The Best Linen Sheets, Tested by HGTV Editors

Breathable, durable and earth-friendly, linen is one of the best materials for sheets. Learn the basics of what to look for in linen sheets and which brands we recommend for different needs in our tested review.

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September 17, 2022

Our Top Picks for Linen Sheets

Laidback, breathable and plant-based, linen is one of the oldest textiles and an ideal bedding material for so many reasons. Linen appeals to a range of sleepers, from hot sleepers to people who prefer a casual relaxed look (aka those among us who don't mind wrinkles and only sort of make our beds) to those who want to shop sustainably.

Made from fibers of the flax plant, also called linseed, linen is lightweight and has a relaxed, matte finish. It's also incredibly durable, hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, biodegradable and moisture-wicking. Plus, it dries faster than cotton. On the downside, linen is one of the most expensive options for sheets and can wrinkle easily.

What to Know When Shopping for Linen Sheets

GSM: Linen sheets are primarily measured by GSM, or grams per square meter, rather than thread count. GSM is the weight of the fabric, and linen sheets are typically in the 120 - 190 range. The higher the number, the heavier and often more durable (and expensive) the sheets are. For people who prefer lighter weight, smoother linen or are particularly hot sleepers, a lower GSM, may be more ideal. A lower GSM can mean the linen is thinner and feel a bit flimsier though, so it may not hold up as well over time as heavier linen, especially for pet owners.

Care and Maintenance: Flax fibers are thicker and longer than other popular fibers like cotton, meaning linen is one of the most durable, long-lasting fabrics you can buy for sheets. While heavier linen may feel "scratchy" to some people compared to something like a cotton sateen, linen will get softer after continued washing. Most manufacturers recommend washing linen on a cool delicate cycle and then line drying if possible to preserve the fibers and colors or tumble drying on low. If you don't have space to line dry, none of our testers had any issues with shrinkage or discoloration by tumble drying on low. Removing promptly from the dryer will help reduce wrinkles. Most manufacturers discourage the use of chlorine bleach or fabric softener. Shrinkage can be an issue for linen, but most brands feature pre-washed linen for added softness and to avoid future shrinking.

Certifications: Beyond linen being a natural, renewable material, there are several certifications to look out for if sustainability, fair trade practices and avoiding harmful dyes and chemicals are important to you. Oeko-Tex Standard 100 means sheets are tested in an independent lab and verified to be safe from over 350 harmful substances. The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the top certification for ecologically and socially responsible practices throughout the supply chain of textiles. It adheres to a strict set of rules ensuring the welfare of the materials, the environment and the working conditions of the human hands involved along the way. This means that the textile is at least 95-percent organic fiber, but it's also free of a long list of chemicals that may be harmful to you, the planet or the person producing the product. Purchasing a product that's Fair Trade Certified ensures fair and safe labor practices, improves livelihoods and empowers workers to invest in their communities.

Guide to Buying Sheets

Discover how to choose sheets that are soft, comfortable and long-lasting. Plus, learn the best thread count and the difference between weave types and materials.

From $125

Given the quality of linen and endless list of positive features, it's hard to find a good set of linen sheets for under $200, but this set from DAPU on Amazon fits the bill. Featuring a 170 GSM, these pre-washed French linen sheets come in four sizes and 15 color options. While our tester could tell the quality wasn't as high as our picks from Pottery Barn and Saatva, she found this set to be comfortable and a great value. Even with the more affordable price point, this set of sheets is Oeko-Tex-certified and features envelope pillow closures.

Buy It
From $259

If you're someone who sometimes finds linen "scratchy" and prefer a silkier finish or you're accustomed to cotton sateen sheets, Brooklinen's set is the linen we recommend you try. With a 145 GSM, Brooklinen's linen set is the softest and lightest linen sheets we've tested. Stone-washed and made from 100-percent European flax, they feel easy breezy and are ideal for warmer climates and hot sleepers. We also love that Brooklinen offers several colors and patterns, often including limited-edition options that rotate frequently, and that these are Oeko-Tex-certified for chemical safety. If you're someone who likes to change up your bedding seasonally, this linen set would be perfect for summer. Because of the lighter GSM, this set also feels on the thinner side, may not be warm enough for year-round use and may not hold up as well over time as our other recommendations. We wouldn't recommend this set if you have pets with claws who hang out on your bed or tend to damage textiles. While our tester, who is a pet owner, hasn't noticed any damage yet after two years of using these linen sheets, Brooklinen does offer a 365-day return and exchange policy, plus an additional 1-year warranty, and we've found their customer service to be reliable and helpful.

Buy It
From $259

For the same price as Brooklinen's sheets, you can get this Belgian flax linen sheet set from Pottery Barn in a whopping 27 colors. These sheets feel lightweight, soft and breathable but a bit thicker and more durable than the sets from DAPU and Brooklinen. Fair Trade Certified and Oeko-Tex-certified, this set is a great overall option for year-round use that will hold up over time. Our tester noted that these sheets actually didn't wrinkle as much as other linen sheets. Depending on your mattress height, one potential con to note is that the fitted sheet fits mattresses up to 16 inches, so for a shorter mattress, you may have some excess material that will bunch up like our tester did. If you're in the market for a mattress topper to make your bed more comfortable though, the extra few inches can actually make a deeper fitted sheet like this one fit better.

Buy It
From $245

Known for luxury mattresses, Saatva also makes splurge-worthy linen sheets. If you're ready to invest in high-quality linen bedding you'll have for years to come, this 100-percent Belgian linen set felt the most luxurious and durable in our tests. Available in six sizes and three neutral colors, these sheets are Oeko-Tex-certified and fits mattresses up to 16 inches. The only downsides are the price and the lack of color options.

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From $538

While Coyuchi's linen sheets are the priciest option on our list, they're also the only organic linen sheets on our list. If you're looking to splurge and also care about sustainable farming and processing, these linen sheets will not disappoint. GOTS-certified and made in Portugal from organic French flax, this set is available in four sizes and seven earth-toned colors. With a 185 GSM, this set felt ultra luxurious and durable to our tester. They fit mattresses up to 15 inches and will get softer with each wash.

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How We Tested

The HGTV editors personally test all of our sheet recommendations. We prioritize brands with positive customer reviews to determine which linen sheets we test. 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 standard mattresses and/or mattress toppers comfortably. After sleeping on the sheets for several weeks or sometimes months, 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 multiple times a year.

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