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Shopping for bedding can be quite difficult considering the multiple options on the market. If you’re looking to get your hands on some new bed sheets, it’s safe to say that you’ll be faced with an impressive variety of material types. Choosing the best one for your needs could be challenging if you’re not aware of the particular pros and cons of each type of bed sheet. When it comes to bed sheets, comfort represents the most important aspect that should be factored in your decision.
It could be argued that all bed sheets out there are designed to be comfortable. The difference is the specific applications that make certain materials better suited for the job than others. For example, some types of bed sheets are more reliable if you wish to stay cool at night while others bring extra warmth to keep you cozy during the winter. Take a look at the best and worst bed sheet material types you can choose on the market. Hopefully, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and purchase the most comfortable bedding set for your needs.
The Best Bed Sheet Material Types (Jump to 11 for the Worst Types)
Natural silk offers some of the best qualities that you’d want in a bed sheet material. It’s incredibly strong despite being a lightweight fabric. Silk provides a luxurious sensation while ensuring cooling relief during hot summer nights. One of the best features of natural silk is its breathability which contributes to a superior level of comfort. Thanks to its natural hypoallergenic properties, silk is also recommended if you’re sensitive to more common bed sheet materials.
The only notable downside of natural silk is the prohibitive cost. This is to be expected considering the manufacturing method of the material. It’s a delicate and slow process that requires silkworms. The more difficult maintenance is another aspect to keep in mind if you’re willing to spend the money on premium silk sheets. Although this material type is durable, it’s still more delicate compared to cotton.
2. Egyptian Cotton
Cotton is a safe bet when it comes to getting your hands on some comfortable bed sheets. The material is crafted from natural fibers whose fluffy qualities made it extremely popular. Not all cotton is created in the same way. Egyptian cotton is widely considered the best type of cotton to try if you’re looking for a premium experience in all regards. Thanks to its extra-long fibers, Egyptian cotton boasts superior durability and a much smoother finish than other types of cotton.
As the name suggests, this cotton is mainly grown in Egypt and other parts of Northern Africa. It thrives in hot and dry temperatures where the fibers maintain their natural softness. Top-quality Egyptian cotton is not exactly common and may have a notable impact on your budget. Some manufacturers create blends of this material with other types of cotton to save costs. That’s why you need to be careful to buy authentic bedding sheets made using 100% Egyptian cotton.
Known for its excellent breathability and cooling effect, bamboo is a top pick when it comes to bed sheet materials. If you’re concerned about sustainability, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better option than bamboo considering its eco-friendly features. The material doesn’t require a lot of water to produce and doesn’t rely on potentially harmful chemicals. Another great advantage is that bamboo is hypoallergenic as well.
As long as you take good care of your bamboo bed sheets, it’s safe to say they can last for years. Compared to other materials, bamboo requires some specialized care because it’s more delicate than other common fibers such as cotton. In terms of comfort, bamboo seems like an excellent option to improve your sleeping experience during the summer. The moisture-wicking abilities of the material make a great pairing with its silky-smooth texture.
Although satin is crafted from synthetic fibers, this is a top-tier material to consider for your bed sheets. It brings a similar romantic vibe to silk while costing much less. Satin offers a respectable level of comfort, but it mostly stands out thanks to its luxurious appearance. This material type packs good breathability and they manage to remain cool to the touch in most situations.
When it comes to disadvantages, it’s worth mentioning that satin is inferior to natural silk in some regards. The material tends to cling to the skin which might affect overall comfort. Perhaps the weakest point of satin is its durability. It doesn’t last as long as more premium fibers. Satin can be either woven or knit. It’s typically recommended to opt for woven varieties because the fabric is smoother.
5. Pima Cotton
Similar to Egyptian cotton, there are other types of cotton that show superior qualities. A good example is Pima cotton which is mostly produced in Peru. This is a special type of cotton that strikes a great balance between strength and flexibility. The cost is somewhat more affordable than Egyptian cotton, but still in a very expensive range compared to standard cotton.
If you get the chance to try out the softness of Pima cotton, you will probably be amazed by how similar it feels to silk. The material is very pleasant to the touch while the longer fibers promise greater durability. You can take advantage of a long lifespan, but only if you’re careful about the proper maintenance procedures. Supima cotton is an advanced type of Pima cotton that’s twice as expensive because it provides ultra-luxurious softness and even more extended durability.
The fluffiness of flannel makes this bed sheet material perfect for sleeping more comfortably during wintertime. Although this isn’t the most breathable option out there, flannel is highly recommended when additional warmth is required. The material type keeps you cozy when temperatures drop but you shouldn’t use flannel bed sheets in hot weather because they cause uncomfortable overheating.
