Comfortable bedding is a necessity for a good night’s sleep. Something as seemingly insignificant as a flat pillow or an itchy bedspread can keep us from getting the rest we need to stay healthy. When you invest in high-quality sheets, you’re also investing in high-quality sleep.
Although there are many kinds of sheets out there, 100 percent cotton sheets are the most popular. Cozy and comfortable, cotton also tends to be long-lasting and durable. When choosing the best cotton sheets for you or a family member, it helps to consider factors like thread count, texture, and whether you desire organic, luxurious, or wrinkle-resistant sheets. This guide lists several recommendations to help you decide.
- BEST OVERALL: THREAD SPREAD 1000-Thread-Count 100% Egyptian Cotton
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: California Design Den 400-Thread-Count Cotton Sheets
- BEST HIGH THREAD COUNT: Threadmill Home Linen 600 Thread Count Cotton Sheets
- BEST FOR HOT SLEEPERS: CGK Unlimited Cooling 400 Thread Count Cotton Sheets
- BEST FOR COLD SLEEPERS: Great Bay Home Jersey Knit Sheets
- BEST ORGANIC: Tissaj 100% GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Bed Sheets
- BEST EGYPTIAN COTTON: CHATEAU HOME COLLECTION 100% Egyptian Cotton Sheets
- BEST WRINKLE-RESISTANT: TRIDENT 600 Thread Count Wrinkle Resistant Sheet Set
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Cotton Sheets
Personal preference is the most important factor to consider when buying new sheets. But because today’s cotton sheets include features like cooling technologies, warming effects, and wrinkle resistance, there are more variables than ever that might affect your decision.
From thread count to texture, below are the specifics you’ll look for in cotton sheets to help you narrow your choices.
In general, cotton tends to be the softest material for sheets. However, certain cotton fibers make sheets more or less cozy.
Extra-long fibers—also referred to as long-staple fibers—make for the softest kind of cotton sheets. Known as the staple, the length of cotton fiber also can determine a sheet’s durability. Cotton sheets with short-staple fibers (under 1.125 inches) are more prone to pilling, while long-staple fibers (up to 1.25 inches) and extra-long-staple fibers (up to 2 inches) will last longer without the wear and tear.
Specific cotton weaves also have distinct feels. For example, percale is more lightweight and breathable, while sateen is silkier. You also can look for cotton sheets treated with garment-washing techniques for an extra-soft touch.
The feel of your sheets is another personal preference that can make or break how comfortable your bed seems. Cotton sheet texture generally depends on its weave, type, and staple, each having its own unique feel.
Percale sheets are crisp, and sateen sheets are smoother. Jersey cotton sheets have a soft feel that many liken to T-shirts, and flannel sheets are known for their plush, warm texture. Twill is another type of cotton sheet that’s rare due to its robust, heartier finish.
While how you think a set of sheets feels will ultimately make your decision, other factors make up its softness.
Four types of cotton commonly go into making sheets. Pima cotton is an extra-long-staple cotton grown in Peru and known for its breathability and moisture absorption. Organic cotton refers to cotton that’s grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Look for sheets with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture certifications to find those truly organic labels.
Egyptian cotton is the most recognizable type. Associated with luxury and fine bedding, Egyptian cotton is known to be crisp and breathable. Pima and Egyptian cotton are both more expensive, but do a little digging before you buy, since many sets advertised as these cotton types actually are fabric blends.
The last cotton type is regular cotton, which refers to the standard, nonorganic cotton grown in the U.S. It includes any weave or knit as well as any thread count.
100 Percent Cotton vs. Blend
When you start your search for the best cotton sheets, you’ll find that some are labeled 100 percent cotton, while others are labeled as blends.
Sheets that are 100 percent cotton are durable, naturally hypoallergenic, and breathable. Plus, because they absorb moisture, they’re ideal for hot sleepers. The downside of 100 percent cotton sheets is that they cost more than blends and can wrinkle easily, especially when they’re new.
Cotton blend sheets—also known as polycotton—are made up of polyester and cotton. This synthetic material is durable, affordable, and less likely to wrinkle. However, polycotton tends to pill and can irritate sleepers who have allergies or sensitive skin. Because the synthetic fibers contribute to a lack of airflow, cotton blend sheets can trap heat and make it hard to cool down during the night.
