Understanding Sheet Material Types

There are a variety of types of bed sheets for you to consider, and while some are better than others, it’s all dependent upon you and what your needs are. There are different types of materials used for bed sheets (such as cotton, linen, Tencel), various sizes (as well as different pocket sizes), and different thread counts. What does it all mean? How can you find what’s best for you, your style, and your budget? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. 

Common Bed Sheet Materials

Here are the different types of sheet materials you can find. 

Cotton Sheets

Cotton is the most common sheet material and there are different types of cotton sheets you can buy. Some are of higher quality than others. To determine the quality of cotton sheets, you’ll need to check the staple length, thread count, and weave. 

The staple length refers to the length of the fiber used to weave the cotton into a sheet. Different lengths include short (one and one-eighth of an inch), long (one and one-fourth of an inch), and extra long (up to two inches in length). The extra long staple length is the best quality. 

Egyptian Cotton

Egyptian cotton is made with an extra long staple, making them high-quality cotton sheets. You can expect to pay a bit more for this quality. These sheets are super durable, luxurious, and not to mention very soft. 

American Upland

If you check the label and it says 100% cotton, it is likely American Upland cotton. These are the most common type of cotton sheets, but are made with a short staple. They will still be durable, but not as soft as Egyptian cotton. 

Long Staple

Micro-Cotton is another long staple cotton that is made in India. It’s high-quality, durable, and soft, just like the other long staple cotton sheets. 


Supima is also known as American Pima cotton. It’s long staple and similar to Egyptian cotton. You’ll find it’s high-quality cotton that is durable and soft, but it’s usually a little bit less expensive than Egyptian cotton. 

Cotton Weaves

There are some different types of cotton weaves that can also affect the quality of your bed sheets. This is something else to consider when buying new sheets for your bed. 


Percale is also known as a plain weave. The cotton is combed and tightly woven, which makes for a smooth and soft sheet. Percale is good for hot sleepers because the cotton is light and breathable. 


Sateen sheets are made with a particular type of weave (four threads over and one thread under), creating a silky and luxurious feeling sheet like the ones from Boll & Branch. The Sateen weave is the most durable and heavy. It also has a slight sheen to it, and the quality ones feel smooth and drapey.


Flannel sheets are soft due to the type of weave known as twill, sometimes referred to as a plain weave. Weavers shave the threads, which brings them out a bit. We think flannel sheets are an ideal choice for cold nights.  


Jersey sheets like the pair from Tuft and Needle are stretchy, soft, and are usually made of a cotton/synthetic thread blend. We think they are perfect for cold sleepers because they keep the heat in, similar to flannel sheets. 

Tencel Sheets

Tencel is the brand name of a specific type of material known as modal fibers and lyocell, which come from wood from the eucalyptus tree. It is also naturally antimicrobial, and can help prevent build up of common household allergens. Tencel is a good choice for those who are more eco-conscious and want something more sustainable. 

Linen Sheets

We tend to refer to all bed sheets as linens, but linen is actually a type of sheet materials. Linen is made from fibers of the Linum plant. Some sheets are made with 100% linen, while others have a cotton and linen blend. Both make good quality, and durable sheets. They don’t hold in heat or disperse it, making it great for any season. 

Bamboo Sheets

If you buy a pair of bamboo sheets made with 100% viscose from bamboo like the Layla Sheets, they’ll be smooth, silky, and environmentally friendly! Though, sheets labeled as bamboo could also be made from a material called rayon. Rayon is made from bamboo pulp that has been processed. You might think that it’s environmentally friendly because it’s made with bamboo, but that isn’t the case if they’re processed. So we suggest you look closely at the details of bamboo sheets so you know what you’re getting into. Though, we think all bamboo sheets are nice options for those who tend to warm up during the night. 

Silk Sheets

Silk is made by silkworms, creating a luxurious and cool feel. Silk is hypoallergenic, so if you tend to be allergic to some fabrics, silk might be the one to go for. Silk sheets must be taken care of differently than other materials as it is delicate. You will also pay a higher price for these sheets.  

Polyester Sheets

A polyester blend can be a good option for sleepers who are on a budget. They are more affordable than other materials, but are still soft and smooth enough to promote a good night’s sleep. Microfiber is under the polyester category because it is a type of polyester. It’s just woven tighter, which is suitable for cold sleepers. 

What Is Thread Count?

Thread count is another factor to consider when buying new sheets. Thread count tells us how many threads are in one square inch of the material. The higher the thread count, the tighter it is woven, giving the sheets incredible durability and softness. For a more in depth explanation of thread count, check out our detailed blog post. 

Bed Sheet Sizes

There are different sizes of sheets to fit various sizes of mattresses. This includes (from smallest to largest) twin, twin XL (longer than a twin), full, queen, king, split king, and California king. It’s essential to have the proper size sheets to fit your mattress, but the size is not the only factor. You must also consider the sheet’s pocket size so the fitted sheet fits around the corners of your mattress and the flat sheet fits around the sides and bottom. 

The sheet pocket size determines how deep the sides of the sheets will be, which is vital because mattresses come in a range of depths. Plus, if you have a mattress topper, you’ll want to take that extra inch or so into consideration. 

Pocket Sizes

Standard — Standard sheets typically have a pocket size of anywhere from seven to 14 inches. 

Deep — While any sheets with a pocket size of 14 inches or deeper are considered deep, you can also find anything from 11 to 14 inches in this category. 

Extra Deep — Extra deep pockets are necessary for thick mattresses or mattresses with a thick topper. Most extra deep pocket sizes are anything over 15 inches, but can also include 15 to 22 inches. 

Final Thoughts On Bed Sheets

We hope this article has helped guide you to find the best sheets for you and your budget. Consider the sheet materials, the thread count, and the sheet size (including pocket sizes). You should also take any specific circumstances into account so you find the most accommodating pair. Like bamboo sheets, for example, are better for hot sleepers, and flannel sheets are better for cold sleepers. It’s important to find the right pair in order to achieve the quality night’s rest you deserve, and we’re happy to help you find them!