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Best Cotton Sheets

Cotton sheets offer a classically cozy feel that, for many sleepers, is a bedroom essential. But the process of shopping for cotton bedding can actually be rather confusing, as there are many weave styles, thread counts, and special features from which to choose. And to make matters trickier, every single detail behind a set of cotton sheets directly influences the weight, temperature, and overall feel of the finished fabric.

So, with all the cotton sheet sets out there, how are you supposed to find the best fit for your body, your bed, and your budget? Well, don’t sweat it, because I’m about to take you through my personal methodology behind cotton-sheet-shopping, as well as give you a close look at my top five favorite cotton sheet sets.

CottonSheets

Editor’s Pick

CottonSheets CalDesign

California Design Den Sheets

Woven from long-staple cotton and spun into a silky sateen weave, these sheets are ideal for sleepers looking for a smooth and shiny sheet set. Not to mention, this bedding features a high thread count of 400, and extra deep 18-inch pockets. 

Pros 

  • This bedding features a sateen weave style, which means it offers a silky-smooth feel and lustrous sheen. Folks who prefer their sheets to be more shiny than matte will likely enjoy the look of this bedding.
  • This sheet set is woven from 100% long-staple cotton,which is widely considered to be a more durable, softer type of cotton. 
  • Folks looking to get creative with bedroom decor will be glad to know that this sheet set comes in over twenty different colors and patterns! Additionally, the fitted sheet has super deep pockets of 18 inches, ideal for those with taller mattresses. 

Cons 

  • Deep pockets are great… unless you’ve got a shallow mattress. In my experience, the fitted sheet in this set looks a bit baggy if you’ve got a mattress that’s less than 11 inches deep.
  • Folks looking for crisp cotton sheets should look for a percale weave rather than sateen. This bedding is silky-smooth and not at all crisp!
California Design Den Sheets
California Design Den Sheets
California Design Den Sheets

California Design Den sheets use quality long staple cotton to provide smooth and durable sheets at a value price. Click this button to get your set on Amazon!

Best Egyptian Cotton

CottonSheets thread

Thread Spread Egyptian Cotton Sheet Set

This bedding is made from 100% Egyptian cotton, which is widely considered to be the softest and most durable type of cotton available. Additionally, it’s spun into a silky sateen weave which gives a smooth feel and lustrous appearance. 

Pros 

  • Those in search of smooth and durable cotton sheets should definitely give this set a try. It’s made from 100% Egyptian cotton and spun into a silky sateen weave. 
  • If you sleep on a deep mattress and are looking for a set of deep-pocket sheets to match, keep in mind that the fitted sheet in this set can accommodate mattresses up to 18 inches tall! 
  • The top sheet and pillowcases in this set feature a 4-inch hem on the borders, giving each piece a classy, hotel-like aesthetic. 

Cons 

  • Egyptian bedding tends to come at a higher price point, and these sheets are no exception. That said, this set ranges from about $90-$100 which is a great value for Egyptian cotton, but is not going to fit in everyone’s budget. 
  • Keep in mind that this sheet set only comes in Queen and King sizes.
Thread Spread Egyptian Cotton Sheet Set
Thread Spread Egyptian Cotton Sheet Set
Thread Spread Egyptian Cotton Sheet Set

The Egyptian cotton sheet set from Thread Spread provides a soft feel and has the durability to last.

Best for Hot Sleepers

CottonSheets amazon

AmazonBasics Heather Cotton Jersey Sheet Set

Sleepers who run hot are bound to benefit the most from this light and airy sheet set. It’s made from 100% jersey-knit cotton, a material known for its superior breathability and super soft feel. 

Pros

  • Jersey-knit cotton is exceptionally light and breathable, and has a unique “T-shirt” feel that’ll probably appeal most to those who run hot. 
  • This bedding is woven with a subtle heathered effect and comes in five different colors. Folks looking to take a break from plain white sheets should give these a try. 
  • This sheet set is completely machine washable and dryable, ideal for those who prioritize easy maintenance! 

Cons

  • Sleepers who run cold might want to look elsewhere! This bedding is super light, airy, and ideal for warm weather. 
  • While I, personally, like the color options that come with this sheet set, it’s important to note that it is not offered in plain white.
AmazonBasics Heather Cotton Jersey Sheet Set
AmazonBasics Heather Cotton Jersey Sheet Set
AmazonBasics Heather Cotton Jersey Sheet Set

If you sleep hot you'll love these cotton sheets from AmazonBasics!

