The Best Cotton Sheets – 2019 Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
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Shopping for cotton bed sheets can be confusing. There are tons of materials to choose from, different weaves, features, and thread count to consider. This guide recommends top cotton bed sheets and explains the benefits of sleeping on cotton, how to sort through the options, and factors to consider for finding the best sheets for a good night’s sleep.
We give you all the information you need to make an informed buying decision when shopping for the best cotton sheets. A good night’s sleep can make everything better, and your sheets are an important part of your sleep experience. Here’s a look at our top picks for best bed sheets, then we dig into the information you need.
Parachute’s sateen sheets are soft out of the box but tend towards wrinkling. The very deep pockets fit most any bed, and the continuous elastic hem ensures the fitted sheet stays snugly in place. The Egyptian cotton material is long-staple, the world’s softest and most durable cotton.
The cotton resists odor so it can be laundered three times a month and remain fresh. It doesn’t trap heat so sleeps cool year-round. Parachute allows you the option of including a top sheet in their standard sheet set because they feel it’s a matter of personal preference.
We chose this as our editor’s pick because of it’s high performance, extremely soft and comfortable feel, and Parachute offers a 60-day trial, so you can decide at home if these sheets are best for you.
SOL Organics percale sheets are super soft, made from long-staple cotton that’s GOTS certified and non-GMO. GOTS certification means the process is organic from start to finish. These sheets are a fair-trade product that’s sustainably sourced. The feeling out of the package is a soft sheet that’s strong but also light.
The dyes used are low-impact with no azo compounds. After the first wash, you’ll see a bit of shrinkage which is normal for cotton sheets. They wrinkle slightly but don’t look crumpled plus they soften with each washing. Try them on a 30-night trial to see if they work for you.
These lightweight sheets have a crisp feel, breathe, wick-moisture and sleep cool. We chose it for our top organic for its ethical manufacturing standards and performance.
The Egyptian cotton used in this Pinzon 400-thread count is high-quality and offers a strong sheet that’s both durable and comfortable. The sheet fabric drapes nicely over your body as you sleep. The finish is sateen which means it’s very soft and smooth with a subtle sheen.
The sheets have an extra deep pocket for the thickest mattresses and come in an array of colors. Because they’re 100% cotton, there will be some shrinkage after the first washing, but the fit should remain constant. They have a substantial feel and are thicker than some sheets.
We chose the Pinzon sheets as our best value pick because, at a price point of less than $50, these are excellent sheets for the money and rival those that cost three or more times as much.
These luxury sheets by Nest Bedding are ultimately soft and high-performing. The organic Egyptian cotton is constructed with a sateen weave into a 310-thread count sheet with a lovely sheen. The bedding is naturally cooling and wicks moisture, so you don’t sleep hot.
There’s a little shrinkage after the first wash because it’s an all-cotton sheet, but it’s not excessive, and the deep pocket design holds up well. These well-made sheets offer comfortable sleep from the first night and get softer with more washings yet hold up well.
We chose Nest’s Egyptian cotton sheets as our best luxury choice because of the feel, performance, and sleep quality of this comfortable and long-lasting bedding.
On hot nights, you want cool sheets, and Threadmill Home Linen’s 800-thread count cotton sheets deliver. They feature extra-long staple cotton that’s strong, durable, and comfortably soft. The organic cotton is GOTS, and OEKO-TEX certified.
They are soft to the touch and will continue to soften after repeat washings. Because they are made from 100% cotton, you will experience some shrinkage. The pockets are deep but not as deep as others on our list. The factory uses only wind and solar power, and the raw materials are sustainably sourced.
These Threadmill Home sheets are our best lightweight cotton sheet choice because they are substantial enough to sleep under without a blanket and cooling and moisture-wicking.
Cold nights demand warm, cozy sheets like Pinzon’s heavyweight velvet flannel sheets. These are substantial 190-gram all-cotton sheets combed for ultimate softness. The double-sided nap means both sides of the sheets are equally soft and cuddly.
The pocket fits mattresses up to 17” thick, but there is some shrinkage at the first laundering. The sheets feel very smooth to the touch, and the material is durable with a slight luster. These flannels are warm but breathable, so they don’t hold moisture. That leads to dry, warm sleep.
We chose Pinzon’s Signature cotton heavyweight sheets for the best cozy winter sheets because they are heavy, warm, and soft, everything you want on a cold night.
Bed sheets are a big part of the quality of your sleep. The more comfortable your sheets, the better you should sleep, and cotton is a top choice. Most people focus on thread count and color rather than considering weave, weight, and other important considerations.
This guide will help you understand why cotton is an excellent sheet material, the weaves to choose from, types of cotton, thread count, and other considerations to ensure you get the best sheets for your ultimate sleep experience.
What You Need to Know When Buying Cotton Sheets
For cool and soft sheets, nothing outperforms all-natural cotton. Cotton is breathable, wicks moisture, and resists stains. Cotton releases stains easily when wet, so it’s durable and wears well. The preferable type of cotton is long-staple (which means it has long fibers).
Long fibers in the weave of the cotton sheet result in discernibly better softness compared to other materials and other types of cotton. Long-staple cotton also resists pilling and won’t attract lint. Cotton outperforms most other sheet materials.
Choosing cotton sheets means you’ll notice:
Cooler sleep – Cotton is a naturally breathable fabric, so air circulates better around your body.
Drier sleep – Cotton is a thirsty fabric, so it wicks moisture away from your body.
Comfortable sleep – Cotton drapes softly around your body nesting you in comfort for better sleep.
If you prefer an all-natural product over synthetics, that’s another reason to choose cotton. Cotton bedsheets come in an array of eco-friendly options. Look for a 100% cotton label to know that you’re not getting a blend if you want an all-cotton sleep experience.
For those that want a purer experience, search for organic cotton. This is cotton that was grown without chemical pesticides and had no harsh processing after harvest. You can also look for sheets that use natural or low-impact dyes.
Different Types and Weaves of Cotton Sheets
Types of Cotton Sheets
Egyptian Cotton – Egyptian cotton grows only in that region. For varieties that are extra-long staple, it makes a soft, almost satiny sheet material.
Pima Cotton – Pima cotton grows in America, and it’s an extra-long staple (long strand) cotton that makes strong and soft sheets.
Jersey Cotton – Jersey cotton isn’t woven but instead is knitted from one long continuous strand, so it’s ultra-soft and drapes nicely like t-shirt material.
Weaves of Cotton Sheets
Percale – These sheets are woven vertically and horizontally one thread at a time. They feel the same on both sides and because of the tight weave, are very smooth. To be authentic percale, thread count must be 180 or greater.
Sateen – These sheets are woven in a long lateral pattern and are chemically treated in a process called mercerization that soaks the cotton fabric strands in lye then an acid wash. The process makes it satiny, receptive to dye, and with a slight sheen.
Fit (Size and Pocket Depth)
Most sheets come in single, full, queen and king size. If you need a California King or Twin XL, check the options to ensure the brand offers what you need. If you have a very tall or shallow mattress, you’ll want to pay close attention to the depth of the fitted sheet pocket. Measure your mattress height as some brands come with deep and some with extra deep pockets while others aren’t as roomy.
When looking at the aesthetics of cotton sheets, consider going subtle with color. First, brightly colored sheets can be a visual distraction. Second, if you want to avoid chemicals, natural-colored sheets will have fewer dyes and processing.
Patterns are nice, but you want to coordinate with your comforter and consider what happens if you change your duvet. A neutral palette on walls, bedding and accessories is soothing and can help you get the best night’s rest in your sleep sanctuary.
Finding the Right Thread Count
What is thread count?
You calculate thread count by looking at a 1” square section of the sheet fabric. You count the number of yarn strands (threads) going lengthwise and crosswise. If there are 200 threads in one direction and 200 in the other, you add them to get a 400-thread count sheet.
Things get technical when you look at multi-ply yarn. Some yarn is single ply meaning it is one solid strand. That keeps the math simple. But if the yarn has several strands woven together to form a single strand, the manufacturer might count that as multiple threads.
400-thread count sheets made with 2-ply yarn might be marketed as 800-thread count. Be sure to look at the thread strands to accurately assess the true thread count of a cotton sheet brand you’re considering.
Why thread count isn’t everything
Thread count is important but shouldn’t be the sole determiner of your purchase decision. First, be sure that the thread count is accurate. One way to avoid the marketing hype is to look at single ply sheets, so there’s no opportunity for misleading math.
Some manufacturers use filler yarn to boost thread count artificially. Be sure to check the manufacturer specifications and reviews. You also don’t want an excessively high thread count because tighter weave can lead to material breakage and sheets that aren’t durable.
What is the ideal thread count?
Ideal thread count varies by sheet material. Here’s a look at the optimal range by sheet fabric.:
Egyptian Cotton: 300-400 count
Pima Cotton: 200-400 count
Linen: 100-200 count
Percale: 250-300 count
Sateen: 300-600 count
Bamboo: 300 or higher count
Jersey cotton is not rated by thread count because it’s a knit. It’s rated by weight so look for 10+ ounce weight per yard.
What Else Should You Consider When Buying Cotton Sheets?
Choice of cotton bed sheets is subjective. In the end, what matters is how the sheets feel against your skin and how they perform for your unique circumstances. Be sure the size is a match, and the pocket is deep enough to fit your bed. If you sleep hot or cold, look for cotton sheets designed to warm or cool.
Here are some other factors to consider.
Set or Individual Pieces – The typical bed sheet set is a fitted sheet, top sheet, and 1-2 pillowcases. If you don’t want a top sheet or want more pillowcases, some brands let you customize your set.
Organic or Not? – Natural cotton sheets are those made with 100% raw ingredients found in nature, meaning there are no synthetics blended with it. Organic cotton goes a step further and is grown and processed without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, or chemicals.
Return Policy – If you’re not sure what cotton sheets are best for you, buying from a manufacturer that offers a sleep trial or satisfaction-guaranteed return policy may be the way to go.