Linen: The hot sleeper’s first stop is usually linen sheets. They’re loosely woven from flax fibers and feel a tad rougher to the touch than cotton, but that loose weave lets the hot air out, and the extra texture keeps the fabric from “sticking” to skin. Some linen sheets can feel extra rough out of the bag, but good linen continues to get softer over time as its washed and the threads break in.
Eucalyptus and Bamboo: Both are made from pulped trees—and more importantly, both are used to make the best non-linen “cooling” sheets, because these semi-synthetic cotton alternatives wick moisture and feel a little cooler to the touch. They’re also hypoallergenic and anti-microbial, which is nice. You’ll often see them referred to as “lyocell” (the term for any semi-synthetic fabric made from wood pulp) or “Tencel” (a brand name for lyocell-based fabric). We haven’t included any bamboo sheet sets here, as we find eucalpytus to be just as cooling, but less wrinkle-prone and silky-slick.
Flannel: On the opposite end of the breathability spectrum sit flannel sheets. They tend to be soft and cozy, like your favorite checked shirt, right out of the box. If you—or your house—runs cold, they can be a godsend.How we tested
When we be began this process, we basically ignored thread count and used fabric quality—long-staple cotton, eco-friendly Egyptian cotton, flax plant fibers—to find the best contenders. Then we called them and crashed hard on them over a series of nights to decide which made for blissful sleep, and which left us resting fitfully.
When making final cuts or evaluating new-to-market sheet sets during updates to this guide, we evaluate each option based on the key characteristics of the fabric: The most crisp percale, the silkiest sateen, the airiest linen, the coziest flannel. We’re looking for stellar sheets that consistently lead to a great night’s sleep and also hold up after washes (no pilling or stretching). Every option included here passed those tests.
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All prices shown are for full queen sets (fitted sheet, flat sheet, and two pillow cases) unless otherwise noted.
The Best Cotton Percale Sheets: Snowe
Out all of the percale sheets we tested, Snowe’s ultra-luxurious option struck the most impressive balance of sturdiness and softness. The brand’s high-end 100% long-staple cotton percale sheets have that classic crisp, “four-star hotel” feel—and after a few circuits in the washing machine, they’ll feel like your favorite broken-in Ralph Lauren button-up. The color range is limited, but the shades available are—and we don’t say this lightly—downright lovely. Snowe’s reputation and high-end feel don’t come cheap, but we’ve never slept on a more luxurious set of percale sheets.
The More Affordable Percale Sheets: L.L. Bean
L.L. Bean’s percale sheet set is a stalwart of the genre, with word of its legendarily dependable bedding passed down from mom to mom. Considering how wonderfully crisp the percale cotton is on the sheets at this price, we wouldn’t be surprised if Bean’s sheets are also a benchmark for all the startups trying to manufacture some lesser version of their own. Snowe’s cotton percale sheets break in a bit faster and feel a little softer, but L.L. Bean offers more color options and stellar customer service.
The Stylish Percale Sheets: Brooklinen
Brooklinen’s classic sheets were most people’s first introduction to the brand when it kickstarted the DTC bedding category. Though the brand has expanded far beyond tastefully unisex bedding at this point, its original percale sheets are still some of the best out there, and we appreciate that they come in a bevy of handsome prints, like these stripes. They hold up well wash after wash, feeling crisp and cool all seasons of the year. And we appreciate the little “long” and “short” tags saving us from remaking the bed once we realize we’ve put the fitted sheet on sideways.
The Truly Luxe Percale Sheets: Coyuchi
Do you love all things organic and eco-friendly? Then Coyuchi needs to be on your radar, stat. The organic textile company was founded in Northern California in 1991 (where it’s still based today), and while other bedding brands talk a big game about sustainability, Coyuchi brings the receipts. The Coyuchi Heritage Organic Percale sheets take this commitment a step further by using GOTS-certified organic cotton grown in the United States. For a soft finish, Coyuchi also uses a plant-based softener after spinning and weaving its long-staple cotton. In terms of feel, these sheets are light and breathable without being too thin. Currently, these sheets are only available in a crisp white, but that may actually be a plus. There’s something satisfying about slipping into a freshly-washed pair of decadent white sheets.
The Best Sateen Sheets: Cuddledown
The name sounds like it came from a toddler and the website looks like a Hallmark movie written in HTML, but we have to admit: Cuddledown makes great sheets. Its sateen set nails the slightly silky feel you want, and comes in nearly every color you can imagine. That variety extends to its sizing, too: There’s even options for college-ready twin XL sheets or a “deep” fitted sheet if you have a particularly thick mattress or love a mattress topper. Cuddledown is the perfect upgrade sheet set for someone that wants something smooth like butter.
