Reviews You Can Rely On

Best Flannel Sheets

Cuddling up for some serious bedding comparisons.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg
By Maggie Brandenburg ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 3, 2020
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Ready to get cozy? We researched dozens of options and purchased 10 impressive flannel sheet sets for intensive side-by-side testing. We put these sheets through the wringer, both literally and metaphorically, sleeping in them through brutal winter nights and laundering them repeatedly to see if they can take it. We lounged in the morning, spilling coffee and reading books, and goofed around in the evening, sloshing red wine and wrestling the dog. We scrutinized their materials and constructions, compared how they feel next to each other, and considered how many patterns and colors they come in. Whether you're here for the plush experience or the bargain buy, we've got the right set for you.

Related: Best Sheets


1

Best Flannel Sheets


Eddie Bauer Premium Cotton Flannel Collection


GSM Weight: 170 | Pocket Depth: 15 inches
Lighter weight warmth
Great temperature regulation
Good fit and quality construction
Tons of patterns and design options
Hem wrinkles easily
Not as velvety soft as some

The Eddie Bauer Premium Cotton Flannel Collection is an all-around great set of flannel sheets, finding a middle ground of warmth and comfort that is pleasant for a wide range of people. Weighing in just heavy enough to be cozy on cold nights while still light enough to keep us from sweating through them, these linens offer excellent temperature control. They're soft and feel fuzzy and wonderful on the skin without being so fluffy they cling horribly to your pajamas every time you roll over. While we can't vouch for their ability to last a decade or more, we read numerous online testimonials of these sheets doing exactly that, and our inspections of their construction and level of pilling at the end of our testing add credence to their durability. They also come in a staggering variety of patterns and prints that are sure to offer just about everyone a design that looks great.

However, if you're hunting for the thickest, plushest, or fuzziest set, the Eddie Bauer Premium Cotton is likely to let you down. We think they're great precisely because they're not too extreme, giving them a wider appeal. But if you want those fluffy, super-warm extremes, there are others on this list we think are better suited for your bed. This set also picks up some of the same hem creases and wrinkles as many others, which may be bothersome if you prefer wrinkle-free bedding. All in all, however, we're big fans of the fit, feel, and performance of this excellent set of flannels.

Material: 100% cotton
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: None

The Eddie Bauer Premium collection is soft and durable and comes in...
The Eddie Bauer Premium collection is soft and durable and comes in a plethora of prints and patterns.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

2

Great Value for Serious Warmth


Bare Home Double Brushed Cotton Flannel


GSM Weight: 165 | Pocket Depth: 15 inches
Velvety soft and fluffy
Thick and warm
Good quality construction
A bit large; must shrink in wash
Clings to pajamas

If you're here for the thickest, fluffiest, snuggliest set of flannel bedding you can get your hands on but also want to save a few bucks, the Bare Home Double Brushed Cotton set is a superb choice. These velvet-soft sheets are thick and gloriously warm to wrap up in on even the coldest of nights. They're well-made and one of the few options we tested to feature double-stitching along the hems, paired with stronger elastic than most of the others. For helpful bed assembly, the fitted sheet also includes a "BOTTOM" tag and features fairly deep-stretching, 15" pockets. Even better, with an OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification, you can rest easy knowing that these cozy, luxurious sheets aren't harboring harmful chemicals.

In an unusual twist, the Bare Home flannels are meant to be shrunk in the wash and come slightly large to accommodate the anticipated shrinkage. After following the included directions precisely, they were still a bit large for our queen bed but managed to stay put all the same. This extra room in the pillowcases and flat sheet actually turned out to be an unexpected treat in a sea of otherwise slightly-smaller-than-ideal bedding sets. If you're a pajama wearer, you may also find these super fluffy linens cling a bit more than is desired to your clothing, though they're not the clingiest we tested. At the end of the day, these are our top choice for some serious warmth on a budget.

