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Best Egyptian Cotton Sheets of 2020

By Aaron Rice ⋅ Review Editor
Tuesday September 22, 2020
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Wondering about the luxurious world of Egyptian cotton sheets? For this 2020 review, we researched dozens of sets, and purchased 10 of the best on the market, at full-price, to compare side-by-side. Our experts designed objective tests to simulate years of use to better analyze quality and value. We slept in every set through hot summer nights to judge comfort, curled up on early mornings to assess feel, and put them through repetitive wash and dry cycles to learn about durability. If you've been considering stepping up your sheet game, our experts have done the work to help you find the perfect set for your bedroom.

1

Best Overall Egyptian Cotton Sheets


Pure Parima Luxury 400


Editors' Choice Award
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$230.00
at Amazon
See It

Weave: Sateen | Pocket Depth: 17 inches
CEA-certified Egyptian cotton
Extra-long staple cotton is impressively soft
Extra elastic bands around corners of fitted sheet
Delicate care required
Slippery fitted sheet

The Pure Parima Luxury 400 is proof that thread count isn't everything when it comes to judging a beautiful set of bedsheets. With only a 400-thread count, what really shows through in this luxuriously soft set of sheets is the fiber quality — the extra-long staple, 100% Egyptian cotton creates not only a finer-spun yarn, but results in a stronger weave. This is also the only set of sheets in our review that carries a certification from the Egyptian Cotton Association (CEA), meaning you can be 100% certain these sheets are pure, DNA-tested, Giza cotton grown exclusively in the Nile River Valley. These smooth, soft, svelte sheets comfortably wrapped around our testers, as naturally as water rolling over your skin. The 17-inch deep pockets of the fitted sheet were initially a tight fit around a thick mattress, but they stayed solidly in place thanks to a full-length elastic wrap, plus additional thicker elastic bands around the corners. The well-designed envelope pillowcases and flat sheet are embroidered with a hem-stitch — a simple, yet elegant highlight that gives them the feel of a custom-tailored suit or dress. Although the set we tested was listed as tan in color, the heavy sateen weave delivered more of a gold appearance, only adding to the level of luxury we enjoyed while sleeping in these sheets.

Often, high quality demands an equally high price, and you can expect to pay top-dollar for this pure-Egyptian set (at least relative to the rest of the sheets in this review). Despite their fine quality, we noticed a few mis-stitches on the hem of the flat sheet, but nothing that ran after multiple washings. Much like a custom-tailored outfit, delicate care is essential for the longevity of these fine linens. The lightweight sheet requires ironing if you want a crisp look, but it's susceptible to damaging easily, even on an iron's low, cotton setting. We accidentally put a small burn mark on a pillowcase simply because we overlooked an overlapped seam below the section we were ironing. With the right care, however, this choice set should provide years of comfortable sleep. If you are going to invest in Egyptian cotton sheets, you can rest assured that the Pure Parima Luxury set is the real deal.

Thread Count: 400
Material Type (per tags): 100% CEA-Certified, extra-long staple Egyptian cotton
Pillowcase Style: Envelope

Health Rating: OEKO-TEX 100

The hemstitch that highlights both the pillowcases and the flat sheet is a visualization of the lush comfort these pure Egyptian cotton sheets offer.
Luxury from the moment they arrive in the mail!

2

Best Set of Summer Sheets


Brooklinen Luxe Core 480


Top Pick Award
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$159.00
at Amazon
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Weave: Sateen | Pocket Depth: 15 inches
Tons of comfortable air space
Perfectly sized envelope pillowcases
Long/short-side tags on fitted sheet
Limited color palette (all black, grey, or white)
Thin sheet susceptible to damage

The Brooklinen Luxe Core 480 is like a favorite t-shirt: lightweight, and oh-so-soft that it's hard to see the point of wearing anything else. We thoroughly appreciated the 'relaxed-fit' feel of these sheets, which offers an impressive level of craftsmanship without the formality of a luxury-appearance. The Smoke Stripe pattern we tested could perfectly suit the modern-chic of any young professional's apartment, while the soft, smooth feel will make you question the sanity of getting out of bed to go to work. Like all Egyptian cotton sheets, these still require ironing to get that truly crisp, pressed look, but out of all of the sets we washed, the lightweight, supple cotton of the Luxe Core came closest to lying flat fresh out of the dryer. A strength-promoting sateen weave is less noticeable on this bed set — surely a positive for some as an alternative to the silk-like feel of other heavy sateen sheets in this review. The tags explicitly recommend washing before first use, but thanks to an OEKO-TEX Standard 100 rating, you can rest easy knowing that all harmful chemicals were removed from these sheets before they left the factory.

A major downfall to this well-crafted bed set, at least relative to this category, may be that they are not pure Egyptian cotton. The tags only indicate 100% cotton — after correspondence with the company, they verified that the sheets are guaranteed to be sewn with long-staple fibers, but the cotton is sourced from both Egypt and India. Also, at only 15-inches, the pockets on the fitted sheet are some of the shallowest we tested. Thanks to very thoughtful stitching and hem design, however, the fitted sheet laid wholly round at the corners and came close to evenly covering a thick, 18-inch mattress. The same quality craftsmanship extends to the flat sheet and pillowcases. Although you will only find simple backstitches and no highlights, the design of the envelope pillowcases is by far the best of any we examined for this review.