The More Stylish Sateen Sheets: Riley
Cuddledown’s sateen set is slightly smoother and silkier than Riley’s, and at full price a complete Riley set is actually more expensive (though it’s cheaper if you’re a topsheet truther). But as we’re writing this, Riley’s sets are on deep discount—and no matter the price, the brand’s periodically-updated color selection feels more modern. They all feel like they could work together (preventing the dreaded duvet-sheet mismatch), and we especially dig the pinstripe designs. Riley even adds a baratta stitch along the perimeter of the flat sheet and pillowcases—a tone-on-tone flourish that makes the set feel more high-end.
The Affordable Sateen Sheets: Italic
Italic prides itself on making high quality versions of things you love (from yoga mats to cashmere pants to cookware) at wholesale prices, working with the factories behind brands like Lululemon and Le Creuset to bring A-grade goods at B-still-your-heart prices. Realistically, where a product is made is less relevant than what it’s made from, and how it’s made, but these luxe sateen sheets—supposedly sewn by the same sheet supplier for the Ritz Carlton—do actually deliver. Testers found these sheets to be luxuriously smooth, with a nice weight. The sheets lost their out-of-the-box luster after just one wash, but remained smooth and cool to the touch after plenty more runs through the machine.
The Very Affordable Sateen Sheets: Target
We’ll level with you: the rest of the sheets on this list are pretty expensive. Considering that you’ll spend a third of your life nestled between them, we think they’re worth it. (Invest in your comfort!) But if you’re not at a place to do that right now—or if you need something for your kids—these OEKO-TEX certified cotton sheets from Target are one of the best budget-friendly options on the market. They aren’t as soft or breathable as some of the more primo versions listed here, but they hold up well after years of use—and unlike other microfiber or jersey sheets made from mellanni or rayon, they don’t feel like your performance gym underwear. They’re the perfect sheets to buy if you’re just starting off on your own—and once you’ve worn them in, they’ll still be great on that guest bed.
The Best Flannel Sheets: L.L. Bean
L.L. Bean has been in the sheets game for a long time, and based in Maine for even longer, so yeah—it knows flannel. As much as we liked the brand’s percale sheets above, Bean’s flannel sheets are in a league of their own: soft, warm, and as sturdy as its duck boots. Some owners report pilling after a while, but that’s hard to avoid if your flannel sheets have been in use for years. If there’s a downside, it’s that these super soft sheets only come in the lumberjack-special checked pattern, in four colors. (And if you’re living in Siberia or thereabouts, L.L. Bean has a seriously thick set of chamois flannel sheets, too.)
The Very Affordable Flannel Sheets: Target
If you’re looking to spend a little less, Tar-zhay, maker of our very favorite budget sheets, also sells a killer flannel set. The retailer has been pumping out cozy threads (in plenty of seasonal patterns and fabrics) for years, and paying just $35 for a full set of queen size sheets gets you quality that’s better than anything else from the competition. Sizes are limited (only full and queen), and so are the colors (we only see two in stock as we’re typing this)—but bargain-seekers can’t be choosers.
The Best Linen Sheets: The Citizenry
If traditional linen’s burlap-lite texture turns you off but you really want its easy-breezy feel, give The Citizenry’s linen sheets a chance. The brand’s known more for its interior design goods, but its bedding deserves attention even if you don’t vibe to the ersatz boho vibes in the furniture sections. Straight out of the packaging, the linen is soft and gentle to the touch—and it gets even more so after the first wash. The Goldilocks weight somehow makes for a great bedding option in both the dog days of summer and in the chilliest winter nights. Linen won’t even be buttery smooth like sateen, but the barely-there texture feels like a steal at this price, knowing how expensive linen sheet sets can be. As proof, check out this next set…
The Fancier Linen Sheets: Cultiver
Like The Citizenry’s linen sheets, Cultiver’s come pre-washed. That means they’re going to feel softer than untreated linen straight out of the box and won’t need to be broken in with a couple of spin cycles before you stretch them over your mattress. Compared to the Citizenry’s sheet set, Cultiver’s is a substantial uptick in price—but for the money, you’re getting sheets that are somehow both a bit smoother and a bit more airy. If you’re a truly hot sleeper and/or a big baller, Cultiver’s linen sheets are worth the price.
