Our Lab Experts and Panelists Tested and Rated the Best Cotton Sheets of 2022

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Good News: You Don’t Have to Spend a Fortune to Get Top-Tested Cotton Sheets

We updated this article in October 2022 to ensure our top-tested sheets were in stock and reflected up-to-date prices.

While nowadays you can find amazing bedsheets made of all kinds of materials, from polyester sheets to linen sheets, silk sheets and various blends, nothing feels quite like cotton. Traditional, 100% pure cotton is still the most popular bedding fabric on the market — and for good reason. Not only is it soft, breathable and durable, but it also feels more natural against your skin. Because of its popularity, though, you’ll find thousands of offerings wherever you look, both online and in stores, and with so many options to choose from, it’s hard to know which sets are worth buying. Our guide can help with that.

The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab has tested more than 240 sheet sets in recent years, including 40 new sets in 2022 alone, from cooling sheets to organic sheets, microfiber sheets, flannel sheets and beyond, to find the best sheets and softest sheets available. In the Lab, using specialized equipment and industry standards, we test each set for factors like fabric strength, pilling resistance, wrinkle resistance and shrinkage from laundering. We also have dozens of consumer testers feel and rate the fabrics for softness and comfort in a blind comparison. Plus, each set is evaluated by several consumer testers to analyze aspects like temperature regulation, fit, ease of use and appearance over time. To find the best cotton sheets available, our analysts reviewed more than 10,000 data points from testing before recommending these sets.

Our best picks:

You can read more about how we test and what to look for at the end of this article. Searching for more ways to find the best bedding? Check out our guides to the best pillows and the best mattresses you can buy.

lifestyle, amazon, our lab experts and panelists tested and rated the best cotton sheets of 2022

1) Luxe Core Sheet Set


This set earned the top spot thanks to its overall fabric quality and stress-free features, including helpful labels on the fitted sheet. For starters, the smooth fabric was strong and pill-resistant, and it laundered well in our wash tests. Bed-making is also a breeze with this set since the fitted sheet is labeled with “long side” and “short side” tabs.

Besides the stellar feedback from our tester panel, this set also has thousands of five-star reviews online from real users who swear by it. It’s even a personal favorite set among our own Textiles Lab analysts. And if you’re still not convinced, the brand offers an any-reason return policy, so you can get a full refund if you don’t love it.

READ OUR FULL REVIEW: These Luxury Brooklinen Sheets Are Actually Worth the Hype

lifestyle, amazon, our lab experts and panelists tested and rated the best cotton sheets of 2022

2) Cotton Bed Sheet Set


Most cotton sheet sets cost well over $100, but this one’s a fraction of the price and your best bet if you’re looking to save. Aside from its 100% cotton fiber content, it also has a sateen weave for smoothness and an elastic band to fit securely on mattresses. The brand also says this style can accommodate a 16-inch mattress.

We haven’t extensively tested this newer style yet, but Mellanni sheets have typically performed well in our evaluations and surprised our experts with their quality despite the low cost. Plus, this set is already earning rave reviews on Amazon from real users. Just note that although it claims to be Global Organic Textile Standard–certified organic, we weren’t able to verify this through the GOTS database.

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L.L. Bean Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set


Percale weaves are for those who prefer a cool and crisp cotton sheet set over one that feels silky smooth. They’re also popular cotton sheets for hot sleepers because of their airy texture and breathable weave. Though they can sometimes feel rough compared with sateen, this L.L.Bean set was rated soft by most testers and outperformed all other percale sheets in our extensive evaluations. One tester even described them as feeling like “quality hotel sheets.”

The fabric was strong and durable with hardly any shrinkage or pilling. Plus, percale often looks wrinkled, but this one had a smoother appearance compared with others. There’s also something for every style preference, thanks to a wide range of solid neutrals, bright colors and pretty prints.

lifestyle, amazon, our lab experts and panelists tested and rated the best cotton sheets of 2022

Organic Cotton Sheet Set


Popular for their soft, smooth feel, sateen sheets were one of the most popular styles among our consumer testers. This set from Riley is luxuriously soft and splurge-worthy. It’s made using long-staple cotton with a combing technique to eliminate short fibers for a smoother and more durable fabric.

Testers raved about the unique lightweight feel of these sheets, with one calling it “more breathable than most sateen sheets.” Plus, this set impressed in Lab tests, exhibiting excellent pilling resistance and minimal shrinkage. As a bonus, while most cotton sheets wrinkle easily, these outperformed other sateen sets we tested with fewer creases. Just note that although the brand calls them organic cotton sheets, we weren’t able to confirm whether the entire manufacturing process is certified organic.

lifestyle, amazon, our lab experts and panelists tested and rated the best cotton sheets of 2022

Coyuchi Organic Crinkled Percale Sheets


This sheet set checks off the boxes for a variety of preferences: It’s made with GOTS-certified cotton for those who prefer organic, the fabric is light and airy for those who prefer breathable and cool and it’s crisp for those who prefer a relaxed look and feel. In fact, the brand uses a special process to achieve its signature crinkled finish.