Thread Count: 480
Material Type (per tags): 100% long-staple cotton; blend of cotton from Egypt and India
Pillowcase Style: Envelope

Health Rating: OEKO-TEX Standard 100

Perfectly professional in fit and feel.
Don't be fooled by the basic packaging  these sheets offer nothing but the highest quality feel and fit.

3

Best Bang for the Buck


Mayfair 800


Best Buy Award
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$70.54
at Amazon
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Weave: Sateen | Pocket Depth: 15 inches
Lightweight and crisp
Reinforced stitches on flat sheet
Available in XL Twin size (perfect for dorm beds)
No tags to verify material type
15-inch pockets did not fit 18-inch bed, as advertised

For those who appreciate a simple design with lasting quality, the Mayfair 800 sheets are a value-conscious option that we would be super excited to find at any B&B. These pliable sheets manage to maintain a crisp feeling, like the perfect summertime linen. The sateen weave is most apparent on their incredibly soft hem and is only slightly noticeable across both the flat and fitted sheets. In other words, these sheets are in no way slippery to slide into. The Mayfair is also one of the few sets that consistently grew softer after each wash, giving the impression that these will only improve over the years as your go-to bed linens. For the warm sleepers among us who move around all night in constant search of that perfect position, these lightweight sheets provide lots of air space, particularly around the legs. The bright, pastel color palette is an excellent complement for this no-frills, warm weather sheet. As one of the few models available in a Twin XL size, they are as perfect for a beach house as they are for a dorm room.

With only a 15-inch pocket, the fitted sheet is on the tighter side. It fit well enough around a 12-inch mattress with a topper, but we were not able to stretch it around an 18-inch bed. And, although white sheets are at an obvious disadvantage when it comes to stain testing, the Mayfair set remained the most noticeably discolored after our wine-spill test. But these are minor issues compared to our biggest complaint about these sheets: they do not include (federally-mandated) tags that list material type. Although they are listed on the packaging as 100% long-staple Egyptian cotton — and even include the CEA trademark-label — there was no way for us to know for sure. We even attempted to contact the manufacturer multiple times to verify their material sourcing, but we had no success. So even though the Mayfair set is certainly a great price-point deal, we cannot confirm whether they are 100% Egyptian cotton.

Thread Count: 800
Material Type (per tags): No tags to verify material type
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: None

Simple in design  but ideally crisp on the bed.
These sheets are the perfect option for those who want to explore the world of Egyptian cotton without spending hundreds of dollars.

4

Best Alternative to Heavy Sateen Weaves


Comfy Sheets 1000


Top Pick Award
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$80.74
(38% off)
at Amazon
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Weave: Sateen | Pocket Depth: 18 inches
Light sateen weave, soft linen feel
Deep pockets
Reasonably priced
Shorter flat and fitted sheets
Easily stained

As an alternative to the heavy sheen of a thick, sateen weave, the Comfy Sheets 1000 are one of our favorites to wrap up in during the cool hours of early morning. A high thread count (in fact, the highest in our review) helps finely stitch together the 100% long-staple Egyptian cotton, resulting in a soft, pliable set of truly comfy sheets. While they are not exactly stiff, the pliant cotton has a feel that's akin to a starched linen shirt: comfortable and sturdy. The fabric is supple enough to provide plenty of air space for rolling around without bunching. Indeed, they feel exceptionally light to sleep in and make for a great summer sheet. It is important to mention that the sateen sheen noticeably faded as these sheets softened through multiple washings. While this may be viewed by some as a deterioration in quality, we actually found it very refreshing for this lightweight, summery sheet set.

There is nothing particularly impressive or luxurious about these sheets at first pass. The pillowcase seams are reinforced with a back-stitched overlap, but besides that highlight, the Comfy Sheets are noticeably simple in appearance. While the sheets do eventually soften up, it took us several washings. The claimed 18-inch deep pockets do fit around a similarly thick mattress, but the fitted corners are left with little "elf ears," and for some reason, the flat sheet is not long enough to drape over and tuck in fully to the sides of the bed. We also fear the prospect of the fabric's eventual pilling due to the thin, percale-feel of these sheets. However, we did not experience this during our limited testing period. Climbing into bed, we noticed that they feel hotter than their weight might suggest, but we didn't notice any particularly uncomfortable heat pockets overnight. In the end, we still wanted to pull these cozy sheets up close to snuggle in for an extra few minutes of sleep in the morning.

Thread Count: 1000
Material Type (per tags): 100% long-staple Egyptian cotton
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: None

Pressed on the bed  they even resemble your favorite summertime  linen shirt.
You will learn that high thread count is not the only quality that contributes to a great pair of sheets  but in this case  it will point you in the right direction.

5

Best on a Tight Budget


Pinzon 400


Best Buy Award
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$52.58
at Amazon
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Weave: Sateen | Pocket Depth: 14 inches
Price-point luxury
Heavy sateen weave
Hem-stitch highlight
Short pocket depth
Scratchy, vinyl sound

As one of the most affordable options in this review, the Pinzon 400 set exceeded our expectations for feel, quality craftsmanship, and durability. This particular set is elegant, with a rich color palette and hem-stitched highlights on both the flat sheet and pillowcases. To put it in perspective, the only other choice with that excellence of detail was the top-rated Pure Parima Luxury Set, which costs considerably more. We particularly appreciated this set's thick and sturdy feel compared to some of the other lightweight options. Although the shorter, 14-inch pockets will never suit an 18-inch mattress, the fitted sheet was easy to wrap around a 12-inch bed with a pillow topper, and it stayed in place thanks to a thick, fully-wrapped elastic band. The heavy sateen finish is super smooth, and when properly ironed, laid perfectly crisp across the bed.

