The Best Sheets

We spend up to a third of our lives sleeping, so choosing great bed sheets that are comfortable and durable is one of the most important decisions you can make. After more than 100 hours of research and testing, we still think the L.L.Bean’s 280-Thread-Count Pima Cotton Percale Sheets can’t be beat. They combine the cool, crisp feel we often look for in sheets with superior sweat wicking, heat retention, and durability. They’re about $150 for a queen set, a price that has remained consistent since the first publication of this piece in 2013.

Last Updated: June 27, 2015
L.L. Bean’s Pima Cotton Percale sheet set remains our top pick for a third year because they are easy to maintain, durable, and better-constructed than any other sheet set we’ve tested. If you prefer sateen sheets instead of percale, we recommend the Royal Velvet 400-thread-count Wrinkle-Guard sheets. Our budget pick is the very affordable (and durable) Hemstitch 400-Thread-Count Sateen Cotton Sheet Set, perfect for the kids’ or guest room.
L.L.Bean 280-Thread-Count Pima Cotton Percale Sheets
These sheets are a dream to sleep on. They're comfortable, very breathable, easy to care for, and durable, too.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $34.

In reporting this guide, we were surprised to find that the best sheets don’t necessarily have the highest thread counts. While thread count can give you some indication of what a sheet will feel like, the quality of the cotton matters more. The L.L.Bean sheets have a 280 thread count but are made with superior extra long staple Pima cotton. They were both the softest and best-constructed of the models we tested. Our budget pick’s much higher 400 thread-count can’t make up for the lower-quality material.

Also Great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $33.

Royal Velvet 400tc WrinkleGuard Sheet Set
We prefer percale sheets, but sateen sheets are smooth, drapey, and satiny. So if that's your thing, these are the best.

If you prefer the silky smooth texture of sateen, we recommend the Royal Velvet 400-thread-count WrinkleGuard Sheet Set. They outperformed all the other sateen sheets in shrink tests and durability, including three new models we brought in for the most recent round of testing. Unlike our main pick, these even come in California King size. While it’s hard to truly be wrinkle-free, this set was pretty darn close. Many sateen sheets snag easily because of their weave, but these exhibited no wear over the course of two rounds of testing. Our other sateen models snagged and even showed fraying at the edges.

Also Great
Hemstitch 400-Thread-Count Sateen Cotton Sheet Set
The guest room, vacation home, or your child's bedroom are good places to cut down on costs; these sheets are very affordable since you're getting an entire set.

If you want something cheaper for the kids’ rooms, or if you’re on a budget, we recommend Overstock’s Hemstitch 400-Thread-Count Sateen Cotton Sheet Set. $45 gets you a queen-sized set of 100 percent cotton sateen sheets with a thread count of 400. Unlike even some of the more expensive sets, these held up in our wash tests. They won’t last nearly as long as the weave and high quality cotton in our top pick, but they’re a better-than-IKEA option if you can’t spend more than $50 on a set.

For this update, we spent an additional 40 hours researching and testing new sheet sets, with sleep tests, shrinkage comparisons, and multiple rounds of laundering to simulate 6 months of use. After rigorous testing of two additional percale and two sateen sets against our previous winners, the reigning picks still came out ahead.

Why you should trust us

We brought in four additional sets of great sheets for the update to this piece, but our existing picks still swept the charts.

We brought in four additional sets of great sheets for the update to this piece, but our existing picks still swept the charts.

We conducted more than 100 total hours of research and testing and interviewed experts from Cornell’s Fiber Science and Apparel Design department. We read reviews from established experts, including Consumer Reports and Sleep Like The Dead. Finally, we pored over customer review sections on Amazon, JCPenney, Macy’s, and L.L.Bean’s websites as well as reader comments on this piece to determine what people really love and hate about sheet sets.

Who should buy these

If your sheets are showing signs of wear or if they don’t keep you cool at night, this set is a great replacement or upgrade. The $150 price point is relatively affordable for a set of percale sheets that are durable, well-constructed, and soft. They are great for year-round use; they stay cool and crisp, especially during the hot summer months, but are still soft and warm when used with a comforter in the winter. For most people, these sheets would be best suited for everyday use, given their quality and mid-range price point.

How we picked

We tested six sheet sets for this update, including the previous sateen and percale picks from Royal Velvet and L.L.Bean.

We tested six sheet sets for this update, including the previous sateen and percale picks from Royal Velvet and L.L.Bean.

Good sheets should be comfortable, durable, easy to care for, and affordable. Among the synthetic and natural fibers available, most sheets are made from cotton, which the experts say provides the best balance between comfort and value. In Consumer Reports’s testing (subscription required), the sheets made of 100 percent cotton tended to get higher ratings than rayon or rayon blends. Quality cotton breathes well, feels softer with continued laundering, and doesn’t pill over time the way its man-made counterparts, such as bamboo rayon1, polyester, and microfiber, do.

The strongest, most durable cotton comes from strains of Gossypium barbadense, commonly called extra long staple (ELS) cotton, though the fibers can be either long staple (1 ⅛-1 ¼ inches) or true extra long staple (1 ⅜ in. or longer). Loose naming conventions can make it difficult to identify true extra long staple cotton. Though the phrases “Egyptian cotton” and “Turkish cotton” once meant high-quality, extra long staple cotton, companies sometimes use these names to market lesser shorter-staple cottons grown in those countries. We talked to Mark Bagby, a representative for Calcot, a cotton marketing organization, who told us, “I wouldn’t say Egyptian, Pima, or Turk are generic names as much as they identify country of origin. Not all apparel or fabric goods made of Egyptian or Turkish cotton are ELS.” Labels that say “Turkish cotton,” “Egyptian cotton,” and “Pima cotton” usually indicate long or extra long staple Gossypium barbadense, but quality and fiber length can vary. Pima is reliably Gossypium barbadense, and Supima is the brand name for American Pima cotton.

If the tag on your sheets only says “100 percent cotton,” you probably want to avoid buying them
If the tag on your sheets only says “100 percent cotton,” you probably want to avoid buying them—they’re likely made from less durable, shorter staple American Upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum).

As we’ve mentioned, higher thread count doesn’t always equal quality. Some manufacturers use this figure to mislead buyers. First, the cotton fibers in higher thread count sheets are woven more tightly than lower thread count sheets, and this generally results in a much heavier fabric. Not only that, but manufacturers often use ply to artificially inflate threadcount. Ply is the number of threads wound together in a single thread. Most sheets are single-ply, but in some cases, manufacturers use two-ply yarns to multiply thread counts and increase numbers upward of 1000. That means a 500 thread count sheet made with two-ply yarns might be advertised as 1000.

Percale sheets are constructed with a simple 1x1 weave, while sateen sheets are made with a satin weave, usually using a 3x1 or 4x1 ratio.

Percale sheets are constructed with a simple 1×1 weave, while sateen sheets are made with a satin weave, usually using a 3×1 or 4×1 ratio.

We looked at both crisp percale and silky sateen sheets. Percale refers to a plain weave (warp and weft threads cross over and under evenly, usually in a one-to-one ratio), resulting in a matte finish and a crisp hand. The fabric tends to be very strong and breathable, thus durable over time and cool during the hot summer months. Sateen, on the other hand, is made with a satin weave, where weft threads “float” or skip over multiple warp threads, usually in a three-to-one or four-to-one ratio. The exposed surface threads give sateen its classic sheen, but also create a fabric that is less porous (consequently warmer). And because of its overlaid weave—with the floating threads exposed—sateen is especially susceptible to snagging. Furthermore, sateens are more likely to shrink because their floating warp threads are stretched tightly to achieve a smooth finish and often shrink down in the wash. Despite the fact that percale sheets tend to last longer and breath better, some people just prefer the satiny smooth feel of high-quality sateen sheets.

We chose not to test higher-end sheets like linen or silk, because their high price points are too cost-prohibitive for most people. You’ll spend at least $200 for a set of not-so-great linen sheets, which is a lot of money for lower-quality material. We also skipped over flannel for this update because though the popular material is made of breathable cotton, it’s too heavy and warm for year-round use.

Unless you have a very tall mattress or a bulky mattress topper, fit should not be an issue with either our sateen or percale pick. But it is worth checking so you don’t have to go through the hassle of returning something that doesn’t fit. Sheets vary in size by manufacturer and one company’s “queen” could be upwards of 5 inches different from another. We tested all of our sheets on a 10-inch-thick mattress and photographed them on a 9-inch mattress, and all of the sheets fit well.

After narrowing the criteria of what we wanted to test, we turned to recommendations from reliable sources like Consumer Reports (subscription required) and Sleep Like The Dead. While short recommendation lists from sites like Real Simple, the Huffington Post, or Apartment Therapy seem to make your decisions quick and easy, it’s not clear how well the sheets were tested. We focused exclusively on solid sheet sets rather than printed ones, as these are more widely appealing to the most people.

From there, we researched the top-selling and top-rated items on Amazon, Overstock, Bed Bath & Beyond, and top department stores. While user reviews are relatively useless individually, they can provide workable data on things like durability and feel when taken as a whole. We also researched extensively using Sleep Like The Dead, a site dedicated to identifying and testing the best sleep-related goods available.

In our first round, we tested 13 sheet sets and found that the L.L.Bean’s 280-Thread-Count Pima Cotton Percale sheets were the best percale while the popular Royal Velvet 400-thread-count WrinkleGuard Sheet Set from JCPenney topped the sateen list.

For the 2015 update, we researched articles and user reviews to try to find any new sheets that could unseat our previous top contenders. We tested last year’s winners against four additional competitors:

How we tested

We held each sheet up to rigorous testing criteria to assess their quality in three stages: straight out of the bag, after a few nights’ sleep, and after five wash cycles. Our tests simulated what a few months of wear will do to your sheets.

The tests were designed to evaluate the hand (feel) of the sheets, overall comfort when sleeping with them, and durability over time. All tests were conducted on a queen-sized bed with a spring mattress and a thick mattress pad, measuring about 10 inches thick in total. Fitted sheet pockets range from 7 to 12 inches deep on average. The six sheet sets we tested for this round clocked in with pockets averaging 15 inches deep—just above that range, but certainly large enough to fit on most beds while not being too saggy. Although people do sleep on thicker mattresses these days, any pocket more than 10 inches deep should fit on most beds.

Our photo mattress is about 9 inches tall.

Our photo mattress is about 9 inches tall.

We began by evaluating fit and feel straight out of the bag. Then, each sheet set was washed in warm water with ¼ cup of white vinegar to remove any finishes and dried on low heat before the sleep test. (Textile factories often coat fabrics with finishes to protect them and enhance their softness.) After a primary wash and initial sleep test, each sheet set was washed in warm water with detergent and dried on the lowest heat cycle four additional times to simulate the first few months of use.

Durability of the sheets was measured by accounting for edge damage, thread damage, shrinkage, weight loss, pilling, and snagging. Thread damage can occur when long threads aren’t cut at the time of manufacturing and they begin to come loose over time.

