Best Egyptian Cotton Sheets
What are Egyptian Cotton Sheets?
Lightweight, durable, and luxuriously soft, Egyptian cotton is the highest quality cotton available anywhere in the world. While Egyptian cotton is now grown in many countries, it originated in Egypt along the Nile delta. This region still lays claim to the best Egyptian cotton, thanks to its unique climate and the fertility of the soil along the river.
Cotton can be categorized into three staple lengths: short, long, and extra-long. Extra-long staple cotton is difficult to grow and harvest, but it is the highest quality available. Egyptian cotton is an extra-long staple (ELS) cotton variety with fibers ranging from 1.4 to 2 inches long. The short-staple fibers used in regular cotton fabric can feel course, whereas the long fibers used in Egyptian cotton result in a fine yarn that feels smooth and silky to the touch.
The best Egyptian cotton is hand-picked, which helps keep the fibers in-tact better than machine harvesting. Hand-picking also ensures that the cotton maintains its softness and strength. Once the fibers have been spun from the harvested cotton, threads are woven together to create a variety of fabrics like sateen, percale, and twill.
Best Egyptian Sheets on the Market
Editor’s PickThis company sources its cotton directly from the Nile delta, earning its products a certification by the Egyptian Cotton Association. The set includes a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and two pillowcases, and it’s available in four colors for mattress sizes full and larger. The sheets and pillowcases have a double-hem stitch design for added elegance and are Oeko-Tek certified.
Best ValueThis set is made from a blend of Egyptian cotton and Indian cotton, so it comes in at a lower price point than other sets while maintaining the feel of long-staple cotton. These sheets have a 480 thread count, can be exchanged or returned for free, and have sides labeled with “short” and “long” to assist you in making the bed.
Best LuxurySheet sets are Boll & Branch’s primary product and most options start at $200. Their solid hemmed sheet set comes with a reusable laundry bag for storage in addition to a fitted sheet, flat sheet, and two pillowcases. The set is also Oeko-Tek certified, comes in seven timeless colors, and can be returned for a full refund within 100 days of purchase. We doubt you’ll need to take advantage of the friendly return policy, as these sheets have almost 5,000 five-star reviews.
Most Color OptionsThese 800 thread count sheets come in almost 20 colors ranging from classic white to ivory, blue, burgundy, and semolina. They’re 100% Egyptian cotton with a sateen weave, available for sizes full and larger, and “have a terrific feel for the quality” according to one reviewer.
Best for Summer and Warm ClimatesNot only is this set detailed, with embroidered double rows of satin on the edges, the fabric is notably cooling. Made in a percale weave, these Egyptian cotton sheets are lightweight and breathable, so they’re perfect for summertime or locations where it’s warm year-round
Best 1,000 Thread CountThis set is the highest thread count Egyptian cotton sheet set available on Amazon, and they’re beloved by more than 1,100 reviewers. According to reviews, they’re extremely soft, wash well, fit deep mattresses perfectly, and feel “every bit as wonderful as a bed and breakfast’s sheets.” They come in 11 colors and are available for mattress sizes full and larger.
Best Deep PocketMany Egyptian cotton sheets have an 18” pocket depth, but these sheets have a 24” depth. This is much deeper than average and will suit almost any bed sold today. Tribeca Living offers these sheets in a variety of colors and for mattress sizes full and larger. The weave is sateen, and there’s a single row of hemstitch detail for added flair.
Best Pima CottonIndividuals who find Egyptian cotton too pricey are sometimes directed to Pima cotton, another extra-long-staple variety with a friendlier price point. Thomas Lee offers 100% Pima cotton sheets in a 500 thread count percale weave. These percale sheets come in two neutral colors, white and ivory, are available for sizes full and larger, and are cool to the touch.
Types of Egyptian Cotton Sheets
Words like percale, sateen, and twill on sheet set labels refer to how the fabric is woven. Once you know that you want Egyptian cotton sheets, you’ll need to decide which weave is best for you.
Standard Egyptian cotton sheets are made with a basic cotton weave. If the product doesn’t specify a weave, it’s likely a standard weave. This means that they have the same number of threads in the weft and warp. Standard sheets tend to be made with lower thread counts and inexpensive.