The heavy sateen weave results in a slick flat sheet, and a particularly slippery fitted sheet. Although it didn't seem to catch dry skin, these sheets do make that swishy, vinyl sound if you move around a lot during the night. Although they don't necessarily cling to the body, we also wouldn't call them an airy sheet. On the contrary, we found that they make for pretty warm sleeping compared to other, similarly lower thread-count options. The thick sateen weave, while likely to add to durability, certainly does not enhance their breathability. When it comes time to wash, we found the pre-cleansed, OEKO-TEX Standard-certified material particularly easy to launder. Additionally, the rich, saturated color palette seemed to make a red wine stain hardly noticeable. These cleaning test results only reinforce an already incredible value for a quality set of Egyptian cotton sheets.

Thread Count: 400
Material Type (per tags): 100% Egyptian cotton
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: OEKO-TEX Standard 100

Ironically  only the Pinzon and the most expensive sheets in this review are highlighted with hemstitches. It just goes to show that you don't always have to pay top dollar to get near-top quality.
We'd rather see cost applied to creating a beautiful set of bed sheets  then superfluously spending it on overly-marketed packaging.

6

Best Set of Winter Sheets


Chateau Home Collection 800


Top Pick Award
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$69.99
(5% off)
at Amazon
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Weave: Sateen | Pocket Depth: 16 inches
Soothingly thick
Extra cinch on corners of fitted sheet
Affordably priced
Stiff
Sateen weave catches dry skin

Many think of Egyptian cotton sheets as being luxuriously lightweight, and as a result, these sheet sets are often sidelined in colder climates. For those seeking comfort in the cold, the Chateau Home Collection 800 is a nice, heavyweight option to have on hand come wintertime. For anyone who enjoys the full-body hug of a weighted blanket, this is the sheet set to match. The Chateau Home flat sheet is significantly thicker than any other we tested, comfortably falling around to wrap you up tight in bed. The deep, 16-inch pockets of the fitted sheet are reinforced with an additional elastic cinch that wraps around the edges, ensuring that they stay in place even underneath the most restless sleepers. A heavy, sateen weave not only results in a much more substantial feel but also affords an incredibly smooth finish.

The thick, sateen weave, however, also has some negative aspects. Even though these sheets are certified as 100% Egyptian cotton, the weave is so dense that we can't help but believe that they feel more like a cotton/polyester blend. Additionally, the Chateau Home sheets are very stiff initially. They became slightly more supple after repeated washings, but they seemed to lose a bit of their softness. Although they are marketed as OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, they carry no tags to confirm this accreditation, and their stiff feel gives us reason to believe that they might not undergo that specific factory process to remove production chemicals. These criticisms aside, and despite the hearty weight, there is no real reason to pack these sheets away when the weather starts to warm up either. The sheet is surprisingly breathable and very comfortable to sleep under all by itself, even on a hot summer night.

Thread Count: 800
Material Type (per tags): 100% long-staple Egyptian cotton; carries CEA label
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: None

Even for a light color  we loved how the deep color saturation shined through on this heavy sateen sheet set.
The high thread count of these sheets contribute to a beautifully weighted set of sheets  well-suited to keeping Egyptian cotton on your bed through the colder months.

7

Truly Deep Pockets


Linen Home 800


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$58.99
(15% off)
at Amazon
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Weave: Satin | Pocket Depth: 19 inches
Deepest pockets
Thick, quality stitching
Falsely advertised credentials
Scratchy

Continuing our look at the slightly heavier sheet sets in our review, the Linen Home 800 might be considered to fall within the Goldilocks zone of bed sheets: not too thick, not too thin, but just right for a comfortable night's sleep. Linen Home calls their finish a "satin weave," and this turned out to be surprisingly different from the normal sateen weave observed on every other sheet we tested. The sheen is very slight and offers a nice alternative for those who want a heavier weight bed sheet but dislike the slippery feel of a heavy sateen finish. Without being too lightweight, the flat sheet offers plenty of room to move about, but it's also substantial enough for those of us who are comforted by a swaddle of sheets. The truly deep, 19-inch pockets on the fitted sheet should be more than enough to accommodate even the thickest mattress. These thicker sheets are sewn with sturdy high-quality stitches, including an invisible/ladder stitch to seal the pillowcases.

Unfortunately, we have good reason to question the validity of the Linen Home sheets as a pure Egyptian cotton sheet set. Per US federal regulation — and just like with wine varietals — cotton can only be listed with a country of origin if those fibers undergo DNA testing that links them to a particular growing region. So while these are advertised as 100% long-staple, combed Egyptian cotton, the tags only indicate, "100% cotton," which means it could be a blend of other, lesser-quality yarns. The second point that gave us pause is that these sheets are advertised with multiple OEKO-TEX certifications — both Made in Green and a Standard 100 certification. Having multiple certifications from OEKO-TEX is somewhat unusual, and there are no tags on the sheets to verify any accreditation from this institute. We feel that these are a high-quality set of sheets designed with durability in mind, we're just not sure they can be classified as Egyptian cotton sheets.