Finishes on sheet pockets differ. Some are serged (lower) and some are done in a French seam (upper). Both are durable and should stand up to wear and tear.

Finishes on sheet pockets differ. Some are serged (lower) and some are done in a French seam (upper). Both are durable and should stand up to wear and tear.

Weight loss was measured by weighing the sheets on a scale before washing and after drying. In the previous round of testing, weight loss was also measured by collecting and massing lint after drying, but this was an imprecise measure and eliminated from the testing process this time around. Most of our picks are made with long staple cottons like Pima and are therefore unlikely to shed mass in the dryer. However, the sheets that shed more mass were more likely to go threadbare faster.

We weighed each set of sheets in a bowl on a scale for better weight distribution and accuracy.

We weighed each set of sheets in a bowl on a scale for better weight distribution and accuracy.

To account for shrinkage, we measured each set of sheets to assess how closely they matched the manufacturer’s stated sizing. After five total washes, each sheet was measured to establish shrinkage rates. By comparing measurements and square inches total of each flat sheet and pillowcase, we were able to calculate shrinkage as a percentage of area lost for each sheet tested. While some shrinkage is expected in any textile, excessive shrinkage of more than a few percentage points indicates lower-quality cotton. We did not measure how much fitted sheets shrank because the elastic in each sheet leaves a wide margin for error and ultimately produces unreliable measurements.

We chose not to conduct a thread count test this time around. Our research established firmly that thread count is often a marketing tool, not a true indicator of the quality of a product.

Our pick for crisp percale

L.L.Bean 280-Thread-Count Pima Cotton Percale Sheets
These sheets are a dream to sleep on. They're comfortable, very breathable, easy to care for, and durable, too.

*At the time of publishing, the price was $34.

After two rounds of testing 17 of the best sheets on the market, we found that L.L.Bean’s 280-Thread-Count Pima Cotton Percale Sheets still sweep the charts. They’re comfortable and breathable, both soft and cool against the skin. They also technically outperformed every other sheet set in our tests. Thanks to their superior extra long staple cotton, L.L.Bean’s sheets lost the least amount of mass after washings, and, along with our sateen pick, shrank the least. Durable stitching means these sheets should last a long time, but if they do shrink, tear, or unravel, L.L.Bean’s lifetime guarantee means you can exchange them at any time.

The L.L.Bean sheets remain relatively wrinkle-free without ironing.

The L.L.Bean sheets remain relatively wrinkle-free without ironing.

After five wash cycles, the L.L.Bean sheets exhibited zero signs of pilling, snagging, or loose fibers. The sheets’ solid stitching held up beautifully through the wash tests. The other percale sets did not fare nearly as well—Coyuchi’s 220 Percale sheets shrank so much that the flat sheet barely tucked in under the mattress when making the bed, while the Martha Stewart percale sheets shrank about 6 percent.

Most of the sateen sheets were even worse, exhibiting at least minor snagging or other construction damage during testing. Entire rows of stitching on the Tribeca Living sheets from Overstock came undone, and the Martha Stewart sateen sheets also came out of their first washing with a large hole along the top edge of the flat sheet. Our pick for silky sateen from Royal Velvet was the only sateen set to survive these tests without any snagging or visible construction damage.

Overall the L.L.Bean sheets lost 3.9 percent of their surface area during the duration of testing for this update, an acceptable number on the lower end of the scale. Other models showed shrinkage of anywhere from 2.5 to 9 percent of their surface areas during the most recent round of testing. Having a percale weave may help the L.L.Bean sheets in this test because of the sateen weave’s predisposition for shrinkage.

To test for lost mass, we weighed sheets before and after five washes. The L.L.Bean sheets lost less than 0.5 percent of their mass; compare that to Coyuchi’s nearly 2 percent weight loss. Because of their long staple cotton and even weave, there’s little indication that the L.L.Bean sheets will lose much more mass in future washes. None of the six models tested in this year’s round lost more than 3.5 percent of their mass over five washes, but over time such losses can lead to weak, threadbare sheets. Although we did not weigh lint masses this time around, these sheets left very little lint behind in the trap after drying, a sign that they are high-quality cotton.

The L.L.Bean sheets are also a cinch to maintain. While some wrinkles are inevitable for any sheet, if folded or put on the bed promptly after drying, these sheets remained nearly wrinkle-free. They are soft out of the bag and only get softer over time. They are also breathable and remain crisp even if you are a warm sleeper.

The finishing construction is the best of the 17 sets we tested. After five washings, the L.L.Bean sheets had no visible edge damage, no unraveled stitching, and no loose threads. Not only that, but the fitted sheet has a double-stitched hem to prevent wear and tear.

Here you can see the double stitching on the hems of both our picks’ fitted sheets. L.L.Bean above in white, Royal Velvet below in beige.

Here you can see the double stitching on the hems of both our picks’ fitted sheets. L.L.Bean above in white, Royal Velvet below in beige.

These sheets are also Consumer Reports’s top pick for percale sheets (membership required), with a score of 71/100, an “excellent” in build quality, and a “very good” rating for shrinkage, fit, crispness, and strength. User reviews on L.L.Bean’s website frequently refer to their excellent shrink-resistance and breathability, and many reviewers even mention that they have purchased multiple sets of the same sheets over the years, which indicates great long-term satisfaction and quality.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

Of the negative reviews that these sheets have received on L.L.Bean’s website, most are easily addressable. One common complaint is that the fitted sheet is too big (deep, actually), which depends on your mattress. The fitted sheet pocket is 15 inches deep, which is deeper than many mattresses. However, even on a 10-inch-thick mattress and our office’s 9-inch test mattress, these sheets fit snugly. This depth also allows for additional room if you put a memory foam or pillow top on your mattress.

Another popular complaint is about these sheets’ either being too soft or too rough. Frankly, this is a matter of personal preference. While these sheets come out of the bag feeling crisp, they do get softer with time and break in very nicely.

Recent customer reviews complain about tears and a rough texture. In order to eliminate questions about recent batches, we ordered a new set of sheets for this test. They performed as well as sheets we purchased over a year ago.

If you do receive a lemon or just don’t like the feel, L.L.Bean will honor their 100 percent satisfaction guarantee which allows you to return any item at any time. Some customer reviews of the sheets confirm that the company will replace sets that develop problems, even when they’re old.

Longterm test notes

I’ve been using a pair of these L.L.Bean sheets since 2013. They are the best all-around sheets I’ve owned, and they have maintained their comfort and quality in that time. We bought a brand new set of these sheets for this round of testing, and while my older set is softer (likely from more washings), both felt great and had the same quality construction.

Our pick for smooth sateen

Smooth sateen feels very soft against the skin thanks to floating threads.

Smooth sateen feels very soft against the skin thanks to floating threads.

Also Great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $33.

Royal Velvet 400tc WrinkleGuard Sheet Set
We prefer percale sheets, but sateen sheets are smooth, drapey, and satiny. So if that's your thing, these are the best.
While percale was long the industry sheeting standard, and is by far more snag-resistant than sateen, sateen sheets boast a smoothness (and marketable, but not meaningful, high thread counts) that has made them wildly popular. If you prefer the smooth, silky texture of sateen sheets, we recommend Royal Velvet’s 400-thread-count WrinkleGuard Sheet Set. After surviving two rounds of extensive testing, these sheets shrank the least of any models we tested and had excellent construction that showed no signs of fraying or snagging. They’re also affordable at around $140 for a queen set. If you manage to get them during one of JCPenney’s great sales, discounts can run up to 50 percent off. While there is no such thing as truly “wrinkle-free” sheets, these come pretty close. These sheets are also available in California King sets, while the L.L.Bean are not.

Even without any ironing, the Royal Velvets stay silky smooth on your bed.

Even without any ironing, the Royal Velvets stay silky smooth on your bed.

These sheets performed similarly to our main pick in technical testing. They lost 1.7 and 1.5 percent of their masses respectively during our two rounds of testing, and shrunk 2.2 and 2.6 percent respectively. Since these numbers are so similar, we’re confident that the quality of these sheets is still just as high as it was when we first recommended them. They’re very comfortable to sleep in and regulated temperature very nicely in our sleep tests.

The other benefit of these sheets is their trademarked WrinkleGuard feature. While it’s hard to be 100 percent wrinkle-free, these sheets do come pretty close. Of course, WrinkleGuard features won’t be nearly as effective if you leave your sheets laying in the dryer for hours on end, but if you remove them promptly and fold them or make your bed right away, their smoothness is pretty impressive. We asked JCPenney to explain what the WrinkleGuard treatment entails, but were told that they’re “unable to disclose this information, as this is a proprietary treatment process.” It’s likely a kind of resin that stays in the sheets and prevents cotton’s long cellulose chains from making the bonds that form wrinkles. This treatment might cause contact dermatitis in sensitive people. However, this is pretty rare, happening in only about 1 to 5 percent of the population. (For more, see What about eco-friendly cotton?)

In our previous round of testing, these sheets did show a noticeable-but-acceptable amount of edge wear after wash testing, but all sateens do. In the latest round of tests, they showed almost no signs of pilling, but sateens generally don’t hold up against percales over time. Just wash them alone in cool water to prolong their smooth weave.

A less expensive pick for the kids and guest room

Also Great
Hemstitch 400-Thread-Count Sateen Cotton Sheet Set
The guest room, vacation home, or your child's bedroom are good places to cut down on costs; these sheets are very affordable since you're getting an entire set.
The guest room, vacation home, or your child’s bedroom are good places to cut down on costs; these sheets are very affordable since you’re getting a set for between $40 and $55.

Cheaper sheets are a good choice for guest rooms, vacation homes, rental properties and the like, where spending $100+ per bed may not be a viable option. If you’re really shopping on the cheap, Overstock’s 400-thread-count Hemstitch Sateen sheets are the way to go.

The main selling point of this sheet set is its affordability: $50 gets you a queen-sized set of 100 percent cotton sateen sheets with a thread count of 400. Admittedly, these sheets are not as smooth as any of the extra long staple cotton sheets we tested, but they are more breathable and sturdier than either of the other budget samples from Target or Ikea. They’ve also maintained an average rating of more than four stars with close to 5,500 reviews.

Despite boasting a higher thread count, they’re 9 percent lighter than our main pick, which goes to show that thread count alone doesn’t tell you much. But they performed admirably and provide decent overall value. While they shrunk considerably more, with 10 percent shrinkage, they’re still roomy enough to fit a standard mattress without slipping up in the night. We wouldn’t recommend them for extra thick TempurPedic mattresses.

While some of our more expensive luxury test sets came unstitched, these sheets stayed surprisingly solid through all five wash cycles.

What about eco-friendly cotton?

Cotton, both organic and conventionally grown, can undergo a number of treatments as it goes from ball of fluff to smooth, woven sheet. If the use of pesticides is a concern for you, going with an eco-certified cotton makes sense. If you’re more concerned about chemicals and finishes, washing your sheets before using them may suffice. And know that you may be paying a price (either in money or in inferior fibers) for organic cotton.

