- How Sleep Works
- Sleep Disorders
- Sleep Resources
- Sleep Health
- Sleep Medicine
Egyptian cotton is considered one of the most luxurious bedding materials on the market. A premium variety of extra-long staple (ELS) cotton, Egyptian cotton offers a naturally silky-soft texture and exceptional cooling during hotter times of the year. The material is also very resilient and won’t deteriorate quickly, even after repeated wash cycles.
Authenticity is key when it comes to purchasing Egyptian cotton. Only cotton that is exclusively sourced from Egypt can earn the 100% Egyptian distinction. Many 100% Egyptian cotton sellers earn official certification from the Cotton Egypt Association, which is considered the foremost authority on certifying the material. Other brands sell products made from a blend of Egyptian cotton and cotton sourced from other countries. These blended materials are commonly sold at much lower price-points than 100% Egyptian cotton products. Lastly, some brands sell cotton products made from materials that are suitable, less expensive alternatives to Egyptian cotton. These include Pima cotton, another type of ELS cotton, and fabric blends containing cotton sourced from countries outside Egypt.
This guide discusses the benefits of using 100% Egyptian cotton, and also compares the material to similar fabrics. Below you’ll find our top picks for bed sheets made from 100% Egyptian cotton, blended Egyptian cotton, and Egyptian cotton alternatives. Our selections are based on verified customer and owner experiences, along with intensive product research and analysis.
Many bedding product manufacturers source their cotton from Egypt and other countries, resulting in a blended material. Our Editor’s Pick, Pure Parima, offers sheet sets made from long-staple Giza cotton that has been certified as 100% Egyptian by the Cotton Egypt Association. The sheets and pillowcases in the Yalda collection have a smooth sateen weave and offer exceptional breathability, which can be beneficial for hot sleepers.
The Yalda Sheet set includes a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and two pillowcases for sizes Full and larger. Four colors are available. The fitted sheet has a pocket depth of 18″, allowing it to fit most mattresses sold today. All sheet set components can be washed and dried in conventional machines. Pure Parima offers a 100-night sleep trial with full product refunds for all returns.
As we stated above, 100% Egyptian cotton can be quite expensive – and alternative fabrics may provide adequate levels of softness, cooling, and durability for some shoppers. Our pick for Best Price is the Luxe Core Sheet Set from Brooklinen, which is crafted from a blend of Egyptian and Indian cotton. Although the Luxe Core set has a lower-than-average price-point, the sheets and pillowcases have a 480 thread count, making them more resilient and less susceptible to pilling than similar products sold elsewhere.
The Luxe Core Sheet Set is available in six sizes ranging from Twin to California King, and is available in 11 different colors and patterns. The pillowcases are designed with envelope enclosures, which help contain pillow fill and prevent more clumping compared to casings with side openings. All sheet set components can be washed and dried in conventional machines. Brooklinen offers a satisfaction guarantee to all customers, which includes free exchanges and replacements.
Sheet sets don’t need to be made from 100% Egyptian cotton to offer luxurious softness, exceptional durability, and comfortable cooling. The Boll & Branch Solid Hemmed Sheet Set is a prime example. Made from a blend of Indian and Portuguese organic-cotton, the sheets and pillowcases in this collection are highly breathable, making them a good choice for hot sleepers. They also withstand early wear and tear, and offer a light, silky-soft feel.
Sheet sets in a Full-size or larger include one fitted sheet, one flat sheet, and two pillowcases. The fitted sheet’s 17 inch pocket depth is suitable for most mattresses made today. Boll & Branch offers the Solid Hemmed Sheet Set in eight different sizes, including three King-size variations, and seven soothing colors are also available. Boll & Branch backs these products with a 100-night sleep trial.