Best Cotton Percale

CottonSheets linenhome

Linen Home Cotton Percale Sheet Set

Made from 100% cotton and spun into a percale weave, these sheets offer that classic crip cotton feel. Additionally, this bedding is OEKO-Tex certified, which guarantees that no harsh chemicals or synthetic pesticides were used to make it. 

Pros

  • Folks looking to slip into a crisp set of cotton sheets are likely to be most compatible with these. They are percale woven, which gives the fabric a distinctly crisp and clean look and feel!
  • If you’re in the market to buy sheets for the whole family, rest assured — this sheet set comes in a variety of sizes, ranging from Twin to King.
  • The fitted sheet in this set has very deep pockets capable of accommodating mattresses up to 18 inches tall. 

Cons

  • If you like your cotton bedding to feel more silky than crisp, you might want to look elsewhere. These sheets are percale woven, which means they offer a crisp feel and matte appearance. 
  • This isn’t necessarily a downfall, but note that this sheet set only comes in solid colors (no printed patterns).
Linen Home Cotton Percale Sheet Set
Linen Home Cotton Percale Sheet Set
Linen Home Cotton Percale Sheet Set

The cotton percale sheets from Linen Home provide a classic crisp feel without the use of harmful chemicals.

Best Cotton Flannel

CottonSheets stoneandbeam

Stone & Beam Flannel Sheet Set

Made from 100% double-napped cotton, this flannel sheet set is ideal for sleepers who run cold. It’s warm, cozy, and comes in a variety of plaid styles for an old-fashioned, rustic aesthetic.

Pros

  • Made from 100% cotton, these flannel sheets are softer and more breathable than flannel made from wool. Not to mention, the fabric is napped on both sides to boost that velvety-soft feel.
  • This sheet set comes in six different plaid styles, all of which evoke a Christmas-y aesthetic that might be perfect for gifting! 
  • While some flannel bedding requires special wash care, this sheet set is easily washed and dried at home. 

Cons 

  • While cotton-based flannel tends to sleep cooler than wool, keep in mind that this is still a warm and cozy sheet set! Those shopping for summertime bedding should definitely look elsewhere. 
  • Ranging from about $50-$80, this sheet set isn’t going to fit in every sleeper’s price range.
Stone & Beam Flannel Sheet Set
Stone & Beam Flannel Sheet Set
Stone & Beam Flannel Sheet Set

The flannel sheets from Stone & Beam are a great choice for those trying to stay warm on a chilly night.

How We Picked

Okay, sleepers, now that we’ve taken a look at my top five favorite cotton sheet sets, it’s time to dive into the methodology behind my picks. Yes, selecting the perfect sheet set has a lot to do with personal preference, but there are some helpful guidelines to follow when you’re on the hunt for cotton!

The Fiber Factor

When I’m on the hunt for cotton bedding, the very first thing I pay attention to is the length of the fibers (also referred to as staples) used to weave it. The general rule of thumb is: the longer the cotton fiber, the softer and more durable the fabric will be. That’s why I always recommend searching for either long or extra-long staple cotton.

That said, the extra softness and durability that long-staple cotton provides does tend to increase the price, so that’s something to keep in mind. But at the end of the day, quality costs and it’s best to opt for a sheet set that’ll take you through years of use.

Popular examples of cotton bedding that’s known for its extra-long fibers are Egyptian and Supima (also known as Pima) cotton. Of course, these aren’t the only types of cotton that can offer you a cozy night’s rest, and it’s worth noting that cotton woven from shorter fibers (like upland cotton) is considerably less expensive.

All that said, take some time to consider what you prioritize in a set of cotton sheets. If it’s durability, aim for long or extra-long staple cotton. On the other hand, if minding a strict budget is most important, there’s nothing wrong with snoozing on a sheet set woven from regular cotton! Just keep in mind that it will probably not last as long.

Weave Style

The next thing I focus on is weave style, so let’s take a look at the most common weaves found in cotton bedding.

