The Best Flannel Sheets of 2023, Tested by HGTV Editors
Prepare for cold-weather hibernation with a set of the best flannel sheets our editors tried and loved.
Our Top Flannel Sheet Picks
There are countless kinds of sheets on the market: cotton sheets, silk sheets, bamboo sheets, cooling sheets, linen sheets, and more. When it comes to cold weather bedding, though, flannel sheets are beloved for their softness and cozy feeling. If you're someone who gets cold during the night, even outside the winter months, investing in flannel sheets might be worth considering. Flannel is a medium-weight fabric often made from cotton (either entirely or partially) that's napped on one or both sides. It's a classic fabric known for its warmth and durability. During testing, we found flannel sheets to be varying in their weight, softness and perceived durability. The best flannel sheets are warming, on the thicker side and soft to the touch. Read on for our top flannel sheet picks.
How We Tested
We tested a variety of top-rated flannel sheets on the market of varying weights, patterns, colors and brands. First, we took into consideration the size and color options available for each flannel sheet set. We noted how the fabric felt right out of the packaging and any paperwork provided with instructions for use and care. Then, we washed the sheets right out of the packaging according to manufacturer's instructions — most often, wash cold and tumble dry low. We noted how well they dried and whether or not they were wrinkled or shrunk coming out of the dryer. We also noted any pilling or smells upon first wash. (One set has a slight vinegar smell out of the box.). Then, we placed them on our bed and slept for multiple nights. We noted whether or not the sheets felt too hot or too cold and the softness of the sheets during the night. We also took into consideration the thickness of the fabric for perceived durability after multiple washed. Finally, we took into consideration price and availability when making our top picks for best flannel sheets.
L.L.Bean’s Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Sheets take our Best Overall spot because of their high-quality, five-ounce weight and velvety-smooth finish. To achieve their premium pill-resistant flannel fabric, L.L.Bean developed an exclusive process that carefully removes fibers from the surface to create that notably soft finish. Woven by experts at a mill in Portugal, these sheets resist shrinking, fading and pilling and will get even softer with every wash. Plus, the comfortable weight makes them perfect for year-round use, especially if you’re a cool sleeper. Our tester found these sheets to be noticeably softer than other flannel sheets within this mid-tier price range, and with an almost five-star rating, it looks like shoppers agree. With nine mostly-neutral colors, like sage, driftwood and white, you can easily round out your existing bedding that can last well into spring.
Our Editor Says: "They're the softest sheets I own and surprisingly breathable."
These 100-percent double-brushed cotton flannel sheets from Bare Home Store offer premium quality at an affordable price. You can choose from nine sizes (including Split King) and 14 classic hues, like navy, gray and taupe. Our one con would be the lack of pattern options. Just like our other top picks, these sheets are machine-washable and get even softer with use. Although this budget-friendly set has a slightly lower GSM (165 after washing), we didn’t notice any initial pilling. A few noteworthy features our tester particularly loved: the “bottom tag” on the fitted sheet, the OEKO-TEX® 100 certification and the large reusable tote the set comes in (as opposed to traditional plastic zip bags). If you’re looking for a more affordable flannel sheet set with long-lasting quality and supreme softness, this is your best bet.
Our Editor Says: "They’re so cozy that I found myself lingering in bed longer in the mornings because I didn’t want to leave the bed’s warmth."
Brooklinen gets our top pick for Best Cotton Percale Sheets, Best Linen Sheets and Best Crib Sheets, so it’s no surprise that the internet-famous bedding brand also takes a spot on our Best Flannel Sheets list, too. High-quality flannel sheets will be some of the softest, coziest sheets you’ll own, and Brooklinen’s new Flannel Core Sheet Set features a 100-percent cotton weave that’s brushed for the ultimate in softness. While they’re definitely warm and recommended for cold-weather seasons, they’re still incredibly breathable and won’t wake you up in a sweat. These sheets are easy to care for, too — simply machine wash cold and tumble dry on low. And just like our favorite linen sheets, these only get softer and softer with each wash. Just like all of Brooklinen’s luxe mix-and-match hues, their Flannel Core Sheet Set comes in a variety of classic menswear-inspired patterns, like gradient plaid, buffalo check plaid and grey windowpane, in gender-neutral shades of black, gray and blue. Choose from five sizes with a flat sheet, fitted sheet and two pillowcases included in each set.
