What is Pima Cotton – Top 9 Picks for 2019

Cotton is the most popular fabric when it comes to bedding. But not all cotton is the same. There are three types of cotton: Egyptian cotton, pima cotton and upland cotton. The first two are higher quality cotton. As such, they are also harden to find and a little heavier on the wallet. Let’s get to know one of these cotton types a bit better. We’ll find out exactly what is pima cotton and why you may want to choose it over other types of cotton.
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A Bouquet of Cotton Bolls - What is Pima CottonWhat is Pima Cotton?

Pima cotton is one of the highest quality cottons available. It is a type of extra-long staple cotton. Staple refers to the length of the fiber. For cotton, an extra-long staple means that it is over 1.3/8 inches long. But why does fiber length matter in the first place? This is actually what determines the quality of the fabric. The longer the fiber, the fewer fiber ends appear on the surface of the fabric. As a result, the fabric is smoother, softer, less prone to pilling and shredding.

Short Staple Vs Extra-Long Staple Cotton Fibers- What Is Pima Cotton

Pima cotton comes from the plant gossypium barbadense. This plant is not only the mother of pima cotton, but also of other extra-long staple cottons. The difference is simply where the cotton is grown. The gossypium barbadense plant requires a lot of sun, humidity, as well as rainfall to thrive.

Where Does Pima Cotton Come From?

Now that we’ve established what is pima cotton, let’s take a step back and look at its origins. Location-wise pima cotton was first cultivated in Peru and Ecuador. It later made its way to the United States, to the south-west. It was the Pima tribe of American Indians that first started to grow this cotton. As the pioneers, they also gave it its name.

A Gossypium Barbadense Blossom - What is Pima Cotton

These days pima cotton is grown only in some parts of the world: Peru, Australia, and the US. Certain US-grown pima cotton is called Supima cotton. Only a handful of licensed manufacturers and retailers can use this trademark.

What is Pima Cotton Like?

The most important characteristic of pima cotton is its fiber length. Also known as staple. Cotton fibers are divided into 4 staple groups: short, medium, long, and extra-long.

Table of Staple Classification - What Is Pima Cotton

Pima cotton is extra-long staple cotton. The longer the fiber, the better the quality, as we also saw in the above section about what is pima cotton. This is why pima cotton is one of the greats. In the spinning and waving process, longer fibers produce a more even outcome. The shorter the fibers, the more of them you need. And the more fiber ends will be sticking out of the fabric surface. Longer fibers means that there’s less fiber ends. So the end result is a lot smoother, silkier, and better to touch. Cotton Bolls - What is Pima Cotton

Another great quality of pima cotton is the fiber strength. Together with staple, this gives you a durable fabric. This cotton plant also has a natural protector that keeps it safe from fungal and insect damage. It contains the chemical gossypol, which also occurs in the name of the plant.

What is Pima Cotton Used For?

Pima cotton is often used in both men’s and women’s clothing. It became more popular in the beginning of the 20th century. Clothes made from pima cotton include woven sweaters, t-shirts, dresses, underwear, socks. The softness and durability make this a sought-after fabric.

It is also used for making bed sheets and other bedding products. Although it is not as widely used as some other types of cotton. The more expensive price makes it less attainable for many people. But the quality is certainly worth it.

Best Pima Cotton Sheets

Image of Peru Pima Cotton Sheets - What is Pima Cotton

Peru Pima produces bedding from authentic extra-long staple pima cotton. The cotton is grown in Peru. Their sheet sets come in many thread counts and you’re bound to find one that fits you best. Many 5 and 4-star hotels buy their bedding from Peru Pima. For example Marriott, Sheraton, Hilton by Doubletree. This particular sheet set has a 285 thread count. It breathes well and is perfect for sweaty sleepers. It also has other good qualities. Like the great moisture wicking ability. Its lightness thanks to the lower thread count. It is comfortable and strong thanks to the extra-long fibers and percale weave. We also love the packaging of the sheets. This makes them a perfect gift not only for yourself, but for friends and family members. And last but not least, you can order king or queen size pillowcases separately, in case you need an extra pair.

