• July 18, 2024, 10:57 pm

The best cotton sheets of 2023, tested and reviewed SoftAIT

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Update : Monday, December 4, 2023


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Cotton sheets are the everyman of bedding fabric. They’re breathable—perfect for those who run hot when they sleep—and low maintenance. All you have to do is throw them in the wash to clean, and they hold up twice as long compared to other fabrics. And, since cotton is a natural material, you don’t have to worry about it rotting away in a landfill for years and years. You can also get recycled cotton sheets to feel better about your bedding purchases. You can also get a little crazy with cotton fabric: Flannel, sateen, percale … there are endless ways to turn cotton into something even more dreamy than before. Cotton bedding also comes in many shapes, sizes, and patterns, so you can change your bedding as you get older without losing on comfort and snuggliness. They’re also versatile for multiple seasons. The best cotton sheets are fit for a king—or queen … or twin—and you’ll find them here.

How we chose the best cotton sheets

I am #teamtopsheet. A top sheet is perfect for nights when you’re running warm but you want something covering you. Through college and adulthood, I’ve wrestled with many a fitted sheet. This passion for a piece of fabric—and overcoming adversity by putting on a fitted sheet correctly—makes me uniquely qualified to test this topic. Do those little labels with “BOTTOM RIGHT” emblazoned on them make a difference? What amount of bonus material is needed to fit over a mattress topper? As a very serious journalist covering hard-hitting topics like water bottles, sex toys, and bongs (which could all be considered sleep accessories of a sort), it’s important to not let a sleeping dog lie. If you’re not comfortable in bed, there’s no way you’re getting a good night’s sleep. To find the best cotton sheets, I looked at user reviews and critical recommendations and tested options myself. This sleeping dog laid down a bunch to give you the dirt skinny, but she definitely doesn’t lie about her favorite cotton sheets.

The best cotton sheets: Reviews & Recommendations

So you’ve got a luxurious new mattress, but do you want your raw body touching it … touching the duvet? Exactly. We’re not giving you any bull-sheet when it comes to our picks for the best cotton sheets. Pop some melatonin—but not too much—and read on.

Best overall: Parachute Home Brushed Cotton Sheet Set


  • Included in set: 1 fitted sheet, 2 pillowcases
  • Sizes: Full, Queen, King, California King
  • Machine washable?: Yes


  • Soft
  • Ages like fine wine
  • Breathable


  • Top sheet is a $100 add-on
  • Fitted sheet has lots of excess fabric
  • Expensive

I realized I got these sheets in “college boy navy blue” (called “Dusk” on the Parachute website) after putting them on my IKEA mattress. However, the Parachute Brushed Cotton Sheet Set is the antithesis of the scratchy, thin, sad sheets adorning the stained mattresses of college-aged men. Jokingly calling them “college boy navy blue” also feels wrong—a tinge of gray makes them feel undoubtedly more grown up.

The cotton is breathable, the sheets are oh-so-soft, and the weave feels thick and sturdy. It feels like I’ve reclaimed something from my sordid alcohol-fueled, anti-depressant-less, not-in-therapy college romps. These have quickly become the No. 1 sheet set in my rotation, and I’d purchase them again in Mist—a light blue-grey—in a heartbeat.

The elastic on the fitted sheet fit perfectly, but there was excess material. The top sheet was also large. It felt more like a Queen-sized set but was indeed a Full (I double-checked). This is perfect if you have a tall, plushy mattress topper, but I prefer a more fitted look compared to the lived-in looseness the Parachute sheets provided. It’s not a deal breaker, but it is something to note.

Although they’re worth the price, this Parachute set is expensive. I received two pillowcases, a top sheet, and a fitted sheet. This basic Full set (2 pillowcases, 1 fitted sheet, and 1 $100 top sheet add-on) comes out to $269—a pretty penny for something that encounters sweat, spit, and skin dust nightly. That cost adds up if you buy multiple sets to swap in and out. However, considering this set will last me years and exceed its cost per use quickly, the money math works out.

Best flannel: Coyuchi Cloud Brushed Organic Flannel Sheet Set

A set of pale gray heather Coyuchi flannel sheets on a plain background


  • Included in set: Two pillowcases, 1 fitted sheet, 1 top sheet
  • Sizes: Twin, full
  • Machine washable?: Yes


  • Made of organic cotton
  • Thick, weighty 6-ounce flannel
  • Made of recycled cotton


Crawling into bed on a cold winter’s night and feeling your skin touch crisp, cool sheets is … not ideal. Bring your inner hipster and/or lumberjack into your bed with flannel sheets that keep you cozy when the temperature drops. This set from Coyuchi is weighty 6-ounce flannel and made from 100 percent organic cotton. You get two pillowcases, a fitted sheet, and a top sheet for slightly less than the Parachute set. A former/fallen PopSci Gear desk member (may he rest in peace) is a Coyuchi stan and vouches for their masterful quality and utmost coziness. If you’re looking to get that sweet, sweet Amazon two-day shipping on these bad boys, you’ll be limited in your size and color choices. Thankfully, there are more size and color options on the Coyuchi website.

Best organic: Delilah Home Sustainable Living 100% Organic Cotton Bed Sheet Set

A white Delilah Home sheet set tied up in a rectangle on a plain background


  • Included in set: Two pillowcases, top sheet, fitted sheet
  • Sizes: Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Split King, California King
  • Machine washable?: Yes


  • Lots of sizes
  • GOTS certified


If you’re looking to bring the hotel sheet feel into your own home while getting peace of mind about where your cotton came from, look no further than this set from Delilah Home. It’s made from 100 percent organic cotton and is GOTS-certified. Crawling into bed every night felt like I was back in a hotel room at the ADERO in Scottsville, Arizona, cocooned in cotton that was warm where my body was and perfectly chilled everywhere else.