Our Editor Says: "These sheets are soft. Like, really, really soft. As a hot sleeper, I expected to naturally wake up in a pool of sweat, but paring these sheets with my cooling duvet insert and cover kept the temperature balanced yet still cozy and warm. These sheets may actually make me like winter now.”
Weight: Unlike traditional cotton sheets, the quality of flannel sheets is measured in weight instead of thread count. So, for example, flannel sheets that are five ounces per square yard or more is considered good quality like our top pick from L.L. Bean. (For reference, cotton is about three ounces per square yard.) This also translates to meters/grams or GSM (grams per square meter) with a higher quality translating to 170 GSM.
Outdoor brand Eddie Bauer just so happens to make premium flannel sheets in a variety of classic and seasonal patterns. Available in four sizes — twin to King — and 24 different patterns, there’s something for every bed and style. From classic plaid and fair isle to skiers and snowflakes, we especially love the nostalgic, seasonal touch these sheet patterns instantly add to a bedroom. The 100-percent cotton flannel sheets are developed using an eight-stage brushing process that enhances the softness and coziness. And with each wash, the sheets become more plush, soft and comfortable. They’re easy to care for, too, as they’re wrinkle, shrink and pill-resistant, all reasons they made our list — and not just for the charming patterns.
Our Editor Says: "There's something about making a seasonal sheet swap from linen to flannel that makes me feel like I've reached peak adulthood, and I love it."
What to Consider When Buying Flannel Sheets
Napping: Flannel sheets are unique due to their finishing process known as napping which produces the fuzziness on the material. Flannel sheets can have napping on both or one side. Higher end flannel sheets are generally napped on each side for a cozier feel.
Fiber: Our top flannel sheet picks are all made from 100% cotton flannel making them a natural fabric, breathable and high quality. Some flannel sheets are made from a cotton blend, though we don't recommend them.
Sizes: We chose flannel sheets that come in a variety of standard sizes to fit most American beds. Some of our picks even come in Twin XL, which is ideal for dorms.
Color: Most flannel sheets come in a variety of colors and seasonal patterns for cooler weather. If holiday sheet sets are a high priority for you, you'll likely find a flannel sheet pattern to meet your needs.
How to Wash Flannel Sheets
Cotton flannel has the tendency to "shed" at first, but good flannel will stop shedding after a few washes. (Don't forget to clean out that lint filter!) In general, most brands recommend washing flannel sheets on cold and tumble drying on low. Patience is key here and you may need to run your low dry cycle twice to get sheets completely dry, but it's worth it. High temperatures can lead to shrinkage and make sheets less durable over time.
What Is Flannel?
Flannel, a soft, medium-weight fabric, can be made of wool, cotton or synthetic fiber, and it can be brushed or unbrushed. Brushing is a mechanical process where a fine brush rubs over the fabric to create extra softness, creating a napped finish. Although brushing isn’t required to be considered flannel, it does give the fabric that soft, fuzzy appearance that people typically associate with the fabric.
What Is Flanette?
Flannel sheets can come in a variety of price ranges based on the quality of the fabric, but you can find more affordable options that resemble the softness of flannel without the price tag, like flannelette, a napped cotton fabric that resembles flannel, and cotton sheets that are only napped on one side.
Who Should Buy Flannel Sheets?
Flannel sheets are great for a few key reasons: they’re soft and cozy for winter; they’re durable and will last several years; and they don’t wrinkle easily. And this may be pretty obvious, but we’ll say it anyway — they’re not a particularly great option if you run hot at night, as they lock in heat.