Best Material for Bed Sheets

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If you’re shopping for new bedding you know that there are a ton of options out there. Even with suggestions from experts (check out our best sheets of 2022 article for some of those), it can be totally overwhelming choosing the right sheets for your needs.

Luckily, Mattress Clarity is here to help. Below, I’ve broken down the eleven most popular sheet fabrics to help you narrow down your search for the best bed sheets for your needs. There’s a fabric out there for everyone, whether you’re on the hunt for high-quality cooling sheets or cozy wintertime bedding. Once you’ve chosen the fabric you prefer, take a peek at all our sheet reviews to find a great pair for you!

Bed Sheet Material Comparison

Material

Pros

Cons

Upland Cotton

Affordable, cooling, and soft

Wrinkle-prone, likely to pill

Egyptian Cotton

Luxurious, durable, and cooling

Expensive, often blended with other fabrics

Pima Cotton (Supima)

Soft, durable, and grown in the USA

Expensive, often blended with other fabrics

Flannel

Warm, affordable, and durable

Too warm for summertime, not moisture-wicking

Jersey

Wrinkle-resistant, affordable, and warm

Not cooling, less durable than cotton

Microfiber

Affordable, wrinkle and stain-resistant

Attracts lint and hair, less breathable than cotton

Linen

Super cooling, extremely durable, and gets softer over time

Expensive, wrinkle-prone

Silk

Cooling, luxurious, and great for sleepers with sensitive skin

Delicate, expensive

Bamboo

Soft, durable, and cooling

More expensive than cotton, not 100% natural

Polyester

Affordable, durable, and stain-resistant

Less breathable than cotton, may irritate sensitive skin

Tencel

Durable, cooling, and absorbent

More expensive than cotton, can’t be dried on high heat

Cotton

Cotton sheets are some of the most popular and widely-available on the market. There are several different types of cotton fibers, including Upland, Egyptian, and Supima. Pure cotton sheets are all made of natural fibers and hypoallergenic, which makes a cotton sheet set a great choice for sleepers with sensitive skin. But all three types of cotton have some differences, so I’ll break each down below.

And if you want to learn even more about cotton, take a look at some of our articles about cotton weaves. Our percale vs. sateen sheets article is a great place to start learning about different types of weave.

Upland Cotton

Upland cotton is the most common type of cotton. In fact, over 90% of the cotton we use in the United States is Upland. So Upland sheets will feel similar to your favorite t-shirt. Upland cotton is typically grown in the United States and features medium to short-staple fibers.

Pros

  • Upland cotton is much cheaper than other types of cotton, which makes it a great pick for sleepers on a budget.
  • It features everything sleepers love about cotton: breathability, softness, and durability.
  • Upland cotton is easy to care for. Upland sheets will be machine washable and shouldn’t shrink in the dryer.

Cons

  • Upland cotton is not as durable as Egyptian or Pima cotton, which makes it more likely to pill over time.
  • Like most cotton, Upland is not wrinkle-resistant, which might be an issue for some sleepers.
  • Upland cotton is not as soft as Egyptian or Pima cotton. But choosing a set of upland sheets with a high thread count can counteract this issue.

Egyptian Cotton

Egyptian cotton sheets are made from long-staple cotton grown in (you guessed it) Egypt. Most people find them softer and more durable than other cotton bed sheets. Like Pima cotton sheets, Egyptian cotton sheets are considered luxury bedding, and could be a great choice if you’re looking to splurge.

Pros

  • Egyptian cotton is very durable, but still machine washable and dryable.
  • Like other cotton, Egyptian cotton is cooling, which makes it a great choice for hot sleepers or people who share a bed.
  • Egyptian cotton has a softer feel than other types of cotton.

Cons

  • Egyptian cotton sheets are expensive, so shoppers on a budget should stick to Upland cotton sets.
  • Not all Egyptian cotton sheets are made equal. Some brands will sell Egyptian cotton blends (rather than pure Egyptian cotton) without knocking down the price tag. Want to ensure you get the real deal? Check out our favorite Egyptian cotton sheets in the Parachute Percale sheets review

Pima Cotton (Supima Cotton)

If you’re looking for middle ground between Egyptian and Upland cotton, Pima cotton is for you. It is still considered a luxury fabric, but has a slightly lower price tag than Egyptian cotton. Pima cotton is also grown in the southwestern United States, so it’s a great option if you prefer to shop American-made products.

