The Best Cotton Sheets of 2022, Tested by HGTV Editors

Cotton is a go-to material for everyday sheets for all kinds of sleepers for good reason. After testing dozens of brands, we've rounded up the best of the best cotton sheets, from budget to luxury and sateen to percale.

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September 02, 2022

Our Top Picks for Cotton Sheets

Good sleep starts with good bedding, and a set of quality everyday sheets that are soft on the skin will make climbing into bed irresistible. Cotton is one of the most popular, affordable and widely available natural materials for sheets. Cotton fabric is an ideal sheet material because it's plant-derived, biodegradable and breathable. Plus, it's easy to care for and maintain. The popularity of cotton also means the market is crowded with a lot of options to wade through and terms to decode. Read on to learn the basics of cotton sheets and shop our editor-tested recommendations for every budget.

What to Consider When Buying Cotton Sheets

Types of Cotton

When reading product descriptions for cotton sheets, you may see terms like Egyptian, Turkish, pima, Supima, jersey, combed or long-staple cotton. Egyptian and Turkish cotton refers to cotton grown in Egypt and Turkey, which can mean the cotton is a high-quality form of long-staple cotton from those regions. However, this isn't always the case since any cotton in Egypt can be referred to as Egyptian, no matter the quality, and brands can use these terms as a marketing tactic. Instead of using the location the cotton was grown in to determine the quality, look for terms like "long-staple cotton" and "extra-long-staple cotton" in the product descriptions of cotton sheets. The "staple" refers to the length of the fibers used in the construction of the fabric, and the longer the staple, the stronger and more durable the thread and ultimately the fabric is. "Long-staple" fibers measure about 1⅛ to 1¼ inch, while "extra-long staple" fibers are 1⅜ inch or more.

Pima and Supima refer to high-quality, longer staple cotton grown in the United States. Brands often use pima as a generic term for “better” cotton, but the term does not necessarily mean it is made with extra-long staple cotton. However, Supima is a trademarked term that means the fabric is made of extra-long-staple cotton grown in the U.S. and verified by the Supima council.

Jersey cotton is knit, not woven, and is stretchy, breathable, lightweight and wrinkle-resistant. Basically, it feels like a perfectly worn-in T-shirt. Combed cotton is cotton that has been brushed to remove short fibers and leave only the long fibers, resulting in a sturdier, softer fabric. Because of the extra work, combed cotton also comes at a higher price point.

Weaves

There are a few different weave types that not only affect the look and feel of sheets but also price and sleep quality. Percale, also called a plain weave, and sateen, also referred to as satin weave, are two of the most popular weaves and what most of our recommendations are. Percale features a one-over-one-under or lattice weave and is ideal for hot sleepers and those who like a crisp, cool bed because the weave allows for more airflow. Percale sheets have a matte appearance and are more breathable and lightweight. Sateen has horizontal threads that “float” or skip over multiple vertical threads. The floating threads can be prone to snagging, so manufacturers typically pack in more threads per square inch for a tigher, sturdier weave, which creates a smoother, silk-like finish. Cotton sateen sheets have the silkiest feel, heaviest weight and shinest appearance. Though they can feel cool to the touch and silky, sateen sheets generally sleep warmer since the weave is very tight and doesn't allow for as much air circulation as percale. Twill is less commonly used for sheets because the diagonal weaving pattern gives more texture and may make sheets feel rough. However, twill's durability and strength can't be beaten. Flannel can be made from materials other than cotton, but regardless, this weave has a very soft brushed, almost plush, feel and definitely adds warmth.

Thread Counts

Thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch. Retailers often inflate thread counts to imply higher quality. In reality, anywhere in the 200-800-thread-count range is good, but 300-600 is a sweet spot. For cotton percale weaves, 200 to 300 should indicate good quality sheets, and for cotton sateen, 300 to 600 is ideal. Fabric quality is the most important factor to consider when buying sheets. Some manufacturers don't even provide a thread count on the basis that it's irrelevant.