Besides its organic certification, it’s also Fair Trade Certified, which means the sourcing and manufacturing process upholds rigorous standards for ethical issues like wages and working conditions. The fabric washed well in Lab evaluations, though it did have some pilling and wrinkles (which is expected for a crinkled fabric). Plus, at-home testers told us they loved how the sheets felt soft yet crisp and cool at the same time.

lifestyle, amazon, our lab experts and panelists tested and rated the best cotton sheets of 2022

Organic Cotton Bed Sheets


Truly organic sheets can cost hundreds of dollars, but this set is GOTS-certified and still less than $200. The certification is especially important because it shows the entire manufacturing process — not just the growing of the cotton — follows strict standards.

Though it had some shrinkage and wrinkles after we washed it, the sateen fabric outperformed other organic sheets and proved to be both soft and strong. One at-home tester highlighted how it stood out for its smooth and lightweight feel.

lifestyle, amazon, our lab experts and panelists tested and rated the best cotton sheets of 2022

Legends Hotel Wrinkle-Free Sheet Set


This luxury sateen set costs more than most sets in this roundup, but it’s certainly worth the splurge, thanks to its substantial thickness and incredible softness. It’s made with Supima cotton, which is a premium fiber grown in the U.S., and comes in many colors, with the option to mix and match your set. Plus, if you have a tall mattress or use a mattress topper and need deep-pocket sheets, this set is offered in both a standard 14-inch depth and an accommodating 18-inch depth for Queen, King and California King sizes.

This set earned one of the highest softness ratings in a blind comparison, and our reviewers told us they wanted to purchase it for themselves. The fabric was also strong and shrink-resistant in our Lab tests, though there were some wrinkles and pilling compared to other sets we evaluated, despite its “wrinkle-free” claims.

lifestyle, amazon, our lab experts and panelists tested and rated the best cotton sheets of 2022

Brushed Cotton Sheet Set


This novelty set has a basic percale weave with a brushed surface so you get a unique mix of lightweight and crisp with soft and cozy. The brushed surface is somewhat similar to flannel’s construction, yet the fuzziness is much more minimal and not as hot.

Unsurprisingly, this sheet set was rated softer than all other percales we’ve tested. Our panel of reviewers loved how it felt and noted its relaxed appearance. And although brushed fabric can often easily show signs of wear, this one stood up well to our durability tests without significant shrinkage or pilling.

lifestyle, amazon, our lab experts and panelists tested and rated the best cotton sheets of 2022

Hotel Sateen Sheet Set


Cotton sheets can look crumpled and messy at times (even when you take them out of the dryer right away), but this set has a wrinkle-resistant finish and looked the smoothest after we washed it. And because it’s certified by Oeko-TEX, you don’t need to worry about unsafe chemical levels from the finish.

The cotton is also combed to remove short, poking fibers, and testers gave it top marks for feeling smooth. Although the fabric didn’t perform as well in our strength test, it was durable overall in laundering tests, with minimal shrinkage.

lifestyle, amazon, our lab experts and panelists tested and rated the best cotton sheets of 2022

Hemstitched Supima Flannel Bedding


Ideal for cold sleepers, flannel sheets have a brushed surface that traps air inside for extra warmth. These sheets aced our tests, outperforming other contenders. In fact, it was the only flannel set that earned a perfect softness score from our consumer testers.

Testers gave this set high ratings across the board, raving about the comfort. One even commented, “These sheets are deliciously soft to the touch — like a giant cuddle when you get in bed each night.” The fabric also performed well in Lab durability tests, with high scores in strength and moderate wrinkle resistance, though it pilled easily, as is characteristic of flannel materials. The brand sells each component separately, so you can mix and match colors or opt to skip the top sheet.

lifestyle, amazon, our lab experts and panelists tested and rated the best cotton sheets of 2022

What to look for when shopping for sleeper sofas

Besides validating that the sheets are 100% cotton (as opposed to a blend with synthetics), our fiber scientists rigorously test the sheets in our Textiles Lab and with real consumer testers. Here’s how we evaluate the sets:

✔️ Consumer Testing: Our panel of testers rate each fabric in a blind comparison. Testing occurs after we wash the sheets to remove any leftover finishes from production. Plus, top performers are tested in the homes of panelists for real-life feedback on performance aspects like comfort, temperature regulation, fit and ease of use.

