Cotton is the most popular fabric when it comes to bed sheets. But there’s so much variety when it comes to this fabric. In general, there are 3 types of cotton : Egyptian cotton, pima cotton, and upland cotton. Let’s take a good look at the first one – Egyptian cotton. This fabric makes for one of the highest quality sheets out there. In this guide, you’ll find out jsut why this cotton type gets so much praise and whether it truly lives up to the hype. We have also looked up the absolute best Egyptian cotton sheets available on Amazon, so you can get the cream of the crop without going through that jungle yourself.
Best Egyptian Cotton Sheets
Bed sheets with 1000 thread count are often thought of as the ultimate luxury sheets. Although it really always depends on the sheets, this Shilucheng sheet set delivers what they promise. These excellent sheets are buttery soft and smooth to the touch, thanks to the sateen weave. They are also OEKO-TEX certified, so you’ll know that no harmful chemicals have been used during the manufacturing process. The overall quality is really outstanding. The stitching is impeccable and the packaging is top notch.
Sizes: Full, Queen, King, Cal King
These chic vintage sheets are by Fadfay. They are perfect if you’re after a romantic look. The delicate flowers on a light background will be a sense of ease and beauty to your bedroom. And these sheets are not only about the looks! Their quality is also outstanding. With a 800 thread count, they are durable and more on the heavy side. The fabric is lustruous, soft and smooth.
If you want to go for a more complete look, we highly recommend pairing the sheet set with this matching duvet set.
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Sometimes is so difficult to find a great in the right size and in the right color. Thankfully these 800 thread count sheets come to our rescue! Their size and color selection is the largest we have seen for a high quality Egyptian cotton sheet set. With a sateen weave, these sheets will make you feel like you’re sliding into the softest and smoothest clouds. These sheets have excellent breathability. They will keep you warm enough during winter and cool during summertime. This sheet set will keep you comfortable and happy during the night.
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Full XL, Queen, Olympic Queen, Split Queen, King, RV King, Split King, Cal King
These Threadmill sheets are authentic and elegant. Made from extra long staple Egyptian cotton, their quality and durability is excellent. Compared to the previous sheets, they’re a bit more lightweight, with a 400 thread count. They breathe a bit better, and the softness and smoothness is wonderful. The fitted sheet fits so snuggly on the mattress and the sheets are easy to care for. You can choose from a small range of delicate colors, either solids or damask print. Both look absolutely stunning. For such an amazing sheet set, you won’t find anything better at this price.
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
Peru Pima is selling certified Egyptian cotton sheets that are a gamechanger. What you will notice straight away is the packaging. This already gives you a glimpse into the luxury sheets inside. The sheet set is absolutely gorgeous, soft, sikly smooth and well made. With a 400 thread count, they are medium weight and breathable. We also love the color selection. It’s not overly large, but the colors that they do have are just stunning.
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
What Is Cotton
I’m absolutely certain that if you look around your home you’ll find many products made from cotton. Try towels, t-shirts, socks, sheets, curtains. So you might already know quite a lot about this fabric. But let’s get back to the basics for a moment.
Cotton is harvested from the genus of the flowering plant called Gossypium. The plant is a shurb and grows in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Gossypium needs plenty of sunshine, a long frost-free period, and moderate rainfall. In areas that are lacking in rain, the necessary water comes from irrigation. Although there are around 50 species of Gossypium, only a handful are used for commercial purposes.
- Gossypium hirsutum aka upland cotton, which includes >90% of worldwide cotton production,
- Keep an eye out for this one – Gossypium barbadense aka extra-long staple cotton, giving 3-4% of world production,
- Gossypium arboreum and Gossypium herbaceum, together amounting to around 2%.
The biggest producers of cotton are China, India, the United States, Pakistan, and Brazil.
What Is Egyptian Cotton
Egyptian cotton belongs to the Gossypium barbadense group. The G. barbadense species also contains other varieties, such as American Pima, Indian Suvin, Chinese Xinjiang, and Sea Island cotton. What distinguishes them from other cottons is the length of the cotton fiber. Egyptian cotton has either long staple (LS) or extra-long staple (ELS) fibers. But more about than a bit later.