Frances Kozen, a staff member at Cornell’s Institute for Fashion and Fiber Innovation, said that cotton fiber treatments include being, “routinely scoured (cleaned of dirt), bleached prior to dyeing, mercerized with sodium hydroxide to improve sheen, wear and dye absorption, dyed, and sized (basically a type of starch is put on warp yarns prior to weaving).” These treatments can be washed out.

However, labels such as “wrinkle-free,” “no-iron,” or “durable press” often mean the fabric is treated with some kind of formaldehyde or urea-based resin. (Our sateen pick’s WrinkleGuard feature is likely a resin treatment.) Fabrics identified as “wrinkle-free” can contain resins that remain after initial washes, and, in some cases, have been known to cause skin rashes from trace amounts of formaldehyde.

Chemical & Engineering News says, “Today, dimethylol dihydroxy ethylene urea and its derivatives are the most commonly used resins, and these release very low levels of formaldehyde.” Unlike flooring and formaldehyde-treated building materials, clothes can be washed before being worn, so there’s no issue with off-gassing. “Today, almost no formaldehyde is released into the air from treated fabrics, and, Wakelyn says, very little is transferred from the fabric to the skin,” says Chemical & Engineering News. The primary concern is contact dermatitis, not inhalation.

Kozen told us that, “while [formaldehyde] used to be common in permanent press garments and bedding, it is not now.” In this 2013 booklet, Update on Formaldehyde, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says much the same thing: “In the early 1960s, several allergic reactions to formaldehyde were reported from the use of durable-press fabrics and coated 4 paper products. Such reports have declined in recent years as industry has taken steps to reduce formaldehyde levels, and a recent investigation by the Government Accountability Office (2010) demonstrated only a small number of clothing items with low formaldehyde levels.”

If you have sensitive skin, especially if you work with formaldehyde, and are worried about contact dermatitis, or if you wish to support organic growing methods for pesticide-intensive cotton, go with a certified eco-friendly cotton. The two most common certifications are the Global Organic Textile Standard certification (GOTS) and Oeko-Tex. GOTS is a third-party certifier that ensures cotton is not only grown organically, but that processing adheres to strict standards. These include prohibiting the use of treatments such as toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, and certain solvents, and monitoring energy use, water consumption, and waste. The Oeko-Tex logo certifies that fabric is free from specific chemicals and processes that are potentially harmful to people and the environment (though Oeko-Tex textiles aren’t strictly organically grown). Oeko-Tex employs an extensive testing process prior to certification.

Coyuchi and Cuddledown are examples of two companies who take their manufacturing very seriously. All Coyuchi sheets are GOTS certified, and Cuddledown offers up a variety of both GOTS and Oeko-Tex certified products.

One flaw with organics is the rarity of quality extra long staple cotton. This organic yarn supplier for Eileen Fisher says, “Ninety-seven percent of US extra long staple cotton is conventionally grown.” Supima, the brand name of the American Pima growers association, says, “Organic American Pima is available in very limited quantities on an annual basis … Typical production levels for this cotton are less than 1 percent of the entire American Pima crop.” Neither of the top-rated organic sheets we found and tested seem to be made of extra long staple cotton, which is probably why they were rougher and shrank more than our picks.

The competition

Percale

Coyuchi’s 220 Percale Sheets ($200), a model we tested for the 2015 update, were a disappointment. While the sheets themselves were incredibly soft and well-constructed, they did not stand up to our wash testing. After only three washes, these sheets shrunk enough that there was only about 1 inch of flat sheet left to tuck in under the mattress. They rated 49/100 on Consumer Reports (subscription required).

The $135 Martha Stewart 360-Thread-Count Percale received 69/100 points from Consumer Reports (subscription required), only two points less than our pick from L.L.Bean, and an average of four stars across 96 reviews on the Macy’s website. While they felt really great to the touch straight out of the bag, they felt thin and cheap once on the bed. In addition to being generally disappointing to sleep on, these sheets shrank about 6 percent in area.

The Garnet Hill Fiesta Percale ($105 for a queen set) have an average of more than four out of five stars across nearly 300 reviews and similar specs to our L.L.Bean pick at two-thirds of the price. Unfortunately, they just weren’t anywhere near as soft as our pick. The main difference in hand and skin comfort here likely stems from the fact that these sheets are made with shorter staple cottons that are less smooth and more likely to pill. Despite the positive reviews, some users describe these sheets as “stiff and scratchy” while others remark that the fabric seems thinner than it was in the past.

In the search for a better percale pick, we also tested Garnet Hill’s Hemstitched Supima Percale ($160 for a queen set). These sheets are made of 100 percent Supima cotton, the brand name for for pima cotton grown in the U.S. We had high hopes for this sheet, as it possesses the same extra long fiber characteristics as the fabric in the L.L.Bean sheets and a similar thread count. Despite boasting an average four-star review across over a hundred users, we found this sheet impossibly stiff and stuffy. The weave of this cotton is so tight that it becomes stiff when wet and doesn’t breathe well at all when dry. It also shrunk an astounding 13.9 percent—more than any other sheet tested—making the percale even tighter and less breathable.

Pottery Barn’s Classic 400-Thread-Count Sheets were a disappointment. They were sweaty and a little rough, not to mention shoddily put together. Maybe our set slipped by quality control, but these sheets had stitches of uneven length and tension meandering down the flat sheet hems and loose overlocking. For $150, you can do a lot better.

Land’s End Solid Oxford Sheet Set was another contender but was nixed due to the heavy drape of oxford cloth, which is well suited to shirting but a little heavy for bedding.

Land’s End 400-Count Solid Percale Sheet Set came in second place in Consumer Reports’s tests but are sadly no longer available.

Finally, we tested two other budget picks: Target’s Threshold 300-Thread-Count Ultra Soft Sheets, which will set you back $50 a set, and Ikea’s Gäspa sheets, which are the most affordable set we tested at $35. Compared to our Overstock pick’s construction and great hand (feel), Ikea’s sheets just don’t compare. They’re noticeably thinner, 8.6 percent lighter than our budget pick, and they cling like Saran wrap, leaving us alternately hot and sweaty or cold and damp. The Target sheets were alright and would have been our budget pick if not for Overstock’s impressive price on their higher-quality sheets. These sheets performed solidly and held up in the wash, but they just weren’t as soft or breathable as our Overstock budget pick and possess weirdly deep pockets with auxiliary fitted sheet elastic that’s kind of bunchy and excessive. Unless you have an unreasonably deep mattress, there’s no reason to get these sheets over the Hemstitch.

Sateen

The Martha Stewart 300-thread-count Sateen top sheet sprung a leak after the first load of laundry, and it only continued to unravel with subsequent loads.

The Martha Stewart 300-thread-count Sateen top sheet sprung a leak after the first load of laundry, and it only continued to unravel with subsequent loads.

For the 2015 update, we tested the $180 Martha Stewart 300-Thread-Count Cotton Sateen Sheets. We’re surprised that it’s received an average of nearly five stars out of more than 200 reviews because the sateen was even more disappointing than the Martha Stewart percale. After only one run through the washer and dryer, we discovered a hole along the top edge of the flat sheet.

The relatively new and well-rated $120 Magnolia Organics Estate Collection Sheet Set looked promising given its 4.6-star average rating across 198 reviews, so we included it in the latest round of tests. These sheets only lost about 1 percent of their mass across all five washes and are third-party organic certified (Global Organic Textile Standard). Sleeping on these sheets felt a bit like wearing khaki pants to bed. To make up for the disappointment, however, they were considerably softer after five washes, and it’s possible that these do just need some time to break in. Unfortunately that does not make up for about 8 percent of total area shrinkage.

We also wanted to test a sateen from Garnet Hill, so we chose their Signature Wrinkle-Resistant Solid Sateen. With an average of 4.5 out of five stars over a hundred reviews, this sheet shares similar qualities with our Royal Velvet sateen pick: a thread count of 400 and claims of wrinkle resistance. Made of 100 percent Egyptian cotton, the Garnet Hill sateen costs $175 compared to Royal Velvet’s $140 for a queen set. In testing, these sheets outperformed the other Garnet Hill sets we tested but just slightly underperformed their Royal Velvet counterparts in stitch quality and wicking. Combined with their cost, these sateen sheets just don’t cut it.

We tested Cuddledown’s 400-Thread-Count Sateen Sheet Set because of its excellent reviews and high Good Housekeeping Research Institute rating (A-). These sheets were incredibly soft but absolutely huge. Like, more than 1 foot longer than almost every other flat sheet with pillowcases 20 percent longer than average standard cases. Unfortunately, sheeting is not an arena where bigger is better, and these left us constantly tangled in a sea of sweaty sheets.

Amazon’s Pinzon Hemstitch 400-Thread-Count Egyptian Cotton Sateen were tested because of their popularity; at $60 with an average of nearly four stars across 2,100 reviews, these 100 percent Egyptian cotton sheets seemed like a steal. Pinzon’s home linens are generally well-reviewed for their quality cottons, so it seemed logical that these sheets should perform decently. With good reviews and a marginally higher thread count, these seemed like the “affordable luxury” pick of the lot. But they were a little disappointing. They lost 3 percent of their weight in the wash, the second-highest of any sheet tested, and they were surprisingly clingy and heavy to sleep on. They also shrunk 8 percent, which is as much as the $35 Ikea sheets. Overall these were a nonstarter, which just goes to show that Egyptian cotton can only get you so far without the right construction.

We also tried the Overstock’s Tribeca Living Egyptian Cotton 500-Thread-Count Extra Deep Pocket Solid Sheet Set because of its material and user reviews: These sheets are slightly more expensive than the Pinzon sateen at $80 a set, but they’re also slightly fancier, boasting a 500-thread-count construction. Compared to traditional department store and luxury brand buys, $80 is a great deal for 100 percent Egyptian cotton sateen of this weight, but it was too good to be true. Even though they boasted a higher thread count than the Pinzon sheets (500 compared to 400), they were actually 14 percent lighter overall (probably because of two-ply thread count). Admirably, they lost only 1 percent of their mass in the wash, the second smallest amount of mass lost, and shrunk about 6.5 percent in surface area, which is in the middle of the pack. They were actually fairly comfortable to sleep on, so it’s clear to see why they’ve earned an average 4.4 out of five stars online. Unfortunately, their loose stitching disintegrated in the wash test.

The $170 Wamsutta Dream Zone and 1000 sheets were an unfortunate story—it appears that they were once raved about and even earned Consumer Reports’s top picks in the sateen weave category, but many dissatisfied customer reviews indicate disappointing manufacturing changes. We decided not to test these.

We took a look at $180 Land’s End’s No Iron Solid Supima Sateen Sheet Set, made from American extra long staple cotton, but were dissuaded by unenthusiastic customer reviews. Only 57 percent of buyers would recommend purchasing this set.

