Threadcounts, fabrics, styles and patterns—when it comes to bed sheets, there’s a lot to choose from! Learn how to find the best bed sheets for your style and budget and enjoy a fantastic night’s sleep.
When you’re drifting off to dreamland, there’s nothing like snuggling up between fresh, clean, bed sheets. In fact, next to your mattress, your bed sheets may be the most important factor in ensuring your slumbers are cozy, comfortable and restful. But with so many options, which sheets do you choose? Cotton bed sheets alone come in a dizzying array of weaves, thread counts and finishes. You should start by assessing your needs. Prioritize between appearance, feel, wrinkle resistance and durability. With a little research under your belt you’ll soon have the right sheets over your mattress.
Types of Bed Sheets
Types of Bed Sheets
Made of manmade fibres, microfibre bed sheets are a durable, soft-finish option. Microfibre (a fabric often used in fitness apparel) wicks moisture away from the body, keeping you cool and dry while you sleep. Allergy sufferers can also rest easy with microfibre’s ability to repel dust mites.
Flannel sheets are a cotton-woven fabric, brushed to give you a nice soft cozy feel. It’s a good idea to check for flannel that is preshrunk to reduce the risk of shrinking and has anti-pill properties.
Sometimes referred to as polar fleece, micro fleece is also lightweight, but feels thicker and warmer than microfibre sheets. A key advantage to micro fleece sheets is their resistance to pilling, though it can happen over time.
Micro fleece sheets are typically made from 100% polyester, so they may not fade as rapidly as flannel sheets. They do, however, trap in body heat. That’s great for winter sleeping on cold nights, but not as comfortable as microfibre in warm weather.
If you like sleeping in a t-shirt, jersey sheets are for you. These stretchy knit-cotton or cotton/polyester blend sheets feel like your favourite old t-shirt and become softer and more comfortable with wear. A good year-round choice, jersey keeps you cool on warm nights and warm on cool nights.
A cotton-polyester blend is a no-fuss choice for any bedroom in the house. While cotton-polyester blends don’t breathe as well as 100% cotton, they’re easily cared for and offer wrinkle resistance and durability. For a softer feel, go for higher cotton content. A 60/40 cotton-to-polyester ratio results in a bed sheet that’s both durable and comfortable.
Egyptian cotton is the gold standard in bed sheet fabric. It provides the same durability and low maintenance of all pure-cotton sheets, but with added breathability, softness, and lustre for a luxurious and comfortable sleep.
True Egyptian cotton is carefully washed and combed from long-staple and extra-long-staple cotton grown in Egypt, making it a higher quality alternative to other cotton and cotton-blend sheets.
Created from thin, high-thread-count satin fabric, satin sheets are characterized by their smooth texture and shiny finish. While woven satin is soft and delicate to the touch, knit satins tend to become rough and dull with washing. Satin sheets don’t offer much stretch, so be sure to purchase a deep-pocket fit if you’re covering a pillow-top bed.
Bedding buying tips:
- The higher the thread count, the higher quality: aim for 200 to 300 for good quality bedding.
- For warmer climates, look for breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen to stay cool.
- If covering a pillow-top mattress or mattress pad, buy deep-pocket sheets for a better fit.
- Measure your mattress depth to get sheets that offer the best fit and sheet hugging performance.
- Stock up on pillowcases when you find ones you like (or on sale) as pillowcases will wear out faster than your sheets.
Bed sheet features
Bed sheet features
Most sheet sets come with two pillowcases (twin sets will come with one), but you can also purchase pillowcases separately. Because pillowcases tend to wear out more quickly than sheets, it’s a good idea to stock up when you find a style you like.
Pillowcases are most commonly available in standard, queen and king sizes, though you may also see European pillowcases (a large square size).
Colours and patterns are applied to most sheets after they have been woven, which may make them feel stiff. With washing, your coloured or patterned sheets will soften over time.
You can also purchase yarn-dyed sheets, which are woven from dyed threads for a softer finish.
Most sheets today are chemically treated to prevent them from shrinking, wrinkling or losing their shape. A process called mercerization is used on some sheets to strip their outer layer for increased lustre and strength. This also helps the fabric absorb rich colours more easily.
A resin treatment is used on cotton sheets to increase wrinkle resistance (decreasing your need to iron), and preshrinking processes minimize fabric shrinkage (Flexi Fit).
If you’ve ever struggled to stretch an undersized fitted sheet onto a mattress, you know the importance of having the right size sheets. You can easily purchase bed sheets designed to fit the standard mattress sizes (twin, full, queen and king) as well as the longer-format mattresses.
When shopping, look for fitted sheets with elastic edging all the way around to ensure a snug, attractive fit. It may be helpful to measure your mattress for comparison as exact sheet dimensions can vary.
If you have a pillow-top mattress or mattress topper on your bed, purchasing deep-pocket sheet sets will make for a more comfortable fit.
The weave of your sheet will affect its feel, longevity and price. A percale weave is smooth and crisp, creating a soft, cool and sturdy sheet, good for affordable year-round use.
For a more luxurious feel, sateen sheets offer increased softness and a distinct sheen, though their looser weave makes them less durable than percale.
Jacquard and Damask weaves are another long-lasting (though more expensive) option, which will give your sheets a textured feel in patterns that can have an array of hand feels.
A popular term in the sheet world, thread count refers to the total number of threads per square inch of fabric. While a factor in purchasing bed sheets, thread count can be misleading. A high thread count doesn’t always mean a better sheet.
Most sheets range in thread count from 180 to 1000, with 200 considered a good quality count. Move up to 400 and the increase in quality is noticeable. However, move up to 1000 and you may find the high count makes the sheet too dense, warm or stiff for you.
Bed sheet maintenance tips:
- Launder sheets weekly and rotate through two or more sets for even wear.
- Wash sheets in lukewarm (not hot) water to prevent fabric from shrinking or breaking down.
- Use mild detergents diluted in water before adding sheets to your washing machine.
- Remove sheets from dryer and fold promptly to reduce wrinkling.
- Remember to always follow care instructions as provided.
Shop accessories and related products:
- Blankets & throws
- Bed in a bag
- Bed pillows
- Bed skirts
- Comforters & sets
- Decorative pillows
- Duvet covers
- Kids bedding
- Mattress covers & pads