Material: 100% cotton
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified

The Bare Home Double Brushed are some of the thickest, softest, most...
The Bare Home Double Brushed are some of the thickest, softest, most plush flannel sets we tested.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

3

Organic Flannel at a Great Price


Mellanni Organic Cotton Heavyweight


GSM Weight: 180 | Pocket Depth: 15 inches
Maintains space around the body
Good fit for thicker mattresses
Relatively inexpensive
Takes a bit to break them in
Not as warm as some
Fewer color choices

The Mellanni Organic Cotton Heavyweight flannels are a decent set of sheets that cost less than many others — and are made of GOTS certified organic, sustainable cotton to boot! Though they're double-brushed like many others, they still maintain a bit of crispness at first. This helps to maintain larger pockets of air around your body, which, while it takes a little longer to warm up, works very well for thermoregulation throughout the night. We also found the flat sheet to be decidedly less clingy than most flannel due to less fuzziness on the underside. Mellanni advertises a 16" pocket depth, and though we measured the corner seam at just 15", it's still one of the deepest-stretching pockets of any we tested, making this set a good choice for thicker mattresses. In a direct comparison of elastics, these proved themselves to be one of the thickest, most solid contenders we tested, adding extra confidence to their ability to contain your mattress night after night.

The trade-off to a crisper, less fuzzy flat sheet is that it's not quite as warm-feeling as most of the others. However, we expect these sheets — like just about all flannel — will continue to soften up and become softer with more use. But if you're looking for fluffy, these will take some work to get there. They're also offered in relatively few colors — about half a dozen plaid and solid color options. But for solid organic flannel on a budget, though it may need some breaking in to reach your desired level of softness, these are hard to beat.

Material: 100% cotton
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: GOTS certified organic

The Mellani Organic are a solid set of flannel linens that cost less...
The Mellani Organic are a solid set of flannel linens that cost less than you might expect.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

4

Great for Cozy Warmth


Pinzon Signature Cotton Heavyweight Velvet


GSM Weight: 190 | Pocket Depth: 15 inches
Velvety soft
Warm and cozy without being stifling
Very wrinkle resistant
Cling to clothes quite a bit
A bit small, all around

Are you willing to splurge a little on some seriously fuzzy, warm sheets that you may never want to part from? The Pinzon Heavyweight Velvet are those sheets. At 190 GSM, they're the thickest, heaviest flannels we tested. They live up to the "velvet" in their name, keeping us cozy and comfortable without feeling oppressively hot. Their OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification helps keep your mind at ease while you spend even more time curled up under these ultra-snuggly flannels. They're some of the most wrinkle-resistant linens we tested, and they come in a range of solid colors — and even a few florals — to match your bedroom decor. Their construction gives us plenty of confidence in their ability to withstand our toenails as we burrow into this cocoon.

However, if your bed is rather thick or oversized, these may not be large enough. Even on our relatively thin mattress, they were just big enough to keep it covered and tuck in at the foot of the bed. They have very little overhang, and their 15" deep pockets feel smaller than they measure. The velvety goodness that feels so nice is also quite clingy to skin and especially clothes. Tossing and turning in these sheets while wearing pajamas quickly resulted in a crumpled mess. But for a great enveloping warmth that beckons you to stay in bed all day, the Pinzon Heavyweight are tough to resist.

Material: 100% cotton
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified

The Pinzon Signature flannel sheets are soft and velvety and make us...
The Pinzon Signature flannel sheets are soft and velvety and make us want to stay in bed all day.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

5

Best for Tons of Prints and Patterns


Great Bay Home Belle Flannel


GSM Weight: 170 | Pocket Depth: 14 inches
Lighter weight warmth
Pleasant feeling without being too clingy
Tons of colors, prints, and patterns
Perhaps not the most durable
Too short for thicker mattresses

Great Bay makes a LOT of flannel sheets and we tested several different sets, including these from the Belle collection. They're soft and supple and easy to enjoy. Their 170 GSM weight is the low end of "heavyweight," adding warmth and durability without being excessively warm. They're soft without being clingy, making for a more pleasant sleeping experience for those of us who toss and turn. The 14" deep fitted sheet fits our thinner mattress just fine, though we're dubious it would be such a good fit on a thicker mattress. Between the plethora of prints available in the Belle collection and the many other flannel collections with more unique prints, we're sure just about everyone can find something to love here. And they're pretty reasonably priced for this lineup, too.

