By Christine Cyr Clisset from the New York Times Wirecutter
Updated January 13, 2023
We’ve looked over this guide and stand by all of our picks.
To find the best sheets, we’ve washed, dried, stretched, rubbed, and slept on dozens of sets, and we think most people will be happy with the L.L.Bean 280-Thread-Count Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set. And if you prefer smooth sateen, plush flannel, or airy linen, we have other recommendations to help you get a great night’s sleep.
|Made of breathable and cool 100 percent pima cotton that’s Oeko-Tex certified||All percale feels a bit textured, may feel rough to some people|
|Hold up over time and become softer with more washes|
|Our favorite sheets for six years|
Breathable, soft cotton in percale or sateen: Best cotton sheets
Why we like them: Everyone should own at least a couple of sets of soft, breathable cotton sheets, and L.L.Bean’s 280-Thread-Count Pima Cotton Percale Sheets and Wrinkle Guard’s 400 Thread Count Sateen Sheets have been our favorites for since 2014 (read more in our guide to the best cotton sheets). They feel nicer than sets twice the price and wear exceptionally well. L.L.Bean’s percale set feels cool and crisp, reminiscent of boutique hotel bedding, making it ideal for warmer temperatures. The Wrinkle Guard sateen set (rebranded from the JCP Home Wrinkle Guard set in 2020) has a silkier, heavier texture that makes it a little warmer; the sheets are nearly wrinkle-free. We think that both sets make a solid base layer for dressing your bed year-round.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: Some people find L.L.Bean’s percale set rough. But all percale feels a little textured; if you prefer supersmooth fabric, get a sateen set. The only complaints we have about the Wrinkle Guard sheets are some mild static cling when folding them, and the fact that this set has been rebranded three times since we first recommended them in 2014. They were originally under the Royal Velvet brand, then JCP Home, and now simply Wrinkle Guard, but we’ve tested them all, and they are all the same sheets with the same high quality.
Available sizes: L.L.Bean percale set comes in twin, full, queen, king, and California king. Wrinkle Guard sateen comes in full, queen, king, California king, and split king.
For a cozy winter bed: Best flannel sheets
Why we like them: If you prefer the feel of flannel, we don’t think you can beat the performance and price of L.L.Bean’s Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Sheet Set. We’ve tried more than a dozen sets since 2016, for our guide to the best flannel sheets, and the L.L.Bean set consistently ranks among the plushest while never feeling clingy. These sheets are expensive, but that’s because they’re made of high-quality long-staple cotton, which means they should last you many years if you care for them properly. Some Wirecutter staffers have used these sheets for years and rave about them.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: In our tests, these sheets shed more lint than other sets. We suspect that they will become less plush over time, but that probably won’t happen until after many years of use.
Available sizes: twin, full, queen, king, and California king
L.L.Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Sheet Set
Best winter sheets
Supersoft, well-made, and reasonably priced, these flannel sheets will keep most people toasty and happy on cold winter nights.
10% off sitewide w/code COMFY10
*At the time of publishing, the price was $109.
The Best Flannel Sheets
By Jackie Reeve from the New York Times Wirecutter
Updated January 10, 2023
We tested several new sets of flannel sheets this fall, and we still stand by our current picks.
After our tests of several new sets of flannel sheets, our original picks remain our favorites. We’ve also added a section with a few other good flannel sheets to consider.
This new section includes Riley’s Brushed Cotton Sheet Set, Coyuchi’s Cloud Brushed Organic Flannel Sheets, and Brooklinen’s Flannel Core Sheet Set. We’ve also added an updated explanation of the differences between flannel, flannelette, and brushed cotton.
A good set of flannel sheets should be so warm and inviting that it’s hard to leave them on a cold morning—if you don’t want to stay in bed all day, they’re not doing their job. After putting in almost 200 hours of research and testing, using sheets long-term over the course of six years, and trying 21 flannel sets since 2016, we still like L.L.Bean’s Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Sheet Set. It’s one of the softest, sturdiest, and coziest flannel sets around.
Target Threshold Flannel Sheet Set
Not as soft, great price
These bargain sheets aren’t the most luxurious flannel set we recommend, but they’ve outperformed many pricier sets we’ve tested. And they come in the most modern, whimsical prints of all of our picks.