  • Percale – Percale woven cotton is known for its crisp, cool feel, and is often the best choice for sleepers who run hot. Additionally, percale sheets are matte in appearance, meaning they’re not shiny at all. Folks looking for a classic and crisp set of cozy cotton sheets might want to aim for a percale weave.
  • Sateen – On the other hand, sateen woven bedding is typically silky in feel and lustrous in appearance. A sateen weave also tends to produce a thicker sheet that lies heavier on the body, which might particularly appeal to sleepers who run cold. Those who prefer their cotton bedding to be shiny and smooth might be best-suited to the sateen weave style.
  • Jersey-Knit – Jersey is technically not a weave style, as jersey cotton bedding is knitted rather than woven. However, it is one of the most popular types of cotton bedsheets, and is known for its distinctly light and airy feel. Folks looking to sleep cool but don’t enjoy a crisp cotton feel would be best-suited to jersey-knit bedsheets. And keep in mind that jersey cotton sheets are neither matte nor shiny in appearance, and most sleepers compare its look and feel to t-shirt material.

Of the three types of cotton bedding I’ve listed here, it’s worth noting that jersey-knit sheets are typically the least durable… But they’re also usually the least expensive! Before you begin shopping, take some time to determine what you’d like your sheets to look and feel like.

Thread Count

Contrary to popular belief, thread count isn’t the sole indicator of quality in cotton sheets. In fact, it kind of loses its value if you’re not working with long or extra-long cotton fibers. Remember: long or extra-long cotton fibers produce a softer and more durable sheet than short fibers do.

That said, it’s important to note that some bedding brands splice a ton of short cotton fibers together in order to boast a higher thread count. For example, if you see a sheet set advertised as having a 1500 thread count, I suggest you investigate a bit further to find out more about the length of the cotton fibers used to weave it.

Similarly, don’t assume that a sheet set with a 200 or 300 thread count is poor quality! On the contrary, extra-long staple cotton bedding that features a thread count of 200 or higher is considered quite luxurious, and will feel super smooth and durable.

Colors, Prints & Patterns

One of the best parts about sheet shopping is choosing the style that you like best! So take some time browsing different colors, prints, and patterns until you land on the look that suits you best. It is your bedroom, afterall, and you should decorate it according to your personal taste.

That said, you may find that certain brands offer more in the way of color options than others. In fact, some bedding brands stick to a muted, minimalist aesthetic that might not appeal to the sleeper looking to get creative with color. Conversely, some bedding brands only offer sheet sets in a variety of playful colors and printed patterns. So before you settle on a sheet set, make sure the retailer sells it in a color you like!

Sizing

Some bedding brands offer sheet sets in every size from Twin to California King, while others only offer Queen and King sizes. So before you throw that sheet set in your shopping cart, make sure it comes in the size you want! It would be a shame to fall in love with a bedding set only to discover that it’s not offered in the size you’re looking for.

The same rule applies to fitted sheet pocket depth, so always check the “dimensions description” listed on the brand’s website. For example, if you sleep on a taller mattress, make sure the fitted sheet in your bedding set has pockets deep enough to accommodate the dimensions of your mattress. In my experience, it’s always best to get a sheet pockets that are a little too big than too snug.

For context, any fitted sheet with pockets 14 inches or deeper are considered extra-deep. But remember: if you’re snoozing on a mattress that’s 10 inches deep or less, there’s no need to aim for deep-pocket sheets. Simply aim for the sheet pocket depth that’s closest to the depth of your own mattress.

Wash Care

Fortunately, caring for cotton sheets is generally pretty easy, as cotton is a natural fiber. That said, it’s always important to follow the specific wash care instructions as given by the bedding brand itself in order to maintain the integrity of the fabric for as long as possible.

Additionally, I suggest allowing your sheets to line-dry whenever possible, as high-heat dry cycles have been known to cause pilling and color fading. And when you do dry your sheets in the machine, try to avoid using too much fabric softener or dryer sheets as these products can often leave a residue on the surface fibers of your bedding.

And lastly, be sure to wash your sheets once a week in order to keep them looking, feeling, and smelling fresh and clean!

Price, Trial Periods, & Returns

The cost of cotton bedding ranges quite a bit, and is influenced by factors like weave style, fiber length, type of cotton, and more. That said, I always recommend looking for brands that offer generous trial periods and/or return policies in order to get a better sense as to whether or not you’re really getting good bang for your buck.