Pros

  • Like Egyptian cotton, Pima cotton is softer and more long-lasting than Upland cotton.
  • Pima cotton is less expensive than Egyptian cotton, but still has a luxury feel.
  • Like other cotton sheets, Pima cotton does not trap body heat, which makes it a great warm weather option.

Cons

  • Like other cotton sheets, Pima cotton is not wrinkle-resistant. If you like an unrumpled look and aren’t into ironing your bed sheets, it may not be for you.
  • Pima cotton is still more expensive than Upland cotton. If you’re looking for new sheets on a budget this is not the fabric for you.
  • Like Egyptian cotton, some brands sell knockoff Pima cotton. If you like the sound of this fabric, check out the GhostBed sheets review. This is our favorite Pima cotton bed sheet set, so you can be confident you’re getting your money’s worth.

Flannel

Flannel is actually another type of cotton! But where cotton sheets are smooth and cooling, flannel sheets are warm and cozy. The fabric feels heavy and dense rather than lightweight, which makes it ideal for colder climates.

Pros

  • Flannel sheets are thick and warm, which makes them great for the winter.
  • Flannel sheets are budget-friendly, which is good news if you don’t want to splurge on a down comforter.
  • Flannel is wrinkle-resistant, which is great news for folks looking for low-maintenance bedding.

Cons

  • Flannel does trap body heat, so hot sleepers should avoid this fabric.
  • If you sweat a lot at night, a more moisture-wicking fabric could be better for you. Flannel will absorb sweat, which could get in the way of a good night’s sleep.

Jersey

Jersey is a soft and stretchy fabric that is medium to light-weight. It can be made of wool, cotton, or synthetic fibers. Jersey is a knit, rather than woven fabric, which means it will feel very soft and broken-in.

Pros

  • Jersey is super stretchy, which makes it really easy to put your fitted sheet on! It also means this fabric is wrinkle-resistant.
  • Jersey feels cozy and warm which can be great for the winter months.
  • Jersey is very affordable, so budget shoppers may want to check it out.

Cons

  • Shoppers who want a cooling set of sheets should look elsewhere. Jersey can sleep hotter than other fabrics.
  • Jersey is less durable than other fabrics because it is a knit fabric.
  • Jersey sheets might shrink in the wash, so you’ll need to remember to wash them in cold water.

Microfiber

Microfiber is made of wood pulp, nylon, or polyester polymers. It has a tight weave and feels lightweight and smooth. High-quality microfiber sheets will feel similar to cotton sheets, but may be less expensive than a cotton set.

Pros

  • Microfiber sheets are naturally wrinkle-resistant, which is a nice perk.
  • Microfiber is stain-resistant and often moisture-wicking, so it’s a great choice for kids’ rooms.
  • Microfiber sheets are affordable, so they could also be a nice choice for guest bedrooms.

Cons

  • This type of weave is tighter than cotton weaves, so it can attract lint and pet hair. If you share the bed with pets you’ll want to choose a different fabric.
  • Microfiber is made from synthetic fibers, so if you have sensitive skin or are looking for something hypoallergenic, an organic cotton set is the way to go.
  • Microfiber is less breathable than other fabrics.

Linen

Linen sheets are known for being ultra-cooling and absorbent. If you’re looking for a breezy, beachy feel these are the sheets for you. Linen is made from the flax plant, which has thicker fibers than cotton, making it super durable.

Pros

  • Linen is one of the most durable sheet fabrics available. Its strength also makes it a great fabric for duvet covers.
  • Linen gets softer over time, so your sheets will become even more comfortable with time.
  • Linen sheets are eco-friendly. Untreated linen is actually fully biodegradable, so choose a natural color (like tan or ivory) if you’re an environmentally-friendly shopper.
  • Linen is incredibly cooling, making it ideal for hot sleepers.

Cons

  • Linen wrinkles very easily, which can make care difficult.
  • Linen sheets are expensive, so budget shoppers should look elsewhere.
  • Linen sheets can feel stiff at first, but they will get much softer over time.