Flannel

Amazon’s Pinzon Lightweight Cotton Flannel Sheet Set was tested despite its different material because of overall popularity and user reviews. Surprisingly enough, these flannel sheets outweigh Pinzon’s Egyptian cotton sateen sheets in customer review popularity with a 4.4-star average and about 1,000 reviews. The Pinzon flannel sheets were remarkably soft out of the bag, but they began to pill within a few washes, as is the nature of napped fabrics like flannel. They also shrunk a considerable 10.5 percent in surface area, although they lost only 2.5 percent of their weight, which is surprising given how much lint they shed in the dryer. They’re popular, but not the right level of warmth for most people during most of the year.

Care

How you wash your sheets will have the greatest effect on their lifespan. The best way to maintain good-looking sheets is to wash on the lowest possible cycles—“warm” or “cold.” If you want to bleach your sheets, we recommend color-safe bleach or oxygen bleach on a warmer setting for a whitening boost.

To break down the factory finishes that most linens are sold with, add ¼ cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle. Not only does it soften fabric without leaving residue, it’ll help kill mildew that can grow in damp washers.

If there’s one thing you can do to preserve your clothing, towels, and sheets, it is to dry them on the lowest setting possible. It’s much better to dry your sheets for 45 minutes on low than it is to scorch them on high for 15.

For dust or mite allergies, doctors often recommend hot water or high heat. We recommend washing in hot water, which should be sufficient to kill allergens, but drying on a low setting to reduce wear.

As discussed in the towel guide, fabric softener is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can make certain fabrics softer and more fragrant, but on the other hand, it does so by leaving a slick residue on the surface that repels water. Using liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets is likely to give your sheets a slippery coating that will decrease their breathability and wicking characteristics.

Pilling is one of the most common complaints for sheets, occurring when, “loosely woven yarn allows fiber ends to pull out,” said Fran Kozen of Cornell’s Fiber Sciences Department. These ends form a small ball, the “pill” that we see gathering on the surfaces of our sheets. Kozen says that polyester-cotton blends and cheaper sheets made with shorter fibers are far more susceptible to pilling, which is why we recommend ELS cotton sheets.

What to look forward to

Brooklinen, a Kickstarter-funded company, has gotten some press for being a kind of Everlane for sheets. And their sheets are pretty affordable, with percale sheets offered at about $110 per set. Their sheets are made of Oeko-Tex certified long-staple cotton. Brooklinen CEO Rich Fulop told us, “Usually strains like Giza are considered ‘extra long’ however those would be impossible at our price point. Our cotton is super fine, 80 count yarns and sourced from both Egypt and India.” Returns of unwashed, unused sheets must be made within 30 days, though returns can happen after that if they’re the result of “manufacturer defect.”

We think their sateen sheets could be worth looking at, as they’re a reasonable $150 per set and made of Oeko-Tex certified cotton.

We’d like to test them in a future update.

Wrapping it up

L.L.Bean’s 280-Thread-Count Pima Cotton Percale Sheets are the most comfortable and durable sheets we’ve tested. With proper washing and care, these sheets have the potential to last for many years. Sleep well!

Photos by Amadou Diallo.

Footnotes:

1.The big fiber battle these days is between cotton and rayon from bamboo. Not bamboo, but “rayon from bamboo,” because in order to be considered bamboo, a fabric would have to be made of yarns spun from crushed bamboo fibers. Rayon from bamboo is a regenerated cellulosic fiber often made from tree pulp. This rayon can be made from bamboo pulp, but it’s so far removed from the plant that the FTC has ruled that it must be identified as rayon to avoid rampant greenwashing. Rayon is made from cellulose, so it’s more breathable and therefore better suited for sheeting, but is it better than cotton? That’s a source of dissent amongst many concerned customers. Jennifer Kohler, Agricultural Systems Technology student at Utah State University, wrote her master’s thesis on exactly that in 2012. She found that while rayon from bamboo does possess some desirable qualities, it is not as well-suited to sheeting as good ol’ extra long staple cotton. ELS cotton possesses longer fibers, which create smoother, stronger threads than shorter staple cottons. Cotton’s hydrophilic properties are also a big pro when it comes to staying dry, as cotton can absorb up to 25 times its weight in water. Jump back.

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Sources

  1. Tricia Rose, Rough Linen, Interview
  2. L.L. Bean Pima Cotton Percale, Consumer Reports (Subscription Required)
  3. Coral Nafie, Before You Buy Bed Sheets, About.com
  4. Sheet Buying Guide, Consumer Reports (Subscription Required), June 2013
  5. Top-Rated Bed Sheet Sets, Sleep Like The Dead, December 27, 2013
  6. Maya Kukes, How to Choose the Best Bed Sheets, Real Simple
  7. Dickson Wong, Finding The Best Sheets For Your Budget: A Buying Guide, Huffington Post, November 11, 2012

Originally published: June 28, 2015

  • bobchadwick

    Does anyone know if LL Bean regularly has coupons or sales?

    • Michael Zhao

      They do not. And when they do, it’s like 10% off. I wouldn’t hold my breath on this.

    • Christina

      Just checked the site today and there’s 20% off till 2/10!

  • David Joyce

    Did linenplace.com ever come up in your research? They seem to have a lot of educational sweethome/wirecutter level material surrounding thread count and what to look for (and look out for) in sheets. And a lot of brands they have in their store I didn’t see represented in this review, like Echelon, Peacock Alley, Inhabit, Down Right, Dwell. These are positioned as being more premium brands, but the costs for a Queen set can at times be comparable to the LL Bean set.

    • Melissa Tan

      Unfortunately Linen Place’s offerings are by and large too expensive. Echelon’s Egyptian percale is the only set that fits the criteria we established at $79 for a queen set of single-ply 200 thread count egyptian cotton percale. On Amazon, however, they’ve inflated their MSRP to $110 and have poor reviews because their fitted sheets are a few inches too wide: http://www.amazon.com/Echelon-Egyptian-Percale-Sheet-Cloud/dp/B00581VSTI

  • du57in

    I badly needed a cheap fitted sheet just to get me through a couple nights before I could order something better online, so I picked up a salmon colored Threshold Ultra Soft 300 from Target. I am surprised by just how nice it is. Much better fitting and feeling than several more expensive sheets from Bed, Bath and Beyond. In fact, I haven’t bought anything else since. I like to change colors often, and at under $20 for just the fitted sheet, they fit my needs perfectly.

    • Melissa Tan

      If you’re talking about the Target Threshold sheets we tested — I did like them and I was considering them as a budget pick. It was their strange double-elasticized fitted sheet with super deep pockets that made them a poor all-around pick.

  • http://graphr.net/ Alex

    The chart in footnote 5 lists the material of the Target Threshold sheets as “100% Cotton Sateen”, but the linked product page indicates that it’s percale (“100% cotton percale”, “Weave Type: Percale”). Assuming their product page is telling the truth, would that make the Target sheets your budget pick for those prefer percale (since the Overstock sheets are sateen)?

  • Justine

    Any chance you have some recommendations for less deep sheets? I know they are getting less and less common as you say, but I have a standard mattress I am happy with.

    • Melissa Tan

      If a snug fitted sheet is your priority over absolute softness and the lifetime guarantee, the Garnet Hill Fiesta Percale sheets I tested have 12″ deep pockets (the only ones I tested with old school thin mattress depth). For $86 they’re a fine choice for a thinner mattress, they just didn’t perform as well as our main pick.

      • Justine

        Thanks! That really helps.

  • warpinsf

    Any chance this could get updated with Thomas Lee’s product? It’s similar to the top-rated ones here.

    • Melissa Tan

      I’ve checked out Thomas Lee, but their $365 MSRP for a queen set prices them out of the running for an all around best pick.

      • warpinsf

        I’m mostly curious how much or little difference such additional cost makes — even if it’s disqualifying for the best pick.

        • Melissa Tan

          In my experience, single-py 500 thread count percale won’t breathe as well as a 200-300 thread count or a two-ply 500 thread count sheet. It will be very smooth and tightly woven, which is partially why it costs more, but not as breathable.

      • gregvanker

        That set never sells for $365. It’s always at most $199. Also, they’re fantastic.

  • Dean

    Thanks for this. I’m still holding onto a stained LL Bean fitted sheet because it’s held up so well.

    Any thoughts on rotating in linen sheets over the summer? Seems to be that luxury sheets shift that way.

    • Melissa Tan

      I’d love to do linen sheets. They’re not included here because they’re not best for “all around” use considering cost and seasonality, but they could be part of a luxury sheets since there are people like @disqus_fuCWEPI0ws:disqus who are interested in a wider range of price points.

      • Lauran

        Hi Melissa,
        I don’t know why you think linen is seasonal. One of the major benefits of this fiber is that it’s cool in summer and warm in winter which adds to our comfort, of course. Yes, it’s expensive – at least good quality linen is – but another major benefit is that it’s second only to silk as the most durable natural fiber, which makes it longer lasting than cotton or blends. So, it truly is cost effective. If you intend to further explore the pros and cons of various bedding choices, it would be interesting to include linen in your research. Thans for the informative article.

        • Melissa Tan

          I have since gotten a linen duvet cover and pillows which I love. I guess the seasonality aspect is more perceived than practical. Linen is warm and very durable, it just has more of a crisp feeling than something like cotton flannel, and there’s something cozier feeling about flannel to most people. I would definitely love to test linen sheets at some point if there’s enough demand for it.

          • clacecl

            Please do! There’s an amazing person on Frugal Village who is a linen obsessive (just google frugal village linen, her thread is the top result– “My passion for lavender scented linen sheets”) and she’s reviewed a ton, and has excellent advice, but, sadly, not Rough Linen or Linoto, and not many of the Etsy offerings. That would be a good starting point.

        • L. Wagner

          I too would appreciate a review of linen sheets, as I find no problem with living through a few “ruff” nights of sleep in order to get the desired softness/seasoning. Especially for a product that last for 30-50 or more years.

  • Leslie D

    Thank you for all your information! I have owed a slew of bad sheets from TJMaxx, never understanding what to look for. I think I dont like the feel of sateen. I recently bought sheets on sale for half price at Crate and Barrel and LOVE them. Nicest sheets I’ve ever owed. So comfortable. 100% cotton percale, 200 tread count from India. Its so hard to describe the feel but they are light and airy and very neutral texture (neither super soft nor rough). Since the sheets are originally $200, how would I find the same feeling sheets again for less? Would the LLBean sheets be similar?

    • Melissa Tan

      Based on what you’re saying, the LLB sheets have similar stats in thread count and weave. A full set is more expensive the the deal you scored with your current sheets, though.

  • RonK13
  • Christina

    L.L. Bean is doing 20% off Bedding and Bath until February 10th!

  • Bryan Tarlowski

    What’s the deal with mattress covers / protectants? I just bought a custom bed and sort of want it to last for a long long time and I’m thinking about investing in one of these.