The Gossypium barbadense flower is a delicate yellow color, while cotton itself starts forming in the bracts that remain after the fertilized flower falls off. This bract is what we call a cotton boll. A boll is home to 27 to 45 seeds and each seed grows around 10,000 to 20,000 fibers. So overall each cotton boll contains hundreds of thousands of fibers.
At first Egyptian cotton was true to its name – it referred only to cotton grown in Egypt. The delta of the Nile river was an especially fertile ground for the cotton plant to prosper. This cotton was a synonym for luxury. Over time, others also wanted a piece of the luxury pie and today, you can find a more loose usage of the Egyptian cotton label. Not all cotton products that carry the label Egyptian cotton, actually come from cotton grown in Egypt. And since there is quite a lot of cotton grown in Egypt in general, not all of that cotton is actual extra-long or long staple cotton.
True Egyptian cotton is thought to be superior to other types of cotton sheets available. It is considered a step higher from even such amazing cotton types as Pima cotton and Supima cotton, which are often more affordable than Egyptian cotton.
Qualities of Egyptian Cotton
There are numerous reasons why cotton is a great fabric and Egyptian cotton takes those qualities to a much higher level. Cotton is widely know as a fabric that breathes well. This is great for people who tend to run hot during the night. A breathable fabric lets air move more freely between the threads, keeping you and the sheets cool.
Another great quality of cotton is that it loves water and has great moisture-wicking abilities. This, coupled with the great breathability, makes cotton one of the best options for sweaty sleepers.
Cotton sheets become softer with every wash. It may happen that when you buy a new bed set, the sheets seem a bit rough. Don’t let yourself bediscouraged – this is perfectly normal. You can give your new sheets a wash or two, or even more, before laying them on your bed.
What is special about Egyptian cotton is it’s staple length. Egyptian cotton has either long or extra-long staple fiber. This makes for higher quality sheets that are softer and last longer. Egyptian cotton is also hand-picked. This puts less pressure on the fibers and they remain intact and straight.
If you’re looking for an extra touch of softness, keep a lookout for combed cotton. The cotton boll naturally includes fibers of various lengths. Egyptian cotton has long or extra-long staple fibers but these also have slight differences between them. So to ensure that the sheet set does not contain shorter fibers, manufacturers remove them by combing the fibers before they spin them into yarns. As a result, the sheet receives incredible levels of softness.
Always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. Cotton tends to shrink, but this can be avoided if you follow the instructions properly. It will also help retain the color of the fabric. You may have to put some more effort into ironing, if you’re not a fan of wrinkles. Because cotton does tend to wrinkle more than other fabrics.
What Is Staple And Why It Matters
Staple is a key term when it comes to cotton sheets. It expresses the length of the cotton fiber, which determines much of its qualities. Products from short staple fiber are the lowest on the quality scale. As the fiber length increases, so does the quality of the cotton. If you’re wondering about the exact measurements, extra-long fibers are at least 1.3/8 inches long (35mm).
There are quite a few ways that fiber length influences the quality of the sheet. Fibers first need to be spun into yarns and the shorter the staple, the more fibers you need. And consequently, the more fiber ends will be sticking out from the yarn. The difference is something that is hard to detect with the naked eye but you can definitely feel it when touching the sheet. A bed sheet with long or extra-long staple Egyptian cotton is much smoother than a sheet made of short staple cotton.
Another reason why you should prefer long and extra-long staple cotton is because they are less prone to pilling. Pilling happens when fibers start exiting the fabric, as a result of washing and the wearing of the fabric. Since it’s so much more work to get long and extra-long fibers out of a fabric, pilling isn’t something that you’ll come across with these staples. But if you have a short or medium staple cotton sheet, you’ll be guaranteed to see pilling pretty soon after you start using it.
Last but not least, long and extra-long staple fibers are simply stronger. So you will have a more durable sheet that does not need replacing after a short while.
