- Sleep Aids
- Sleep Health
- How Sleep Works
- Sleep Resources
Shopping for flannel sheets is usually a Fall and Winter activity, but these cozy and soft sheets can be excellent for year-round sleep too, particularly if you run cold at night. This guide will prepare you with all the information you need to make the best flannel sheets selection for you.
We’ll explain what flannel fabric is, why it sleeps differently than other materials, shopping considerations, returns and warranty concerns, as well as care and cleaning tips. Below are our top picks for the best flannel sheets of 2020 with detailed reviews followed by our buying guide.
We chose Linens & Hutch flannel sheets as our Editor’s Pick because they offer comfort and warmth without busting the budget. If you’ve never tried flannel sheets, this brand is an excellent starter.
These flannel sheets come in four colors and are a 70/30 cotton polyester blend. The blended fabric allows comfort and warmth of cotton without as much shrinkage or wrinkling. The double brushed design means these sheets are soft on both sides for ultimate comfort.
The sheets are heavy, but not overly so which means they warm without overheating on winter nights. Plus, the company offers a 60-night satisfaction guarantee, so you can try them at home to see if they’re cozy enough and work well for you.
We chose Mellanni’s flannel sheets as the Best Value pick because the price point is impressively affordable for the quality of these all-cotton flannel sheets.
Affordability is nice, but quality matters and these cozy flannel sheets bring the best of both. Unlike many sheet brands, these have a lifetime guarantee that’s “no questions asked.” If you decide you don’t like them, you get your money back, so it’s a risk-free buy.
Because they’re 100% cotton, there will be some shrinkage, but the continuous elastic all the way around the fitted sheet ensures these sheets stay put. They are heavyweight at 170 GSM (grams per square meter), velvety soft, and deliver a warm sleep experience.
We chose Malouf’s Portuguese flannel sheets as our Best Luxury pick because they are toasty warm and ultimately comfortable and offer an impressive five-year warranty.
These double napped soft sheets keep you warm in winter but can be used year-round if you want a cozy feel you won’t get from standard sheets. The full-length elastic surround on the fitted sheet holds it tightly in place for a bunch-free sleep surface, important with thicker sheets.
Portuguese flannel is known for durability and unparalleled softness. The finish is fluffy to the touch and offers a warm hug while you sleep. The choice of four colors will complement most décor styles, and they weigh in at 190 GSM, heavier than most flannel sheet brands.
We chose Pinzon’s Signature flannel sheets as our best heavyweight sheets because of their 190-gram weight that makes for warm sleep even on the coldest nights with a soft velvety texture.
These all-cotton sheets are nicely heavy and have a double-sided nap which means they’re soft on both sides. The pocket on the fitted sheet is deep, and the touch is smooth with a breathable warmth that wicks moisture for a comfortable sleep.
Because the sheets are 100% cotton, there will be some shrinkage at the first wash (around 5%). The sheets have a slight luster to them and come in eight shades from light to dark and three floral patterns on a white background.
We chose eLuxury 100% Cotton Flannel sheets as our best solid color flannel sheets for their impressive array of solid colors, all-cotton design, and non-toxic manufacturing process.
This maker offers colors from white to purple to blue which are harder to find in quality flannel sheets. They also sell every size from Twin to Twin XL to California King, which is also rare in well-made flannel. These all-cotton flannels resist shrinkage, wrinkling, and fading.
The eLuxury sheets are slightly thinner than some of the other flannels on this list, but are just as soft. However, they may not be for those that want very heavy flannels. eLuxury sheets are hypoallergenic and repel dust-mites, so if you have asthma or allergies, this can be a top choice.
When cool weather sets in or you want a warmer sleep experience year-round, flannel sheets are a top choice. This flannel sheets buying guide provides all the details you need to make an informed buying decision.
The guide explains what flannel is, how it’s made, and which materials there are to choose from because all flannel isn’t the same. We’ll explain pricing, warranty, returns, and how to care for your flannel sheets. We’ll also look at aesthetic concerns like fabric finishes, color, and pattern options.
Flannel fabric was first made in Scotland and Wales in the 1500s. Back then, smooth, heavy, fine wool was the yarn of choice. The wool was carded (brushed and detangled) to make it smoother. Because of the processing, it was softer and able to be more tightly woven.
The tight weave and carding process resulted in fine, soft, heavy fabric that was very warm, an important concern in an age without central heating. Flannel was first used for clothing and then evolved to common usage for bedding including blankets and sheets.
From its origins in Wales and Scotland, flannel gained popularity during the Industrial Revolution with the advent of carding mills to process wool more efficiently. Flannel production spread to the US where cotton became the flannel fiber of choice.
From fisherman to soldiers to lumberjacks, flannel was often made in plaid colors and was a hallmark of the working-class “uniform.” The soft fabric went mainstream in the 1950s with the design of the first upscale flannel men’s suit.
Eventually, synthetic yarn became the third choice for flannel manufacture. Flannel sheets are made from wool, cotton, synthetic or a blend of these. Flannel sheet quality is not based on thread count but on weave, texture, and weight measured in GSM (grams per square meter).