For those who consider 100% Egyptian cotton too costly, Pima cotton – another extra-long staple cotton variety – may be more suitable. Sheet sets made from Pima cotton are typically much more affordable than their Egyptian cotton counterparts, but both materials offer comparable durability, softness, and temperature neutrality. The Gryphon Comfort Washed Sheets, made from 100% Supima cotton (a trademarked, U.S.-grown Pima variety), earn our pick for Best Quality because they deliver a cool, comfortable experience and exceptional longevity despite a price-point of less than $170 in all sizes.
The cotton is also OEKO-TEX certified, which indicates chemicals are not added to the material during production. The Comfort Washed Sheets are available in four sizes, and each set consists of a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and two pillowcases. Customers may also choose from five solid colors. The fitted sheet as an 18″ pocket depth, which is much deeper than average and suitable for the vast majority of beds sold today. Gryphon backs the Comfort Washed Sheet Set with a 100-night return period.
The Percale Sheet Set from Snowe – our Best Cooling pick – features sheets and pillowcases made in Italy from an Egyptian cotton blend. This premium material offers a resilient 500 thread count. It is also highly breathable and wicks away moisture from the sleeper’s body, allowing those who sleep hot to remain cool and comfortable throughout the night. The percale weave gives the materials a light, crisp finish.
Snowe offers six sizes for the Percale Sheet Set, ranging from Twin to California King, and five solid colors are available. The fitted sheet has a 17″ pocket depth that is suitable for most mattresses made today. The cotton percale used in the set is OEKO-TEX certified, indicating that no chemicals are used during the manufacturing process. Snowe offers free shipping and cost-free returns for all orders.
Luxurious and versatile, the Luxor Linens Valentino 1200 Thread Count Egyptian Cotton Sheet is made from 100% Extra Long Staple Mercerized Egyptian cotton. Available in more than 10 color options, they make a beautiful complement to almost any bedding or color scheme. Their high thread count results in a feel that is extremely soft, cool, and crisp. Their weight is on the heavier side.
These sheets are very breathable, so sleepers do not get hot while laying in them. While they are not the most affordable sheets on our list, they offer excellent quality and durability. They become even softer over time as they are washed.
The sheets are available for monogramming, free shipping, and come with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.
Widely considered the finest bedding material available, Egyptian cotton offers excellent longevity, exceptional softness, and great temperature neutrality throughout the year. The material can also be very expensive; as a result, many upscale hotels and resorts use Egyptian cotton bedding for guest accommodations. This buying guide explains why Egyptian cotton has an excellent reputation and how it differs from other cottons. We’ll also discuss shopping tips, warranty considerations, and other guidelines for first-time buyers.
Egyptian cotton is an extra-long staple (ELS) variety, meaning it has eceptionally long fibers. These fibers create a much finer yarn than the shorter fibers found in standard cotton. This makes Egyptian cotton sheets softer, smoother, and more durable.
There are significant differences between Egyptian cotton and regular cotton. Egyptian cotton only grows in warmer climates, which allow the plant to grow its extra-long fibers. True Egyptian cotton is also hand-picked; this keeps the fibers intact and straight, unlike machine harvesting.
Aside from Egyptian cotton, there are several different kinds of cotton used in sheets. Among the most common is “regular cotton”, which typically refers to American upland cotton as well as varieties derived from other plants. Regular cotton is often coarser to the touch because of its shorter fibers. Similarly, regular cotton is less durable than other varieties.
Another ELS variety of cotton, Pima is a sister plant to Egyptian cotton. Pima is similar in that it’s also extra-long staple cotton. Pima offers levels of softness and cooling that make it comparable to Egyptian cotton, but Pima cotton products tend to be much cheaper. Many Pima cotton products are made with Supima, a trademarked, U.S.-grown type of Pima cotton.