Thread Count: 800
Material Type (per tags): 100% cotton
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: None

The pockets of this fitted sheet fit our 19" deep mattress perfectly  while the flat sheet afforded enough room to move comfortably around underneath at night.
Highly decorated packaging may be an attempt to hide some of the fatal flaws of these sheets behind a well-marketed design.

8

Cool and Crisp


URBANHUT 800


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$70.99
at Amazon
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Weave: Sateen | Pocket Depth: 16 inches
Alternative linen feel
Easily lifted wine stains
Thin spots in fabric out of the box
Poor craftsmanship

Offering an online version of direct-to-consumer sales, URBANHUT attempts to offer their quality, Egyptian cotton bed sheets at a competitively lower price. While the URBANHUT 800 set is scarcely more affordable than other similar sets we tested, we can certainly appreciate this approach, especially because they opt to leverage those cost-savings into sustainable manufacturing practices like wind power and water recycling. Though technically a sateen weave sheet, the finishing process seems to only affect the weight of these particular sheets. As a result, they have the refreshingly fresh feel of pressed linen, and offer another alternative to the slick texture of a heavy sateen sheet. They instantly feel cool and crisp when you slide into bed, and despite their 800-thread count, feel much lighter weight than similarly weighted sheets. These sheets are also particularly easy to launder — stains easily lifted out without any issue, and the 100% Egyptian cotton was unusually easy to iron wrinkles out of.

The 16-inch pocket on the fitted sheet is not a great option for larger mattresses, but we had no issues with it staying perfectly in place on a 12-inch mattress, even one with a thick pillow topper. Unfortunately, while these sheets started out fairly soft, they quickly began to lose their suppleness after only a few washings. We noticed a significant number of dropped stitches, and this was one of the few sets that displayed obvious thin spots across both fitted and flat sheets. For those who are expecting the luxuriously smooth finish of a sheet labeled with a sateen weave, we suggest you look at a few of the other options, or be sorely disappointed by these. Like a few of the other companies we tested, these are advertised as being manufactured up to OEKO-TEX Standard 100 specifications, yet there were not any tags to indicate this certification. Although these can be a bit stiff for their weight, we found their finish to be a nice change of pace from the norm, especially for those who love cool, crisp bed sheets.

Thread Count: 800
Material Type (per tags): 100% long-staple Egyptian cotton
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: None

These sheets felt instantly fresh when laid out across our bed: cool  crisp  and just enough weight to keep you warm into the early morning hours.
Only offered through major online retailers  URBANHUT guarantees that the cost-savings of near direct-to-consumer is paid back through their work towards more socially- and economically-conscious production.

9

Warm for a Lightweight Sheet


Thread Spread True Luxury 1000


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$89.99
(22% off)
at Amazon
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Weave: Sateen | Pocket Depth: 18 inches
Warm with lots of air space
Non-slip
Extra wrinkly
Lots of dropped stitches

The Thread Spread True Luxury 1000 sheets might be the best "midweight" option we tested in this review. This robust, 1000-thread count set feels surprisingly airy. But in this case, we're not using this term synonymously with cooling. Instead, the increased air space combined with the high thread count means that these sheets are much warmer than expected, which is great for cold sleepers. When compared directly to the other sheets of a similar thread-count weight, no other set came close to offering the pleasantly neutral temperature control of these. Although the lightly sateen-finish was a bit starchy at first, they softened after repeated washings. These sheets are offered with a bright color palette to complement their feel, one that again offers a fresh alternative to the heavy sateen finish of other bed sets.

We were fairly disappointed, however, in the overall quality of these sheets. Again, this is another example of a manufacturer that claims an OEKO-TEX Standard 100 rating without including tags on the sheets to verify that claim. Despite an initial impression of a sturdy construction, a closer look revealed a lot of dropped stitches, particularly across the seams of the flat sheet. Although the pillows sport an invisible/ladder stitch, it was clear that it was sewn crookedly, effectively summing up the lack of care in manufacturing — thoughtful design, but shoddy craftsmanship. Still, for those willing to put the time into ironing out these exceptionally wrinkly sheets, the Thread Spread does offer a nice, bright, long-staple cotton sheet with the crisp feel of pressed linen.

Thread Count: 1000
Material Type (per tags): 100% long-staple Egyptian cotton
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: None

The deeply saturated color of these sheets is a sign that their sateen weave offers a warmer sleep than other  similarly weighted options.
Just like other 1000-thread count sheets included in this review  these sheets are going to feel heavier than they appear.

10

Luxurious Appearance


THLAND Luxurious 600


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$83.90
(35% off)
at Amazon
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Weave: Sateen | Pocket Depth: 15 inches
Silk-like finish
Nice hem highlights on pillows
Obvious friction
Significant loss of softness after multiple washings

At first glance, the THLAND Luxurious 600 set does appear to offer the world-renowned luxury of Egyptian cotton sheets. The pillowcases are highlighted with a swanky, three-stripe satin stitch. The hem on the flat sheet is particularly thick and unbelievably soft. The sateen weave offers an impressive shine — noticeable even on a white set — that is remarkably smooth. However, we soon realized that for the weight and type of weave, these sheets are noticeably thinner than all the similar sets we tested.