However, they're not the most impressively constructed set we tested. They're not bad, just about average for this group. Depending on how you sleep, "average" may be just fine for your bed. They also showed more pilling by our feet than many others, which doesn't bode well. We found several conflicting sources of information on their construction too, with some saying they're OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, while other sources didn't make that claim. The set we tested didn't have the official OEKO-TEX tag, so we're guessing these particular ones aren't certified. They're still a pretty solid and likable set of sheets, though, with a ton of fun and whimsical prints and patterns.

Material: 100% Turkish cotton
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: OEKO-TEX claimed but not verified

Great Bay offers a multitude of flannel sheet sets and prints that...
Great Bay offers a multitude of flannel sheet sets and prints that are thinner but soft and easy to snuggle into.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

6

Great All-Around Set


Laura Ashley Home Premium Ultra Soft


GSM Weight: 160 | Pocket Depth: 15 inches
Fluffy and soft
Lower weight great for milder climates
Fits deeper mattresses
Fairly clingy
Limited print options

Though they didn't win any awards this time around, the Laura Ashley Premium Ultra Soft is an excellent set of flannel sheets. They fall into a very comfortable middle ground of skin feel — soft enough to be almost velvety but not quite so thick. They're fleecy and pliable, creating a very cozy nest that drapes around you, cradling you off to sleep. Their 160 GSM sets them as a middle ground contender when it comes to warmth as well, and does a great job maintaining a pleasant temperature throughout the night. They have an unusual diagonally oriented pocket seam that allows their 15" depth to stretch farther than we expected. They managed to stay pretty wrinkle-free all through our testing and can be low ironed if you so desire.

Unfortunately, though they aren't a full velvet-like feel, the Laura Ashley flannels cling to clothing pretty intensely. This is one of the few sets we tested that ended up crumpled in the middle of the bed after a full night of sleep. The extra fuzz sticking up does provide more warmth than their weight might suggest, but it also makes us worry that they'll pill more quickly. Pilling, over time, causes a loss in thickness, weight, and eventually, heat-trapping ability. Yet during our testing, we didn't have any major issues with this happening. If you're here for the color options, these have a fairly limited selection of plaids and florals, but if you don't mind what they look like and are down for a pretty comfortable all-around set of sheets, these are a good bet.

Material: 100% cotton
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: None

Though they may not stand out as exceptional in any specific way...
Though they may not stand out as exceptional in any specific way, the Laura Ashley flannel bedding is soft, plush, and very pleasant to sleep in.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

7

Soft and Easy to Love


Stone & Beam Rustic Solid Cotton Flannel


GSM Weight: Not specified | Pocket Depth: 15 inches
Plush, velvet feeling
Fits and stays put well
Quality construction
Very few colors
A bit clingy

A handful of the flannel sets we tested fall solidly into the category of "velvet-feeling," and the Stone & Beam Rustic flannel is one of them. It stands out from the crowd as being one of very few sets with a flat sheet that's big enough to please just about everybody. There's plenty of room for tucking it under the foot of the bed and a very respectable amount of overhang on each side. Its 15" pockets are pretty accurately sized, unlike so many others that feel larger or smaller than their claim, and its velvet-like nature helps hold it in place very easily. We're pleased to report the set we tested exhibited quality construction and wider elastic with a good strength around the edge of the fitted sheet.

Following the pattern of velvet feeling being an indicator of clinginess, the Stone & Beam are on the clingy side, even for flannel. It's not something we can't live with, but if you frequently turn over in the middle of the night, these might be a bit much for you. There are a few pieces of information about these sheets that we had a hard time getting our hands on, and though we don't know what their official GSM weight is, they feel very similar in weight and texture to the Pinzon, which are 190 GSM. Though they come in an extremely limited selection of plain colors, we still found a lot to love about these warm, cozy sheets.

Material: 100% cotton
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified

The Stone & Beam Rustic Flannel is one of just a handful of...
The Stone & Beam Rustic Flannel is one of just a handful of super-soft sheets that are very cozy and wonderful to cuddle in.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

8

Good Temperature Regulation


Great Bay Home Lakeview Flannel


GSM Weight: 170 | Pocket Depth: 14 inches
Lighter weight with good temperature control
Pleasant and soft-feeling
Less expensive
Rather small
Unimpressive construction
Pillowcase prints aren't mirrored as they should be

Very similar to the Great Bay Home Belle Collection, the Great Bay Home Lakeview Collection is a pretty standard set of easy-to-love flannel sheets. They're on the lighter end of ones we tested, at 170 GSM, and fit most standard-thickness beds with their 14" deep pockets that have a little extra stretch. They're soft and feel pleasant on the skin without being too clingy on clothes. While not quite as warm as heavier, thicker models, they offer solid thermoregulation to get you through the night without sweating or waking up cold. They also come in a fun range of playful winter prints and are on the less expensive side of our lineup.