Essential Tips for Choosing Egyptian Cotton Sheets
As we saw above, the Egyptian cotton label is used quite loosely these days. If you want to make sure that you get the real thing, here are three golden rules to follow.
- Always check whether you can find long staple or LS, or extra-long staple or ELS on the label or item description. Otherwise you might just be purchasing short or medium staple cotton and this will greatly influence the quality of the sheet. And not in a good way.
- Be sure that only long or extra-long staple cotton is used in the fabric. Keep an eye on something along the lines of 100% Egyptian cotton. There are manufacturers who add a tiny bit of ELS Egyptian cotton into the mix and market the sheet under the Egyptian cotton label. While in reality, most of the fibers are low quality short of medium staple cotton.
- Check whether the label mentions where the cotton was grown. If it says Egypt – great! You’ve hit the jackpot, as long as the above two points apply as well. In case the label does not mention anything about the origin of the cotton, you can always get in touch with the manufacturer and inquire about this. And don’t confuse the origin of the cotton with the manufacturing country. These are not necessarily the same.
Keep in mind that 100% Egyptian cotton sheets from long or extra-long staple cotton, and that actually come from Egypt, can cost a real fortune. If your budget is a little tighter, you may also consider ELS cotton that is grown in another country. We definitely suggest to keep a more keen eye on the first and second tips, as the staple length will have a much bigger effect on the quality of the sheet than the origin country.
What is the best thread count for Egyptian cotton sheets?
The best thread count depends on what you’re focusing on exactly. In general, we suggest the range between 300 and 800. Anything below can feel more rough to the touch and may also tear more easily. A sheet with a thread count higher than 800 can be excellent, but you will have to pay attention to many details to make sure you’re not being ripped off.
In the 300-800 thread count range, if you’re looking for softer and smoother sheets, start on the higher end. At the lower end, you will have sheets that are likely to breathe better, so they’re a great option if you tend to run hot during the night.
Is 300 thread count Egyptian cotton good?
300 thread count Egyptian cotton can be good, even excellent. Egyptian cotton has long or extra long fibers at and even a thread count of 300 will result in a good product.
What is the highest quality cotton for sheets?
Egyptian cotton is regarded as the highest quality cotton for sheets. But you have to make sure it’s 100% Egyptian cotton. Pima cotton, with its US trademarked Supima cotton counterparty are also considered excellent quality cotton for sheets.
Is 600 thread count Egyptian cotton good?
Yes, 600 thread count Egyptian cotton can be excellent. When it comes to sheets, this thread count means the sheets will feel more on the heavy side than usual. They will also be smooth and soft to the touch.
What thread count do hotels use?
For cotton sheets, hotel normally go for sheets in the 300 and 600 thread count range.
Is 1500 a good thread count for sheets?
If you see a thread count of 1500 we suggest you stay clear of it. It’s most likely a marketing trick, which tries to grab attention with a high number. In reality, the sheet has low quality fibers that will start pilling and tearing more easily. Don’t fall prey for this!
What thread count is considered luxury?
Luxury does not depend only on thread count. It is indeed a part of the equasion, but not the whole story. When it comes to cotton, the first thing to consider is the fiber length. If what you have is 100% Egyptian or Pima or Supima cotton, you have either long or extra long staple cotton at hand. This is very high quality cotton. In such cases you can consider sheets at 500 thread count or above to be luxurious.
Cotton sheets that are made from low or medium length fibers cannot be considered to be luxury items.
Are 1000 thread sheets worth it?
What an excellend question. There are probably very few 1000 thread count sheets that are actually good quality sheets that are worth buying. Most of the time the thread count is artificially inflated by using lower quality fibers and spinning multiple fibers together into one thread. That being said, there are indeed some absolutely stunning and worthwhile 1000 thead count sheets out there.
What is the most comfortable sheet thread count?
For cotton, the most comfortable sheet thread count is between 500 to 800. Make sure that the sheet you’re getting is made from long or extra long staple cotton. Otherwise the comfort level will be considerably lower.