The Forever Linen Sheets: Parachute
After years of testing (and sleeping), Parachute’s linen bed sheets still hold up. They’re remarkably durable, so they won’t snag or tear even after months and months of REM cycles. They’re not cheap (good linen isn’t!), and aren’t quite as breathable as the set from The Citizenry above. But if you’re looking to escape whites and beiges, Parachute’s sheets come in 13 colors. Like all good linen bed sheets, these will only continue to break in the more often you wash them (which we hope is every week or two). And so long as you pay attention to the care label, you’ll be rewarded with years of blissfully un-sweaty shut-eye.
The Best Cooling Sheets: Sijo
Linen is airy, but because its a natural fiber, it will still feel warm to the touch, and will absorb sweat or humidity. The best cooling sheets, lately made of a eucalyptus-based Tencel or lycocell, feel cool to the touch and wick sweat away from the body, where it can evaporate. Time and again, we’ve found the best cooling sheets to be the best eucalyptus sheets: Sijo’s hot-sleeper-friendly AiryWeight bedding. One tester described these sheets as “a silky envelope,” yet still extra-breathable even on steamy August evenings. Tencel fabric tends to be hardy, and that’s the case with these: “I’ve sent them through the wash twice now (they come pre-washed for softness regardless) and so far they’ve held up beautifully,” a tester said.
Another Great Cooling Sheet: Buffy
Buffy’s Breeze sheets have racked up accolades like Ticketmaster racks up fees on a Taylor Swift concert tour. Are Buffy’s fans as passionate as T-Swift’s? No, of course not. That’s impossible. But you may want to write a love letter to the brand after sleeping on its eucalyptus cooling sheets. They’re soft and breathable enough to satisfy the sweatiest sleepers. We also appreciate that these sheets come in over a dozen colors and patterns.
The Techiest Cooling Sheets: Casper Hyperlite
Twice now, we’ve ranked the Sijo Eucalyptus Sheets sheets as our favorites in the, ahem, hotly contested “cooling” category: first in the GQ guide to the best cooling sheets, and again in the GQ Sleep Awards 2023. Casper’s Hyperlite sheets are certainly the most innovative when it comes to advanced bedding chillness. The thread count of their sleek, silky, slightly stretchy Tencel fabric is intentionally low—just 200—to keep the weave as open and airy as possible. And just to advance sleep science further, there’s a subtle grid design that, if you look closely, is made up of microperforations. Or maybe it’s better to call them pores, because they’re there to let your body heat escape into the night air—and they do an impressive job.
The Best Patterned Sheets: Brooklinen
No matter the style of sheets (from percale to sateen), Brooklinen always seems to have some handsome prints on deck, particularly when it drops new seasonal styles. Its sheets and duvet covers feature a variety of bold but not too polarizing patterns that are generally designed to be unisex. (We like the “graphite and steel oxford stripe” and “windowpane” options.) These luxe sheets felt a little less smooth than our favorite sateen options, but unless you’re doing a blind test, you probably wouldn’t notice the difference. And at this price, you’re looking at one of the best deals around.
The Power-Patterned Linen Sheets
If you’re leaning more towards a linen blend for your summer sheets, then Garnet Hill has a selection of tasteful prints—from floral patterns to the stripes seen here—that feature a lived-in feel. Despite being pre-washed, they’re a little rougher out of the box than our favorite linen picks above, but they’re also wildly breathable—wash them a few times early on, and they’ll serve you well when the temperature creeps up. You buy each piece of the set separately, which means you can channel your inner decorator by mixing-and-matching the undeniably enthusiastic patterns—or, more practically, buying extras if, say, something tragic happens to your pillow case.
The Best Sheets on Amazon: Mellanni
We know some of you are absolute Prime addicts who live or die by two-day shipping. So yes, you can get good sheets on Amazon. No brand with only consonants in its name can match up to the Brooklinens and Stowes and L.L. Beans of the sheet game, but Mellanni’s Hotel Luxury sheet set is a win in a Bezos-built sea of mediocrity (as its 340,000-plus reviews will attest). Amazon’s most popular bedding option is made from a wildly soft microfiber, which keeps the price low. Follow the care label, and the sheets will survive more washings than most under-$100 sets. (Plus, Mellanni offers up a lifetime warranty.) It’s worth noting that Mellanni’s set comes only with a deep-pocket fitted sheet—if you don’t have a fairly thick mattress (say, 10 inches deep or more), it’s likely the bottom sheet will slip and slide.