi-tiered evaluation conducted by a certifying organization. While all certifications indicate that sheets have met certain standards, some carry more weight than others. We’ll break down some of the most common certifications for today’s sheets.
Common Textile Certifications
OEKO-TEX Standard 100
OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification ensures every component of the sheets has been tested for harmful chemicals and substances. This certification is very common in the bedding industry.
Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)
A GOTS certification indicates the materials used to produce sheets are grown, harvested, and manufactured through environmentally and socially responsible means. This certification is considered the gold standard for organic textiles.
Certain textiles may also receive organic certification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture if they are derived from natural materials that meet certain growth and processing standards.
100% Egyptian Cotton
The Cotton Egypt Association certifies bedding and other products made of Egyptian cotton. This certification includes DNA testing to verify that the fiber traces back to Egypt.
Eco-Friendly Solutions for Your Sheets
Sheets made from natural or organic materials produce the smallest carbon footprint. As such, these are widely considered the most eco-friendly bedding options. However, there are measures you can take to lessen your environmental impact if you prefer sheets made of synthetic textiles.
Synthetic sheets can shed fibers when you wash them. Eventually, these fibers can make their way into the water table or oceans, contributing to microplastic pollution. Experts think microplastics may be harmful to human and animal life. Using a specially designed washing bag can help prevent these fibers from escaping your household machine.
Upcycling or reusing old sheets are also eco-friendly solutions for bedding owners. Old sheets can be repurposed for a wide range of uses, such as soil barriers in gardening, coverings for items in your garage or attic, and drop cloths for painting. If your sheets are made entirely from natural materials, they may also be compostable.