The quality of your bedding can make a big difference when it comes to getting a good night's sleep. Use this buying guide to help determine which fabrics, weaves, sizes, and colors make up the best sheets for you.
Comfortable and durable, cotton is the most frequently used fabric in bedding—popular examples are jersey, percale, and flannel. We break down the common types of cotton as well as other popular fabrics found in bed sheets.
Egyptian-Quality Cotton: One of the highest quality cottons, Egyptian-Quality cotton is strong and best known for its luster and luxurious softness. The name nods to northern Africa where this type of cotton is usually grown.
Synthetic: Polyester is the second most common sheet material. Not as soft, durable, or breathable as cotton, polyester sheets are often a more affordable option. These sheets may be more likely to pill than cotton.
Microfleece: A popular material used in polyester synthetic sheets is microfleece. These sheets are very warm and known for their plush touch and easy maintenance.
Blend: The most common blend is cotton/polyester. Blending these fibers creates easy-to-care-for sheets that last longer than their purely synthetic counterparts. The synthetic fibers make these sheets warmer than cotton; however, they will wear out faster than a 100% cotton sheet. They're also a more affordable option than 100-percent cotton sheets.
Modal: A high-strength fiber made from the pulp of beech trees to create a soft, durable, and silk-like material.
Often used to describe the quality of the fabric, thread count is the number of yarns per square inch woven together to create the sheet. While a high thread count often denotes a higher quality, it's important to consider other factors like fiber and finishing techniques. As a rule of thumb look for sheets with a thread count of 200 or higher.
There are four main constructions of bed sheet fabrics.
Plain Weave is the most simple weave technique used in the majority of bedding and bed sheets. It produces a strong, even fabric.
Twill Weave is easily identified by the diagonal lines of the weave on one side of the fabric, yielding a material that holds its shape and tends to be wrinkle-resistant.
Sateen Weave produces smooth, lustrous bedding with a thick close texture. The number of yarns exposed on the surface gives sateen its characteristic sheen and explains why it is sometimes confused with satin.
Patterned Weave requires the sheets to be woven on a special loom. An example of this weave is a jacquard or a repeating design woven into the face of fabric.
This chart shows sheet sizes and standard mattress sizes.
If possible, purchase sheet sets in multiples so you'll always have clean sheets; one to have on the bed, one in the laundry, and a fresh set in the linen closet!