The pillowcases are sewn in an envelope style, but the interior flap is loose and sags open. Although they started out as one of the smoothest sheets tested, after multiple washings the comfort of the fabric plummeted toward the bottom of the pack. They also possess a staticky cling that is much more noticeable than any other sheet we tested — this gave us serious pause because they feel more like a cotton/polyester blend than 100% cotton sheets. Related to that point, the tags only state "100% cotton." Nowhere on the sheet, or the packaging, does it specify Egyptian cotton, despite the advertising listing "100% pure Egyptian cotton" sheets. There also seems to be an unsupported claim of an OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification, and we couldn't help but notice that the flat and fitted sheets appeared to be different shades of white. If you have a guest bed that you are looking to dress up, then the superficial qualities of the THLAND Luxurious set may be worth the cost — just as long as you don't have guests sleep in them too often.

Thread Count: 600
Material Type (per tags): 100% cotton
Pillowcase Style: Envelope

Health Rating: None

Clean  shiny sheets and nicely highlighted pillows give these sheets a high quality appearance.
Our first sign that something may be off is that no where on this packaging is Egyptian cotton even mentioned...

Why You Should Trust Us


For this review, we enlisted the expertise of two Senior Review Editors, Aaron Rice and Maggie Brandenburg. If you've ever visited the high deserts of the American West, then you will understand the extreme temperature swings that happen both daily and seasonally. As high-desert dwellers (of New Mexico and Nevada, respectively), these two editors searched for those impressive sheet sets that could keep them cool through summer heat, and warm through long, snowy winters. Both also work from home, so it's likely that they spend even more time than most in bed. All these factors make them perfect candidates to tackle the challenge of taking some of the most highly reviewed bed sheets on the market and putting them through GearLab's famously rigorous testing process.

Ready to climb into some incredibly comfortable Egyptian cotton sheets? Our expert reviewers did the "hard" work to bring you honest  objective critiques of some of the most popular options on the market.
The dreaded red wine stain... we made sure to test which sheets are most easily cleaned from even the most disastrous spills.
These sheets saw a lot of trips through the washer  all with the intention of simulating years of use to bring you a solid analysis of long-term durability.

After significant research scrolling through dozens of the top-rated bed sets on the market, we purchased ten of the best Egyptian cotton sheets — all at retail cost — to undergo tests of their overall quality and value. Our expert team draws upon years of experience in scientific research to design assessments that seek to analyze every important detail of these bed sheets. Although we were restricted to a limited testing period, we attempt to simulate years of use by spending a lot of time examining each sheet set. We poured red wine on them to see if the stains would come out. We put them through multiple wash cycles, taking detailed notes on durability and whether they changed in terms of skin feel over time. We scrutinized every seam and stitch for craftsmanship and quality. And of course, we slept in them to test things like breathability, heat retention, adaptability to the seasons, and just how easy it is to roll around at night. This was all in an effort to try to bring you honest, unbiased results based on side-by-side comparisons, so that you can feel empowered to choose a sheet set that will guarantee many restful nights.

Ahhh  is there anything nicer to climb into than a freshly made bed? We slept in every set to directly compare them side-by-side.
Ahhh, is there anything nicer to climb into than a freshly made bed? We slept in every set to directly compare them side-by-side.

Analysis and Test Results


What are the qualities you look for in an outstanding set of bed sheets? Like you, we spend nearly a third of our lives in bed, so we formulated a testing plan that would encompass everything we could possibly want from our own bed sheets. We developed five comprehensive and mutually exclusive metrics to rate each set: skin feel temperature control, utility, ease of cleaning, and durability. We weighted each metric according to its importance — for example, skin feel is much more important than ease of cleaning — and then compared each set of sheets to one another to break down the nuanced differences. This is all in an attempt to paint a full picture of what goes into the best Egyptian cotton sheet set so that you can decide for yourself what fits your needs.

Many of the Egyptian cotton sheets we tested have a heavy sateen finish  which gives them a particularly smooth texture.
Many of the Egyptian cotton sheets we tested have a heavy sateen finish, which gives them a particularly smooth texture.

Skin Feel


Regardless of whether or not you wear pajamas to bed, you know you want to wrap yourself up in a cozy set of sheets. We understand that skin feel is a very subjective quality to measure — while one person may look for an ultra-soft set, another might want their sheets to feel crisp — and they may even be sharing the same bed. Thus, we made sure to take this into account, testing aspects including softness, smoothness, slipperiness, stiffness, and flexibility. We slept in every pair, with and without clothes, to judge how each felt. We also washed and tested how each set changed in feel over a series of trips through the washing machine. While some improved in quality, others diminished, and this was factored into how they might feel after a year's worth of nights.

So what really makes sheets soft?
While there is no short answer to this question, it certainly doesn't begin and end with thread count. Here are a few key factors that go into making sheets softer:
  • Staple refers to the length of a cotton fiber. Long and extra long-staple fibers are capable of being spun into finer yarns, that also serve to increase the strength of sheets.
  • Yarn Size, or Thread Size, is a fineness rating, and like all diameter gauges, the higher the number, the better. The finer the yarn, the more fibers can be woven into a square-inch, resulting in a higher thread count.
  • Thread Count is the number of threads woven into a square inch of fabric. Traditionally, the finest thread count of a single-ply yarn was 400. Many manufacturers use 2- or multiple-ply yarns to boost their thread count claims, even though this doesn't generally result in a finer construction.

