July 19, 2022
If you have ever looked in a store or searched online, you will notice how massive the variety is. With all the bed sheet options out there, it can be confusing to know which one is best for your needs. While some shoppers go for the first feel, design that catches their attention, or the price they can afford, many of us take time to understand the composition of what we buy.
In this guide, we will list down and compare different sheet materials and weave types to help you make your best shopping decision.
Are you looking to complete your bedding set? Choosing the best bed sheet material depends on many factors, including its use, how often you will use it, where you will use it, and who will use it. For example, choosing the best material for bed sheets for the kids' room, needs thorough considerations in terms of softness and gentleness to the skin. It is also impractical to opt for a silky white bed sheet fabric for kids. Bed sheets for the guest and main rooms can also be different as one goes through more wear and tear than the other.
Here is a list of materials made from natural fibres and synthetic fabrics with their features, pros, and cons.
Cotton is a highly popular fabric that is used in creating clothes, bedding, and even mattresses. This is sourced from cotton plant fibres which have been used in the manufacturing industry for many years. You might have known at a glance that cotton sheets are soft and breathable. But aside from those, cotton sheets are also very easy to care for and are abundant. It means that you can find different varieties and a range of prices. Bed sheets made from pure cotton are also hypoallergenic and safe for kids' use.
There are several types of cotton sheets on the market. Let's take a look at them.
Egyptian cotton sheets are luxury varieties that are sourced and hand-picked from specific staple-grown cotton plants in Egypt. These cottons have extra long fibres that can create finer yards that make the Egyptian cotton sheets softer and stronger. The Egyptian cotton bed sheets produce a fine and consistent finish that make up the luxury bedding. If you are looking for a quality and long-lasting bed sheet to invest in, Egyptian cotton is a great choice.
Egyptian cotton offers a luxury hotel-quality sleep because of its highly comfortable feel.
Egyptian cotton is highly durable and easy to maintain.
Egyptian cotton gets softer with every wash.
Egyptian cotton is breathable and can absorb sweat better than many bed sheet materials, which makes it a good choice for hot sleepers.
Egyptian cotton is hypoallergenic.
Egyptian cotton can be pricey.
Egyptian cotton may come in different qualities, including those of lower quality.
Upland cotton sheets are the most common cotton sheets. Compared to Egyptian cotton, these varieties are significantly lower in price and can be commonly seen in the market. In other words, Upland cotton is considered a standard quality cotton fabric.
Upland cotton is soft, breathable, and comfortable.
Upland cotton is easy to maintain.
Upland cotton is more affordable than many cotton varieties, so it's perfect for shoppers who are on a budget.
Like other cotton varieties, Upland cotton is also hypoallergenic.
Upland cotton has shorter fibres than Egyptian cotton. It means that it is less durable and consistent.
Upland cotton is not wrinkle resistant.
Upland cotton may be soft, but not as soft as other cotton sheets.
Pima cotton is also one of the higher end cotton varieties in the market that acts as a middle ground between Egyptian and Upland cotton. It is also known for being extremely comfortable and breathable. It is also a very durable cotton fabric, if not as durable as Egyptian cotton. Pima cotton sheets have longer fibres than upland cotton, which gives them a more consistent feel and durability.
Pima cotton is a good middle ground between Upland and Egyptian sheets.
Pima cotton is also highly breathable and good for reducing night sweats.
Pima cotton is less expensive than Egyptian cotton, but is still considered a luxury variety.
Like Egyptian cotton, some Pima cotton sheets do not come with an authentic and consistent feel.
For shoppers on a budget, Pima cotton may still be on the pricier side compared to Upland cotton.
Supima is a trademarked cotton type that is also considered one of the most comfortable cotton varieties in the world. To create Supima cotton, extra long fibres are used, making the end product more put together than regular cotton fibers. Many shoppers love Supima cotton's resistance to pilling along with its longevity. Supima-certified cotton fibres are incredibly good in quality. The main difference between Supima cotton and Egyptian cotton is that while the two use long threads, Supima cotton uses longer fibres that make it more durable. Egyptian cotton, on the other hand, uses thinner threads, giving it a luxurious feel.
Supima cotton is highly durable and can handle more wash cycles than many cotton types.
Supima cotton is luxurious, comfortable, and breathable.
Supima cotton is an expensive cotton type.
Supima cotton is rare.
Micro cotton is a durable and comfortable trademarked cotton from India. This is manufactured from long staple cotton. Like other cotton sheets, this one is extremely absorbent and comfortable for those with sensitive skin.
Based on its name, polycotton is a mixture of polyester fabric and cotton. This material is soft and durable. Since it is manufactured with polyester, polycotton can handle more demanding uses.
The unique thing about a cotton jersey is that while it is created from other cotton materials, it is knitted and woven like most cotton sheets.