Eco-Friendly Features + Certifications

If you have environmental or health concerns when shopping for sheets, look for cotton that is certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard, a third-party organization that ensures the cotton is grown organically and processed according to strict standards that avoid toxic metals and solvents and minimizes water and energy use, and Oeko-Tex, an organization that ensures textiles are free from substances that could be harmful to humans and the environment like formaldehyde, heavy metals and more. Typically, sheets that are Oeko-Tex certified won't necessarily be more expensive, but sheets with GOTS certifications usually come at a higher price point.

From $139

Light, breathable, cool and crisp, these are our top pick for a quintessential cotton percale sheet. A generous 365-day warranty plus a good variety of sizes and colors make it hard to justify not giving these internet-famous sheets a try. Our tester tried a few other higher-priced options and felt that these were just as comfortable and lighter weight but at a much better price. The only downside of these sheets is that they do wrinkle easily, but that's to be expected with percale — promptly making the bed or folding the sheets for storage right after removing them from the dryer will help minimize wrinkles. Read more about why we love these sheets in our Best Cooling Sheets review.

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From $119

If high-quality, responsibly made organic sheets top your list of must-have features, then we highly recommend these from Pottery Barn. Comparable to the Brooklinen set above, we only docked points from this Pottery Barn set because there aren't as many color options and the pillowcases didn't have envelope closures to keep pillows in place. As far as feel and comfort, though, our tester thought these felt the coolest of the bunch that she tried and liked the crispness and lightweight feel. She especially appreciated that these are Fair Trade certified and meet GOTS requirements. Consider this elegant set like your go-to white button-down — versatile, soft, timeless and easy to care for.

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This sateen sheet set from The Company Store earned rave reviews from our tester. Made of Supima cotton, the luxe, heavyweight satin feel gives them a high-quality resort vibe that no other sheets we tried even came close to. Despite a nearly flawless report, our tester noted one con: the price. An indulgent set of sheets is arguably a worthy splurge, and you also have the option to purchase the components of this set (fitted sheet, flat sheet and pillowcases) individually, so you can get exactly what you need. These sheets also come in 18 colors and extended deep-pocket sizes for taller mattresses. All in all, these are top of the line, or, as our editor described it, "It was hard to get out of bed in the morning. These are the sheets you put on your guest room bed to totally pamper your guests."

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From $228

Made from 100-percent organic, long-staple cotton that is Fair Trade-, GOTS- and OEKO-TEX-certified, Boll & Branch prioritizes quality, sustainability and worker's empowerment while also making some of the softest sheets we've ever tried. The Signature Set has become a bit internet famous and we understand why. Our tester described it as a perfect mix of percale and sateen weaves — perfect for her and her spouse who prefer those weaves, respectively — with a supple yet crisp feel. We wouldn't necessarily describe these sheets as cooling, but they feel lightweight and feathery without being flimsy. Because this set is made from cotton, care and maintenance are straightforward. While wrinkles are inevitable with cotton sheets, we smoothed them out easily once on the bed. Starting out at more than $200, this kind of luxury doesn't come cheap but keep an eye out for Boll & Branch's semi-annual sales to save some money. Aside from the high price point, another con we noticed is the lack of pillow enclosures on the pillowcases. It's a nit-picky detail, but one that we've really come to love in other sets we tried.

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From $35

While most of our sheet picks cost $75 or more, this 400-thread-count cotton sateen set from Target's Threshold brand is a great value. After some initial pilling from a few washes, the sheets felt perfectly broken-in — cool, crisp and buttery soft. Top/Bottom and Side labels add convenience while the six beautiful colors and standard size options are an added bonus to this top-rated sheet set. A Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX certification earns this affordable set more points in our book. This set has a sateen weave with a subtle luster, so if you prefer a matte finish like many of our editors do, we recommend going with one of our budget-friendly percale picks instead. They do wrinkle easily and lack pillow enclosures on the pillowcases, but for the price, we really can't say enough good things about these sheets and think they'd make the perfect set of sheets for a guest room.