But keep in mind that return policies and trial periods are not the same thing! For example, a 30-day return policy means you’ve got about one month to be send your newly purchased product back to the company for a full refund. However, it’s important to note that every brand has a different return policy, and some will not refund your money if the product has been used, washed, or even opened.

A trial period, on the other hand, allows you to personally test a product for a set amount of time before deciding if it’s the best fit for you. For example, if you determine within a 30-day trial period that your newly purchased sheet set is not what you were hoping for, just send it back for a refund whether it’s been washed or not!

Sleepopolis Buying Tips

We’ve almost reached the end of my guide, but allow me to impart a few last words of wisdom before you get to shopping!

  • Number of Pieces – While most sheet sets include one top sheet, one fitted sheet, and two pillowcases, some leave the top sheet out of the mix. Additionally, some Twin size sheet sets only come with one pillowcase rather than two. So before you hit the “buy” button, make sure you’re getting the exact number of pieces that you’re looking for in a sheet set.
  • OEKO-Tex Certification – Keep an eye for for cotton sheets that are OEKO-Tex certified, as this guarantees that your bedding was not made with any harmful chemicals or dyes!
  • Wash First, Sleep Later – This isn’t absolutely necessary, but I always suggest washing a new set of sheets before you sleep on it. This will just dust off any packaging residue it’s picked up in transit, and also give you a good sense of how well the fabric retains its color after being washed.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’re all experts on shopping for cotton sheets, you’re ready to find the bedding set of your dreams! Just be sure to keep a close eye on the details, take advantage of trial periods when they’re offered, and pick the sheets that best match your unique sleep needs. Happy shopping, folks!

Logan Block

Logan is the content director of Sleepopolis, which means he not only reviews new mattresses every week, but also curates all the comparisons, best of pages, and video guides on the site. He takes a straightforward, honest approach to his reviews and endeavors to give viewers an objective look at each new product he tries out. Logan has perfected his method by personally testing over 200 different mattresses, so he’s not only able to discern the overall vibe of a specific bed, but to contextualize its feel within the bed-in-a-box market as a whole.

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Best Cotton Sheets

Cotton sheets are a bedding essential that’ve been keeping people cozy for decades, but they’re not all created equal. And with hundreds of options on the market, it can be tough to find the cotton sheet set that meets your unique sleep needs. So allow me to point you in the right direction with this best cotton sheets review!

In this guide, I’m presenting the top seven best cotton sheet sets I’ve ever tested. Rest assured — I picked a variety of styles, textures, and prices so everybody can find the right fit. Plus, I’ll detail my personal methodology behind sheet shopping at the end of this review so you’ve got all the info you need to make the best choice.

Best Cotton Sheets 2021 – Top 7 Picks!

Best Percale

Brooklinen Sheets

Brooklinen Classic Core Sheet Set

First up is the Brooklinen Classic Core Sheet Set, perfect for those in search of cool cotton percale. 

Spun from 100% long-staple cotton into a crisp percale weave, these sheets are lightweight, breathable, and oh-so-soft. If you’re looking to boost your collection of bedding essentials, this is a great place to start. They offer a muted, matte aesthetic that can easily blend with any bedroom decor, and can be washed and dried right at home (no high maintenance necessary!). 

That said, I think hot sleepers are going to be especially compatible with this bedding, as it feels breezy and cool to the touch. It’s offered in a wide range of sizes, and comes complete with one top sheet, two pillowcases, and a fitted sheet that can accommodate mattresses up to 15-inches deep.

Sleepers on the prowl for comfy cotton bedding should definitely check my full Brooklinen sheets review

Price: $89-$150, with 365-day returns and a lifetime warranty.

Perfect For: The crisp cotton lover who runs hot! 

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Brooklinen Sheets
Brooklinen Sheets
Brooklinen Sheets

Woven with long staple cotton, these Brooklinen sheets are both soft and comfortable. 

Best Sateen

Parachute Sateen Sheets.

Parachute Sateen Sheet Set

Moving on to a totally different look and feel, I give you the Parachute Sateen Sheet Set. 

Made from 100% Egyptian cotton, these sheets are super soft and durable. Egyptian cotton is widely regarded as a superior type of cotton thanks to its long, supple fibers, and this bedding is (literally) a shining example of why fiber length matters. They’re strong, smooth, and feature a beautiful luminous sheen. 