Though they fit and stay on the bed, the fitted sheet proved to be very tight to pull across the top of our mattress. We're not sure if it shrunk in our cold laundering process or if it wasn't quite the right dimensions to begin with, but it did make us worry that we might accidentally rip it trying to put it on. The construction is on the lower side of average among models we tested, further compounding these fears. And we're not stoked that the prints on the pillowcases have to have their ends facing the same direction to not have one upside down.

Material: 100% Turkish cotton
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: None

The Great Bay Lakeview collection is a lighter flannel that works...
The Great Bay Lakeview collection is a lighter flannel that works well for maintaining steady temperatures throughout the night - even if the pillowcases aren't printed in mirror like we wish they were.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

9

Cute and Fun Prints and Designs


Home Fashion Designs Turkish Cotton


GSM Weight: 170 | Pocket Depth: 14 inches
Comfy and agreeably soft
Good temperature regulation
Lots of silly and fun winter themes
A bit on the small side
Just average construction

In the course of our investigation into each product we tested, we learned that the makers of these Home Fashion Designs Turkish Cotton also make the Great Bay flannel collection. When comparing every sheet's performance, that makes a lot of sense to us. These flannels from Home Fashion Designs are simple and standard, offering softness and comfort without being overly thick or too clingy. Their medium-heavy weight provides quality temperature regulation for a wider range of sleepers and milder climates. They're also available in a range of sizes and cute patterns that are great for kids and adults alike.

However, they're not quite as large or deep-pocketed as we'd like to see. The flat sheet has very little overhang and certainly can't be tucked in on the sides. The supposed 17" pocket measures just 14" and proved to be almost not deep enough for our thin 11" mattress. Their construction is fine but not impressive for a loosely-woven fabric that's already prone to being ripped apart by toenails. And while we like so many of their capricious patterns, the pillowcases aren't printed in mirror, so in order to keep the patterns upright, both must open to the same side of the bed.

Material: 100% Turkish cotton
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: None

These super cute prints from Home Fashion Designs are immediately...
These super cute prints from Home Fashion Designs are immediately comfortable and offer a lighter weight flannel for any bedroom.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

10

Flannel That's Still Crisp


Ruvanti Double Brushed Cotton


GSM Weight: 170 | Pocket Depth: 16 inches
Maintains crisp pressed sheet feeling
Deeper pocket fits thicker mattresses
Very limited patterns/colors
Takes a lot to soften up
Exceptionally clingy and staticky

If you're searching for the fuzzy warmth of flannel but aren't ready to give up the crispness of your summertime cotton linens, the Ruvanti Double Brushed Cotton might be just your cup of tea. Despite being "double-brushed," they are far less fluffy and fuzzy than any other set we tested, maintaining more space around your body for better airflow. They also have some of the deepest pockets of any we tested here, making them a better choice for thicker mattresses.

Yet they're not a set we'd keep coming back to, trying to eke out a few more minutes in the morning. They're just not that soft. It's possible — and arguably probable — that they will eventually soften up over repeated launderings, but we washed every set multiple times and couldn't detect a significant change in these. They also proved to be exceptionally static-filled, almost clinging to themselves like velcro running at 50% (if velcro could do such a thing). And if color options are important to you, they have very few, and they're all plaid. But for a marriage of flannel and crispness, the Ruvanti just may be your best bet.