Organic vs. Nonorganic
Determining whether you want organic or nonorganic is another way to narrow your search for the best cotton sheets.
The cotton in organic sheets grows without chemical pesticides and fertilizers. You’ll find these sheets labeled with a GOTS certification or the U.S. Department of Agriculture certification. Nonorganic sheets refer to those made with cotton that doesn’t meet those certification standards. Although not a standard for organics, the OEKO-TEX label on textiles shows that every component in the product has been tested to ensure they are not harmful to people.
Organic cotton sheets are safer for your skin due to the lack of chemicals used not only to grow the cotton but to manufacture it into sheets. The downside of organic cotton sheets is that they tend to be more expensive than nonorganic sheets.
Also called TC, a sheet’s thread count refers to the number of individual threads measured in a single square inch of fabric. Though thread count isn’t as crucial as once believed, it can affect your sheet’s durability and texture.
Generally, the ideal thread count for cotton sheets is 200, according to The National Sleep Foundation. Anything lower than that is a good indicator that the cotton is low quality. However, just because sheets boast a high thread count doesn’t mean they’re softer or better. In fact, higher thread counts suggest that the fabric is bulkier and thus more likely to trap heat.
So while it’s good to keep your sheets above that 200 benchmark, thread count doesn’t need to influence your decision beyond that.
While a cotton sheet’s weave is unlikely to affect your purchasing decision—many brands don’t even include the weave on the label—it’s good to get an understanding of what each weave can provide.
Percale weaves are lightweight and provide a smooth, crisp feel. This breathable fabric is great for hot sleepers, however, the crisp texture they’re known for tends to soften over time. Sateen weaves are smooth from the get-go. While they provide a lustrous texture, they are less durable than other weaves.
Twill is a diagonal weave that’s usually used for upholstery and denim. Although it’s rare to find twill sheets, it’s not impossible, since their warm, plush texture is popular for people who live in colder climates.
Before purchasing a set of cotton sheets, look for information on their fit to make sure they can cover your mattress’s thickness. Measure the height of your mattress—also known as the pocket depth—and find a set of sheets that matches or exceeds it. Cotton can shrink when you put it through the washer and dryer, so it might be a good idea to get a sheet with a slightly larger fit than your mattress just in case it shrinks.
Generally, sheets range from 7 to 14 inches deep. Those labeled as deep-pocket sheets usually run between 16 and 22 inches. It’s also important to take any mattress toppers or pads you have into consideration when choosing a sheet fit size.
Our Top Picks
The best cotton sheets are soft, breathable, and specifically designed to keep you comfortable all night long. While they can come in various types and weaves, top-quality cotton sheets won’t be too thick or warm.
Many companies know how to deliver cozy bedding and offer products engineered from the latest technology. These recommendations can give you a cozy cotton feel and meet your sleep needs so that it might be harder to leave your bed when the alarm goes off.
Thanks to the silky feel of Egyptian cotton and the durability of a sateen weave finish, the THREAD SPREAD Luxury 1000-Thread-Count Cotton Sheets will provide long-lasting comfort. Using only pure, 100 percent Egyptian cotton yarns, these sheets have the texture of silk with the breathability of cotton, which is combed using the latest spinning technology to eliminate short fibers and other impurities.
A good choice for sleepers prone to night sweats, these sheets are OEKO-TEX certified, anti-pilling, and made with fade-resistant dyes. Plus, the fitted sheet comes with deep pockets that can hold their place on mattresses up to 17 inches thick. These natural-fiber sheets come in multiple sizes, sets, and colors.
It is possible to get silky-feeling cotton sheets without spending too much with these California Design Den 400-Thread-Count Cotton Sheets. The sheets come in a breathable, soft sateen weave. Constructed with naturally soft 100 percent long-staple cotton fiber and a sateen weave, these cozy sheets resist pilling, shrinkage, and tears. With a 400-thread count, they fall right into the middle ground on softness, smoothness, and weight.
The fitted sheet comes with deep pockets that will fit a mattress up to 16 inches thick. These sheets come in multiple sets, colors, and patterns so you can easily find the best fit for your bedroom.
Constructed with extra-long-staple cotton and a high, 600-thread count, Threadmill Home Linen Cotton Sheets are an excellent option for people looking for soft, silky sheets. The 100 percent cotton material is finished with a special process designed to accentuate the fabric’s softness and breathability. Because the sheets are made with extra-long-staple cotton, they’re less likely to pill or lose fibers during a machine wash.
