The Best Cotton Sheets – 2019 Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

OUR REVIEW PROCESS | DISCLOSURE

 

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Quick Summary

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.

Best Cotton Sheets of 2019

Editor’s Pick – Parachute Sateen Sheets

Best Value – Pinzon 400 TC Egyptian Cotton Sheets

Best Luxury – Saatva Lofton Organic Sheets

Best Percale – Huüt Percale Sheets

Best Sateen – Luxor Linens Adriana Sateen Sheets

How We Decided

 

46 cotton sheets considered –– 36 hours of research –– 4 experts consulted

Best Cotton Bed Sheet – Tuck’s Top Choices

Parachute Sateen Sheet Set – Editor’s Choice

HIGHLIGHTS
  • 100% Egyptian cotton
  • Very deep 16” pockets
  • Continuous elastic hem
  • Choice of four colors
  • Customizable sets

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.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • 100% Egyptian cotton
  • Extra deep 18” pocket
  • OEKO-TEX certified
  • Choice of seven colors
  • Excellent price point

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.

Saatva Lofton Organic Sheets

HIGHLIGHTS
  • 15” deep pockets
  • 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton
  • Fair-Trade Certified
  • 300 thread count
  • Available in three colors

Silky, breathable, and entirely organic, these sheets are ideal for anyone who wants affordable luxury. At less than $200 for a Queen-size sheet set, they offer excellent quality for less than many other high-end sets. Thanks to its sateen weave and long-staple cotton, this sheet set is soft and comfortable with a slippery, cool touch. The single ply, 300-count thread continues the theme, allowing for maximum comfort and breathability in hot weather. (Some reviewers found these sheets too light for cold weather while others found them just right, so consider your own preferences before purchasing.)

In addition to being certified 100% organic throughout the manufacturing process, these sheets are made in fair-trade certified factories with a transparent supply chain. For offering both peace of mind and some of the most comfortable sheets on the market, Saatva Lofton Organic Sheets are our luxury choice.

Huüt Percale Sheets – Best Percale

Huüt Percale Sheets

HIGHLIGHTS
  • 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton
  • Fair-Trade Certified
  • Some sets include two pillowcases
  • Available in three colors
  • 30 day trial with free shipping & returns

Percale weave (see below) is the favorite choice of anyone who wants their sheets crisp and refreshing. Huüt Percale Sheets live up to and exceed these standards, making them our top pick for percale sheets. While only available in three shades, all three are soft neutrals perfect for most bedrooms. Hot sleepers will appreciate that these sheets remain crisp and breathable throughout the night without sacrificing softness.

Huüt offers a 30-day trial to make sure these are the right sheets for you. If they are, their durability means they’ll serve you well with a long lifespan. Long-staple threads are as strong as they are soft, and percale is a naturally sturdy weave with excellent durability.

Luxor Linens Adriana Sateen Sheets

HIGHLIGHTS
  • 100% Egyptian cotton
  • Extra-deep 19” pocket
  • Available in seven colors
  • Monogramming available during purchase
  • 30 day trial with free shipping & returns

Luxor conjures up images of luxury, then makes good with these satin-smooth, 100% Egyptian cotton sheets. Sateen sheets are heavier than percale but just as elegant, trading crispness for silky comfort. The wide range of colors available (including both neutrals and statement shades) and deep mattress pockets means you won’t have any difficulty matching your sheets to your bedroom. For an additional fee, Luxor will add a custom monogram to really make you feel like royalty.

If you aren’t sure whether you prefer sateen or percale, take advantage of the 30-day trial period. All cotton softens over time, but the trial period is long enough to know whether these excellent sheets are right for you. The Luxor Linens Adriana Sateen Sheets impressed us with their top-quality comfort and durability, making them our top pick for sateen weave sheets.

Cotton Sheets Buying Guide

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.

Why Cotton?

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.

Pros of Cotton Sheets

  • Cotton sheets come in a wide range of styles, weaves, and cotton varieties. Whether they want silky-smooth sateen or crisp Egyptian Cotton percale sheets, most people can find a price range and style they love.
  • All cotton sheets are breathable, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Their breathability means you can avoid feelings of dampness or clamminess when you climb into bed after a bath.
  • Cotton naturally wicks away moisture off your skin. Keeping you dry doesn’t just make you sleep better, it also keeps your sheets cleaner.
  • Natural fibers like cotton are often recommended to people with allergies or sensitive skin. While organic and all-natural cotton sheets are the most effective, even ordinary cotton sheets can be less irritating than synthetic materials.
  • As cotton ages, it becomes softer and more comfortable. Synthetic materials, on the other hand, tend to become stiff, “crunchy”, and uncomfortable with age.
  • If buying organic products is important to you, choosing cotton offers you that opportunity. While there are other natural fibers on the market, such as bamboo and silk, cotton is the most popular and widely available.

