Types of Bed Sheets
Percale refers to a common type of weave used in cotton or cotton-blend sheets. Woven like a basket with one thread over and one thread under, percale sheets are very breathable and often lighter in weight than other sheets. Many users describe them as "crisp," but percale may not feel soft or warm enough for some.
Manmade microfiber is composed of finely woven fibers manufactured from wood pulp, or polyester and nylon blends. Microfiber sheets are quite thin, but, in spite of their seemingly fragile construction, are actually quite strong. Fans of microfiber sheets say they are soft and comfortable out of the package. They also tend to be very inexpensive. Downsides include static cling and a tendency to attract lint. Some users also say microfiber sheets aren't as breathable as cotton sheets.
Woven with four threads over one thread, sateen sheets are slightly thicker than percale sheets and have a unique luster, or sheen. They're known for a soft, smooth feel, but some users find them too warm or "slippery," and they can be less durable than percale sheets.
Today's flannel sheets are usually made of cotton, although some may also use wool or synthetic fibers. The weave has a raised surface, or "nap," that makes the sheets soft and fuzzy. Flannel sheets are ideal for frostier climates or those who get cold easily, but they may not be best for those who sleep hot. The sheets may also shed and pill more easily than others.
bed sheets are comfortable, durable and stylish
Comfortable bed sheets are key to a good night's
sleep, but sheets that feel heavenly to one person can be uncomfortable for
another. Many choices in quality sheets are available for a reasonable price,
but shoppers should still do their homework to ensure they buy the best bed
sheets for their taste and lifestyle.
Both percale and sateen sheets are made from cotton
that is derived from different, but closely related, species with varying fiber
lengths. The difference in softness, durability and texture comes when those
different fiber lengths are woven and/or brushed in different ways. Terms like
"Egyptian cotton" are used mainly as a selling point. "Bamboo sheets" is
another popular but misleading buzz word. Bamboo fabrics are actually rayon or
rayon blends. Many of the claimed environmental and organic benefits of bamboo
sheets have been overstated to the point that the Federal Trade Commission has directed retailers to stop labeling and advertising rayon textiles as
bamboo and stop misleading customers about the fabric's supposed antimicrobial
and eco-friendly qualities. Yes, bamboo sheets are very soft, but don't be
misled -- they're just rayon.
Finally, a word about thread count. A high thread
count has long been seen as the gold standard in the "best" bed sheets. The
thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads in one square inch of fabric,
and higher thread counts supposedly means the fabric is softer. But experts say
anything over about 300 thread count isn't necessarily softer or stronger, and
may only be more expensive. The best way to buy any sheet is to put your
fingers on it -- if it feels pleasant to you, that's probably the right one.
Keep in mind that if you're heading off to college,
you'll probably need an extra-long twin set to fit your mattress. Throughout
this report, we've noted which of our picks are available in this size and
others – some, for instance, may skip twin sizes all together, or won't
be available in California king. (Anyone shopping for a college dorm should
also check out our report on mini fridges, another dorm-room staple.)
Once you've identified the best sheets for you,
don't stop there: Our reports on the best mattresses, mattress toppers and pillows can help make sure your bed is as comfortable as
it can be.
Finding The Best Bed Sheets
"The Best Sheets"
Recent expert reviews of bed sheets are limited.
ConsumerReports.org no longer tests or rates bed sheets, and tests performed by
GoodHousekeeping.org are quite dated. One notable exception is TheSweethome.com,
which maintains updated guides to several types of sheets based on in-depth,
comparative testing, including percale and sateen sheets, flannel sheets, linen
sheets, and sheets under $50. Sleepopolis.com and SleepLiketheDead.com also
compare popular and high-end sheet brands.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of owner reviews
at sites including Amazon.com, LLBean.com, JCPenney.com, Target.com and other
individual retailers. When evaluating sources, we focused on comfort,
durability and style. The result is our picks for the best bed sheets to ease
you into a good night's sleep and keep you comfortable while you snooze.