  • Alex

    Do you have any recommendations for California King size sheets? Apparently LL Bean only carries Eastern King.

  • danar

    This review for the best sheets should be redone or, at least, renamed ‘best sheets that cost under X dollars” because I don’t think you can really review the best sheets without also looking into the Italian sheets.

    Instead, those Italian sheets and other bedding were excluded and not
    even evaulated because they were above an arbirtrary price and thus
    deemed too expensive.

    But, some of those Italian sheets cost just as much as the Miele Twist or the Vitamix, winners in other Sweethome categories.

    If we’re going to exclude the Italian sheets because they’re too
    expensive, then shouldn’t the Vitamix and the Twist have never been
    tested because they’re also too expensive?
    If we’re talking about the same amount of money, I think most people would rather spend it on sheets that’ll use 6-8 hours every day vs a blender.

    • Quiet Desperation

      Giorgio Napolitano chiming in.

    • Michael Zhao

      Hi Danar,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject. This is a complaint we hear from time to time about our reviews, and it’s a fair one, but it doesn’t quite jive with the overall philosophy of the site, which is to help the most people we can. When we say “best,” the implication is always best for most. For some categories, like cameras, it makes sense to segment because a lot of people have different budgets and expectations from their equipment. For some categories, those expectations can only be met at a certain price point, which is why we recommend more expensive items.

      In the case of the Vitamix and Miele Twist, these are appliances that do things that a significant amount of people would want to do that lesser appliances cannot. In the case of blenders, you have green smoothies and actually crushing ice (which can’t be handled reliably by cheaper models). In the case of vacuums, you have adjustable pile height, longer warranties, more suction, and clean exhaust (which, again, can’t be had in a cheaper model).

      When it comes to sheets, on the other hand, the few people looking to spend $200+ on a set of sheets is going to get a good set on their own because you know sheets of that caliber will be good quality whether they’re linen, silk, or Italian cotton. Indeed, we specifically address this fact in the guide, saying that if you want to spend more money, you will get better sheets.

      But it’s very very difficult, as we’ve pointed out, to find really good sheets for under $200, which is more in line with what most of our readers can afford/expect to pay for quality sheets.

      I hope this clears things up a bit.

  • Quiet Desperation

    People iron sheets? What’s the point? It’s like folding underpants or socks before putting them in a drawer- useless activity.

  • randomthoughts

    I bought the recommended sheets and they’re fine… Using them with your recommended best duvet which I love dearly. However I find the 420 Costco cheap sateen sheets more comfortable. Even though they’re not as drapey or as smooth as I thought sateen would be After a vinegar wash, I’m finding I like the feel better than the all bean

  • Sandy Paper

    First, great article! I can’t believe I read over 10,000 words on sheets. That’s a testament to your writing skills! But, I’m quite disappointed in these sheets. They’re rough and thick. It’s not quite like sleeping in a burlap sack, but close. Could LL Bean have changed the product this quickly?

    • Michael Zhao

      I’ve personally found that the Mid Blue color feels softer than Silver Sand… It’s something that confuses me as well.

      • TJ Z

        I just received the Mid Blue. Are they WAY lighter to you than pictured? I expected an almost royal/navy blue. They arrived as “light blue/periwinkle” as you can get. I checked the packaging, and they are labelled as Mid Blue

        • Michael Zhao

          It really depends on your monitor settings. If you have more saturated colors, it would really appear more navy-ish, but my girlfriends’ arrived similar to how they looked online. Maybe a bit lighter, but not periwinkle.

    • https://twitter.com/mhzhao Michael Zhao

      Hi, sorry you had a bad experience. We are looking into this. If you don’t mind my asking, did you dry the sheets on high, medium, or low?

      I had a similar initial experience after drying them on high by accident. But subsequent washings where I used low left them feeling soft and smooth.

      Here’s an excerpt from our “Care” subheading about this phenomenon: “As for drying, one of the most common ways that people damage (and shorten the lifespan of) their home linens is by overheating them in the dryer. If there’s one thing you can do to preserve your clothing, towels, and sheets, it is to dry them on the lowest setting possible. It’s much better to dry your sheets for 45 minutes on low than it is to scorch them on high for 15. You can literally smell the difference upon pulling them out of the dryer.”

      • Ariel Oliver

        I also ordered these based on this article and reviews. I had the same experience. I couldn’t even put my face on them, they were so rough. They felt more soft in hand, but my face just couldn’t deal with it for even 1 night. I washed and dried according to your instructions and no change… I am now looking at buying the JCP sheets recommended, but I have seen similar reviews on their site that maybe the construction has changed. I don’t know what sheets to buy for my new bed.

  • monster0413

    four one star reviews in the past month on the LL Bean site – any thoughts ???

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Looking into it!

  • Sreeharsha Nanduri

    Is it just me or something wrong, I ordered the L.L bean sheets after seeing the recommendation here and less than a week there’s a small slit torn apart.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Thanks for the feedback.

    • Melissa Tan

      Bummer. The thing about cotton percale is that if it gets a hole it can easily tear. It could have happened before they left the factory and just been a bad luck fluke. I recommend contacting LLB and taking them up on their guarantee, though. They should send you a brand new set for free.

      • http://www.lisabrewster.com/ Lisa Brewster

        I’m on my second set of LL Bean sheets — I had the first set replaced because the fitted sheet tore and the hem of the flat sheet became hopelessly and permanently wrinkled. The replacement set arrived with a tear in almost exactly the same place. I’m giving up on LL Bean.

  • Gtrunner

    The top pick needs to be bought new right now and retested. I just picked up the sheets yesterday. They feel like sandpaper. There have been all one start reviews for the past couple of months. It also looks like the company stopped sending any blue colors other than “lake”. The company is telling people that what I’m showing on my ipad and what is on the bed is the same color and that the problem is with the monitor that we are using.

    Edit I can’t post the photo , it showed an option before I logged in.

    • Neil

      I really wanted to like these sheets, but I have to agree with the above comment. I purchased the pale yellow color, which looked the same as on-line, and they seemed smooth to the hand out of the package, but on the bed was a whole other story. After washing with vinegar in the rinse, they were very harsh and abrasive. They really seemed like a much cheaper, lower thread count sheet. Also, the “standard” pillowcases were HUGE (actually, the flat and fitted sheets where super big, too). My standard pillows looked pitifully small and just swam around in them. Had to send the sheets back.

      • Jacqui Cheng

        Hi Neil,

        We are re-visiting this guide and re-testing the LL Bean sheets to see if the manufacturing has changed or if anything is different from when we first did our tests. For what it’s worth, the original author on this piece as well as one of our senior editors have NOT had this issue with their long-term testing, but we’re buying some new ones to test with anyway just to be sure.

        • vardarac

          How did this turn out? Are the sheets any good these days? You guys could probably make a business out of updating this once a year.

        • Handonam

          Looking to see if there’s any updates on this as well!

      • https://twitter.com/mhzhao Michael Zhao

        Hi, sorry you had a bad experience. We are looking into this. If you don’t mind my asking, did you dry the sheets on high, medium, or low?

        I had a similar initial experience after drying them on high by accident. But subsequent washings where I used low left them feeling soft and smooth like they did out of the bag.

        Here’s an excerpt from our “Care” subheading about this: “As for drying, one of the most common ways that people damage (and shorten the lifespan of) their home linens is by overheating them in the dryer. If there’s one thing you can do to preserve your clothing, towels, and sheets, it is to dry them on the lowest setting possible. It’s much better to dry your sheets for 45 minutes on low than it is to scorch them on high for 15. You can literally smell the difference upon pulling them out of the dryer.”

        • Neil

          I believe I did dry them on medium (and they did take 45 minutes to fully dry with other clothes in the machine). They felt the same *to the hand* coming out of the drier as they did from the package. It was only trying to sleep on them when I noticed how rough they felt. If I had used the low setting I’m afraid they would have taken an hour or more, which is not acceptable. If sheets require this much babying, then they are not practical for me anyway. The sheets I have now and have had in the past I’ve dried on high and have not had any issues.

          • https://twitter.com/mhzhao Michael Zhao

            That’s definitely a valid complaint, but at the same time, good sheets made of quality materials are an investment that need to be protected and cared for in order to get the most out of them.

            Think of it like this: you could put regular gas in a turbo-charged BMW instead of premium, but that’s going to negatively affect performance, and possibly damage the engine in the long run. Think of drying on low as using premium gas, except instead of paying 20 cents more per gallon, you’re paying 20 minutes more in the dryer.

            When we update this guide, we will definitely do more to make the care instructions clearer and make it more obvious who should get the Sateen pick instead.

          • Lucas Lee

            Any update? Was bout to pull the trigger on these sheets until I noticed the recent negative reviews. Thanks

          • Melissa Tan

            Hi Lucas,

            I ordered another set of the top pick, as did one of our editors, to see if there’s been any change in quality recently. We’ve been using the new sets for the past few weeks and haven’t noticed any differences so far. I think what Michael mentions above about care is crucial to the softness of the hand as well as how well they will hold up. If the negative reviews are what’s holding you back, but you like percale sheets (vs. sateen), I’d say go for it. LLB has a great lifetime guarantee, and they’ll take them back without a fuss if you don’t like them for whatever reason. Re: the recent reviews, I don’t see any difference in quality between the first set they sent me and the new set I ordered.

          • Lucas Lee

            Great, thanks for the info!

    • https://twitter.com/mhzhao Michael Zhao

      Hi, sorry you had a bad experience. We are looking into this. If you don’t mind my asking, did you dry the sheets on high, medium, or low?

      I had a similar initial experience after drying them on high by accident. But subsequent washings where I used low left them feeling soft and smooth like they did out of the bag.

      Here’s an excerpt from our “Care” subheading about this phenomenon: “As for drying, one of the most common ways that people damage (and shorten the lifespan of) their home linens is by overheating them in the dryer. If there’s one thing you can do to preserve your clothing, towels, and sheets, it is to dry them on the lowest setting possible. It’s much better to dry your sheets for 45 minutes on low than it is to scorch them on high for 15. You can literally smell the difference upon pulling them out of the dryer.”

      • Gtrunner

        I had it on the lowest setting my dryer has, I didn’t damage them. This was out the the box or rapper “stiffness”. I read the article before buying the sheets, that’s the whole point of using this site.

    • sj

      Drat!

  • Andrea Herling

    Great reviews. I have dust mite allergies and MUST wash and dry bedding at the hottest possible settings. I realize this will affect durability. I also have a problem with deep creases forming at the top edge of the flat sheet and these can’t be ironed out. I assume that the hot dry cycle is to blame. Since so many adults and children have dust mite allergies, do you have any tips for me and my fellow sufferers?

    • https://twitter.com/mhzhao Michael Zhao

      I’ve found that drying these sheets on high leads to a rough hand. I’d recommend trying our sateen Wrinkleguard pick. They won’t last as long, but should do better in high heat.