Cons of Cotton Sheets

  • Cotton wrinkles more than synthetic fabrics, and more than some other natural fibers. Wrinkles can be minimized by ironing sheets after washing, but most weaves will still show creases the next day.
  • Though cotton ages well, it has a shorter lifespan than synthetic materials. More expensive cotton sheets and those with higher thread counts tend to last longer than budget options.
  • Cotton sheets can be expensive, particularly the most comfortable varieties. If you have a smaller budget, it can be easier to find comfortable synthetic sheets rather than comfortable cotton sheets.
  • Because it is a natural fiber, cotton has a tendency to shrink more than man-made fabrics. To avoid shrinking, wash your sheets on a warm cycle and hang to dry.

Different Types and Weaves

Types of Cotton

Egyptian Cotton – Egyptian cotton grows only in specific regions and is hand-picked to keep the cotton fibers straight and clean. This variety is known for having excellent long-staple fibers and creates silky, durable sheets.

Pima Cotton – Pima cotton grows in America, and it’s an extra-long staple (long strand) cotton that makes strong and soft sheets. Considered second only to Egyptian cotton, pima is also branded as Supima cotton.

Regular Cotton – Several varieties, including American upland cotton, are considered “regular” cotton. These plants produce cotton with shorter fibers and less durability than Egyptian and pima cotton. Sheets made from ordinary cotton can be coarser as well, but are often much less expensive.

Weaves

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 higher.

Because of their tight, even weave, percale sheets have a crisp, light texture that is sometimes compared to a dress shirt. Their breathability makes them an excellent choice for anyone who sleeps hot or wants cooler sheets for the warmer months.

Some percale sheet owners iron them to emphasize their crispness and avoid wrinkles. This makes them feel even more luxurious but isn’t necessary for a good night’s sleep. Overall, percale sheets are durable, comfortable, and light.

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.

Sateen’s heavier weight makes it warm and comfortable for cold weather or people who enjoy warmer sheets. Since the weave on sateen sheets exposes more of the thread, these sheets also have a silkier and less crisp feel than percale.

Caring for sateen is also easier. Because sateen sheets are naturally wrinkle-resistant, they require very little ironing. However, they can be less durable than percale and may lose their sheen over time.

Jersey

Jersey cotton isn’t woven but instead is knitted from one long continuous strand. It’s ultra-soft and drapes like t-shirt material, with little to no stiffness or crispness.

The least durable of common sheet weaves (or knits), jersey sheets are prone to pilling and holes. These downsides are tolerated by those who prize jersey’s softness and comfort, and these sheets are a good choice for anyone with ultra-sensitive skin.

Fit, Color and Pattern

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 for each fabric:

Fabric Ideal thread count
Egyptian Cotton 300-400 count
Pima Cotton 200-400 count
Percale 250-300 count
Sateen 300-600 count
Jersey 10+ ounces per yard (Rated by weight, not thread count)
Bamboo 300 or higher count
Linen 100-200 count

Cotton Sheet Care and Maintenance

As a natural fiber, cotton is easy to care for. However, following these guidelines will help you keep your cotton sheets looking and feeling their best.

  • Sheets should be washed every week or every other week. Even if your bedding looks and feels clean, a build-up of sweat, skin cells, and skin oils can cause irritation and attract dust mites. Build-up can also cause cotton to break down more quickly.
  • The fewer laundry products you use, the longer your sheets will last. While dryer sheets and fabric softeners might make your sheets feel or smell good in the short-term, over time they can leave residue which breaks down cotton and attracts dirt. Similarly, using bleach should be a last resort, as regular bleaching can cause fiber damage. Instead, pre-treat stains with an enzyme solution and look for a gentle, ph-balanced detergent.
  • Treat your sheets gently when washing them. Natural fibers like cotton can tolerate higher heat than synthetics, but that doesn’t mean you should wash them on an extra-hot cycle. Wash your sheets alone on a warm cycle to avoid damage and pilling.
  • Hang your sheets to dry if possible. Sunlight disinfects, lightens stains, and keeps white sheets looking pristine. If using a dryer, look for a no-heat or low-heat cycle. Hot air not only weakens cotton fibers but can also change the texture of your sheets.

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. It is also harvested by hand so that the raw cotton can be hand-cleaned with soap rather than a chemical solution.

Organic cotton sheets are almost always more expensive than the conventional variety. However, choosing organic might be worthwhile if you are concerned about the environmental impact of conventional cotton. It is also a good option for people who have had allergic reactions to sheets in the past.

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.

Additional Tuck Resources

Cotton is only one of the many materials used in sheets. Visit the links below to learn more about different types of sheets, as well as the best in each category: