The Best Linen Sheets – 2019 Reviews and Buyer’s Guide
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When you’re shopping for linen sheets, you’ll find there’s a wide variety to choose from, and it’s important to cut through all of the marketing hype and confusing terminology to find the best sheets for you and your needs. Linen isn’t like other common bed sheet materials; you can’t differentiate based on thread count or criteria you might use when judging other sheets.
This guide provides information for you to shop wisely for linen sheets. It’s an excellent bedding choice for moisture-wicking, cooling, durability, and comfort. You’ll find our top picks for linen bed sheets below as well as information on how to assess the quality of linen sheets, how they’re made, how to care for them, and what you need to know to choose the best linen sheets for you.
We chose Parachute’s linen set as our editor’s pick because of the luxury linen feel at first night’s sleep and continually improving performance and feel over time with excellent durability.
Parachute Linen sheets are breathable and crisp out of the package. They soften with each wash with a three to five wash break-in period before the feel settles. There is some shrinkage with the initial wash but then the fit remains constant. These are not available in twin or twin XL sizes.
They should still fit after the shrinkage unless you have an extremely tall mattress. Linen wrinkles but stylishly so and the continuous hem is attractive. The standard set is a fitted sheet and pillowcases. A top sheet is extra. There’s a 60-day return so you can try them at home.
We chose Magic Linen sheets as our year-round comfort option as they sleep cool in summer and are comfortable in winter under thicker blankets. They are durable, and performance improves over time.
Magic Linen’s sheets come out of the box not as soft as some other brands, but break-in over time to a spectacular feel. They are naturally stonewashed and hand-cut and sewn by sheet craftsman, not machines, so each set is unique.
There are ten colors, two striped options, and one subtle grid pattern, all dyed without heavy chemicals in an OEKO-TEX certified facility. These come in options to fit every mattress size, and you can choose between regular and extra-deep pocket sets at 10” and 18” deep.
We chose Merryfeel’s linen set for our best for the price selection because it runs about $100 less than comparable sheets. It’s a good product to buy and try to see if linen is for you.
Merryfeel’s French linen sheets represent affordable luxury for those that want to try linen without breaking the bank. The price point is impressive but with some quality differences compared to pricier brands. They come pre-washed with a lovely drape and texture.
The French linen is inherently antibacterial and hypoallergenic and features a deep 15” pocket. Although they are pre-washed, most buyers still saw some shrinkage with the first wash. There are eight attractive colors, and the sheets come in all but Twin XL sizes. Expect standard linen wrinkling.
Although costly, we chose Luxor Linens as the best luxury option because of the durability, excellent feel, and long-lasting performance. These sheets are an investment in an unparalleled sleep experience.
Crafted in Italy, Luxor Linens Paolo Italian sheets are made from 100% Italian linen and soft to the touch from the first night. These well-made sheets are responsibly sourced and ethically manufactured. They are garment-dyed in small batches.
The facility is OEKO-TEX certified, and you can get these luxury linens custom monogrammed if that’s your thing. The hem is plain sewn for optimal comfort, so nothing rubs against your skin to disturb the feel. These are hypoallergenic and great for sensitive skin.
We chose Cultiver as the best linen sheet set because of the high quality and array of color choices to suit any taste. These sheets perform well and are worthy of the higher price tag.
Cultiver linen sheets are thicker and have a more substantial feel than other linens. They are stone washed and pre-washed to ensure they are soft from the start. They have an extra deep 18” pocket on the fitted sheet that should accommodate most mattress heights.
You can choose from a wide array of colors. And if you’re not sure what you want, you can order different swatches to test out in your home before purchasing. These sheets wrinkle artfully, drape nicely, and are cool to the touch. They sleep well in warm and cool weather but come in just two sizes (Queen and King).
Since you spend one-third of your life sleeping, it’s worth the investing in your bedding. Linen is an excellent luxury choice for sound sleep year-round because of the many benefits it offers.
This guide explains what linen is, how it’s made, and its benefits. We’ll explain what to look for when buying linen sheets for your bed and how to care for them to ensure the best performance and longevity.
