How to Buy the Right Bed Sheets?
There’s a wise adage that says because we spend a third of our lives in bed, we should invest in a great mattress. And if you’ve ever had to stay at a cheap motel or sleep on a hide-a-bed, you know how true that is. Nothing ruins your day like a bad night’s sleep.
But don’t stop with the mattress. There’s another old saying about spoiling a great recipe with cheap ingredients, and the same holds true for your bed. Why buy a great mattress only to cover it in lousy bedding?
With so many options on the market, buying new bed sheets can be a confusing process. Several bedding companies like Revelle Home Fashions and St. Geneve have countered the crush of cheap, crunchy, mass-produced bedding by producing supple, luxurious sheets using high-quality fabrics, that are manufactured in Canada.
Here are some things you need to know to help you purchase bed sheets:
- Despite the amount of eye-catching thread counts available at curiously low prices online and at big box stores, experts agree that a higher thread count does not necessarily translate to a softer, or better quality, sheet.
- Thread count refers to the number of woven threads that make up one square inch of sheet fabric, combining horizontal threads (or “weft”) and vertical ones (“warp”). This number ranges from about 150 (often found in inexpensive bedding) up to 1,000 or more in fabrics like satin and silk. But when it comes to cotton, do not be fooled.
- Realistically, only so many threads can fit on a loom. Most experts consider 300 to 500 threads per inch to be ideal — but as a marketing ploy, extra threads are often twisted into the weft, adding to the thread count without actually doing anything to make the fabric softer or stronger. Fact is, as thread count rises, most cotton sheets become more fragile and prone to rips, pills, and snags.
- Instead, focus on the fabric. Look for sheets made of Combed or extra-long staple Egyptian or Pima cotton. These extra-long cotton fibers are 50 percent longer than those of standard cotton, resulting in a sheet that is softer, stronger, and longer-lasting than standard cotton sheets.
Sateen vs. Percale vs. Linen
While thread count can be misleading gauge of sheets, there’s no question that when it comes to softness and quality the best cotton sheets are either Percale or Sateen. More expensive than standard short-weave cotton sheets, both utilize high-quality long-staple cotton; the difference between Percale and Sateen lies mainly in the type of weave.
A traditional one-yarn-over and one-yarn-under weave, Percale typically features a matte finish and a crisp, cool feel that improves with every wash. Its superior durability means it won’t pill over time. It’s lightweight and breathable, which means it’s perfect for warmer sleepers.
Sateen is the closest thing you can get to satin — without the high cost and fragile nature of that expensive fabric. Sateen has a silky feel and luxurious sheen. Naturally wrinkle-resistant, Sateen is more tightly woven and therefore typically heavier in weight than Percale, making it ideal for year-round comfort.
More casual and laid back than either Percale or Sateen, strong and breathable Linen — made from the flax stem — is the way to go if you value softness and durability but want a less formal look for your bed. It’s fine for all seasons and for all types of sleepers.
While a variety of sheets are widely available from many retailers, a new generation of bedding companies have sought to counter cheap sheets with high quality, made in Canada. Yes, you’ll pay a premium, but remember: You spend a third of your life in bed.
Sources: Forbes – January 2018
Modified to reflect our suppliers who meets the criteria described in this article.