Silk

Silk is made from silkworms and feels smooth, cooling, and luxurious. It is also an especially popular fabric in pillowcases, because its smooth texture protects curly or textured hair overnight. Men with facial hair can also benefit from a silk pillowcase.

Pros

  • Silk sheets are great for sleepers with sensitive skin because silk is naturally hypoallergenic and its satiny feel can reduce irritation.
  • Silk is very cooling, which makes it a great choice for hot sleepers.
  • Silk sheets are super luxurious, which is great for shoppers looking to sleep in style.

Cons

  • Silk’s complicated manufacturing process means that silk bedding is very expensive.
  • Silk is delicate, which means it may not last as long as other fabrics.
  • Silk can be damaged in the washing machine, so you’ll need to wash it separately from other fabrics. I would recommend cold water and the delicate setting. You cannot put your silk sheets in the dryer.

Bamboo

Bamboo fabric is made by turning the bamboo plant into wood pulp and turning the pulp into bamboo rayon. Bamboo sheets are hypoallergenic, cooling, and super soft. Some sleepers describe the feel as a blend of cotton and silk.

Pros

  • Bamboo sheets are ultra-cooling, which makes them a great choice for summertime.
  • Bamboo fibers are very long, so bamboo sheets are long-lasting and resistant to pilling.
  • Bamboo sheets are hypoallergenic and great for sleepers with sensitive skin.

Cons

  • Bamboo sheets are more expensive than other sets.
  • Shoppers looking for natural products may be considered with the chemicals used to turn bamboo into pulp during the manufacturing process. But don’t worry, nothing dangerous will be in your sheets if you choose bamboo!

Polyester

Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is found in a lot of athletic clothing. Many bed sheets are made of polyester/cotton blends to make the polyester fabric feel softer or more breathable.

Pros

  • Polyester sheets are very durable.
  • Polyester sheets are one of the most affordable options available.
  • Polyester is stain-resistant and easy to care for.

Cons

  • Polyester is less breathable than fabrics like cotton.
  • Polyester fabric can irritate sleepers with sensitive skin.
  • Polyester sheets can feel rougher than cotton sheets.

Tencel

Tencel is made of cellulose and eucalyptus wood pulp. It is a natural fabric that many mattress brands use because of its great cooling properties. It’s a great pick for folks who like the feel of cotton, but want something just a bit more cooling.

Pros

  • Tencel sleeps super cool, so is great for hot sleepers. Check out our Casper Hyperlite sheets review to learn about our favorite set of cooling Tencel sheets.
  • Tencel is long-lasting and machine-washable.
  • Tencel absorbs and wicks away moisture, so sleepers with night sweats could like this fabric.

Cons

  • Tencel sheets are more expensive than Upland cotton sheets.
  • Tencel is not completely hypoallergenic. But, sleepers with sensitive skin shouldn’t have any issues on it.
  • You should not dry Tencel sheets on high heat, which can make care more difficult.

FAQs

What is the best bed sheet material for hot sleepers?

We recommend silk, linen, bamboo and Tencel fabrics for especially hot sleepers. Many hot sleepers do well on cotton sheets too.

What is the softest bed sheet material?

Bamboo and Egyptian cotton are some of the softest bed sheet materials available.

What is the best bed sheet material for winter?

Flannel sheets are the warmest wintertime option. If you want something just a tad more breathable but still cozy, try out a jersey sheet set.

What is the best bed sheet material for summer?

Linen, Tencel or bamboo sheets are ideal for the summer months. Check out our best cooling sheets article to find a few suggestions!

What is the best bed sheet material for dog hair?

Linen sheets are ultra-durable and don’t attract pet hair, so they’re a great option if you often have pets on your bed. Alternatively, silk does not attract pet hair either. But, silk is a more delicate fabric so you should stick to linen if you let your pets on the bed.

Gravatar for Madison Schaper

Madison Schaper

Madison is an ex-mattress tester and current law student. When she’s not studying, she puts her accumulated mattress and bedding knowledge to good use writing articles for Mattress Clarity. A few of her favorite non-work activities include trying new restaurants, reading short stories, and watching too much reality TV.