Egyptian cotton bedding often has a subtle luster regardless of how it’s woven, but these sheets are sateen woven which means they’re extra shiny. In fact, these might be the most lustrous sateen sheets I’ve ever tested. If you’re looking for a cotton sheet set that looks as silky as it feels, this is probably the one for you. 

Additionally, sleepers in search of deep-pocket sheets might like to know that this set can fit mattresses up to 16-inches tall. However, it’s important to note that there is no top sheet included with this set — only a fitted sheet and two pillowcases. But shoppers do have the option to add one at the checkout! 

For the full scoop on this bedding, be sure to peruse my full Parachute sheets review.

Price: Sheet sets start at about $129, and increase depending on size and whether or not you include a top sheet. Plus, you get a 60-day trial period.  

Perfect For: Sleepers looking for silky and lustrous Egyptian cotton sheets!

Parachute Sheets
Parachute Sheets
Parachute Sheets

Egyptian cotton makes these Parachute sheets incredibly soft and cozy! 

Best Egyptian Cotton

Pure Parima Sheets

Pure Parima Yalda Sheet Set

Now let’s take a look at the Pure Parima Yalda Sheet Set, ideal for Egyptian cotton enthusiasts. 

First let me say that while I’m highlighting the Yalda Sheet Set here, it’s worth noting that all Pure Parima bedding is certified by the Egyptian Cotton Association. This guarantees that its sheet sets are woven from extra-long staple Egyptian cotton that was handpicked from the Nile River Valley. Egyptian cotton is exceptionally soft and, if you’re looking for a brand that specializes in this type of cotton, I heartily recommend Pure Parima. 

The Yalda Sheet Set, in particular, features a luminous sateen weave and super silky handfeel. Like most of the sets in this roundup, it includes a top sheet, two pillowcases and fitted sheet, but this bedding has a unique style! A double-open hemstitch borders the pillowcases and top sheet which, in my opinion, adds an elegant aesthetic flare.

If you’re on the hunt for stylish, durable, and very soft Egyptian cotton bedding, be sure to read my full Pure Parima sheets review.

Price: $136-$169, depending on size.

Perfect For: Folks looking for a set of silky and luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets!

Pure Parima Sheets
Pure Parima Sheets
Pure Parima Sheets

The sheets are Egyptian Cotton Certified so you know you are getting high quality sheets with a high thread count for a luxurious look and feel!

Best Cooling

The Casper sheets.

Casper Cool Supima Sheet Set

Okay, hot sleepers, the Casper Cool Supima Sheet Set is especially for you.

Spun from 100% Supima cotton, these sheets are light, crisp, and American-made. Like Egyptian cotton, Supima cotton is praised for its superior softness and durability — but this type of cotton is exclusively grown in the U.S. That said, the thing that really sets this bedding apart, in my opinion, is how cooling it is.

As a hot sleeper myself, I can personally vouch for how breathable these sheets are. Yes, cotton percale is known for its breezy, cooling qualities, but these are definitely some of the lightest I’ve ever tested. If you’re looking for a crisp and airy set of cotton sheets to keep you cool, these are going to be right up your alley. 

Aside from its cooling ability, one of my favorite things about this set is the fitted sheet. It features a thick, rubberized elastic band that puts a mega-grip on your mattress, perfect for folks who do a lot of rolling around at night.

So be sure to explore all the details in my full Casper sheets review

Price: $100-$170, with a 1-year warranty and 100-night trial period. 

Perfect For: Hot sleepers who love a crisp cotton feel!

Save 10% with code SLEEPOPOLIS10
Casper Sheets
Casper Sheets
Casper Sheets

A soft, crisp feel makes the Casper Sheets ideal for those who like to sleep cool.

Best for Winter

Snowe Cotton Sheets

Snowe Sateen Sheet Set

Next up is the Snowe Sateen Sheet Set, a warm and cozy wintertime essential.

Made from 100% long-staple cotton and spun into a smooth sateen weave, these sheets are perfect for chilly weather. A sateen weave often produces a thicker, heavier set of sheets, and I found that to be the case here. This bedding draped elegantly over my mattress, and seemed to insulate my body heat as well. 

