The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best High-Quality Bed Sheets
About five years ago when I moved into my first “grown-up” apartment in New York City, I was so excited to start decorating and organizing my new home. But, if we are being honest, I was probably most excited to purchase a new (BIG) bed. As a beauty lover, I take my beauty sleep very seriously and wanted to invest in the best mattress, pillows, and sheets that I could.
When buying a new mattress, the best way to test them out is to go into a mattress store and jump around like a little kid until you find the perfect one. But, what about bed sheets? To my knowledge, stores don’t let you climb into a set of sheets in your PJs (or birthday suit) to test them out. So, how are we supposed to know how to pick bed sheets?
If you type in a simple internet search of “how to buy sheets” you’ll find a lot of ads, and a lot of material and thread count options. Over the years, I’ve experimented with almost all of the material options and thread count options in order to find my favorite. So, as the Nap Queen herself, I am here to help you out with a bed sheet thread count guide and explanation of the different materials to choose from for your best sleep ever.
The Best Of THe Best Bed Sheet Materials
MOST DURABLE: Microfiber Bed Sheets
Many of the bed sheet options out there are made of microfiber. According to the University of Washington Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, microfiber is a polyester and nylon (polyamide) fiber that is split into extremely fine fibers to make fabric. Because the fibers are so small, microfiber sheets are extremely durable while remaining relatively affordable.
One word of warning—microfiber sheets aren’t as breathable as other materials. For this reason, if you are a hot sleeper (like me) or have sensitive skin, you’ll probably want to avoid microfiber sheets.
Brushed Microfiber: If you see “brushed microfiber” in a product description, this simply means that both sides of the bed sheets have been “brushed” for softness.
Best for Sensitive Skin: Cotton Bed Sheets
Cotton is another extremely common material when it comes to bed sheets. The difference between cotton and microfiber is that microfiber is artificially manufactured into woven material while cotton has been spun into long, knit yarns. For this reason, cotton is a more breathable option for bed sheets, and great for those with sensitive skin. However, because of the makeup of cotton, these bed sheets are not necessarily as durable as microfiber sheets.
Combed Cotton: Similar to brushed microfiber, “combed cotton” has been combed to remove small, excess fibers, resulting in durable, comfortable cotton sheets.
Jersey Cotton: If you prefer to sleep in your extra-large, beaten up t-shirt from college, jersey bed sheets are for you. Jersey is basically the same material that t-shirts are made from. It is super soft and flexible, and is typically very affordable.
Egyptian Cotton: Egyptian cotton may sound extra-fancy, but the only difference is how the cotton is sourced. Egyptian cotton is hand-picked (vs. picked by machines) which keeps the cotton intact, resulting in stronger, relatively softer cotton.
Pima/Supima Cotton: Pima and Supima cotton is similar to Egyptian cotton because of the makeup of the fibers. Extra long fibers will make up a bed sheet that is softer and stronger, and will most likely last longer than other types of cotton.
Best for Hot Sleepers: Percale Bed Sheets
Percale is normally produced from cotton, but can also be made up of materials like bamboo-derived fibers or polyester. Percale sheets, also called “plain weave,” have similar feel to a crisp dress shirt. These sheets are lightweight and great for hot sleepers.
Best for Luxurious Comfort: Sateen
Sateen is made with a “satin weave” but is actually made up of cotton fibers that have been treated to feel silky like satin. Because they have been treated or “sealed,” these sheets are more durable than cotton and will likely last longer. If you are looking for a luxe, silky sleep (but don’t want to drop thousands on real satin sheets), sateen is for you! As a beauty blogger, I must also point out that another great benefit to sleeping with sateen sheets and pillowcases is that it is gentle on your hair and skin.
Best for Winter Seasons: Flannel
If your typical bedtime uniform is your partner’s old flannel button-down, you’ll want to invest in flannel sheets for a super-comfortable sleep. Flannel sheets are great for the cold, winter months, or for those who find themselves easily getting cold at night. Flannel is extremely thick, and often brushed for extra softness.
Best Eco-Friendly Option: Bamboo
Bamboo-derived sheets are relatively new to the bed sheet scene, but have become wildly popular very quickly. Companies like Buffy and Purple suggest bamboo-derived sheets for an eco-friendly option. Bamboo-derived sheets are also extremely breathable, and great for those with allergies, as it does not easily absorb allergens.
Finally, let’s talk about thread count. There is a huge stigma that higher thread count means higher quality and better comfort. Any bed sheet thread count guide will tell you that this is not always the case. Thread count is important to consider, but higher isn’t always better.
First, let’s define thread count. According to SleepFoundation.org, thread count is a measure of the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric to gauge how tightly woven a fabric is.
SleepFoundation.org suggests bed sheets with a thread count ranging from 200 to 800 for ideal comfort. Average thread count ranges by material: cotton (200-400); Egyptian cotton (300-400); percale (200-400); sateen (300-600); bamboo (300-500).
Keep in mind that a higher thread count will usually result in a higher sticker price. For that reason, I suggest trying to stay under a thread count of 700, otherwise you’ll probably be spending way too much for comfort similar to a smaller thread count.