Flannel is a type of cotton designed with fluffed fibers to retain heat more effectively. If you plan to purchase some high-quality flannel bed sheets, you need to pay attention to some specific details. Instead of thread count, purchase flannel fabrics that pack solid ounces per square yard to make sure you end up with an ultra-comfortable bedding set. An important disadvantage of flannel is that it’s prone to releasing a lot of lint initially.
Linen is a natural material derived from the fibers of flax plants. It could be an excellent choice for many people who need a hypoallergenic and moisture-wicking bed sheet material. Compared to cotton sheets, linen boasts increased thickness which translates to a longer lifespan. Although the material seems a little rough at first, it becomes softer with each wash.
Thanks to their characteristic style and texture, linen bed sheets work perfectly for rustic designs such as farmhouse-inspired bedrooms. Considering the high level of breathability, this material type provides decent overall comfort. It will help you sleep cool as the open weave doesn’t trap heat very easily. Compared to other summer-friendly bed sheets, linen packs so many great qualities at a more affordable cost.
8. Upland Cotton
Not many people might be aware of it, but the vast majority of cotton bed sheets are made from an affordable variety called upland cotton. It has short fibers and can’t be compared to luxurious types of cotton such as Egyptian or Pima. However, this is still a reliable natural fiber that boasts excellent value for the money.
Upland cotton sheets vary wildly in terms of quality, but even the most basic set promises great breathability and softness. Compared to other fibers, cotton is better at absorbing moisture. The biggest weakness of upland cotton is its durability. As you can expect from a more affordable cost, this material tends to wear out pretty fast. Make sure you choose upland cotton bed sheets that feature a high thread count to benefit from extra durability.
This is a popular branded name that refers to a special material obtained from processed wood pulp. Tencel is an eco-friendly type of fabric because it relies on fast-growing trees such as eucalyptus. Additionally, the manufacturing process recycles and reuses materials. In terms of comfort, Tencel offers a great level of softness despite the fact that it’s not as breathable as other natural materials.
Bed sheets made from Tencel ensure great moisture-wicking abilities. The material is hypoallergenic and fairly long-lasting. The overall smoothness of Tencel fabric can be considered an advantage but some people might find it unappealing when compared to the feel of cotton. The fibers of Tencel absorb water so effectively that you need to be careful about it being vulnerable to mildew. This material can often be more expensive than good-quality upland cotton.
Although polyester has a bad reputation for being a synthetic material, it can be worth considering if you have a limited budget. Polyester bed sheets can vary a lot in terms of quality. By selecting bedding sets with a higher thread count, it’s safe to say that you won’t be disappointed by the level of softness. Versatility is probably the main advantage of polyester because the material can be crafted to simulate the feel of more expensive fabrics such as silk or velvet.
Compared to the other bed sheet material types in this list, polyester can be considered the worst one when it comes to breathability. The synthetic material doesn’t provide the best comfort, but the moisture-wicking abilities are respectable enough to make polyester suitable for hot summer nights. Thanks to the good wrinkle resistance and durable plastic fibers, you can expect polyester bed sheets to last very long with minimal maintenance effort.
But What Are The Worst Types of Bed Sheet Materials?
11. Vinyl or Plastic (Apart From Polyester)
Vinyl or plastic sheets sometimes emit an unpleasant chemical smell, especially when they are new. This can be off-putting for a lot of people and can even cause headaches or respiratory issues if you don’t have a lot of tolerance for these scents.
Vinyl sheets can also be fairly noisy when you move around during the night. This may disrupt your sleep particularly if you’re a light sleeper.
And last but not least, these materials are generally not as soft or as comfortable when compared to natural fibers like cotton or bamboo. They may feel sticky or clammy against the skin, leading to a less enjoyable sleeping experience.
12. Low Thread Count Cotton (Less Than 200)
Low thread count cotton sheets (typically less than 200 threads per square inch) will most likely feel rough and less comfortable against the skin when you compare them to higher thread count cotton like Pima or Egyptian Cotton.
Low thread count cotton sheets are also wrinkling more often and will not look as smooth and polished on the bed as higher thread count sheets. This can affect the overall aesthetics of your bedroom.
13. Low Quality Microfiber
Low-quality microfiber sheets generally wear out more quickly than high-quality microfiber or other materials like Egyptian Cotton. One wacky thing about them is that are pilling (forming small, round balls on the surface), constantly fading and sometimes tearing.
Low-quality microfiber sheets sometimes contain bad chemicals or dyes that are problematic for individuals with allergies or sensitivities. These can actually cause skin irritation or even respiratory issues in some cases.