    • http://www.lisabrewster.com/ Lisa Brewster

      This happened to me with the LL Bean sheets (which I’m in the process of exchanging). According to a forum thread I found, this is the result of a manufacturing defect of not being hemmed straight across the grain of the fabric: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/laundry/msg0309202032570.html

      There are other tips in that thread of how to mitigate, but they didn’t help my situation and I didn’t want to suffer through a few years of washings since my sheets also tore from my cat’s claws, and LL Bean has a great return policy.

      • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

        Sorry you had to exchange, but glad you figured it out! Might be worth noting too.

  • Lucas Lee

    Did anybody ever figure out if the LL Bean sheets were changed with the recent negative reviews?

  • d quaid

    If you revisit this test next year it would be great if you could add Costco’s Kirkland Signature 540 TC Supima sheets to the list for comparison.

  • susie

    Hi there- my mattress is 18″ deep and the LL Bean sheets are too small. Do you recommend any other brand for the depth I need?

  • http://www.twitter.com/chaddierickx chad dierickx

    My wife and I are loving these sheets, which we bought after reading this post. Way better than our old high-thread-count ones. Thanks!

  • Nehal

    Hello! This is a great article, so firstly, thank you!

    So my new mattress is going to be a 9.5″ thick memory foam. Will the LL Bean sheets be way too deep and cause bunching? If so, can you recommend me another set of sheets?

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      These sheets are 15” deep, so they might be a bit bunchy. After some washing & drying they might fit better, but I’ll see what else might fit better.

    • Handonam

      Look into bed sheet suspenders for pockets that are deeper than your mattress

  • sj

    You are such an awesome person! I love what you’ve done and have been searching for new sheets and going madd from the pro and con reviews which never seem to narrow down a true winner.

    I recently stayed at The Dean Hotel in Providence RI and their sheets were divine. They purchase them from Matouck but are extremely expensive. I was hoping you had reviewed them too. They use the 350 thread long staple cotton percale I believe called Sierra Hemstich because it looked like what I slept on for 3 nights. They were so comfortable and old fashioned or what I remember as a child, cool and crisp. They don’t change the bed sheets until night 3 I believe, so, these stayed crisp.

    I will buy the LL.Bean based on your findings. I bought their flannel sheets last winter due to the horrid east coast temps but they were very disappointing. They pilled after sleeping on them once. I also bought them for my son and his pilled as well.

    I also can’t find a winner for a non-pill flannel either. But LL Bean’s was not expensive and the bed was definitely warmer once we went flannel. We used a cotton sheet for the top & cotton pillow cases to keep from getting too warm and the combo worked beautifully.

    Thanks again for all the research.

  • TheLievense

    Sad to hear that the Wamsutta line at Bed, Bath & Beyond has gone downhill since those were the sheets I always used to buy and even after years of washing they’ve stayed nice & soft. I would have liked to see a “step up” option for a higher thread count option for a little more money ($200-300).

  • Alex King

    I love my Garnet Hill Supima Percale! Yes, they are stiff, but that’s why i like them. And not thick either. It’s definitely a taste preference, but i am so in love with these sheets.

  • Selena

    Bought the Whale Percale Sheets after reading this. thread count is slightly lower at 220, but the sheets still has a cool crispy feeling to it AND keeps me cool at night especially right now since its so humid in southern california last couple of weeks. Here it is:

    http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/63106?feat=131-GN1&page=classic-colors-whale-percale-sheet-set&attrValue_0=True%20Navy&productId=1050833

    thanks for the recommendation!

  • Josh

    Cariloha makes bamboo sheets. Heaven.

    • Stephanie

      I have a pair of said sheets, being washed cold with gentle detergent and dried on low heat, they tore in less than a month. Bamboo is wonderfully soft new, but the review’s right, they are not at all durable enough to justify the cost.

  • Harold Ancell

    Be careful when viewing the feedback on these sheets at LLBean. While we normally buy them in sets, they list each of flat, fitted and pillowcases with the other two conveniently on the same page, and each has its own set of reviews.

    The reviews for 280-Thread-Count Pima Cotton Percale flat sheets aren’t too bad, but the other two detail a steady and significant drop in quality over the years, often with great specificity.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Ahh. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Eric Q.

    This may be the most in depth review topic I have seen on here but as many people noted, there is no option here for Cal King sheets in pima cotton percale. I’m honestly not sure if I will like them but you had such a good case for them and just enough distractors to steer me away from the others you tested that I am at a loss. I am also not as concerned about price but don’t want to cheap out with something you have relegated to extra bedroom duty. Any suggestions?

  • WillC

    Which one is preferable for under 40$ range on queen size???pretty broke from college

  • Dave

    I’ve been using DreamFit sheets. They have a different design to stay fit much better than normal sheets, plus the quality and materials are very good. There are 7 levels (7 is top of the line); I’ve been using level 4. Did you run into these sheets in your research for this review?

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      I don’t believe we did. If we dismissed it for a particular reason, we most likely would have mentioned it above.

    • Melissa Tan

      Thanks for bringing these to my attention, Dave. After some basic research I can tell you this: level 7 is way too expensive at $399 and levels 6, 5 and 1 are synthetics, so I wouldn’t consider those, but the others may be decent contenders. Basically, we cull potential candidates based construction and user reviews, and DreamFit’s website doesn’t have enough thread count, ply or fabric weight information, and third party sites that sell them just don’t have enough reviews. Now that you’ve brought them up, though, I’ll keep them on my radar in the event that we add more sheet testing in the future.

      • http://www.lisabrewster.com/ Lisa Brewster

        I’d be interested in something like this, actually. I haaaaaate baggy fitted sheets and dumpy pillowcases, so getting a tight fit is something I look for in reviews. I’ve also had my eye on drawstring sheets that you can easily tighten.

  • Rick

    I would recommend the Pinzon Hemstitch, which is also mentioned on this site. They are extraordinary sheets for a great price.

    Site : http://myfivekids.hubpages.com/hub/luxury-bed-sheets

  • Marjorine

    detailed and informative article. but unfortunately the product itself has not approached) My mum bought this linens to her home, and these sheets are great. but in my apatment i use silk linens, don`t know why,but i hate ironing))). silk linens costs more but you can use it for lo-o-ng time. Besides, I found a store with great discounts http://www.jasminesilk.com/

  • L. Wagner

    Thank you for this wonderful review of sheets and linen information, it
    is very much appreciated. The comments left by others have also been
    very helpful. I would have dried them on high as well. However, I
    prefer the crisp, clean feel you described with the L.L. Bean. I am
    going to order them. I assume that like washing jeans, they age a
    little with time, and soften a bit more, right?

    I actually have linen sheets which I am considering also. We need
    multiple sets now as we ungraded our full beds to a queen and now the queen sheets we had for one bed, just are not enough.
    Thanks again. Am sending this information to a friend.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Glad you liked!

  • Betty

    Have you tried Thomas Lee PerfectCale /

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      We have not. Link?

  • Joe

    Any word out there on Brooklinen? I’m curious to know if their hype lives up to their product.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Nothing yet.

  • http://kimigayosubs.weebly.com/ Kimigayo

    Can we expect an updated review soon since it’s almost a year? These things are down to like 3.5 stars on llbean. I’m not about to drop $150 on sheets that have a pretty large percentage of negative reviews.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      We’ll def look into it!

    • https://twitter.com/mhzhao Michael Zhao

      A lot of the negative reviews are about color being different from expectations (which could be their computer screen’s fault), another portion are of people who are upset that they tore after several years of use (free replacement is covered under LL Bean’s lifetime warranty). Yet another portion are of people who were expecting something like sateen that’s silkier. If you take those out, this should be well above 4 stars. The thing to keep in mind about non-Amazon user reviews is that there’s no incentive really to write one unless you hate it and want to vent.

      • http://www.lisabrewster.com/ Lisa Brewster

        My sheets tore in less than a year, and the replacement set ARRIVED torn. The LL Bean sheets are not “just buy whatever Sweethome recommends” quality.

        • https://twitter.com/mhzhao Michael Zhao

          That’s really shitty. I’ll pass this along to the powers that be.

    • keleee

      I am with you. There are a lot of changes at LLBean in a year. I used to buy their clothes until they went overseas and every year the quality changes depending on who gets the contract. Sometimes my size is huge and sometimes it is small and the material changes. I gave up. It just made me mad to have their key line changing so much. I am a certain size and I should not have to go up and down in sizes and deal with returns. It’s a shame because when they made things in Maine they were outstanding but everyone is out to make a buck so now it goes to the lowest bidder overseas.

  • http://adventuresinfoodandretirement.wordpress.com/ Peggie

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the size of the flat sheets from J.C. Penney. The ones from L. L. Bean (full size) are 106″ long and but only 96″ long from Penney’s. This makes a HUGE difference to me and I will no longer buy sheets that are 96″. Making a bed with sheets only 96″ long doesn’t leave much to tuck under at the foot.

  • L.A. Lady

    Thank you! I’m going to try the LL Bean sheets. Maybe I can get a Black Friday deal…

    • http://kimigayosubs.weebly.com/ Kimigayo

      I would say now is the time to buy. Online you can get a Queen flat sheet for $48.60 (10% off) plus a $10 gift card you can use towards a fitted sheet and/or pillow cases!!! Wait a day and then purchase the flat sheet and pillow cases and you can use the gift card from the flat sheet and get another $10 gift card. Pretty good deal!

  • http://kimigayosubs.weebly.com/ Kimigayo

    Now is the best time to grab these sheets from LL Bean. Current promotion is 10% off plus a $10 gift card for orders over $50 (before discount). You can only get one gift card per 24 hours, so you have to place an order then wait a day to place a second, but here’s what the deal comes out to:

    1. One Queen flat sheet – $54.00 – 10% = $48.60
    2. One Queen Fitted sheet – $54.00 – 10% = $48.60 – $10 gift card = $38.60
    3. Two Pillow Cases – $70.00 – 10% = $63.00 – $10 gift card = $53.00

    Full Set of Queen Sheets = $140.20 – $10 gift card for future use.

  • MRL

    I have been in the sheet business for over 25 years – this is the best review I have ever read – very accurate. a few notes:
    – the RV 400 wrinkle Guard is only at JCP
    – the thread count discussion is spot on – if its good quality, pretty much anything over a 500 is not worth the extra money.
    – Percales are almost always more durable than sateens.
    – there are very few percales on the market over a 400 thread count. 99% of the time if its more than 400, its a sateen.

    Again – an excellent article – well done!

  • Jim K

    Thoroughly enjoyed the in-depth review. It’s heartening to learn that there are people on the planet who take sheets as seriously as I do. I agree with your choice of the LL Bean sheet, but not that long ago Bean sold what I feel was an even better sheet, an organic cotton percale. They were, I believe, thicker than the sheets you’ve reviewed, and had more structural integrity, which made them quite crisp. They might have been a slight bit rougher, but a couple of washings softened them. A suggestion for those who find Bean’s pima sheets too rough: wash them four or five times before sleeping on them.