One thing that makes it different from the other sateen sheets I’ve tested is its very subtle sheen. The folks at Snowe describe this bedding as having “all the buttery softness of sateen, without the high sheen,” and I think that’s an accurate description. If you love the silky-smooth feel of cotton sateen, but wish it weren’t so darn shiny, this is probably the right fit for you! 

Learn everything there is to know about this sheet set in my full Snowe sheets review.

Price: $200-$240, with a 90-day trial period. 

Perfect For: Folks looking for a warm and cozy set of sateen sheets (without the lustrous sheen!). 

Save 10%!
Snowe Sheets
Snowe Sheets
Snowe Sheets
Choose between Snowe's crisp percale or silky sateen (or both!) Save 10% on orders of $100 or more with the code SLEEPOPOLIS10!

Best Organic

Boll and Branch Cotton Sheets

Boll & Branch Cotton Sheet Set

Eco-friendly folks on a mission to sleep green should consider the Boll & Branch Cotton Sheet Set. 

This bedding is GOTS-Certified, meaning it’s harvested from organic cotton seeds, and is free from any insecticides or chemical dyes. It’s soft, hypoallergenic, and perfect for sleepers in search of all-natural cotton sheets. And if you’re trying to get creative with decor, you’ll be glad to know that this set comes in a variety of fun colors. 

As far as feel goes, these sheets feature a smooth sateen weave and a high thread count of 300. High thread count doesn’t always mean good quality, but it can boost durability and softness when you’re working with long-staple cotton like this. Personally, this is one of my favorite sheet sets because it’s lustrous, breathable, and Earth-friendly.

Get the full scoop by reading my Boll & Branch sheets review!  

Price: $200-$295, with a 100-night return policy.

Perfect For: Green sleepers in search of organic cotton sheets!

Boll and Branch Sheets
Boll and Branch Sheets
Boll and Branch Sheets

Boll & Branch are made from organic long-staple cotton which has a reputation for producing very soft, strong, and durable fabric. These sheets are woven with single-ply cotton into a 300 thread count, which the folks at Boll & Branch say is intended to create a “light and sumptuous” feel.

Best Affordable Sheets

Tuft and Needle Sheets

Tuft & Needle Percale Sheet Set

Finally, we come to the Tuft & Needle Percale Sheet Set, an awesome choice for sleepers on a budget.

These sheets are made from 100% Supima cotton but, before I get into the details, I have to note how impressively affordable they are. In my experience, Supima cotton sheets typically start at about $100, but you can get this set in a King size for $125. Sleepers looking for high quality bedding without breaking the bank should definitely give Tuft & Needle a try. 

Okay — back to the details. This sheet set is percale woven, and offers a crisp, cool handfeel. It’s light, breathable, and best suited to folks who run hot. Speaking of which, this brand also offers linen and jersey cotton sheet sets, both of which are perfect for warm weather (reasonably priced too!).

 For info on all these options, be sure to check my full Tuft & Needle sheets review

Price: $75-$125, with a 2-year warranty and 100-night trial period.

Perfect For: Cotton lovers on a budget! 

4th of July Sale! Save 10%!
Tuft and Needle Sheets
Tuft and Needle Sheets
Tuft and Needle Sheets

With Jersey, Percale and Linen options, Tuft & Needle has a great line of sheets available for any preference! 

Methodology: How To Shop For Cotton Sheets

Alright, folks, now that you’ve seen my personal favorites, let’s cover the basics of cotton bedding in general. When you’re shopping for the perfect cotton sheet set, it’s important to consider thread count, weave style, and the specific type of cotton used.

Choosing The Right Type of Cotton

Perhaps the most important factor to consider is the length of the cotton fibers (also known as staples) used to weave the fabric. Longer fibers typically create a softer, stronger set of sheets… but how do you know which sheets are woven from long cotton fibers? Well, let’s take a closer look at the most popular types of cotton below:

  • Egyptian Cotton – Egyptian cotton is woven from extra-long, supple fibers, and is widely regarded as a superior type of cotton. It’s sourced from the Nile River Valley, and is often picked by hand in order to put less stress on the fibers. Because it’s exceptionally soft and durable, Egyptian cotton tends to come at a higher price point.
  • Supima Cotton – Egyptian and Supima cotton are quite comparable, as they’re both woven from extra-long, fine fibers. In fact, the only real difference between them is geographical, as Supima cotton is exclusively grown in the U.S. Again, this type of cotton is considered top-quality, and generally comes at a higher price.
  • Upland Cotton – Upland cotton is by far the most common, and makes up about 90% of global cotton production. It’s typically woven from short fibers, which makes it less expensive, but also less durable. It can be a great option for sleepers on a budget, or those in search of a short-term sheet set, but remember that cotton bedding woven from short fibers is more likely to fade and pill over time.

