At the height of winter and summer, you might want to reach for something cozier or airier to match the weather. Not everyone is a fan of flannel sheets during the winter (detractors often point to their lack of breathability), but if you find yourself in a truly glacial environment or—just want something cozy to get you through your Daylight Savings Time funk—they can be a godsend. Flannel has the feel of your favorite cozy button-up, with all the warmth and softness. (Just don’t be surprised if you have trouble ambling out of bed in the morning.)
If you tend to sleep hot and are eager to save on your energy bill during the peak of August, you should seriously consider investing in a few sets of linen sheets. Linen fibers are a bit sturdier and harder to work with than cotton fibers, so linen sheets are more loosely woven and feel a tad rougher to the touch compared to their cotton counterparts. (That loose weave is excellent for breathability, since your body heat can escape more easily through the extra room.) Linen can be a mixed bag in terms of hand feel—before several softening cycles in the wash, some linen sheets might make you feel like you’re being constantly licked by an uncharacteristically affectionate cat. So if you have particularly sensitive skin (or aren’t a cat person), make sure to read the reviews as you browse.
And because you’re a fella of impeccable taste, you’ll naturally have preferences when it comes to colorways (and will probably want to stick to a certain budget). Luckily, if you’re looking for a sheet set with patterns a little more interesting than “Smoke” or “Arctic Winter”—and don’t want to drop a hefty bag securing it—we tested sheets of all stripes, fabrics, and price points to help make surveying the landscape a breeze.
How we tested
When we be began this process, we looked for sheets made with a ton of different high-quality materials (long-staple cotton, eco-friendly Egyptian cotton, flax plant fibers, oh my!) to satisfy a variety of sleep preferences—and then crashed hard on them over a series of (mostly) blissful nights.
To help refine your search, we evaluated each option based on the best qualities of their genre: The crispest percale, the silkiest sateen, the airiest linen, the coziest flannel. Across the board, though, we were looking for stellar sheets that held up after a couple of wears and washes without immediately pilling, and felt comfortable enough to sleep on without a coarse texture or a truly unbearable weave interrupting our Zs. All of which is to say, every option included here—even our honorable mentions, because there can only be so many top picks—will help you get the rest you need.
The Best Percale Sheets
Out all of the percale sheets we tested, Snowe’s ultra-luxurious option struck the best balance of lightness, sturdiness, and softness. They have that classic “five star hotel” feel, like you’re sleeping in a pile of Ralph Lauren button-ups. After a dozen or so washes, they’ll be your favorite sheets—and they’ll stay that way for years. They also come in a few lovely tinted colors, though the range is a bit limited. And while the Snowe sheet set is more expensive than other peers in the category, the quality is right, and the brand’s spring sale is the perfect time to buy them for 30% off.
Another Solid Percale Option
L.L. Bean’s percale sheet set is a classic of the genre. It’s the sheet set your parents probably invested in right after moving to their first house. The brand absolutely nails the crisp feel you expect from percale. In fact, these are probably the sheets that all the startups brought in as a benchmark for quality when they were attempting to manufacture some version of their own. In 2022, you can get cotton percale sheets that break in a bit faster and feel softer than these, like the Snowe option above, but if overall softness isn’t as important to you as color options and customer service, these are a truly excellent alternative.
The Best Sateen Sheets
Our favorite sateen weave sheet set is the Amora set from Cloudten. The company’s sheets don’t come in tons of colors or with particularly fancy stitching, but they’re made well, and hold up to a bunch of washes without pilling everywhere. They’re extremely soft with a light sheen; smooth and silky, but not so much that you’d expect to be sliding around in them, or feel like a guy who calls his apartment a “bachelor pad.” Plus, the “smoke” color just looks like an instant bedroom upgrade—bold enough to be interesting, but without having to worry if it’ll match any of your other linens. They’re made sustainably, they’re simple, and they feel great.
Another Solid Sateen Option
Do not let the childish name fool you—Cuddletown makes great sheets. They nail the luxurious, almost slick, silky feel that you expect from sateen and come in a ton of different colors. There’s even an option to get a fitted sheet with deep pockets if you have a particularly thick mattress. They’re a little bit more expensive than both the Cloudten Amora, but the texture you get is significantly more silky. It’s the perfect upgrade for someone that wants something smoooooth like butter.
The Best Flannel Sheets
L.L. Bean has been in the sheets game for a long time, and most of their sheet sets are excellent. But it’s the company’s flannel sheets that truly shine. These sheets are cozy, comfy, warm, and sturdy enough to last through many a winter, though some shoppers do report pilling (which is fairly normal with a soft fabric like this). Plus, as you’d expect from the Bean, the super soft sheets come in the flannel-iest patterns known to man, which in itself provides a lot of coziness.
Another Solid Flannel Option
If you’re looking to spend a little less in this category, Target, makers of our favorite budget sheets, also make a killer flannel sheet set. The retailer has been pumping out cozy threads (in plenty of seasonal patterns and fabrics) for years, and at merely $30 for a queen size set of flannel sheets, you’re going to get a lot better quality here than pretty much anywhere else at this price point. Of course, for only $30, you’re losing out on some quality, but these flannels still hold their own.
The Best Linen Sheets
The old adage about summer clothing—all linen everything—applies equally well to bedding. If traditional linen has turned you off because of its mild burlap-like texture, we’d suggest Parachute’s sheets, made in Portugal out of fine European flax, which feel smooth straight out of the box, and only get softer over time. They’re also remarkably durable, so they won’t snag or tear after a couple REM cycles. One downside is that they’re not cheap (because most good linen isn’t) and not quite as breathable as the Cultiver below, but they’re a very solid pick, and offer sizes from twin beds up to California kings. Plus, these sheets come in 12 subdued colorways to choose from if you don’t want the same tired rotation of white and beige.