Sizes: California King, King, Queen, Full, Twin

Colors: White, Ivory, Burgundy, Slate, Latte, Turquoise, Ash Gray, Cloud Silver, Diva Blue, Iron Grey, Smoke Grey

Price: Starting at $70

Buy Peru Pima Cotton Sheets - What is Pima Cotton

Peru Pima Cotton Sheets - What Is Pima Cotton

This is another sheet set from extra-long staple cotton fibers and by Peru Pima. They have a slightly higher thread count of 415. Which gives them a touch of crispiness that adds character. They’re definitely a little heavier than the 285 thread count sheets from Peru Pima that we saw above. But they’re not lacking in softness or comfort. As with other products from Peru Pima, you’ll get a nice surprise when you see the packaging. It’s a truly good combination of a high quality sheet, reasonable price, and great delivery.

Sizes: California King, Full, King, Queen, Twin

Colors: White, Ivory, Sky Blue, Burgundy, Slate, Navy Blue, Latte, Iron Gray, Nautical Stripe Blue, Nautical Stripe Grey, Pinstripe Grey, Pinstripe White, Shadow Grey, Wide Stripe Grey, Wide Stripe Latte

Price: Starting at $80

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Image of Peruvian Pima sheets 600 thread count - What is Pima Cotton

In case the previous Peru Pima sheets seem too light for you, don’t worry. They also have another sheet set with an even higher thread count. This time it’s 600. It breathes extremely well and has a nice crisp touch to it, without any extra roughness. And it’s heavier than the ones we saw before. It’s perfect if you’re looking for a smooth and soft sheet set. With a flat sheet that will lie heavy on you. The color selection is more limited when compared to the lower thread count sheet sets by Peru Pima. But you can still get their sheets in classic colors and in various sizes. And you can also get separate pillowcases if needed.

Sizes: California King, King, Queen, Full, Twin

Colors: White, Ivory, Slate, Latte

Price: Starting at $85

Buy Peruvian Pima sheets 600 thread count - What is Pima Cotton

Image of Serene Linens 100% Pima Cotton Sheet Set - What is Pima Cotton

Serene Linens offers a beautiful sheet set made from 100% pima cotton. They breathe well with a thread count of 600, are extremely soft and also hypoallergenic. What’s more, Serene Linen has such a wide range of colors to choose from. Whether you want to go for a more natural ivory, or a more extreme turquoise blue, or even a sweet peach, they’ve got you covered. The sheets also come in a beautiful package that is truly an icing on the cake.

Sizes: California King, King, Queen, Olympic Queen, Full, Twin, Twin XL

Colors: Black, White, Ivory, Sage, Pink, Brick Red, Wine, Sky Blue, Burgundy, Gold, Lavender, Taupe, Grey, Peach, Chocolate, Navy Blue, Yellow, Silver, Purple, Orange, Beige, Royal Blue, Hot Pink, Moss, Aqua Blue, Blood Red, Mediterranean Blue, Parrot Green, Turquoise Blue

Price: Starting at $84

Buy Serene Linens 100% Pima Cotton Sheet Set - What is Pima Cotton

Image of Thomas Lee Pima Cotton 500 thread count sheet - What is Pima Cotton

Thomas Lee’s bedding set is pure luxury. If you’re dying to know what is pima cotton in its excellence, this is it. The cotton is fully grown in the US and the sheets are manufactured in India. With a 500 thread count, they are more on the heavier side. There are a few things that really make Thomas Lee’s sheets stand out. The thread count and percale weave give them a nice crispiness. It’s this special type of crispiness that is hard to come by. The one that takes you back to your childhood. The sheets are generously over-sized in the old fashioned way, so they’re sure to fit your mattress. Even if it’s a thick one, like 18”. The whole sheet set is a truly good quality one and the price reflects that. You can also buy different sized fitted or flat sheets separately for a smaller price.