  • Debbie

    Thank you so much for the fabulous information. My question is about lower profile sheets for memory foam mattresses. You joked about mattress depth, but the top rated memory foam mattresses are low profile. The mattress I just purchased is actually at the upper end for memory foam at 11″. Memory foam mattresses have much higher user satisfaction ratings than traditional mattresses, so they are not inferior just because they are lower profile. I was so excited to try both of your top rated sheets, but this new 11″ mattress has thrown me a curve ball. 9I had not chosen my new bed when I bookmarked this page 2 months ago.) There are sheets specially made for memory foam mattresses, but there is not enough information on their quality. The color choice is also very limited. Have you looked at lower profile sheets for this growing market? 15″ deep sheets would be too sloppy on an 11″ mattress I assume? I hate a loose bottom sheet. I wake up with painful indents in my skin from sleeping on the lumpy folds of material! Thanks so much for any information you could provide.

    • Handonam

      Have you tried sheet suspenders? I just learned about those to help deep pockets for shallow mattresses

      • Debbie

        Thank you so much. I was looking into this option, but was not sure how well they worked. I have found two types at BB&B. There are sets of 2 long straps with clips that go under the mattress or sets of 4 straps (also with clips, of course) that are used on the corners of the bottom sheet. Do you have an opinion (or source of research) on these two options?

        • Handonam

          My guess is as good as yours. I’ve only done amazon reviews on them. But i’ll be looking more into it before I purchase the LL Bean for my 10 inch Sleep Innovations mattress

          • Debbie

            Thanks. I will look at the reviews on Amazon for the various types. I find the reviewers there very helpful. Deb :-)

  • Stephanie

    You are completely right about bamboo sheets! We got a pair, and they were our favorite sheets we ever owned… for the first couple weeks. They’re not durable at all, which is doubly annoying given how expensive they are. We don’t typically use the top sheet, it stays folded and doesn’t need to be washed as much, and even after just 6 months the sheets we use are much less soft than the relatively untouched top-sheet.

    I’m curious, is there going to be an updated review for this year?

    • Steph

      (So I’m guessing we don’t know if/when an updated review would be?)

  • Suze

    The best sheets I have ever had were Chris Madden 600 thread count from JC Penney. I have desperately tried to find them again, and they have been discontinued. Can anyone recommend similar sheets? I have seen the word “soft” way too much, that it makes me think none of these sheets are like The Chris Madden sheets. It’s not that they were not soft, but they were crisp, and had a very high-quality feel. Not overly “soft” as in plush and fluffy, but more smooth, almost with a sateen finish, kind of thick and sturdy feeling. I loved them, can anyone tell me a sheet like it?

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      I think you’re looking for a style that hotels used for a bit (according to search engines). You might want to look into what most nice hotels use now and go from there.

  • http://www.jabongworld.com/ Stella Langdon

    For the finest collection of bed-sheets , you can see the awesome collection online @ http://www.jabongworld.com/home-decor/bedsheets.html

  • Ting

    This is a great article – I confess, if I hadn’t come here first I would’ve wound up with one of those high-thread count sheets at my local department store without knowing better. I’m convinced the LL Bean sheets are the best, but I do have one gripe – the colour selection is so limited! Maybe you guys could consider adding picks with better colour/print selections? I’d also be keen to know which is the best $200-and-up sheet you would recommend, as I’m open to splurging a little where bedding is concerned.

  • anni

    I liked this article but still went against the advice because I really
    wanted to find these sheets that’s been on my mind the night I slept on
    them. I was at a friends house and she handed me a set of Wamsutta, no
    idea the thread count but it was soo soft and supple and I was in
    heaven. She said she had them at least 5 years +. So I wrote it down for
    the future for when I would purchase sheets again.

    Well the time
    was now, because my old sheets ripped over the weekend. I was so happy
    about it because I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some of those soft
    sheets. To be honest, this article was right, you can’t just feel these
    pillow cases with your hands, you gotta sleep in them. I got the 750
    dream zone sheets, sateen weave. Yeah. I think they are slick and
    slippery but yet crisp and uncomfortable. I wanted soft and supple
    almost like flannel feeling cause that’s what hers were. They are not.
    I’m heartbroken and now the bf (whom I share the bed with) won’t hear
    about it because I wouldn’t shut up about these sheets for the longest
    time. He asked last night, so were these sheets everything and more? I
    flatly said no. He was like ok. We just spent $150. Yeah I know. Maybe
    they’ll soften up? I don’t know. I’m really bummed. I can’t keep
    shelling out for sheets…I mean we. Sheets aren’t cheap. Do you think vinegar would work?? I know fabric softner might make it worse :/.

    • keleee

      Unfortunately I know the Wamsutta sheets you are talking about and they have changed hands so many times in the last decade they don’t make them anymore. They were a 300 count percale if I remember correctly and I had the Wamsutta comforter to match that lasted over 15 years! The sheets just got better with time and I would pay any amount for them if I could still find them. They were so airy and soft. Ahhh memories…

    • Guyute

      yes they will absolutely get better and better. she had hers 5 years already…wash them often…give a long vinegar wash, and always wash the whole set together. high thread count sateens always get better over time, way better.

  • BGM1911

    I’m wondering why you never mentioned sheet pressing.

    I stayed in an expensive room in Vail, CO. The sheets on the bed were the most comfortable I have ever slept on. I contacted the housekeeping manager to inquire what brand sheets they used, and it turned out to be a very informative conversation. He mentioned that they use supima sheets, but that alone was not what made the sheets comfortable: it was the pressing and the way they placed the sheets on the bed (hospital corners). He told me I could buy the same sheets at BB&B, but without the pressing, it wouldn’t be as good. Granted, I know little about sheets, but this guy sounded like he knew what he was talking about, to the point that he told me what it would cost for the pressing.

    I’ve tried searching the internet for something that would support what he told me, but have had no luck. Assuming this guy is not in left field, you should consider pressing the sheets to prove/disprove and benefits to comfort.

  • Tom

    I truly believe Thomas Lee’s 100% Pima cotton PerfectCale bed linens are the best.
    I’m wondering why you did not include them in your review?
    They are available @ http://www.ThomasLeeLtd.com

  • ashak1234

    Thank you for the great article. I am wondering if you have plans on updating this article any time in the near future?

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Ah the year had me fooled. Sorry! I’ll check but you’re probably safe for a bit!

      • ashak1234

        Sorry didn’t see the date at the top. Thank you for a great review.

        • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

          No, you’re correct it is a bit old but I think they’re holding up strong. Will do a quick check!

  • Steph

    Did something change with how prices are displayed? Because I got super excited when I saw these prices, then clicked the links and realized the listed prices are all for the smallest pillowcase sets.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Since there is more than one size (twin, full, queen, king), we list the lowest price offering available. The twin size set is $35, and it goes up $10 per size. Full is $45, queen $55, king $65. We used to have it listed as From $35-$65, but we had to change some stuff around.

      • Steph

        For the sateen it’s the cost of a pillowcase set. I’ve been checking back periodically for updates, and since it used to read $130-200, I was super excited when I saw $60.

        • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

          Ah. Yeah same goes for our other picks. We changed the buy buttons to reflect the lowest pricing option. Sorry if that appears misleading!

          • Steph

            No worries, it makes sense for most products. Thanks!

  • gyamashita

    15″ deep is not the new norm…with the rise in online bed companies like casper and leesa (among others), the going depth of beds is about 10″. i’d give the llbean sheets a shot if they were “shorter”…

  • http://www.twitter.com/90sRememberer NB

    Despite the points made that these sheets fit most beds, I found that both of the recommended sheets didn’t come close to fitting my Full bed with mattress topper. Oh well.

  • Matt Keller

    I usually find the Sweethome’s recommendations to be spot on. In this case, it proved a big mistake and flat-out wrong. Although fairly satisfied with our previous set sheet, after a few years, our dog tore a hole in them, and everybody’s always looking for something better, right? So we ordered a king size set with 2 extra pillowcases. Total came to over $200, as L.L. Bean does not sell in sets. They weren’t nearly as soft as our previous sheets when they arrived, but I thought they’d soften after a few washes. They did not – and worse, the pillowcases have become discolored (see photo). All in about a month. Thankfully, Land’s End has a generous return policy, so these are going back, and I’m ordering another set of our previous sheets – the Kirkland Signature Supima sheets which, at $79.99 (including 4 pillowcases, not 2), beats Sweethome’s choice hands (and heads) down, and at a dramatically better price. That Kirkland’s sheets were not even included suggests Sweethome may need to do a little more research on the competitive set before updating this in the future.

    • Daniel Lee

      Thank you for the detailed feedback Matt. I was going to buy the LL Bean set a few weeks ago but looking latest reviews on LL Bean’s site seems to suggest that the sheets may have changed in some way (different supplier) since this review was written. I’ll also look into the Kirkland Sheets you recommended.

    • Pesto DaCat

      Umm you say LL Bean and then say Lands End??!?! So.. which is it… did you buy Land’s End or LL BEAN?

      • Matt Keller

        Apologies – I did in fact buy the LL Bean sheets, as per Sweethome’s recommendation. I’ve edited my previous comment to reflect LL Bean throughout.

    • KipKasper

      Second this, my faith in sweethome is shaken by these scratchy L.L bean sheets. Despite the claims of the review they feel exactly like you would expect sub 300 thread count sheets to feel.

    • http://mo.rley.co/ morley

      I had the exact same experience. The sheets are surprisingly scratchy and uncomfortable.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      This has all been forwarded along!

    • Ganda Suthivarakom

      The Kirkland Signature Supima are a sateen weave, which is a different style from the L. L. Bean percale. Some people prefer the smooth, buttery feel of sateen, but it often isn’t as durable as percale. I haven’t heard of discoloration as an issue before. I’m glad they honored your return. We did buy another set of the Beans to retest recently and still found the sheets superior to others. But I would like to test those Kirklands for the next round. Thanks for the input.

      • Matt Keller

        Ganda – to this I would note, most people find comfort takes priority over durability when it comes to bedding. Burlap is extraordinarily durable, but nobody wants to sleep on it. And sorry to hear the sheets came in “superior to others” in the view of Sweethome yet again, because that doesn’t engender a lot of faith in the site’s opinion on the matter. These things are, after all, just that – opinions, not quantifiable facts – and having purchased and slept on the LL Bean sheets, I can tell you, I’ll never buy them again. Not that the Kirkland sheets are without problems. To your point, one of the corners on the set we purchased to replace the LL Bean sheets has developed a small split in the seam. However, for a third of the price, allowances can be made – and I guarantee three sets of the Kirkland sheets will outlast one set of those miserable LL Bean ones. Best of luck on the next test.