Another Solid Linen Option
Unlike Parachute’s linen sheets, Cultiver’s come pre-washed. That means they’re going to be softer to the touch than untreated linen straight out of the box and won’t need to be broken in with a couple of spin cycles. Compared to the Parachute sheet set, Cultiver’s are a substantial step up in price, but for the splurge, you’re looking at a sheet that’s somehow both a bit smoother to the touch, a bit more airy during a blistering New York City summer. The Parachute linen sheets are plenty breathable, but fire-hot sleepers should consider the high-end Cultiver upgrade.
The Best Patterned Sheet Sets
No matter what the style of sheets (from percale to its luxe sateen line), Brooklinen always seems to have some handsome prints on deck, give or take some extra splashy seasonal options that the brand phases in and out every year. Its sheets and duvet covers feature a variety of bold but simple patterns that somehow all manage to work with each other. They’re eye-grabbing, but not overwhelming or kitschy, and 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. Plus, at this price, you’re looking at one of the best deals out there.
Another Superb Set of Printed Sheets
If you’re leaning more toward linen blends for summer, Garnet Hill has a selection of tasteful prints, from patterns like these to the stripes seen here, that have a nice lived-in quality to them. They’re a little rougher straight out of the box than our top linen picks despite being pre-washed, but are also wildly breathable in summer when the temperature starts creeping up. Garnet Hill gives you the option to build a set individually, from the pillowcases to the sheets, which does add up, but the quality and understated prints really do go the extra mile.
The Best Budget Sheets
All right, alright, 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 who don’t want anything fancy—these Oeko-tex cotton sheets from Target are some of the best budget-friendly sheets out there. They aren’t as soft or breathable as some of the more primo high-quality options, but they hold up well through years of use and spin cycles in the washing machine. And unlike other microfiber sheets or jersey sheets made from mellanni or rayon, these sheets don’t feel like stretchy single-ply toilet paper. They’re the perfect sheets to buy if you’re just starting off on your own. Once you’ve worn them in, they’ll still be great on that guest bed.
Another Solid Budget Option
Amazon has a thriving sheet section with plenty of high-reviewed sheets that cost less than a meal for two at Shake Shack. Most of them are made out of suspect materials that will fall apart after a dozen washes. Peru Pima cotton sheets weren’t quite as luxurious as our favorites, but we really dug their temperature-regulating ones at the price (and the cheaper ones certainly hold up to scrutiny, too). Kind of like your favorite supima cotton sheets.
7 More Sheet Sets We Love
A lot of bedding companies promise to make your bed feel like one in a luxury hotel, a bed you’ll immediately want to fling yourself onto after a long day at some indiscriminate conference. The sheet sets from 10 Grove actually look like they came from one of those hotels, thanks to their minimal accents, like a border on the pillow case or a single colored line in the sheet seam. Those details are a major plus if you prefer understated bedding, especially since the sheets feel decadently soft and breathable in either percale or sateen. The one downside here is that all those luxury flourishes come at a fairly steep price and the sheets are a little thinner than most (which keeps them airy, but also make them feel a little delicate for regular use). We still think they’re well worth it and would highly recommend the percale sheets if you really want the five-star experience.
Brooklinen’s first set of sheets was most people’s introduction to the brand when it landed on the DTC bedding scene. Though the brand has expanded far beyond bedding at this point, its percale sheets are still some of the best out there, and we appreciate that they come in handsome prints, as we mentioned above. These sit comfortably around the same price as our favorite Snowe percale sheets, though we found that the Snowe had a slightly more luxe, upscale feel.
We like this pre-washed flax linen sheet set from Riley because it felt soft to the touch the moment we took it out of the package, and remains one of the softest linen sheet sets we’ve tried. A complete set is pricey—though the company offers sheets individually for you monsters who don’t use top sheets—but about on par with other 100% linen sheet sets. The Parachute linen sheets are still our top pick for most people, since the Riley option only comes in queen and king sizes, with fewer colorways to choose from. Still, the breathable weave makes it one of our best bets if you want to save money on blasting your AC.
Although pricier than most sheets, we liked that Boll & Branch had a few more “refined” designs—things like accent bands (great) and pleated finishes (fine, but some appreciate a good pleat finish more than others). These are the types of breathable, high-quality sheets you put on a bed to convince your in-laws that your career is still on track. They claim three presidents (one Clinton; two Bush) have slept in these sheets, and we have no way to confirm this, but it pretty funny. Plus, they’re made sustainably and with organic cotton.
The Kassatex linen sheets are actually a linen blend, made with 40% bamboo. We don’t like full bamboo sheets very much, but when blended with linen, it actually works. The bamboo adds a softer handfeel without diminishing the sheets’ breathability too much. If you aren’t a blazing inferno of a sleeper, but still sleep on the warmer side, these sheets offer a good balance of breeziness and coziness. But that balance is only available to you if you sleep in a King size or Queen size bed because the company doesn’t make sets for smaller mattresses.
Helix’s hot sleeper-friendly bed sheets are also not made with linen. Instead, the brand uses something called “tencel” (a fabric made from the wood pulp from eucalyptus trees). This gives the sheet set the soft and smooth feel of sateen while also adding some moisture-wicking capabilities. They’re not quite as breathable as fully linen sheets, but they’re a lot cheaper. If you sleep a little hot but your partner doesn’t, this sheet set is an excellent compromise.
Riley also makes a sateen set that’s smooth and high in durability, though we’d still recommend the Cloudtens for a cheaper, slightly silkier buy. This set comes in several different colors, all of which would passably match with each other, but we especially dig the pinstripe designs.