Target’s Threshold Flannel Sheet Set costs about a quarter of the price of our top pick from L.L.Bean. And though the Threshold sheets may not last as long, they’re still a fantastic deal and will definitely keep you warm. These sheets aren’t as soft as the L.L.Bean Ultrasoft Comfort sheets, and in our long-term testing they pilled more, but they’ve performed better than many expensive sets we’ve tried, including those from Boll & Branch and Riley. The Threshold sheets come in fun colors and prints, including holiday options, which vary from year to year but are typically more modern than those from L.L.Bean. Target carries these sheets only for winter, and the prints sell out often; the retailer does restock them throughout the season, but if you see a pattern you like, don’t wait to buy it.
A more luxurious option
The Premium Supima sheets feel softer and plusher than any other flannel sheets we’ve tried, and after years of long-term testing them, we know they last.
10% off sitewide w/code COMFY10
*At the time of publishing, the price was $199.
If you want the softest flannel sheets we’ve found and don’t mind paying more for them, we recommend the L.L.Bean Premium Supima Flannel Sheet Collection. These sheets are almost twice the price of the L.L.Bean Ultrasoft Comfort sheets, but over several years of our testing they’ve consistently been the softest flannel sheets overall. Like the Ultrasoft Comfort sheets, the Premium Supima sheets are beautifully constructed from Portuguese flannel, but the fabric is thicker and weightier, with minimal shrinkage and pilling. We’ve long-term tested two sets over three to four years each, and they’re still plush and warm. The Premium Supima sheets are pricey, but they’re a great investment.
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How to Mix and Match Your Bed Sheets for the Season
By guest author Christine Cyr Clisset
Published July 14, 2016
Percale, sateen, linen, or flannel? Mix them for optimal temperature and wear, say the experts.
If you’re like most people, you probably purchase sheets in a set. But there’s no rule that says your sheets have to match. In fact, you might sleep better if you incorporate a variety of sheeting fabrics on your bed seasonally and as your budget allows (so you can splurge where it counts). We’ve also found there are some benefits to this method for maximizing the longevity of your sheets and calibrating the best sheet combo for partners who like different textures.
Shannon Maher, an assistant professor at FIT’s Textile Development and Marketing department and former designer for The Company Store, prefers different combinations of cotton percale and sateen, linen, and flannel, depending on the seasons.
Spring and fall: Sateen or percale
Percale sheets are crisp and soft with a matte finish. “Percale sheets have a cooler, crisper hand due to the basic weave and are great for the warmer weather,” says Maher. (See all our percale picks here. Our L.L.Bean and Casper picks are sold by the piece.)
Sateen sheets are more luxuriously smooth than percale, a little silky against the skin, and have a heavier drape. “Sateen sheets have a warmer hand due to the construction, so they are perfect for sleeping with the windows open when the nights are cooler,” says Maher. (See our sateen picks here. Our Cuddledown pick is sold by the piece.)
Summer: Percale, linen, or a mix of both
Linen sheets breath really well, even better than cotton. They have a rougher texture than cotton, but their breathability makes them exceptional for sleeping in hot, muggy weather. As Maher says, “[Linen] is the perfect summer sheet.” But linen can also make a great sheet fabric year-round, because it regulates temperature really well and can be great for people who sleep hot or cold. A couple of our Wirecutter writers sleep on linen all year. If you can’t afford a set, splurge on a single top sheet. (You can read our full review to linen sheets here. Our upgrade pick from Rough Linen is sold by the piece.)
If you use oily/staining face products before bed, tend to sweat a lot, or have oily skin, you might want to use a less expensive white percale pillowcase that you can wash (and bleach) more easily.
Winter: Sateen or percale mixed with flannel
Flannel sheets are very warm, with a soft, fuzzy texture created by napping or brushing the fabric. These can be wonderful for wrapping up in during cold winter nights, but some people, like Maher, find flannel sheets too warm. “I use flannel for the outer bed only,” she says. “This provides a cozy warm bed, especially if used as a duvet/comforter cover.” If you also find flannel too warm to sleep on, try using a percale or sateen bottom sheet and pillowcases with a flannel top sheet or duvet cover as your top layer.
Maher says, “In all seasons, I always layer with a quilt, blanket, or matelasse at the foot of the bed; this visually finishes the bed plus gives you that extra layer if needed,” she says. “I use varying weights depending on the season and how warm or cool the weather is.”
About your guide
Christine Cyr Clisset is a deputy editor overseeing home coverage for Wirecutter. She previously edited cookbooks and craft books for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, and she started reviewing kitchen gear back in 2013. She sews many of her own clothes, which has made her obsessive about high-quality fabrics—whether in a dress or bedsheets.