Benefits of Egyptian cotton include:
Cotton can typically be categorized into three classifications of staples:
|Type of Cotton||Short Staple Cotton||Long Staple Cotton||Extra-Long Staple Cotton|
|Fiber Length||Up to 1.125"||1.125" to 1.25"||1.375" to 2"|
|Texture and Characteristics||Coarsest and most common type, used in denim and flannel||Smooth, silky, and fairly durable||Extremely soft and silky, resilient and long-lasting|
When shopping for Egyptian cotton sheets, it’s important to research the product in order to make an informed buying decision. Next, we’ll discuss some tips for finding the best sheets.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for vendors to mislabel bedding as “Egyptian Cotton”. In fact, studies have found that as many as 90 percent of premium cotton bedding products are mislabeled. Another study determined as many as 80 percent of fabric tags labeled as pure Egyptian cotton were actually crafted from cotton blends.
Price-point is a good indicator of Egyptian cotton authenticity. True Egyptian sheets are fairly expensive, and some cost upwards of $500. Sheet sets labeled “Egyptian cotton” with a lower price tag may be too good to be true.
Certifications can also be helpful. The 100% Egyptian Cotton certification from the Cotton Egypt Association is considered the gold star. Brands that openly display this credential on their website most likely sell authentic Egyptian cotton.
Additionally, take a close look at product tags; these should contain a full breakdown of all materials used. When buying online, ask for a photo of the tags if they are unavailable on the product page. Make sure to purchase sheets from a trusted manufacturer who offers a solid return policy and/or warranty on their sheets. A reputable vendor will have confidence in the durability and comfort of true Egyptian cotton sheets.
Thread count is a critical concern. Some Egyptian cotton sheet brands artificially inflate their thread count by counting each strand of a yarn fiber, as we mentioned above. Any thread counts above 600-800 should be researched thoroughly to ensure the count is accurate and not an exaggeration.
Some brands produce Egyptian cotton sheets with a very high thread-count. However, many brands with high thread counts are playing marketing games with their terminology. Soft sheet sets with lower thread counts are widely available – and for many sleepers, the difference between high and low thread counts is somewhat negotiable.
For Egyptian cotton sheets, the optimal thread count is 400-700; lower thread counts (200-300) can also be very comfortable if the yarn is single ply and it’s finely made.
Cotton fibers are woven together to make the fabric. There are four common weaves for Egyptian cotton sheets. The weave of sheets determines the feel and softness, as well as durability since some weaves can loosen over time or break yarn strands. These four weaves are described below:
Many brands of high-quality Egyptian cotton sheets are available in a limited color selection. Traditional colors for Egyptian cotton are white and off-white or gray, and few brands offer patterned sheets.
Most brands offer a paler palette of neutrals. Since good quality Egyptian cotton sheets should outlast a comforter or duvet, sticking with neutrals is a good shopping strategy.
Those seeking richer colors to match their bedroom decor may prefer mercerized cotton, since this fabric holds dye with deeper colors and resists fading in the wash. Egyptian cotton sheets can be costly, so invest in a timeless style choice rather than a trend.
Lastly, here are two more considerations for first-time Egyptian cotton shoppers.
Organically grown: Egyptian cotton can be organic or not. Organic cotton is grown with non-GMO seeds and no synthetic pesticides. The agricultural process for organic is low-impact on the environment. There are no toxic or persistent pesticides and fertilizers used, so it’s a healthier product.
Egyptian cotton sheets are costly already, organic certifications drive up the price-point even further. However, shoppers with sensitivities or health concerns – as well as eco-conscious individuals – may find organic Egyptian cotton is worth the extra money.
Return policy/warranty: There is a difference between a sleep trial, return policy, and warranty. A sleep trial allows customers to sleep on the sheets for a certain length of time to ensure they work well. Some return policies allow customers to sleep on the sheets and return if they are not satisfied. Other brands will only accept returns if the sheets are unused.
Warranties are different and relate to defects in the products such as stitching falling apart or other quality issues. Warranties are not about performance or satisfaction. Egyptian cotton sheets may or may not come with a warranty, but in most cases warranty coverage will not exceed five years.