Without a doubt, the finest set of sheets we tested were the Pure Parima Luxury 400. From the time we pulled these out of the packaging, to the last night of sleep we enjoyed before having to sadly pack them away, these sheets were a 10-out-of-10 when it came to skin feel. They hit all the marks, somehow managing to be simultaneously soft, smooth, supple, crisp, and silky without being slippery. These sheets fall naturally around the body — our lead tester remarked that they "feel like water on your skin." Yet these pure Egyptian, extra-long staple cotton sheets are at the bottom of the list in terms thread counts, which proves that fiber quality and thread size influence the quality of a set of sheets more than thread count alone.

The Pure Parima sheets are the only set we tested that is CEA-certified  guaranteeing that they are made with 100% pure extra-long staple  Giza cotton... some of the softest in the world.
The Pure Parima sheets are the only set we tested that is CEA-certified, guaranteeing that they are made with 100% pure extra-long staple, Giza cotton... some of the softest in the world.

Trailing not too far behind in the ratings were the Brooklinen Luxe Core 480 — again, a lower thread count sheet that shined in terms of softness. These offer up less of a sateen-finish than the Pure Parima, giving them a more relaxed feel that is slightly more lightweight and significantly more crisp. These sheets may look simple in comparison, but when it comes to pulling them up on a hot summer night, we wouldn't want anything else wrapped around us. Our lead tester may be partial to sheets that trend towards a percale finish (more on that below), but we also thoroughly enjoyed the feel of the Comfy Sheets 1000. At first pass, there is nothing particularly luxurious about these sheets, but they progressively softened after multiple washings, convincing us that these anti-slip sheets will likely continue to relax and become more comfortable over time.

If you prefer a set of sheets that are easier to curl up in come early morning  we suggest sheets like the Brooklinen Luxe Core with a much lighter sateen finish.
The shinier  heavy sateen finish sheets - like the Linen Home set - are unbelievably soft  but not nearly as supple as others.

Temperature Control


While American Upland cotton is usually heralded for its durability and soft feel, it hasn't always been known as the best when it comes to temperature control. But Egyptian cotton improves upon this classic fault, thanks to its long-staple fibers. The much finer-spun yarns that this allows contributes to increased airflow compared to an Upland cotton with the same thread count. While they may not be quite as moisture-wicking as bamboo sheets, they seem like a significant improvement over a classic cotton sheet.

Finish and Weave

A choice must be made as to whether or not threads will undergo a finishing process before they are sewn together to create a bedsheet. Mercerisation is a chemical and pressure treatment process that increases fiber strength, improves dye uptake, and imparts an identifiable luster. This finishing process goes hand-in-hand with the silk-like Sateen weave that involves one horizontal (or weft) thread crossing over four or more vertical (or warp) threads before going under one. This is a tighter weave, with a tell-tale shiny appearance due to the sealed fibers and an increased thread density. This results in a smooth and silky feel and increases warmth, but unfortunately makes them prone to snagging.

In a plain, or Percale weave, one weft thread is sewn over one warp thread, and then under one, to create a simple lattice pattern. Percale weaves are sewn with untreated cotton fibers that result in a matte finish. They also tend to soften with wear and washings, resist snags, and thanks to a less-condensed weave, are lighter weight and more breathable.

In the same way that all of us have individual preferences when it comes to feel, we each have particular tendencies when it comes to our preferred sleeping temperature. Some people sleep hot, some sleep cold, and some are able to find that Goldilocks zone that leads to an ideal night's sleep. For the warm sleepers of the world who tend to roll around at night, we loved the Brooklinen sheets for their lightweight, supple Egyptian/Indian cotton blend that affords a ton of air space around the legs. Although we didn't have the opportunity to review any percale weaves this time around, for the warm sleepers who prefer a cool, crisp sheet, both the Mayfair 800 and URBANHUT 800 sets are great options, thanks to their more lightweight sateen-finish.

The URBANHUT sheets are lightweight  crisp  and much cooler than many other options we tested.
The URBANHUT sheets are lightweight, crisp, and much cooler than many other options we tested.

At the other end of the spectrum, those who sleep cold, or prefer a thick, heavy bed sheet for the wintertime are well-suited to the heavy sateen sheets we tested. At the top of this pile is the Chateau Home Collection 800, whose thick, sateen weave is heavyweight in the best possible way. We found it functional even in the heat of summertime, on those nights when it's too hot for a blanket, but the blast of the fan makes it feel too cold to sleep just under the sheets. And, for those seeking a flawless, Goldilocks-type of temperature regulation, again, the Pure Parima set is as comfortable to lay under on a hot night as it is to curl up in on a cool morning.

If you prefer a slightly lighter weight sheet  but still want the warmth of a denser sateen weave  the Thread Spread True Luxury set is a great option.
For those who sleep hot  think of the Mayfair set as that great pair of hotel sheets that you could never recreate in your home... until now!

Utility


A comfortable bed sheet can be your ticket to some sweet dreams, but it can quickly become your worst nightmare if it springs out of place and wraps you up like a burrito every other night. Therefore, the first and most obvious question to ask when judging the usefulness of a new set of sheets might be, "will this fit my bed?" To test utility, we considered how different pocket depths accommodated mattresses of various thicknesses, checked to see how well sheets wrapped around corners, judged elastic effectiveness, and stuffed various sized pillows into the cases to see how well each fit. We intentionally and aggressively rolled around at night to see if the sheets shifted or rode up (or attacked us with a burrito wrap!) Our experts also considered the variety of color palettes and sizing options available.

