Best Sheet Sets of 2020
A new sheet set might be exactly what you need to get a great night's sleep. After all, who doesn't love slipping into soft, comfortable sheets to drift off to dreamland? Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best sheet sets so you can get the restful sleep you deserve.
The Bedsheets of Your Dreams and How to Find Them
"Ahhh." That's your sigh of contentment when you slide between soft, comfortable sheets at the end of a long day. You spend a third of your life cocooned between those sheets, so shouldn't they feel as good against your skin as your favorite T-shirt or silky blouse?
The answer to that question is a resounding yes. But choosing the perfect sheet set for your bed can be confusing. Do you really need to spend extra cash for the highest thread count possible? Is Egyptian cotton that much better than other sheet materials? And what about microfiber?
At BestReviews, we want to help you resolve your shopping dilemmas with as little stress as possible. Our goal is to become your trusted source for unbiased, accurate product recommendations and reviews. To that end, we perform deep product research on every topic we cover, speaking with experts in the field and listening to feedback from actual product owners.
If you're ready to select a new set of sheets, please check out our three product recommendations in the matrix above. But if you'd like to learn more about bedsheets before you buy them—including common terms like thread count, weave, and fabric—then read on.
What Does Thread Count Really Mean?
Thread count refers to the number of threads running vertically—the "warp"—and the number of threads running horizontally—the "weft"—in one square inch of fabric. It's a common fallacy that the higher the thread count, the better the sheets are. In truth, this is not always the case.
You'll find bedsheets with thread counts as low as 150 and as high as 1,000. But a 1,000-thread-count sheet won't necessarily feel any better against your skin than a 400-thread-count sheet.
Some manufacturers artificially inflate thread counts by weaving extra fibers—called "picks"—into the weft. They then add those fibers to the overall thread count. But the extra fibers don't really add to the comfort or softness of the sheets. Generally, anything above a thread count of 600 has likely been inflated by the addition of extra fibers.
For most people, the thread count sweet spot lies in the 400 to 600 range. But there are sheets with a thread count lower than 400 that also feel very smooth, soft, and comfortable. So, don't assume you must pay more for a high thread count to get the most luxurious-feeling sheets possible.
What Are the Different Bedsheet Weaves?
Two of the most common bedsheet weaves are sateen and percale.
Sateen is a type of fabric that has more threads running through the warp than the weft. This creates a silky-soft fabric with a slight sheen and a sensuous feel against your skin. Many people love the luxurious feel of sateen, but it does have its downsides: sateen sheets tear more easily and are likelier to pill than percale sheets.
If you love the soft, cozy feel of sateen sheets, choose a set with a thread count between 300 and 600. You'll get the softness you crave, yet the sheets will stand up better to daily use than those with a higher thread count.
Percale sheets have a crisp, cool feel that isn't rough but does have a slight bit of "tooth" against your skin. A percale weave has an equal number of threads in the weft and warp. The threads are woven tightly to create a strong fabric that is lightweight yet durable.
If you love the crisp feel of percale sheets, choose a set with a thread count of 400 to 600 for a heavier weight or a thread count of 200 to 400 if you prefer a lighter fabric.
Notably, an inexpensive set of sheets may not advertise a specific weave. In this case, the sheets are similar to percale but not as tightly woven, and they are likely made of a lower-quality cotton.
What's the Difference Among Bedsheet Fabrics?
Manufacturers use a wide range of fabrics to make sheets, and this is where it can get confusing. While all fabrics have pros and cons, personal preference comes into play here.
Cotton: Cotton is the standard by which all other bedsheet fabrics are measured. The very best cotton sheets are woven from long-fiber cotton to create the smoothest, softest feel. The best-known varieties of long-fiber cotton are Egyptian and Pima; the latter is sometimes sold under the brand name Supima. If it's comfort that you crave, you may feel it's worth it to pay more for Egyptian or Pima cotton sheets.
Cotton sheets that are not specifically labeled as Egyptian, Pima, Supima, or long-fiber are generally lower-quality sheets with shorter fibers. They won't feel as good against your skin or hold up as well as higher-quality cotton sheets.
Cotton/Polyester: Cotton/polyester sheets are just as they sound: a blend of cotton and polyester. The ratio varies depending on the sheet set; 50/50 and 60/40 are both common figures. These sheets tend to be less expensive than pure cotton, more resistant to wrinkles, and very durable. They're a good pick for a child's bed.
If you're concerned about comfort, pay attention to thread count when shopping for cotton/poly sheets, and aim to buy a product with a thread count of 220 or greater.
Bamboo: Generally, bamboo sheets are made of rayon woven from chemically processed bamboo. The result is a soft, silky fabric that sleeps cool and keeps you comfortable through the night.
Silk: You'll pay a hefty price for 100 percent silk sheets, but for those who can afford them, it's hard to top the soft, light, sensuous feel of this silkworm-woven fabric. Romantic and undeniably sexy, silk sheets feel amazing but are also difficult to care for and expensive.
Tencel: This is the brand name of a synthetic fabric that has natural roots—wood pulp from eucalyptus trees. The result is an eco-friendly fabric that is soft, durable, breathable, cool, and naturally antimicrobial.
Flannel: What could be more snuggly on a cold winter's night than a set of flannel sheets? Made from cotton combed to fluff up the nap, flannel is very warm and soft.
Jersey Knit: Also called T-shirt sheets, jersey sheets are cotton or a cotton/poly blend fabric with the stretchy feel of your favorite garment, as they are knit, not woven. These sheets are warm and cozy, but they are prone to rips, snags, and wear.
Microfiber: These popular sheets are made from extra-fine polyester thread tightly woven into a strong fabric that is soft, silky, and smooth against your skin. On the downside, microfiber tends to hold in body heat, so it's not ideal for those who sleep hot.
Linen: Linen sheets aren't for everyone, as linen is a high-maintenance, expensive fabric that tends to wrinkle, snags easily, and requires many trips through the wash before becoming as soft as a quality cotton sheet. Some people love the old-world charm and feel of linen, however; it has a somewhat grainy texture against the skin, is lightweight, and excels at wicking away sweat and heat, making it a great choice for those who live in hot, humid climates.
Q. How do I fold a fitted sheet?
A. A lot of people struggle to fold fitted sheets. The trick is to create a rectangle with sharp corners. To do this, tuck the rounded corners on either side of the fitted sheet inside each other to form a rectangle. Then, fold the sheet as you would fold any rectangular sheet.
Q. How often should bedsheets be laundered?
A. Your bedsheets should be washed at least weekly in the hottest water safe for the fabric. You may wish to wash your pillowcases even more often to minimize your skin's exposure to built-up bacteria and residual body oils. Keep at least two sets of sheets on hand for each bed in your home so one can always be in use while the other is in the laundry, and consider buying extra pillowcases when you buy a new sheet set.
Q. My mattress is extra-thick. How do I find sheets that will fit it properly?
A. Today's thicker mattresses require equally deep-fitted sheets. Before you buy a sheet set, check to see if its depth is classified as "standard," "deep," or "extra-deep." As a rule, standard sheets fit mattresses that are 7 to 14 inches thick; deep sheets fit mattresses that are 14 to 15 inches thick; and extra-deep sheets are suitable for mattresses with a thickness of 16 to 22 inches.