In addition, the material is OEKO-TEX certified and free from harmful chemicals, making it a comfortable choice for those with sensitive skin. It’s packaged in a reusable tote that’s also made from 100 percent extra-long-staple cotton. This set comes in six sizes and multiple colors.
Made with 100 percent combed cotton—a softer version of regular cotton—CGK Unlimited Cooling 400 Thread Count Cotton Sheets help cool down hot sleepers. Much like the more expensive Egyptian cotton, these affordable silky sheets become even softer after washing. During the manufacturing process, all short fibers are removed, leaving only long-staple cotton fibers to make up the strong, durable 400-thread-count material.
This set comes in seven sizes—twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, and split king—as well as multiple colors. The sheets are made from high-quality, hypoallergenic materials and resist shrinking, staining, and pilling.
Blended with 80 percent cotton and 20 percent polyester, Great Bay Home Jersey Knit Sheets are affordable and soft. With a medium-level warmth, these flexible sheets are cozy enough to use in the winter and breathable enough to last through the summer. This 150-GSM—or grams per square meter—fabric will keep sleepers comfortable throughout the year.
Machine washable and durable, this sheet set comes in six sizes and multiple colors and patterns. Plus, the material is OEKO-TEX certified and free from harmful chemicals. The deep pockets of the Great Bay Home Jersey Knit fitted sheet can fit a mattress up to 17 inches deep.
Certified by both GOTS and the OEKO-TEX Standard, Tissaj 100 percent Organic Cotton Bed Sheets are made of nontoxic, chemical-free cotton that’s grown without any pesticides. These 500-count, sateen-constructed sheets are soft and smooth thanks to the extra-long staple in the material. Because of its natural materials, the fabric is hypoallergenic and breathable, as well as easy on the environment.
This set comes in multiple sizes, colors, and options, including its 16-inch deep-pocket fitted sheet. You can purchase either a sheet set in sizes ranging from twin to California king or a pillowcase set to match your new organic sheets. In addition to their nontoxic manufacturing process, Tissaj bedsheets come in eco-friendly, reusable packaging.
When wishing for the luxurious feel of a high-end hotel bed, look to Egyptian sheets like CHATEAU HOME COLLECTION 100 Percent Egyptian Cotton Sheets. Designed with a sateen weave and crafted with 100 percent Egyptian cotton yarns, these closely woven sheets are made to get softer with every wash. Thanks to an 800-thread count, the long-staple fibers that make up these thick sheets are not only cozy but breathable as well.
This set comes with a deep-pocket fitted sheet that, like the entire set, is built to last. These sheets are also cooling, antistatic, and engineered to prevent pilling. The sheets come in four sizes and multiple colors.
Bedroom luxury improves with fewer wrinkles from cotton sheets, a feature of these TRIDENT Wrinkle-Resistant 100 Percent Cotton Sheets. Engineered with a smooth sateen weave construction, this 100 percent long-staple cotton sheet comes with a Nectarsoft finish, making it not only supersoft but less likely to wrinkle.
The fitted sheet is designed with extra-deep pockets that can fit mattresses up to 16 inches thick and a double-elastic band for an extra-tight fit. Plus, the cozy 600-thread count set is also an OEKO-TEX-certified skin-friendly product, to add peace of mind for those dealing with skin allergies. The sheets are machine washable and OK for tumble drying on low, and they come in three sizes: full, queen, and king.
FAQs About Cotton Sheets
Now that you’ve seen all that goes into choosing cotton sheets, it’s time to answer any remaining questions you might have about choosing the right set for your bedroom. The questions below likely cover what you need to know about cotton sheets and how to choose a high-quality set.
Q. What are the benefits of cotton sheets?
Cotton sheets are not only soft, but they’re cooling, will absorb moisture, and are known for lasting a long time.
Q. Which is better, percale or Egyptian cotton?
Percale and Egyptian cotton sheets are both high-quality options. But when it comes to softness, Egyptian cotton sheets tend to be softer while percale is often crisper.
Q. Is Pima cotton better than Egyptian cotton?
Pima and Egyptian cotton are very similar. However, Egyptian cotton tends to be softer and more expensive.
Q. What is the best thread count for sheets?
The best thread count for sheets is between 300 and 500.