Sizes: California King, King, Queen, Full

Colors: White, Ivory

Price: Starting at $192

Buy Thomas Lee Pima Cotton 500 thread count sheet - What is Pima Cotton

Image of Moonstone's 100% Pima Cotton 1000 Thread Count Sheets - What is Pima Cotton

If you’re looking for a good quality Pima cotton sheet set with a truly affordable price, then Moonstone’s 1000 thread count sheets are it. They come in solid color and there’s quite a few to choose from. You can go with a classic white or ivory or go with a more rich color like burgundy to give some extra feel to your bedroom. The sheets are really soft and fit mattresses up to 21”. So they’re a great pick if you have a thick mattress or a memory foam on top.

Sizes: California King, King, Queen, Full, Twin, Twin XL

Colors: Black, White, Ivory, Sage, Wine, Sky Blue, Lilac, Burgundy, Gold, Taupe, Chocolate, Navy Blue, Aqua Blue, Elephant Gray, Silver Gray

Price: Starting at $86Buy Moonstone's 100% Pima Cotton 1000 Thread Count Sheets - What is Pima Cotton

Wamsutta sheets 500 thread count - What is Pima Cotton

Wamsutta’s extra-long staple Pima cotton is a great addition to any home. The 500 thread count gives the sheets a nice medium weight. This Pima cotton is grown in the US and it makes for wonderful soft and durable sheets. If you have a thick mattress, the Wamsutta sheet set should still suit you. As their fitted sheets are good for mattresse up to 18”. You can also choose from a variety of beautiful colors, to find that perfect match for your home.

Sizes: California King, King, Queen, Full, Twin, Twin XL

Colors: White, Ivory, Taupe, Honey, Burgundy, Grey, Silver, Light Blue, Sage, Navy, Denim, Aqua, Purple, Black

Price: Starting at $94

Buy Wamsutta sheets 500 thread count - What is Pima Cotton

Image Of Serene Linens' 100% Pima Cotton 1000 Thread Count Sheets - What is Pima Cotton

Serene Linens’ 1000 thread count sheets from 100% pima cotton come in a great variety of colors. So you’re sure to find the right one that fits your needs. The sheets are ever so soft and their quality is premium. While normal sheet sets usually include 2 pillowcases, Serene Linens generously adds 2 extra pillowcases. So it’s the perfect choice if you have more than 2 pillows, or just prefer to have another pair of quality pillowcases close by.

Sizes: California King, King, Queen, Olympic Queen, Full, Twin, Twin XL

Colors: Black, White, Ivory, Sage, Pink, Brick Red, Wine, Sky Blue, Burgundy, Gold, Lavender, Taupe, Grey, Peach, Chocolate, Navy Blue, Yellow, Silver, Purple, Orange, Beige, Royal Blue, Hot Pink, Moss, Aqua Blue, Blood Red, Mediterranean Blue, Parrot Green, Turquoise Blue

Price: Starting at $100Buy Serene Linens' 100% Pima Cotton 1000 Thread Count Sheets - What is Pima Cotton

Image of CottonWorks' 100% Pima COtton 1000 Thread Count Sheet Set - What is Pima Cotton

CottonWorks offers a beautiful sheet set from 100% pima cotton. The sheets have a 1000 thread count, so they are nice and thick. Don’t let yourself get discouraged if they are a little stiff coming out of the package. This is normal for cotton. Just wash them and you’ll see firsthand how they become softer and softer over time and with each wash. This is a true high quality sheet made from extra-long staple cotton, with a sateen weave. A true investment for a good night’s sleep.

Sizes: King, Queen

Colors: White, Ivory

Price: Starting at $180Buy CottonWorks' 100% Pima Cotton 1000 Thread Count Sheet Set - What is Pima Cotton