However, they are thin compared to other sheet sets. Although the 300 thread count feels absolutely luxurious, I could see my well-worn, beloved pillow and mattress topper through my pillowcase and fitted sheet which … is far from luxurious. There’s also a limited shade range. If you are a fan of white, beige, and gray, you will find exactly what you like with these sheets. If you’re looking for resort quality with organics in mind, this set from Delilah Home couldn’t be more of a perfect choice.

Best for hot sleepers: Linen Home Store 100% Cotton Percale Sheets

A pair of White linen home store sheets on a plain background


  • Included in set: Two pillowcases, top sheet, fitted sheet
  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
  • Machine washable?: Yes


  • Keeps you cool and dry
  • Luxurious feel
  • QA tested


  • Wrinkle easily
  • Reviews note they’re a little scratchy

Percale is a fabric where the yarn is woven one-over-one (one thread over, one thread under). This results in a closer weave that’s more durable and feels like it came right from a resort laundry room. It’s also cool to the touch. Hot sleepers will appreciate this crispness, especially when moving their leg or arm to another part of the bed. Combined that with the breathability of cotton and you have a bed set that keeps you comfortable and dry. Linen Home Store also tests their sheets for pilling, shrinkage, thread count accuracy, and color fastness. The set you get is been inspected by someone on Linen Home Store’s quality assurance team, meaning you get the same quality every time you buy. And, at $65, with more than 40 color options available, it’s easy to get multiple sets for all beds in your home. You do sacrifice some quality for price—reviews note they wrinkle easily and are a little scratchy—but there’s nothing the best washer-dryer sets and a dryer sheet can’t fix.

Best budget: California Design Den 6 Piece Sheet Set


  • Included in set: Four pillowcases, 1 top sheet, 1 fitted sheet
  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
  • Machine washable?: Yes


  • Durable
  • Cheap
  • High level of craftsmanship


  • Not for those with this mattress toppers

These 400 thread count sheets from California Design Den are made with 100 percent cotton, come with four pillowcases (compared to two, like every other option on this list), and only cost $50. Almost all reviews praise them for their durability, feel, craftsmanship, and how they exceeded their expectations. Deep pockets on the fitted sheet give plenty of room for tall mattress toppers, and head or foot side indicators (not included on most options on our list) make putting on the fitted sheet less of a struggle. Their price, combined with their quality and color options, puts this pick in our top picks and packs. However, although they’re advertised as being deep pocket, they run a little taut.

What to consider when buying the best cotton sheets

We’ve learned a few things from our sleep coverage. And one of those things is the importance of a good set of bed linens. Sleep is the Here is what you should know when shopping for the best cotton sheets:

Thread count

Thread count refers to the number of threads/yarns in a square inch of fabric. A higher thread count means the threads are thinner, and more can fit into one square inch. A higher thread count doesn’t mean higher quality, however. For example, linen—another fabulous bedding material, which we’ll get into later—has a lower thread count because the fibers are naturally thicker. Look for something in the 200-600 range. Any higher, and you’re most likely dealing with synthetics, which aren’t as breathable as cotton, linen, bamboo, or hemp.

Material and weave

Instead of focusing on thread count, make material and weave your number one priority. Cotton and linen are some of the finest sheet materials, but bamboo and hemp sheets have held their own. Here are more details on some common weaves for cotton sheets

  • Percale: Cotton fabric that’s tightly woven in a plain square weave pattern; is crisp and cool to the touch; has a matte finish; incredibly breathable and moisture-wicking; gets softer every wash.
  • Sateen: Made using a satin weave (one thread over, four threads under); silky-soft; lustrous; warmer and more insulating; more wrinkle-resistant.
  • Brushed cotton: Made in a plain weave square pattern but finished with special brushing on one side to fluff up the surface; light insulation.
  • Flannel: Made in plain or twill weave, depending on product; Brushed on both sides for softness and insulation.
  • Jersey: Knit (made from one thread); like wrapping yourself in a t-shirt; soft; great for cold sleepers; stretchy; wrinkle-resistant.


This one seems self-explanatory, but buying the proper sheet size is important. If it’s too small, it could pop off the bed; too large, and you’ll feel your sheets move with you as you toss and turn. If you’re worried a mattress topper will mess with your sheets, consider an option with deep pockets. The industry standard pocket is 7-12 inches. Deep pocket sheets are 14-20 inches deep.


Q: Are high-thread count cotton sheets worth it?

Most often than not, no. Instead of looking for thread quality, consider materials and weave. Percale, brushed, flannel, and sateen cotton sheets have a thread count of around 200-600.

Q: What is the best type of cotton for sheets?

Coming up top is Egyptian cotton, which is known for its color retention, glossy finish, and wear. Second is pima cotton. You’ll see this as Supima, its trademarked name. Supima cotton is strong, soft, and retains color well. Everything else is American upland cotton, which is rougher and cheaper.

Q: How do you soften cotton sheets?

Washing in warm water, using a gentle detergent, soaking your sheets, using fabric softener, and using vinegar in the rinse cycle can make your sheets softer. Regular washing over time will make your cotton sheets softer.

Final thoughts on the best cotton sheets

Cotton sheets combine breathability, durability, and versatility for bed linens for all kinds of sleepers, hot or cold. A higher thread count doesn’t equal quality. Cotton sheets often have a thread count of 200-600. With proper care, rotating, and laundering, your cotton sheets can last for years.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.


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