Material: 100% cotton
Pillowcase Style: Standard

Health Rating: OEKO-TEX claimed but not verified

The Ruvanti sheet set maintains its crispness for longer than any...
The Ruvanti sheet set maintains its crispness for longer than any other set we tested.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Why You Should Trust Us


This review is lead by Senior Review Editor, Maggie Brandenburg. Maggie lives in the high desert of northern Nevada, where temperatures plunge in the winter, and flannel sheets are ideal. She also grew up in the frigid plains of the upper Midwest, learning early on that she suffers from a syndrome characterized by extremely poor circulation to her extremities. Nowadays, she works from home, spending an above-average amount of time between layers of sheets. Maggie has applied her background conducting scientific research and her significant experience testing home goods and backcountry gear into designing in-depth tests of the candidates you see here. Her elderly dog, Madeline, also contributes her napping experience and shedding expertise to every set.

We researched dozens of the most popular and best-rated flannel bedding sets on the market before buying this lineup of the most promising options for comparative testing. What we lack in years to test every set, we make up for by putting them through some rigorous side-by-side testing. We scrutinized fabrics and construction methods, looking for flaws and weak points. We put them next to each other to compare elastics, hems, seams, and sizes. We slept in every single set and sent them each through the laundry repeatedly. We let red wine stains dry, wrestled with dogs, snuggled in pajamas, and sweated in every set just to see if they could take it. We made a note of how soft they are, how much they cling to clothes, and how smelly they got. We scoured the internet, reading hundreds of testimonials and complaints to see if we could find the same faults. What remains is an honest and unbiased summary of our findings so you can find your perfect sheets.

Testing fur vs. flannel.
Testing stain retention with red wine.
We slept in every set.

Analysis and Test Results


We humans need plenty of sleep, spending on average a third of our lives in bed. In the winter, when nights are cold and long, many of us spend even more time curled up under the sheets. With so much of our time using these home goods, it's important to know you've got the right ones. We broke down our intensive testing process into five metrics to fully encompass every aspect that makes sheets great — or terrible. By separately scoring each contender's performance in every metric, and weighting those metrics based on their overall importance, a clear picture of each sheet set emerged. Below, we break down those overall scores into their individual metrics, discussing which flannel stands out where.

We put them through multiple tests to compare them side by side and...
We put them through multiple tests to compare them side by side and bring you the best of the best.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Skin Feel


As a fabric that's meant to lay over you and cuddle you all through the long winter nights, how your set of flannel sheets feel against your skin is very important. We carefully tested and compared this number-one metric, putting every contender side by side to tease apart even the most minute differences between them. We slept and laid in every set to see how they feel whether in the buff or pajama-laden. We considered wide-ranging attributes like softness, clinginess, flexibility, and texture.

What is flannel?
While many of us think of "flannel" as a specific pattern often on a button-up shirt (that's called plaid, by the way), flannel is a way of making fabric softer. Flannel can be made from many different types of fibers, including wool and cotton, as well as synthetic materials. What makes it flannel is it's characteristically soft feel. This can be made by weaving loose fabric, which allows stray fibers to pop up and out of the fabric, creating that fuzzy layer. It can also be done mechanically by "brushing" one or both sides of the fabric to encourage those fibers to stick out without having to undergo the longer process of breaking them in that unbrushed flannel often has.

For sheer pleasure on your skin, it's tough to beat the exceptional luxury of the velvet-like flannel sets we tested. The Pinzon Heavyweight Velvet and Bare Home Double Brushed both take the cake in terms of feeling incredibly soft, pliable, smooth, and positively glorious to lay between. Both these sets had us hitting snooze and trying to stay in bed "just five more minutes." The Stone & Beam Rustic flannel are a close runner-up — clearly in the velvet camp, though slightly thinner-feeling than the Pinzon or Bare Home. All three of these sheet sets are exceptionally soft and fluffy, though they're also far more clingy than your average flannel bedding.

The cozy, velveteen Pinzon Heavyweight sheets had us wanting to stay...
The cozy, velveteen Pinzon Heavyweight sheets had us wanting to stay in bed even longer. Which could be seen as either a good thing or a bad thing!
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

The Laura Ashley Ultra Soft is another impressive contender here. Just shy of being velveteen, these flannel linens are still softer than the rest of the more standard-feeling sheets, though they proved to be among the clingiest models we tested. The Eddie Bauer Premium set is our favorite of the more standard-feeling flannel sheets we tested. They're soft and supple without being very clingy or too hot (or too cold!). Both the Great Bay Home Belle and Lakeview sheets are impressive in their softness and coziness, without being on the same level of clingy as the velvet-like sheets or the Laura Ashley set.