        • joshua88

          Matt,

          Spend $300 on quality that lasts ten years or spend a hundred and buy sheets every three years. That makes no sense. I have sheets from the sixties, but I wouldn’t sleep on them. I have towels from thirty years ago.

          Find something that you want, spend money to get quality,
          (you always get what you pay for) and come back and tell us how wonderful they are – or not – after you’ve used them and washed them for awhile.

    • jessheezy

      totally agree with you matt, those kirkland signatures have really been a notch above the rest in durability and the silky smooth feel of sateen.

    • Emoneny

      Sounds like personal preference. The Kirklands are sateen-weave, which percale lovers like myself find slimy, hot, and greasy feeling. The L.L. Beans are percale, which percale lovers find cool and crisp, but sateen lovers find them scratchy and wrinkly. While you can compare percale and sateen, and prefer one over the other, comparing Costco’s sateen and LL Bean’s percale is comparing apples and oranges. Now you and your wife know that you don’t like percale and not to buy it.

      • Matt Keller

        I don’t see your point. Beyond the field of science and standard weights and measures, virtually everything else in life *IS* personal preference, a matter of opinion. That’s why some people find Fox News to be a reputable news organization, while others consider it the most sweeping and pernicious propaganda machine since Nazi Germany. Sites like The Sweethome define their utility to us by aligning with whatever our preferences are and then going about throwing enough seemingly factual information to make us feel like these preferences and opinions are the *right* ones. But there’s no right answer here; there’s ONLY personal preference, which is why the world is filled with sheets that are percale, sateen, damask, flannel, jersey, jacquard, and a zillion other types. Even if your own preference is for percale, though, I’d urge you, if you were considering purchasing these, to visit L.L. Bean’s own website, where half of the 6 most recent reviews are single stars and say things like “too rough and scratchy,” “returned the set,” and “These do not even feel like cotton.” The two most helpful reviews, as defined by their own site, are single star reviews as well. That a sheet that even L.L. Bean fans say is nowhere near the quality it used to be is what The Sweethome says “can’t be beat” is then, to me, dubious at best and suggests a leeeeeettle more work needs to be done here.

        • joshua88

          Mr Keller,

          I loved your review, but before I decided to investigate, I read Emoneny’s reply. When I learned it was sateen, I lost all interest.

          Some review site (maybe here) sent me to Coyuchi. Their return policy is fantastic, it might be worth the investment.
          Then again, I left a message one week ago and nobody called me back. I may move on.

          Back to you – I read the reviews that you did at LL Bean. The exact complaint you mention here (quality not as good) led me to walk away. Everybody touts the same damn brands, but it doesn’t make sense.

          Before it became such a big scam, sheet buying used to be so easy. Some sites (reviews) and some shopping places are impossible – like Amazon. I am almost sleeping on threads! I can wait, but not much longer.

          BTW, I don’t think that the “high-end” should be left out of the mix. Some of us could really benefit from the important information being shared here. (I would.)

          My mother went to Macy’s NY for me. Three thousand miles away, I have to go to the local mall to return them. Awful sateen, even though I insisted on percale. I think the salesperson overpowered or ignored her in order to make the sale – she’s a 92 year old woman…

          Macy’s website is so bad, I cannot spend another moment trying to find replacements. Contrary to their “simple” search, they actually only have two percale choices and you may have to open every description if Search doesn’t pick it up.

          Anywho, I would welcome all supima percale suggestions – but higher TC (soft but crisp) from people here.

          Thank you.

  • lobster_johnson

    So for those of us who use duvets (not flat sheets like some kind of barbarian) and prefer to shop bedsheets separately from duvet/pillow covers — where do we find bedsheets? Of all the products I see mentioned here, every single one is sold as American-style sets, except the J. C. Penney ones, which come in a very limited colour selection. I just want to buy a single fitted sheet. A pack of multiple fitted sheets would be good, too. Just not the other superfluous stuff.

    • sj

      I think LL Bean sells sheets separately and not in sets. I bought a separate fitted flannel from them because I can’t be surrounded by all flannel, it’s too hot. I think the Company Store does as well and check their clearance.

    • Emoneny

      The Company Store and Cuddledown– both mentioned on this list– sell them as separates. I guess it takes a barbarian to actually look at the links provided.

      • lobster_johnson

        I just checked cuddletown.com and thecompanystore.com, neither of which have (unless their terrible search is broken) the L. L. Bean sheets.

  • jacobslide

    Anyone have any suggestions on where to look, and sheets to buy, for a shallower bed? 8-10″? Using the clips to tighten is annoying, and I hate baggy sheets. Thanks!

    • http://www.lisabrewster.com/ Lisa Brewster

      They’re not perfect, but depending on the tradeoffs you’re willing to make you could try these drawstring sheets: http://www.amazon.com/Sheet-DRAWSTRING-TIGHTENED-Fitted-Cotton/dp/B004S3NI7M

      I have the fitted sheet on my thicker mattress, and for the first day or two it’s nice and tight, but after that I guess the fabric stretches a bit and it gets baggy until it’s washed again. But the way the corners are tightened, it’s definitely not coming off the bed.

      I also have to note that the fabric seems to be getting fuzzy after less than six months, so I can’t vouch for how well it’ll hold up.

    • sj

      Look at The Vermont Store. I believe they have sheets for shallow mattresses. I just bought their crisp percale and am loving them.

      • jacobslide

        Thanks! I’ll check them out. Though, a bit lacking in the color choices ay? White, blue, yellow?

        • sj

          Just get the white. I stayed at the Dean Hotel last summer and bedding was all white. I slept so well. I wanted their percale sheets but they were $450. The Vermont Store sheets are similar imo. I got a white quilt, they use a white comforter with flat sheet on top and bottom to cover you. The comforter was light and fluffy. It was heaven.

          Google this sentence and read:

          We Found The ONE Reason Why Your Hotel Bed Is So Perfect

  • sj

    I bought cotton crisp percale sheets from The Vermont Store @ $89 a set in white a few weeks ago. They have performed wonderfully in every way, fit, repeated washes and crisp coolness over my 100% cotton sheets which was so hot to sleep on. I chose them over the LLBean sheets because there were a lot of complaints on those sheets on their site.

    First time I’ve ever bought something that I don’t have any regrets about.

  • onewontdo

    I guess the material changed for LLB, because the one I received was not crisp but scratchy and it did not soften up after careful laundry attempts. The material itself felt quite synthetic too. I have washed the sheet so I don’t think I can return it, so I will be shelving this one and going with the local maker’s Egyptian cotton percale that costs a couple times more but hundred times better in quality and build. If you are reading this now, purchase LLB’s sheets at your own risks!

    • Ganda Suthivarakom

      You can return those to L. L. Bean thanks to their generous return policy, and you should if you’re not happy with them. We recently retested these with a fresh set and were very happy with them. I’m sorry to hear you don’t like them. Do you have a link to the sheets you got?

    • Ganda Suthivarakom

      If you haven’t returned them yet, can you send me a note at notes@thesweethome.com? I want to ask you something.

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  • TheEclectic

    Recent reviews on LL Bean’s Percale sheets have been quite negative. Seems they’ve changed something since Consumer Reports tested them in 2010.

    • Brian Schack

      Can you share a link?

  • Ir

    I would just like to chime in with my experience. I bought these sheets according to Sweethome’s recommendation about 10 months ago. At first, they felt a bit rough and I was quite disappointed (I usually prefer smoother sateen), but since I needed sheets and couldn’t deal with a return/repurchasing process at the time, I kept them as my main sheets during the past year.
    With repeated washings they became softer and softer, but it wasn’t until I traveled this winter and spring that I noticed how wonderful they’d become. I slept in many hotels and friends’ houses and, when I finally came home, I crawled into my bed and could hardly believe how much smoother and more comfy/cozy my bed was compared to all the others I’d been in. They are butter-smooth now, and I’m absolutely thrilled with them! No fraying and they are as sturdy as ever. If I had to buy a second pair of sheets, I’d go with these LLBs hands down. Thanks for the great rec!

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Thanks for the feedback!

  • bobackz

    I’m surprised you don’t discuss bamboo sateen more thoroughly. I love the fabric and haven’t found anything softer.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      We’ll have to look into it. Any suggested preferred brands?

    • Steph

      We used bamboo for a couple years, it’s fantastically soft when new but everything we tried became less soft fairly quickly. We never sleep with the top sheet so it didn’t get used/washed, and in as little as a few months there was a noticeable difference in comfort between what we used and what stayed like-new. Now we’re back to sateen cotton, it’s softer than our year-old bamboo set.

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  • Read Weaver

    I hope you will be reviewing flannel. I like it year round–I find the clinginess of percale or sateen sheets to be more sweaty than flannel, which (on me at least) doesn’t stick to my skin even if I’m sweaty. And I find I like at least something over me even when it’s warm, and flannel does well for that.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      I think we removed one of the flannel picks, but we could def include something we prefer for a seasonal pick.

  • gyamashita

    i bought these sheets a few months ago based on the SH’s recommendation. i thought they were pretty good, but indeed, my wife thought they were scratchy. she didn’t want to wait 6 mos. to see if they would soften through repeated use and washings, so we returned it. maybe we’ll try again in the future when our ikea sheets bite the dust, but for now, they feel pretty darn good.

  • ansar99

    I am glad to see the Target branded sheets on here. I found them by chance since I got a new very deep mattress. I came across the Target brand and have not looked back. They are relatively inexpensive, deep pockets, and seem to last. My wife is very picky about sheets and she likes them as well. Also, for a king size bed, the labels on the sheets for Top/Bottom and Side are very helpful. :)

  • CAS

    Did you consider testing Thomas Lee sheets? They are made of Pima Cotton and are said to be excellent. It would be great to hear a comparison.

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      I don’t believe we did but we always can in the future!

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  • Matt Robbins

    Have to say I’ve tried the LL Bean sheets and the Jennifer Adams sheets that Costco carries a few times a year blow them out of the water. AND they’re significantly cheaper. $100-ish for a King set. Softest and most durable sheets we’ve EVER used, and we’ve spent upwards of $400 on a set of sheets before trying to find the “perfect” set.

    Here’s a link to them…
    https://www.jenniferadams.com/Eternal_Sheet_Sets_p/etssets.htm

  • Emoneny

    Target Shabby Chic line are, IMO, the BEST. They’re pretty much the same as Target’s Threshold Percale, just prettier. I hope they never discontinue the Shabby Chic for Target sheets.

  • HilaryL

    Both the JC Penney and the Hemstitch sheets are sateen, correct? We just ordered a California King bed and now I’m worried we won’t be able to find good percale sheets!

    • http://thewirecutter.com/ tony kaye

      Yes they are both sateen!

  • Jimmy Sugema

    Great tip! I’ve tried this. I put the post near the chair she liked to scratch. She quickly favored the post.

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  • Mil

    Great article! Have you tried bamboo sheets? I bought some online at the suggestion of my friend and I have to say I am loving them so far. For those interested I got them at bambootranquility.com