Why You Should Buy Linen Sheets
What is Linen and How is it Made?
Linen comes from the flax plant. Inside the flax plant are cellulose fibers and the very best linen comes from hand-harvested flax as it retains the longest fibers for a stronger material. Flax is harvested, dried, and threshed to remove the seeds.
The threshed stalks are then wetted and put through a process called retting before being dried and cured. Scutching is next; this process removes woody bits from the flax fiber. Then there’s heckling which splits and polishes the fibers and finally, it’s ready for spinning into a fine, thin yarn.
From there, the yarn is ready to be woven into sheets on a loom in a horizontal and vertical weave. High thread count is not a sign of good quality of linen sheets. Instead, a better gauge is fabric weight plus the harvesting, handling, and manufacturing of the yarn and fabric.
Linen Isn’t for Everyone – Is It Best for You?
Linen has a distinctly different feel than other sheets, even those made from natural fibers. It is not a buttery soft feel. Instead, there’s a crisp substantial feel that’s more like clothing. They don’t generally come out of the package ultra-soft like some cotton and synthetics.
Instead, they require a break-in period and soften on subsequent washings. If you want ultimate softness from the first night, you may not have the patience for linen. With proper care, you can get years of comfortable sleep with a softer sensation every time you launder your linens.
What You Can Expect from Linen Sheets
Temperature regulation – Linen is ideal for warm and cool weather. It conducts heat five times better than wool yet lowers perceived temperature by four degrees better than cotton or silk in hot weather.
Remarkable durability – Unlike other fabrics, linen sheets become stronger and softer over time with use and washing. This means when you invest in linen sheets, they can last decades if cared for properly.
Health benefits – Linen fabric improves skin moisture, is hypoallergenic, dirt resistant, and beneficial for those with skin sensitivities, conditions, and allergies. For greater benefits, go for organic linen.
What to Look for in Linen Sheets
Softness – If linen sheets are very soft out of the package, they are not the best quality. Some brands coat their linen with a chemical wash to make it feel softer initially. But after washing, they roughen. Instead, look for sheets without chemical processing and expect them to soften over time.
Thread count – Linen thread counts shouldn’t be high. The fibers are thicker and cannot be woven into a tight weave. The ideal count is 80-120, but most linen sheet makers don’t advertise based on count and may mention weight instead with the ideal being between 175-190 GSM (grams per square meter).
Price – Linen sheets are pricier than other materials because of the labor-intensive process. However, these sheets can last a decade or more with proper care, making them an investment in quality.
Fit (size and pocket depth) – Shrinkage is a concern with linen sheets, even with those advertised as pre-washed. Check pocket depth carefully and buy a little larger than you need as you can expect 5%+ shrinkage. Some premium linen brands sell only queen and king-sized sheets.
Color/Pattern – Linen sheets don’t come in the wide array of colors like you can get in cotton or synthetics. Some brands may sell just a few color options and rarely offer patterned designs. Also, be aware that many linen sheets are garment-dyed in small batches, so color can vary.
Caring for Your Linen Sheets
While linen sheets are highly durable and can last for a decade or more, proper care is required to get the best possible lifespan. Here are the basics for how to care for your linen sheets and protect your investment.
1 – Read the manufacturer’s care instructions
Depending on the weave, dye, and stitching, they may recommend a specific wash temperature and dryer setting.
2 – Don’t bleach or use added chemicals
Bleaching linen sheets can weaken the fibers. Also avoid any laundry additives (color brighteners, etc.) that might damage the fabric.
3 – Don’t wash in a crowded load
Linen loves water and cleans best when it can soak it up, so don’t launder your sheets in a washer crowded with other items. Only wash with like colors.
4 – Don’t hot iron your sheets
Linen sheets will wrinkle. It’s a fact. You can use the wrinkle release dryer setting or dry on a line to combat wrinkles. You can also warm iron, but never hot iron. It can damage the fibers.
5 – Treat stains ASAP
While linen repels dirt naturally, stains will set quickly because the fabric rapidly absorbs liquids. If you stain or spill, strip the sheets off the bed immediately. Blot the stain then soak if needed.