Keep in mind that Egyptian and Supima are not the only types of long-staple cotton out there, and most bedding brands advertise fiber length right on its packaging (“long-staple” is a major selling point). But if a sheet set is simply described as “100% cotton,” there’s a good chance it was woven from short, inferior fibers.

Thread Count

Thread count refers to the individual yarns per square inch of fabric, and many are under the impression that a high thread count guarantees high sheet quality. On the contrary, thread count loses its value if you’re not working with long, durable cotton fibers. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the fiber length first, and then check the thread count.

For example, some bedding brands may advertise a sheet set as having an uncommonly high thread count of 1,000 — but don’t be fooled! Many manufacturers splice hundreds of short, weak cotton fibers together in order to boast a higher thread count, but this is more of a marketing ploy than a trusted textile technique.

That said, a high thread count can be a great indicator of quality in long-staple cotton bedding like Egyptian or Supima. In these cases, a count of 200-800 is a good benchmark to follow, with the latter half of that range being luxuriously high.

Weave Style

Finally, I consider weave style. This refers to the way in which cotton is woven on the loom, and it says a lot about how the finished fabric will feel. Cotton bedding can be woven in a variety of ways, but let’s explore the weave styles you’re most likely to encounter:

  • Percale – Known for its crisp, cool handfeel, cotton percale is ideal for hot sleepers. It’s light, breathable, and has a matte appearance that’s often compared to a freshly ironed dress shirt. Sleepers looking for that classically crisp cotton feel are probably going to be most compatible with this weave style.
  • Sateen – Personally, I consider sateen to be percale’s counterpart. Instead of crisp and cool, cotton sateen sheets are silky, warm, and lie heavier on the body. Additionally, most sateen bedding features a lustrous sheen, ideal for sleepers who prefer a shiny set of sheets.
  • Twill – Characterized by visible diagonal lines, a twill weave is most frequently found in denim jeans! But in the world of bedding, a twill weave is known for producing an exceptionally durable set of sheets. However, hot sleepers should note that cotton twill is typically heavyweight and warming.
  • Jersey – Jersey cotton is technically knit rather than woven, but I’m including it here because it’s super popular. Known for its breezy, T-shirt-like feel, jersey cotton is best suited to hot summer weather. It’s very lightweight and breathable, but usually less durable than cotton that has been woven.

FAQs

Are 100% cotton sheets the best?

Sheets made from 100% cotton are known for being soft and breathable, but not all cotton is the same! For the softest, most durable sheets, aim for long-staple cotton like Egyptian or Supima.

What are the coolest cotton sheets to sleep in?

Cotton percale is light, breathable, and perfect for folks who run hot. Sleepers looking for extra cooling and moisture-wicking properties might want to look for cotton percale sheets that have been blended with materials like Tencel or bamboo.

How often should you wash cotton sheets?

In order to keep dustmites and allergens at bay, it’s important to clean your sheets about once a week. That said, keeping food, drinks, and pets away from your bed is a good way to cut down on bacterial buildup.

Final Thoughts

Well, folks, now that you’re all experts on cotton bedding, you’re ready to find the sheet set that’s perfect for you. Just remember to pay close attention to weave style, thread count, and the specific type of cotton used, and you’ll be enjoying sweet dreams in no time. Happy shopping!

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Sarah is the Senior Writer and bedding expert at Sleepopolis. Every week, she personally tests and reviews new pillows, sheet sets, and other sleep accessories. She accompanies every video review with a meticulously detailed article to ensure her audience has all the pertinent info they need for the best shopping experience possible. Perhaps that’s why her fans have dubbed her “the most thorough pillow reviewer on the Internet.” Having tested everything from sleep trackers to mattress toppers, Sarah's expertise runs deep and is always expanding. She received her degree in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College and spends her free time doing stand-up, making pasta, and hanging with her cats.