The Pure Parima set is the only one in our review that includes extra thick elastic bands to guarantee your fitted sheet stays in place until it's time to take it off to launder.
Some of the best fitted sheets are those with thick elastic bands that wrap 360-degrees around the mattress  like the one included in the Linen Home set.
An ingenious design we have yet to see elsewhere  the fitted sheet of the Chateau Home Collection incorporates an extra elastic band that is sewn directly into the sheet  and supports the full  bottom elastic wrap.

Measure Your Bed
As you can tell by now, there is a surprising amount of variability even in a "standard" set of bed sheets. Even more surprising is the debate throughout the industry as to what the correct size is for, say, a Queen-size bed that will always measure 60 x 80 inches on the surface. Our advice? Measure your bed — particularly the mattress depth, because this seems to be the single greatest variable when sizing a fitted sheet correctly. Keep in mind that older mattresses tend to compress over time, so it is best to err on the side of caution and add 1-2 inches to that measurement.

Even if the Pinzon fitted sheet adequately pulls over a thick mattress  this is not the only one that ends up with what we dubbed "elf ears" in the corners  proof that they don't fit quite as well as it may appear.
Even if the Pinzon fitted sheet adequately pulls over a thick mattress, this is not the only one that ends up with what we dubbed "elf ears" in the corners, proof that they don't fit quite as well as it may appear.

The Linen Home 800 sheets scored highly in this regard, with truly deep, 19-inch pockets, a full variety of sizes offered (including Twin XL), and 16 different colorways. Although two other sets — the Comfy Sheets and Thread Spread True Luxury — both came close to the depth of this fitted sheet with 18-inch pockets, we had to pull both of those tight to make it around a thick, 18-inch mattress. However, we greatly appreciated the diverse color options of the Comfy Sheets sets, which are available in both 4-piece and 6-piece sets. Only the Pure Parima sheets offer an extra elastic band to secure the corners of your fitted sheet. But the Chateau Home Collection is designed with an interesting take on the same concept, incorporating an extra corner cinch that is actually woven into the fitted sheet. The envelope pillowcases of the Pure Parima and Brooklinen sets fit nearly every size pillow very nicely. But beware of the envelope cases included in the THLAND Luxurious 600 set; they began to sag immediately after the first laundering.

The Brooklinen pillowcases have an envelope design that not only fit many different thicknesses of sheets  but fit perfectly to make sure they stay in place.
Even though the THLAND set includes envelope pillowcases  they sag off the end of the pillow. Not only does this look sloppy  but it makes it annoying to pull the pillows out of the case.

Are Egyptian cotton sheets an environmentally friendly option?
It's tough to put "cotton" and "environmentally friendly" in the same sentence when considering the current market for these goods. OEKO-TEX does offer an additional MADE IN GREEN certification that expands upon their Standard 100 accreditation (discussed below) to designate textiles that are "manufactured using sustainable processes under socially responsible working conditions." Overall, however, cotton textile production remains a dirty business. Currently, conventional cotton production uses 16% of insecticides over only 3% of the world's farmland, and organically sourced cotton makes up less than 1% of the global marketplace. Progress is slowly being made, but it's important to check your sources. The Cotton Egypt Association (CEA) has been working to implement the Egyptian Cotton Project, which tries to help farmers implement organic farming practices, reduce water consumption, and promote health and welfare education — all of this with the goal of making the world's best cotton even better.

Even if your new bed set doesn't include an envelope design pillowcase  your pillows should still be able to fit well. The Thread Spread True Luxury set exemplifies a case with a great fit: just enough material to cover the end of the pillow  but not so much extra that it flops around.
Even if your new bed set doesn't include an envelope design pillowcase, your pillows should still be able to fit well. The Thread Spread True Luxury set exemplifies a case with a great fit: just enough material to cover the end of the pillow, but not so much extra that it flops around.

Ease of Cleaning


One misconception about Egyptian cotton sheets is that they are difficult to launder or require exceptional care to maintain. While there are some hard-and-fast rules — no bleach, no fabric softener, no hot dryers — almost every sheet we tested was easily washed in cold/cool water, and line-dried or in a machine on a low setting. In this sense, these sheets are particularly eco-friendly. We sought out the nuances of cleaning these sheets by running them through many wash and dry cycles, and even purposefully stained them with red wine and deodorant to see if these would lift out without special care. As with all cotton sheets, you will never achieve perfectly pressed sheets without ironing. But we did make note which of the sets came closest to sidestepping this by putting them on our beds right out of the dryer, and which repeatedly required extra attention to iron out wrinkles.

Even the white sheets of our review showed a difference in red wine stains. Note that these look particularly dark because this was between washing and drying  but the Brooklinen sheet (middle) fared much better than either the Mayfair (left) or the THLAND (right).
Even the white sheets of our review showed a difference in red wine stains. Note that these look particularly dark because this was between washing and drying, but the Brooklinen sheet (middle) fared much better than either the Mayfair (left) or the THLAND (right).

After washing all our sheet sets on a gentle cycle in cold water, with a mild detergent and no special stain treatment, we noticed some interesting differences from our red wine stain-testing. Although dark colors definitely help hide stains, it was nearly impossible to tell that we had spilled anything on the Pizon 400 sheets. At the other end of the color spectrum, wine stains easily lifted from the light blue Thread Spread sheets after only one wash, and only the Comfy Sheets, Mayfair, and Linen Home sets required additional washes.

The proof is in the tags that the Brooklinen set is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified.
The proof is in the tags that the Brooklinen set is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified.