You might like combed cotton if you love a softer feel in your fabric. Combed cotton is achieved by the process of removing short fibres from the bigger fabric. This leaves the cotton bed sheets with a smooth texture.
Flannel sheets are made from brushed cotton, which thickens the fibre compared to other cotton weaves, resulting in a warmer feel. The main feature of flannel sheets is that they provide the right insulation during cold weather.
Unlike natural cotton, polyester sheets are made from synthetic materials. While it is highly affordable, polyester can be stiff. To address this, many manufacturers blend polyester with natural materials to create durable yet more affordable sheets with enhanced comfort.
In a nutshell, polyester is durable, easy to maintain, and affordable. This is why many budget shoppers love this material for bed sheets. Here are some types of polyester sheets on the market.
Microfiber sheets are mostly manufactured from polyesters and polyamides. They are soft and lightweight. Based on their name, microfiber sheets are made of super thin fibres that are tightly woven to create a lightweight bed sheet. However, despite this, microfiber is still less breathable than natural cotton.
Microfiber sheets are durable.
Microfiber is easy to clean and maintain.
Microfiber comes in different qualities and price ranges, giving you enough options for your preferences and budget.
Since it's made from synthetic materials, microfiber might not provide you with the right breathability and may even trap heat when it's too hot.
Microfiber is very thin and might not be the most comfortable for many sleepers.
Another strong synthetic fabric, nylon, offers a silky-soft feel that is resistant to wrinkling. Due to its synthetic production, nylon can achieve different features during the manufacturing process. If you are looking for a beautifully coloured bed sheet, nylon can be a good choice since it can be dyed easily.
Nylon is a stretchy fiber.
Nylon sheets are durable.
Nylon is a highly versatile material.
Nylon is more breathable than many synthetic sheets.
Nylon is static resistant.
Nylon can be a costly synthetic fabric.
Nylon production is not environmentally safe.
Nylon has a lower melting and burning point than other fibers.
Acrylic is a wrinkle-resistant material. This can be dyed into many colours but may not be as comfortable for the user. Thus, this material is more often seen for decorative blankets than bed sheets.
Acrylic has almost the same toughness as polyester bed sheets.
Acrylic fibre is wrinkle resistant.
Unlike microfiber, acrylic can resist wear and tear due to high temperatures.
Compared to cotton, nylon has poor water absorption capacity, which may give you a stuffy feeling during hotter nights.
Nylon may not provide the best comfort, compared to cotton or linen.
Bamboo bed sheets are made from bamboo rayon from bamboo pulp. These are lightweight, highly breathable sheets that are also hypoallergenic. If you like a comfy and satin-like feel for your bed sheets, bamboo sheets are great.
However, what others may claim as natural bamboo fibres are actually rayon, which is created through a long chemical manufacturing process, which can be harmful to the environment.
Bamboo sheets are lightweight.
Bamboo sheets are durable and long-lasting.
Bamboo fibres are hypoallergenic and very gentle on the skin.
Bamboo bed sheets can be pricey.
Bamboo sheets may require more maintenance than cotton bed sheets or Tencel.
Another natural fiber, silk, is considered a luxurious bed sheet material created by silk worms. This material is cool and luxurious. Silk is especially known for its smooth texture and elegant appearance. However, although it is extremely attractive and comfortable, silk requires thorough care and may not be ideal for many household settings.
Silk sheets are naturally hypoallergenic and safe for users with sensitive skin.
If you are a hot sleeper, you will also benefit from the cooling properties of a silk sheet.
Silk sheets are attractive and luxurious.
Silk sheets are made from natural materials and ethically sourced.
Silk is an expensive material for bed sheets.
Silk may not last as long as other fabric materials since it is generally delicate.
Unlike other fabrics, silk is not safe for machine washing.
Linen is a high-quality fabric created from flax plants. This bed sheet material is durable and provides a supple feel. Linen is thicker than cotton fibres and becomes softer with every use. Like cotton, it is highly breathable and comfortable. It is also naturally hypoallergenic.
Linen is a natural material that is hypoallergenic.
Linen sheets provide a rustic feel because of their distinct texture and natural colour.
Linen is a moisture-wicking fabric that softens with every use.
Although very comfortable, linen sheets are not as elastic as other materials.
Because of their lack of elasticity, linen sheets are prone to wrinkling and tearing.
An ultimately comfortable and breathable fabric, Tencel is made from lyocell from eucalyptus wood pulp and modal fibers. This natural fabric is gaining popularity because of its delicate feel and cooling properties. Many shoppers use this as an alternative to cotton bed sheets.
Tencel is very comfortable for hot sleepers because of its notably breathable properties.
Tencel is a durable material that requires less maintenance.
Tencel is ethically sourced from fast-growing plants.
Tencel is moisture-wicking.
Tencel bed sheets can be more expensive than ordinary upland cotton.
