Bed sheets are an important piece of your bedding that help protect your mattress while making your sleep more comfortable each night. When shopping for bed sheets, it's helpful to not only be familiar with different fabric options, but to understand the different weaves. Materials like percale, satin, microfiber, and linen all offer their own benefits. Finding the right sheets can take some time, but knowing the difference between styles makes it easier to choose the right bedding for your needs. Our simple guide explores warm sheets for winter, lightweight sheets for summer, and even the right thread count to shop for.
Below, we'll break down seven different types of popular bed sheets to help you find the perfect set for a comfortable, restful night's sleep.
01 of 07
Best for: Warmth during cold months
Flannel sheets are normally made of 100 percent cotton in a medium-to-heavy-weight bedding fabric. Flannel has a napped finish on one or both sides, creating the "fuzzy" and soft feel that is characteristic of this material. Flannel sheets are ideal for winter because the fuzzy weave holds in body heat for a cozy night's sleep.
Rather than being measured in thread count like many other sheets, flannel is measured by weight in grams per square meter (GSM). A weight of at least 170 GSM flannel is typically recommended for high-quality sheets. Thanks to its heavy construction, flannel is usually very durable. Flannel sheets typically range in price from about $55 to $210 for a queen-sized bed.
02 of 07
Best for: Crisp, lightweight, and cooling sheets
Percale is a plain-weave fabric made from both combed and carded cotton yarns. This type of weave is lightweight and closely woven, producing a smooth finish and a crisp feel. If you like sheets that feel a bit starched and crisp against your skin, percale may be just right.
Long-staple cotton is used to produce high-quality percale sheets, and a thread count range above 200 is a good rule of thumb to use when shopping for this fabric. Percale sheets can vary in price from about $50 to $175 for a queen-sized bed. This material is also more durable than fabrics like sateen.
03 of 07
Best for: Smooth, lustrous sheets with a soft feel
Sateen (not to be confused with satin) is a type of weave with more vertical threads than horizontal. This produces an exceptionally soft bed sheet with a smooth, lustrous finish that resembles satin. While they are luxurious, sateen sheets are far more fragile than percale or plain weaves.
This fabric is made from cotton in the same weave style as satin. Sateen is comparable to percale in price at about $65 to $230 for a queen-sized bed. A thread count of at least 300 is typically best when shopping for sateen sheets.
04 of 07
Best for: Luxury softness with a shiny finish
Satin is a silky, smooth finish resulting from very thin, high-thread-count synthetic materials (such as nylon, polyester, or acetate) woven or knitted tightly together. When buying satin sheets, look for "woven" materials versus "knit" to find the smoothness desired in this weave. The shiny finish and silky feel of satin sheets have made them nearly synonymous with a romantic bedroom.
Satin sheets are not as durable as sateen, being one of the most delicate types of fabric that's popular for bedding. When shopping for satin, be sure to check the item's tag to make sure that the process for cleaning your satin sheets is comfortable for your lifestyle—some products need to be dry cleaned. Budget options are available in thread counts around 200. Higher-quality satin typically has a thread count of at least 400, but these sheets tend to be more affordable than sateen at about $30 to $160 for a queen-sized bed.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Best for: Wrinkle resistance, warmth, and allergy resistance
Microfiber is a tight weave made up of man-made fibers like polyester spun into a very fine yarn, which creates an ultra-soft finish and excellent wrinkle resistance. Because of the tight, thick weave, this fabric can be somewhat water-resistant and allergen-proof (but it may also be hot, depending on the denseness of the weave).
Microfiber sheets are typically more budget-friendly than percale, sateen, and satin, and often come in thread counts from 200 to 800. Middle-range microfiber sheets offer quality fabric at an affordable price, starting at about $20 up to $160 for queen-sized luxury options. These sheets also resist pilling and are more durable than cotton sheets.
06 of 07
Best for: Crisp, durable, and coarse sheets
Pinpoint is a stitch pattern of two threads over and one under. It's commonly used in dress shirts and similar clothing items, but it's not as soft as many other bed sheet fabrics. However, pinpoint sheets are known for being durable and pill-resistant with their coarser texture.
This weave pattern is commonly used with materials like Egyptian cotton or linen. High-quality Egyptian cotton pinpoint sheets can come in higher thread counts up to around 700, while more affordable options exist with thread counts above 300. For a queen-sized bed, pinpoint products can range anywhere from around $50 to upwards of $500 for luxury Egyptian Cotton. When it comes to linen sheets, shoppers can expect a set to cost between about $60 and $400 depending on the brand and quality of the fabric.
07 of 07
Best for: Temperature control with a soft, stretchable fabric
Jersey bed sheets are often sold as "tee-shirt sheets," as they are made with the same type of knit cotton or cotton-blend fibers that are used in the ubiquitous clothing item. Jersey sheets are very popular with kids and teens thanks to their stretchy and soft feel. However, they also rip or snag easily, so keep the family cat off the bed if you want to avoid holes.
These sheets are usually budget-friendly and come in thread counts from 200 to 300, though higher and lower thread count options are available. Jersey sheets are a good choice for temperature regulation, as they don't tend to be overly hot or cold as seasons change. For a queen-sized bed, these sheets typically cost about $30 for budget options and $150 for luxury products.
Choosing Bed Sheets
When you start shopping for a new set of bed sheets, it's helpful to consider the elements of a sheet that you value most. For example, temperature control can make a great difference in your comfort while sleeping. Flannel sheets are ideal for keeping you warm, while percale is a great material for cooling. Additionally, various thread counts can be chosen in each sheet fabric to accommodate your budget and any luxury options you desire. If you're unsure which type of sheets are best for you, try testing out the different materials by feeling them in person at your local bedding or department store.
Decorative Bed Fabrics
In addition to popular types of sheets, there are a few fabrics commonly used on duvets, shams, pillow cases, and other decorative bedding items to be familiar with:
Damask is a reversible fabric with a woven pattern visible on both sides. Often intricately detailed, damask can be found on decorative pillows, pillow shams, or other decorative bedding pieces.
Dobby is a finely woven fabric that usually features a decorative pattern of geometric shapes or flowers. Dobby is often used on duvets, pillow shams, coverlets, or other decorative bedding to add a decorative accent.
Jacquard is an elaborately woven fabric containing a slightly raised area of embroidery or embellishment. This elegant and somewhat old-fashioned fabric is produced on a jacquard loom. It’s often used for formal style on coverlets, decorative pillows, pillow shams, and comforters.