Even the dog loves spending time curled up in the soft sheets from...
Even the dog loves spending time curled up in the soft sheets from Laura Ashley.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Temperature Control


The next most important part of sheets is how well they regulate your temperature. No one likes waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat or shivering, so maintaining an even temperature that's comfortable to most people is crucial. Comparing contenders on this front included tests of thickness and fabric weight, gauging space left around our curled bodies under the sheets, and lots of laying around and observing. We tested temperature regulation while curled away from running fans, getting us through freezing nights, and lingering in a sun-drenched morning bed.

GSM vs. Thread Count

While many natural fiber sheets will list their thread count as an indicator of their thickness, this is not a helpful measurement in flannel sheets. Flannel is brushed — and often double brushed — to encourage loose cotton ends to stick out of the sheet, helping to trap more air and therefore keep you warmer. Creating these air pockets is paramount to maintaining even heating but is not easily described by thread count, which only refers to the actual count of threads in a square inch. Instead, flannel sheets are measured in GSM or Grams per Square Meter. This rating system is a measurement of the weight (in grams or sometimes in ounces) of the fabric per square yard. This gives a much more accurate picture of the softness and thickness of flannel fabrics.

In general, a GSM of 170 (or about 5 ounces) is considered "heavyweight" and is used ideally in cold climates and for sleepers who need even more warmth on their beds. Flannel bedding with a GSM of 130 or less (about 3.8 ounces) is considered lightweight, offering more breathability but less overall warmth. In between 130 GSM and 170 GSM is generally a good weight for year-round flannel usage — though of course, that depends on your climate and sleeping preferences.

Both the Eddie Bauer Premium and Laura Ashley Ultra Soft provide excellent temperature control. They're on the lighter end of sheets we tested, at 170 GSM and 160 GSM respectively. They're thick enough to feel warm right away on a cold winter night without being so thick they trap excessive body heat that leaves you waking up in a puddle of sweat at 3 am. They're both mediumly drapey, laying comfortably over your body without being so close that you feel you're sleeping inside a stifling cocoon. This makes them great contenders for hot sleepers, milder climates, and beds with mixed hot and cold sleepers.

These flannels from Eddie Bauer offer a great compromise of warmth...
These flannels from Eddie Bauer offer a great compromise of warmth and breathability that we love.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

The Great Bay Home Belle flannels are a similar weight and thickness to the Eddie Bauer and Laura Ashley, providing above-average temperature regulation. Despite being fluffier and feeling thicker, the Pinzon Heavyweight Velvet and Stone & Beam Rustic both offer surprisingly good thermoregulation, helping you get warm quickly without becoming overheated later in the night. If you're a cold sleeper or live in a colder environment and need some extra warmth from your sheets, the Bare Home Double Brushed sheets are a pretty good bet. They're a bit less breathable than the others we've mentioned, but if you tend to be cold when you sleep, they'll likely be a welcome addition to your winter bed.

The Great Bay Home sheet sets all offer a good amount of...
The Great Bay Home sheet sets all offer a good amount of breathability on some medium-weight sheets that are great for milder climates and hot sleepers.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Utility


Sheets that don't fit your bed, pop off in the middle of the night, or release your pillows into the wilderness are simply annoying to use. We tested every contender on a standard-sized queen bed, checking to see how well they fit after washing, how well they tuck into place, and how well they stay after a night of sleep. We measured pocket depths, noted flat sheet overhang, and challenged pillowcases to contain our pillows. We also looked into all the options each has available, from how many sizes of beds they can cover to the number of colors, prints, and patterns you can choose from.
What do these health ratings mean?

We won't take a poll, but we know that many people sleep naked. Even if you wear a t-shirt and sweatpants to bed, your exposed skin spends all night touching your sheets and pillowcases. Making sure those fabrics aren't harboring lingering harmful chemicals from their manufacturing process isn't a bad idea. And knowing if they have been made sustainably is even better. There are a few third-party certifications that can help you understand your linens — however, take note if your bedding actually comes with the official certification tag or if they're simply claiming a certification they may not actually have earned.

An OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification means that the end product in your hands has been tested for trace amounts of harmful and toxic chemicals and have passed the test by not having those chemicals in them. OEKO-TEX offers other certifications as well. One is the MADE IN GREEN certification. This goes beyond the testing for residual harmful chemicals done in the Standard 100 certification and also verifies that the manufacturing process uses sustainable processes in environmentally friendly facilities and under socially responsible working conditions.

Similarly, fabrics can be certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard. Like the OEKO-TEX MADE IN GREEN certification, the GOTS tag on your sheets means that they have been made using over 95% organic fibers, with no traces remaining of harmful chemicals (many of which are banned from ever going into the manufacturing process in the first place), and are grown and made using environmentally sustainable methods and manufacturing processes that are supported by socially responsible working conditions. Any fabrics boasting this certification have undergone a rigorous and thorough examination and testing of their entire supply chain that upholds some of the most stringent standards in the textile industry today.

The Eddie Bauer Premium set once again makes the top of the list. Their diagonally stitched pocket seam helps them be more adaptable to deeper mattresses than their 15" measurement led us to believe. They also come in an astonishing array of patterns and prints that somehow all look both cute and classy, from stripes and plaids to a myriad of little winter scenes. The Laura Ashley Ultra Soft set is the other option we tested with a similar diagonally corner pocket that at first seems odd but quickly proves itself useful in adapting to a greater variety of beds.

The Stone & Beam flat sheet has plenty of space left over on each...
The Stone & Beam flat sheet has plenty of space left over on each side to keep you comfortably covered all night long.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

When it comes to flat sheets, the Stone & Beam Rustic has plenty of overhanging fabric both at the foot and over the sides of the bed. The Eddie Bauer Premium, Laura Ashley Ultra Soft, and Mellani Organic are also large enough for adequate tucking room at the foot of the bed and reasonable amounts of overhang on each side. None of the flannel sets we tested have envelope pillowcases, though, and pretty much all of them let our pillows start to escape during the night — though it definitely depends on the individual pillow's size and exterior fabric. When it comes to lots of color and print options, we tested three sets of sheets made by Great Bay Homes (we learned they also make Home Fashion Designs sheets), with reasonably similar performances (though see their sections above to learn where they differ) and three unique sets of funky and fun prints and patterns.

Directly comparing the size, stretchiness, and strength of every...
Directly comparing the size, stretchiness, and strength of every fitted sheet in our tests.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Ease of Cleaning


While laundering sheets may seem like an easy, straightforward task, we put that to the test. We read directions — if they came with them — and then tried washing each accordingly. Every set was cleaned repeatedly, and we recorded how easy or difficult the directions were to follow and what effect they had on the sheets. We observed which ones wrinkle readily and which seem to look freshly ironed even when they haven't been. We also were a bit cruel to these sheets. Every set was subjected to a big red wine stain and a large labrador-mix dog who loves to shed while she naps. We slopped coffee and had snacks and then washed them again and took note of which cleaned up easily and which required more diligence.

Caring for your sheets

If you're like us, our parents and grandparents always told us to wash bedding in hot water to thoroughly sanitize it. However, with modern washing machines and more powerful, concentrated detergents than ever before, this long-standing rule can be cheerfully retired. Your washing machine and even the most basic laundry detergent are more than capable of completely cleaning your sheets using cold water. Not only will cleaning your sheets (and all your clothes) using cold water help them to last much longer, running them through the dryer — even on a low heat setting — will remove any microscopic nasties that may have survived the trip through the washing machine.

Perhaps more importantly, flannel bedding made of natural fibers (like cotton and wool) will shrink if they get too hot. Washing them in cold water helps them stay the same size, as does cutting down the amount of time they spend in the drier and getting them out still slightly damp, to air dry the rest of the way on your bed (or on the clothesline). You should also think twice before ironing your bedding, as once again, overheating them can cause damage. Perhaps most importantly, you should always save the tags on your sheets to be sure you're following the very specific, and shockingly diverse, care instructions manufacturers may recommend for their products.

Notably, every single flannel set went through our red wine stain testing, and every single one of them required two runs through the washing machine to remove their stains. As all the sets we tested are 100% cotton, this isn't overly surprising. Their similar makeups are backed up by fairly similar washing instructions, involving cold water and low heat to dry. A few specifically mentioned they can be ironed using low heat if you really need to, including the Mellani Organic and Laura Ashley Ultra Soft. Many of them also proved to be fairly wrinkle-resistant, including the Laura Ashley Ultra Soft, Eddie Bauer Premium, and Pinzon Heavyweight.