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From $80.99

If you want organic cotton percale that’s OEKO-TEX certified in neutral colors but want to pay less than $100, these 100-percent, these sheets from Fabdreams are a great choice that pleasantly surprised our tester. Available in six sizes and six solid colors, they’re breathable, lightweight and arrive in thoughtful, plastic-free packaging — the sheet set comes tied in a bow inside of a canvas bag. Amazon reviewers also appreciate the positive customer service and responsiveness of the company. One downside is these sheets only come in a few colors.

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A fitting name for this 100-percent organic cotton jersey sheet set, we loved the lived-in softness and heathered look of these PB Teen sheets. We'd consider these a splurge option in the jersey category, but if you're looking for a sturdy set of sheets for a tween or teen's bed that's easy to care for, this is a solid option. Our tester noted, though, that these wrinkled and clung a lot, but nothing that a set of dryer balls or iron couldn't fix. An inside flap to hold pillows in place, GOTS and Fair Trade certifications and a nice neutral range of colorways add to the appeal of this comfy, casual set.

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From $139

Slumber Cloud’s Essential Sheets are unique because they contain the same patented temperature-regulating technology that NASA astronauts use in their spacesuits. Made from 40-percent NASA-inspired Outlast® viscose and 60-percent cotton, these sheets kept our tester significantly cooler throughout the night than other blends she tried. Available in eight solid colors and seven sizes, these blended sheets have a sateen weave and feel super cool to the touch. If you prefer the look and feel of smoother, buttery-soft sheets with more of a sheen than a matte finish, these might just be the best option for you. Slumber Cloud offers a risk-free 60-night trial in case you end up not loving them.

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From $109

A nice variety of colors and seasonal patterns, pill-resistant fabric and a super soft brushed finish made us love these top-rated flannel sheets, too. Our tester remarked that they were "surprisingly breathable" and a comfortable weight (five ounces) for year-round use if you get cold at night. Crafted in Portugal, experts at the mill brush the fabric to remove short fibers creating the now well-known-and-loved velvety feel of L.L.Bean's OEKO-TEX certified flannel sheets. Don't be alarmed at the amount of lint in your dryer, though, as this will decrease after a few washes. Read more about why these are our favorite flannel sheets.

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From $30

While most bedding brands stick to neutral colors and select patterns, Target is one of the best places to find on-trend sheets at affordable prices, which is perfect if you (or your kids) like changing up bedding styles often and don't want sheets you'll be nervous to ruin. Target's Opalhouse line offers 100-percent cotton percale sheets in cute patterns, with new patterns released regularly. Plus, these are also OEKO-TEX certified. During testing, we noticed these didn't wrinkle as easily as others, and we appreciated the extra elastic band on the fitted sheet that helped hold it in place.

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$52 (Set of 2)

One of our most-loved bedding brands is, of course, also our top pick for pint-sized sheets, quilts and swaddles. Brooklinen's Brooklittles line is made from the same high-quality long-staple cotton as the "adult" sheets with deep pockets and a soft, durable percale weave. Only the best for baby, right? Our editor (and toddler mom) is obsessed with how cool they are. "The breathability makes a difference for my son who runs hot. Pair the sheets with Brooklinen's ultra-soft garment-dyed baby quilt that gets softer with every wash. (I know because I've washed this a lot.)"

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How We Tested

Across our team of editors, we've tested 26 sets of cotton sheets from brands with positive customer reviews over the last couple of years to determine our cotton sheet recommendations. Typically, one tester compares the sheets of the same material and weave, such as cotton percale or cotton sateen, from various brands to observe a side-by-side comparison. We wash the sheets according to the manufacturer's care instructions and take notes on any shrinkage, discoloration, pilling or wrinkling. We confirm the fitted sheets fit over our mattresses and/or mattress toppers comfortably. After sleeping on the sheets for weeks, we note any changes or observations in our temperature and how we sleep. As we continue to test over time, we monitor how sheets hold up, whether or not they get softer after continued washing or if we notice any threads coming loose. We frequently add new sheets to our testing rotation to update our reviews.

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