If you’re considering flannel sheets, there are many reasons this can be a great choice for a cozy night’s sleep. Here are some benefits:
Choosing the best flannel sheets is about more than just looking at packages on the shelves of a store. Materials vary widely as does their performance. Some manufacturers produce better products than others, and so reviews from verified buyers are important. Here are some considerations while shopping.
Not all flannel is created equal. The first thing to look at is the material. Flannel sheets can be wool, cotton, synthetic, or a blend. Knowing how each performs is critical because the materials all sleep differently.
If you want an all-natural sheet set, be sure to carefully read product specifications. Also, be aware that all-natural cotton doesn’t mean it’s organic. Natural means it’s from a plant while organic means it was grown and processed without pesticides, herbicides, or other toxic chemicals.
While the quality of cotton sheets is often judged by thread count, flannel sheets are typically assessed by weight. Flannel weight is often measured in grams per square meter (gsm), with 170 gms (five or six ounces per yard) being considered among the highest quality flannel and thus the most expensive. Heavier fabrics tend to be warmer than lighter ones; for example, a 170 gms flannel weave may be considered warm, while a 135 gms cotton weave is quite lightweight.
To produce the soft, fuzzy texture associated with the fabric, flannel is “napped” in one direction on one or both sides. Napping refers to the finishing process of using a fine metal brush to gently raising fine fibers on a textible. The nap process gives flannel its unique texture, in addition to trapping air that works as insulation. The best flannels are napped on both sides instead of one.
Generally, the finer the flannel, the more durable and high-quality the fabric is. By contrast, bulky flannels may begin to shed and develop small balls of fluff on its surface — a process known as “pilling”.
The majority of flannel sheets are produced in England, Germany, and Portugal, though many consider Portuguese to be the best in the world. The Portuguese have been crafting flannel for generations, with artisans designing flannel from superior long-staple cotton and napping the flannel in a way that produces an exceptionally warm, soft product.
Second to Portugal, Germany is also a celebrated, longtime producer of flannel sheets. In contrast to Portuguese fabric, German flannel features a denser, more sturdy weave.
English flannel, while less sought-after than Portuguese and German sheets, is known for its durability and very slight nap.
Brushed flannel is from a mechanical process where a fine metal brush rubs the fabric to raise fibers from the weave to create a fuzzy nap. Flannel sheets may be unbrushed, brushed on one side, or both. Double napped means it’s brushed on both sides. Brushed flannel is softer to the touch than unbrushed.
Care and cleaning of flannel sheets depends on materials. Bespoke wool sheets and bedding usually require dry cleaning unless it’s specially treated wool that is machine washable. Cotton flannel sheets should be laundered according to manufacturer instructions. Synthetic sheets are low-maintenance.
When you wash flannel sheets for the first time, experts recommend adding a half-cup of white vinegar to the wash to protect against future pilling and to set the dye. Don’t use fabric softener with flannel sheets. It reduces softness over time by stiffening fibers.
For cotton, blended, and synthetic flannel sheets, you should wash in warm or cold water only – never hot. Line drying increases durability but if that’s not practical, dry the sheets longer at a lower dryer temperature. Be sure to read the laundry directions before the first wash cycle.
Return policies are about satisfaction while warranties relate to defects and product failure rather than your sleep experience. Review the policies of the manufacturer or sales site (Amazon, for instance), to know what your options are before you buy the sheets.
If you’re uncertain what you want or don’t know if flannel will be to your liking, buying from a brand with a sleep trial is advisable. Some reputable makers allow a sleep trial where you can test the flannel sheets in your home and return them if you’re not satisfied.
Other brands will only accept a return if there’s a defect in the workmanship of the materials (snags, runs, hems that come undone). Do your homework before you purchase!
When you think flannel, a lumberjack plaid probably springs to mind. And while you can buy flannel sheets in traditional plaid, there are many patterns and solid color options available. However, you won’t find a rainbow of flannel sheet colors as you do with other sheet materials.
Some brands offer solid color flannels only while some feature plaid, stripe, checks, and florals. Comfort and sleep performance should be your priority. Aesthetics matter but we don’t recommend buying your flannel sheets on looks alone.
Check out performance reviews and brand reputation to ensure you’re getting a well-crafted flannel sheet and not just something pretty. Also, remember that dark sheets have heavier dyes, may fade over time, and may not retain their look as well as neutral palette colors.
While older flannel was woven from heavier materials like wool, modern-day flannel is often made from cotton. We explore some weaves commonly found in cotton-based sheets below.
Percale. Percale, or “plain weave” cotton is a soft, tightly woven material with a matte appearance. Percale fabrics feature a durable criss-cross weave that may resist tearing but wrinkle easily.
Sateen. Compared to percale, sateen follows a loser weave and is often smoother and more resistant to wrinkles. On the other hand, the sateen weave often sees a shorter lifespan and may be more susceptible to pilling.
Twill. While percale and sateen feature straight weaves, twill weaves follow a diagonal pattern. As a result, twill fabrics tend to be bulkier, more durable, and resistant to water and air.
Jersey. Also referred to as “single” or “plain knit”, jersey weaves have flat vertical lines that create a soft, comfy, stretchy feel. However, jersey weaves tend to run once a piece of yarn is broken.