Although safe for many sleepers with sensitive skin, Tencel is not completely hypoallergenic compared to cotton.
Tencel is made from materials that are susceptible to mildew.
While Tencel bed sheets are made from eucalyptus cellulose fibers, modal sheets are manufactured from beech trees. Modal fibres are considered a more eco-friendly source than cotton since beech trees require less water to grow.
Like Tencel, modal bed sheets are breathable and comfortable.
Modal sheets are resistant to shrinking and fading.
Modal sheets are natural and environmentally friendly.
Modal sheets might require more care when washing.
Modal bed sheets are prone to tearing.
If you love the advantages of two or more sheet materials, you will love what blended bed sheets offer. The most common blended materials are cotton and polyester, or what we called polycotton earlier. Some combine the softness of cotton with bamboo or two synthetic materials like polyester and nylon.
Aside from materials, bed sheets also differ in weave type. Here are some common weave types in the market:
Bed sheets with twill weaving have the distinct diagonal threads that you can see often in denim jeans or couches. One of the three original weaving types, twill weave is strong and can hide stains very well.
The most common weave type, percale weave, presents a crisscross pattern with a more matte finish compared to other types. This weave pattern can be crisp at first but gets softer with every wash. This matte-finish soft feel is ideal for hot sleepers.
Sateen sheets provide a heavier feel than other weave types, which gives them their luxurious feel. It has a smooth feel due to its tight weave and provides the right warmth during colder days.
If you're looking for a more casual feel, the finely knitted jersey weave is a great choice. This knit is known for its elasticity and softness. Due to its unique composition, jersey knit does not wrinkle as easily as other weave types.
Many decorative and luxurious bed sheets come with patterned weaves. These are typically heavier and more detailed than other weave types. Because of this, they tend to be in the more expensive price range.
Dobby weave is a simple weave type that incorporates some additional design elements in a patterned way, like dots or stripes in different colours.
Bed sheets generally come in two fit types: fitted sheets and flat sheets. Fitted sheets are the same size as the mattress and have elastic bands in every corner to create a snug fit and extra protection. On the other hand, flat sheets are typically bigger than the actual mattress size and are flowy enough to drape on the bed. Aside from their sizes, the main difference between the two is that a fitted sheet is easier to put on and secure, while a flat sheet requires more effort to be fixed. However, a flat sheet is easier to fold and store than a fitted sheet.
There is an on-going debate about whether thread count matters or not when weighing the quality of a bedding material. The thread count pertains to the number of horizontal and vertical threads woven into a square inch of fabric. For example, if the thread count of the horizontal threads is 100 and the thread count for the vertical part is 100, the total thread count is 200.
A higher thread count means that the threads used are finer, while a lower thread count means having thicker threads. While a higher thread count means the threads used are more refined, if it becomes too high than needed, the fabric can be less breathable. Lower thread count, on the other hand, can be an indication that a fabric is loosely done, which can make the fabric rougher. The ideal thread count for single-ply fabrics is 200–400. The thread count can be higher, up to 1000. But this means that the fabric can be two-plied or thicker. This can be pricier but not as comfortable as a fabric that has the ideal thread count.
While it's true that the thread count matters, this alone does not fully determine the quality of every fabric. To make sure that you get the right bedding quality, always check the weave patterns, materials used, and their pros and cons. It's also important to look for some certifications for the authenticity and safety of the materials.
Cotton, linen, bamboo, and Tencel fabrics are the right fabrics for those who sleep hot. These materials have natural lightweight and breathable properties that allow air to conductively flow within the material. They also have moisture-wicking properties, which can reduce night sweats.
Percale cotton and linen are also good moisture wicking fabrics for those who experience night sweats.
Tightly woven cotton sheets are ideal for pet owners since pet fur will less likely stick to smoother surfaces. Good weave types that are tight enough to be used for pets are percale and sateen. Silk, being smooth, can repent pet hair. However, it is definitely not scratch-resistant. A good alternative is linen. It can repel pet hair, which maintains its scratch-resistant feature.
The luxurious silk is the softest bedding material. With its comfort, beauty, and delicateness, this fabric can be beneficial for many sleepers, However, it may not handle more demanding environments like hotels that require regular cleaning or households with kids or pets.
If you're looking for materials that are both soft and easier to maintain, go for Egyptian cotton sheets, bamboo or microfiber.
Cotton is a highly popular material if you're looking for a natural material that is also comfortable, durable, and breathable. When shopping for a cotton sheet, note that there are different cotton types and qualities, so the benefits and disadvantages may differ.
Choosing the best material for bed sheets depends on your preferences. All materials have their pros and cons, so choosing the right one will be based on what the most beneficial one will be. When buying your new sheets, always check not only the materials but also the thread count, safety, and durability. Of course, your budget will also be considered. You may also consider whether you will buy your bed sheets online or in a store.
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