The Mellani flannel sheets are one of just a few that specifically...
The Mellani flannel sheets are one of just a few that specifically say they can be ironed.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

All of these sheets proved to be rather receptive to collecting dog hair, likely because of their fuzzy nature. They all clean up just fine in the washer though, and none of them retained any noticeable nasty smells during our testing. Nearly all of them shed copious amounts of lint the first couple of times through the dryer, which, again, is to be expected from flannel, and all tapered off through subsequent launderings. Only the Ruvanti Double Brushed proved to have any issues outside of the norm in this metric. They had an off-putting chemical smell when we first removed them from the packaging. Though this smell went away after being washed, they failed to soften up much after laundering, expelling minimal lint. They consistently came out of the dryer very staticky, even when — using the exact same methods — no other set of flannels did.

Though their crispness has some mass appeal, the Ruvanti sheets kept...
Though their crispness has some mass appeal, the Ruvanti sheets kept coming out of the dryer full of static, even when no other set did, under identical conditions. Madeline didn't seem to mind, though.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Durability


Though no sheets can truly last a lifetime, they also should last through more than a season of toenails, late-night snacks, and laundering. Without years to test every set as you would at home, we implemented methods to approximate extra wear as best we could. We slept on them and kicked around violently with bare feet, played aggressively with a large dog, and even combed through thousands of online testamonials to find recurring issues others may have had. We also inspected every seam, hem, fuzzy fabric, and elastic band, comparing them directly to one another. Having tested dozens of sets of sheets over many months, we took careful note of which ones seem suspect or unimpressive in their potential to withstand years of keeping you cozy.

Why are my sheets pilling?
While we love flannel because of its ability to keep us warm, those very same heat-trapping properties make it a less durable fabric, prone to little fuzzballs popping up all over the fabric (those are the "pills"). Flannel is designed to encourage the ends of the fibers making up the fabric to stick out from the surface, creating that soft, velvety, heat-imprisoning surface that makes it so cozy to snuggle up in all winter long. Thicker, heavier flannels are better equipped to last a bit longer than their thinner counterparts, but all can and will pill to some extent, by their very nature. However, if they're pilling too much and you're sleeping in a sea of little fabric balls, it may be an indicator that your sheets are on their last legs.

Having tested, inspected, and compared several dozen top-rated sheet sets, we're impressed by the durability of the Eddie Bauer Premium set. They're well put-together without being overbuilt and beefy and proved to be resistant to pill build-up during our testing. They feature neat, tidy stitching, clean seams, and hems all over. Though we couldn't spend years testing them, this is the only set in our lineup that is backed up by numerous online testimonials of people happily using them for years. The Bare Home Double Brushed don't have the same longevity for many folks, but we still found several happy reports of holding up well through significant use. And they have the durable construction to back it up. This set is the only one in this lineup that has double-stitched hems, and its elastic is wider than average, with a good, solid amount of stretch.

We're picky about our sheets, but the Eddie Bauer set impresses us...
We're picky about our sheets, but the Eddie Bauer set impresses us with its quality materials and construction.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

The Bare Home Double Brushed is also one of just a few options we tested to come with a health rating, carrying an OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification. The Pinzon Heavyweight and Stone & Beam Rustic also come bearing this official tag. The Mellanni Organic sheet set comes with the even more impressive GOTS organic certification, labeling them as organic and sustainably grown and produced.

From snuggly winter evenings to chilly weekend mornings, we've found...
From snuggly winter evenings to chilly weekend mornings, we've found the best flannel set for however you sleep.
Credit: Maggie Brandenburg

Conclusion


Much like underwear, finding the right set of sheets for your bed can be a very personal endeavor. There's no Goldilocks formula for the best bed sheets that will be loved by literally everyone. We always strive to go above and beyond just comparing stats by actually sleeping in them to find which ones are great for various purposes. It's our hope that our thorough investigation helps you determine the best flannel sheets to create your ideal nest.

Maggie Brandenburg