OEKO-TEX, the standard in textile testing
It's a long road between a cotton ball and your bed sheets. Like all textile production, this manufacturing process is, unfortunately, quite chemical-intensive. But to ensure that those chemicals don't follow you into your bedroom, many producers opt to have their post-production textiles tested for any remaining harmful chemicals. An OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification means that your sheets pass these independent tests, and are verified to be "harmless in human ecological terms," oftentimes exceeding national and international requirements.

We cannot express how important it is to either line dry  or tumble dry these on a low setting. We found many other user reviews stating that their Egyptian cotton sheets shrank to an unusable size when dried on medium or high.
We cannot express how important it is to either line dry, or tumble dry these on a low setting. We found many other user reviews stating that their Egyptian cotton sheets shrank to an unusable size when dried on medium or high.

Due to the finer spun fibers, Egyptian cotton sheets are notoriously prone to wrinkling, but there are some exceptions to this rule. Fresh out of the dryer, the Brooklinen sheets looked neatly pressed on the bed, thanks to their nearly sheer material weight. Alternatively, the Thread Spread fitted sheet was almost impossible to iron all the wrinkles out. For particularly fine sets, like the Pure Parima sheets, it is important to exert extra caution in ironing — we put a very small burn mark in one of these pillowcases, all due to the extra pressure of an overlapped seam underneath.

The difference between ironing  and not: the pressed  crisp look afforded by ironing (right side) vs. laid on the bed fresh out-of-the-dryer without ironing (left side) displayed on the Pinzon flat sheet.
The difference between ironing, and not: the pressed, crisp look afforded by ironing (right side) vs. laid on the bed fresh out-of-the-dryer without ironing (left side) displayed on the Pinzon flat sheet.

Durability


Cotton is a rough-and-tumble fabric that is known for long-lasting durability. Despite the appearance of luxurious fragility, Egyptian cotton can indeed last the long haul. Pitfalls of a sateen weave aside, the extra-tightly spun threads of pure Egyptian cotton sheets are designed to go the distance — but they must be properly cared for to do so. Although we didn't intentionally set out to ruin any of the sheets we tested, there are certain marks of craftsmanship and trends in material feel that tend gave us some insight into a product's longevity.

The extra reinforced seams on the Mayfair sheets also reinforces their value when it comes to durability.
The extra reinforced seams on the Mayfair sheets also reinforces their value when it comes to durability.

When it comes to textiles, across-the-board, a well-sewn piece will last longer than something that is poorly-crafted. We closely inspected seams and stitches, elastic hems, and even the face fabric itself — of course, considering differences in thread count — in search of any signs that would lead us to question a set's durability. We also poured over other user reviews, making notes about any recurring issues.

We were less than impressed by the sloppy sewing on the Thread Spread True Luxury pillowcases.
Even the highest quality Egyptian cotton sheets are susceptible to user-damage. Here is a small burn mark on a pillowcase of the Pure Parima set  that we caused accidentally by ironing over a doubled-up layer of fabric hidden underneath.

Often, the higher quality the product, the higher the attention to craftsmanship, and this is exemplified in the design and stitching of the Brooklinen sheets. While the Pure Parima set also falls into this same category of perfectionism, it lost a point here due to its requirement of gentle care. The Linen Home set also awed us with all-around quality stitching and a thick, durable weave that gave the impression that those sheets are as tough as nails (an assumption backed up by other consumer reviews.) As expected, the thicker options like the Pinzon and Chateau Home sets also score well in this metric, inspiring visions of wrapping us up for years to come.

Noticeably high quality stitching is a good way to judge the overall craftsmanship of a sheet set. The quality of the well-stitched Pinzon pillowcases is reflected in the durability of the entire set.
Noticeably high quality stitching is a good way to judge the overall craftsmanship of a sheet set. The quality of the well-stitched Pinzon pillowcases is reflected in the durability of the entire set.

So, what's the real deal with Egyptian cotton?
Although the cotton plant is native to North America, the soil and environmental conditions of the Nile River Valley combine to make it the ideal location to grow some of the world's finest, long-staple cotton fibers. As a result, something of a black market has emerged around marketing cotton sheets as Egyptian, even if those fibers come from elsewhere. In response to the market being flooded with fakes and knockoffs, the Egyptian Cotton Association (CEA) formed to ensure that both farmers and producers get the credit (and prices) they deserve for their fine products. It is best to check whether a manufacturer is accredited by the CEA by contacting them directly. Additionally, all CEA-certified bedsheets should carry the association's trademark logo.

The CEA only certifies those manufacturers who are using 100% Egyptian cotton  and this tag is not only a good way to judge cotton quality  but care of craftsmanship as well.
The CEA only certifies those manufacturers who are using 100% Egyptian cotton, and this tag is not only a good way to judge cotton quality, but care of craftsmanship as well.

Conclusion


Wading through the sometimes murky waters of Egyptian cotton sheets can seem like a lot to work through, especially if you plan to purchase these online without seeing or feeling them first. We hope that by testing some of the best Egyptian cotton sheets available, this review will help guide you to the perfect set for your bedroom.

After this review  we're convinced that the cost of the Pure Parima set is well-worth the investment for a high-quality set of Egyptian cotton sheets.
After this review, we're convinced that the cost of the Pure Parima set is well-worth the investment for a high-quality set of Egyptian cotton sheets.

Aaron Rice