✔️ Fabric strength: Our specialized tensile strength machine (called an Instron, pictured below) pulls swatches of fabric until they break, letting us know how strong each material is.

lifestyle, amazon, our lab experts and panelists tested and rated the best cotton sheets of 2022

How we test sheets

✔️ Pilling resistance: To mimic tossing, turning, wear and tear, we use our abrasion machine to rub swatches together, then visibly score signs of pilling according to textile industry standards.

✔️ Dimensional stability: Each sheet is repeatedly laundered and evaluated for shrinkage and appearance after multiple wash cycles.

✔️ Wrinkle resistance: After laundering, each sheet is taken right out of the dryer to our specialized lighting room and visually assessed for creases based on industry standards.

✔️ Other factors: We also check how well the sheets fit onto a sample mattress and consider any claims, from cooling features to organic labeling.

lifestyle, amazon, our lab experts and panelists tested and rated the best cotton sheets of 2022

What to look for when shopping for sleeper sofas

Once you decide to opt for cotton and start shopping, seeing how many varieties of cotton there are can be overwhelming and confusing. Here are the common choices you’ll see for cotton:

✔️ First, consider cotton fibers:

  • Long-staple cotton is considered a luxury fiber because the longer staples mean there are no short fibers to stick out or break off, making the fabric smoother and more durable. Egyptian and pima cotton are both types of extra-long-staple (ELS) cotton. Just keep in mind: Egyptian cotton claims are hard to prove, and there have been instances of brands mislabeling their sheets when they don’t actually contain this luxury fiber.
  • Organic cotton is grown without pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. But don’t confuse organic cotton fibers with organic cotton sheets: A fully organic product will follow strict standards throughout the supply chain, not just the growing of the cotton. Check to make sure it’s certified by a trusted source, such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

✔️ Next, consider cotton sheet fabrics:

  • Percale is a basic weave that feels light and breathable. It’s ideal for anyone who sleeps hot or prefers a crisp feel.
  • Sateen is a satin-like weave that feels silky smooth. Our testers tend to prefer this feel because sateen sheets are softer than percale sheets but aren’t as breathable.
  • Flannel is a thick, brushed fabric that feels warm and cozy.
  • Jersey is a knit fabric that feels like a T-shirt. It’s stretchier and often very soft, but it’s not as durable and pills more easily.

✔️ Also look into cotton manufacturing techniques:

  • Combed cotton comes from a process that removes shorter cotton fibers, leaving behind the longer ones that feel smoother and are less likely to break.
  • Brushed cotton has a surface that’s brushed to give it a fuzzy finish. This feels softer and helps trap air inside to make it cozier, similar to flannel.
  • Wrinkle-resistant cotton has added finishes to make wrinkle-prone cotton look smoother. Although this process often uses chemicals, you can check for an Oeko-TEX certification on the brand’s website or the sheet set’s physical packaging to make sure there are no unsafe levels of known harmful chemicals in the finished fabric.

lifestyle, amazon, our lab experts and panelists tested and rated the best cotton sheets of 2022

What to look for when shopping for sleeper sofas

Besides the construction of the fabric, here’s what to consider as you pick out your cotton sheets:

✔️ Thread count: This tells you the number of threads per square inch of fabric, and it matters only when the sheets are 100% cotton. Top performers in our tests are typically in the 300 to 500 range, but thread count isn’t super important, and it’s better to focus on the specifications listed above.

✔️ Price: Cotton sheets are more expensive than ones with synthetics, like polyester-cotton blends and microfibers, but you don’t need to spend a fortune. Most of our top-performing cotton sheets are in the $100 to $200 range for a Queen-size sheet set.

✔️ Care instructions: There’s usually no special care required, because cotton is machine washable, but some sets call for gentle cycles or cold-water washing. Warm water is best for cleaning cotton sheets, especially if you’re a hot sleeper or don’t wash your sheets on a regular basis.

lifestyle, amazon, our lab experts and panelists tested and rated the best cotton sheets of 2022

What to look for when shopping for sleeper sofas

Lexie Sachs is the executive director of the Textiles, Paper & Apparel Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, where she oversees testing for all bedding, including sheets. She has been actively evaluating sheets since she joined Good Housekeeping in 2013, and during this time she has rigorously tested more than 200 sets. Lexie incorporates Lab test results, consumer feedback and her own expert analysis before recommending sheets to readers. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Fiber Science from Cornell University and more than 15 years of experience in the textiles industry, including merchandising and product development for home products.

Grace Wu most recently updated this article. She’s a textiles product review analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute and has evaluated more than 40 sheet sets in the past year using specialized laboratory equipment and feedback from hundreds of consumer testers. She’s written several stories on various types of sheets, including linen sheets, flannel sheets and percale sheets. Prior to joining GH, Grace earned a Masters of Engineering in Materials Science & Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Fiber Science from Cornell University.

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