Sateen has a luxurious look and feel. In this weave, warp threads are interlaced with filling threads, exposing the thread surface to create a lustrous, durable fabric that retains heat well in cold climates. Sateen sheets are wrinkle-resistant, drape beautifully, and tend to be more expensive.
Percale is the most common type of Egyptian cotton sheet. In this weave, warp and weft threads cross in a simple over and under pattern. Known for its breathability, percale creates a comfortable feel on your skin no matter the weather. It has a casual, matte finish and, while it can be more prone to wrinkles, its comfort increases with every wash.
Twill is often used in denim and furniture upholstery, but it’s occasionally used in sheets. It has a visible pattern and texture from the diagonal weave of the fabric. On the upside, twill has an uneven surface that helps mask stains and dirt. On the downside, it won’t be the most comfortable option to sleep on.
Pinpoint, sometimes referred to as pinpoint oxford, has a lustrous finish and a basket-weave pattern. Often used in men’s dress shirts, pinpoint is more durable than other varieties but notably less soft.
Benefits of Egyptian Cotton Sheets
Egyptian cotton is best known for its incredibly soft feel, but it has many other benefits. The extra-long fibers of authentic Egyptian cotton sheets make them durable because the longer fibers allow for a tighter, stronger weave.
While Egyptian cotton bedding can be expensive, it will outlast other types of sheets by decades when properly cared for. It may be helpful to view Egyptian cotton sheets as an investment when shopping to quell some of the initial shock that comes with the higher price tag.
Egyptian cotton is also naturally moisture-wicking, making it a great functional choice for those who sleep hot or perspire throughout the night. It also doesn’t pill, so there’s no need to worry about your sheets becoming unsightly over the years.
Interested in pairing these sheets with a worthy mattress? Check out our top picks for the best luxury mattresses.
What to Look For in Egyptian Cotton Sheets
You’ll want to arm yourself with a few tips prior to shopping for Egyptian cotton sheets, as product labels and brand advertising can be misleading. Here are a few things to keep your eye on when shopping for Egyptian cotton bedding:
- Thread Count — Higher thread counts generally mean softer sheets, but if you see products with extremely high thread counts advertised, it might be a marketing department trying to twist your arm. Advertisers can inflate the thread counts through methods like counting yarns twisted together that don’t improve the feel of the fabric. We recommend purchasing sheets with a thread count range from 300 to 800 from a well-known brand with high certification standards for their finishing process.
- Length — The length of the cotton fiber is what makes Egyptian cotton stand out from the crowd, so double-check the packaging to ensure the bedding is made with extra-long-staple cotton. If there’s no mention of staple length on the packaging, the brand’s website, or in the product description, it may be a red flag.
- Weave — After Egyptian cotton is harvested, it’s spun into thread and woven into a variety of different fabrics, like sateen, percale, and twill, which all have a different weave pattern. The weave creates variations in aspects of the final product like sheen, breathability, and softness, so it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the different types and know which you want prior to shopping.
- Dye — Egyptian cotton is extremely absorbent. It holds dye like no other cotton, so colored Egyptian cotton sheet sets remain bright for long periods of time. It’s likely that you’ll have the set for decades, so be sure to choose a color you’ll be happy in the long-run.
- Authenticity — Only cotton sourced directly from the Nile delta in Egypt can be labeled 100% Egyptian cotton. Sellers of authentic Egyptian cotton sheets earn a certification from the Cotton Egypt Association. Look for this certification and check the product to make sure the cotton hasn’t been blended with other extra-long-staple cotton varieties like Pima, which comes from the same plant as Egyptian cotton.
How to Properly Care for Egyptian Cotton Sheets
Due to their high quality, Egyptian cotton sheets need to be laundered with care. While they don’t require special soaps or washing materials, correct cleaning will ensure that they last for years.
Washing weekly or biweekly is recommended, especially for the first few months after purchase as this encourages softening. Use the gentle cycle on your washing machine at a moderate temperature, and be sure to clean your sheets and pillowcases separate from other garments and fabrics. Gentle laundry detergent works best; regular detergent can be harsh and cause damage to the fabric. Bleach is never recommended.
If air drying is the recommended option from the manufacturer, you can lay the sheets flat on your bed or hang them on a railing. If they can be placed in the dryer, use low heat or air cycle setting. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets should be avoided, but you can throw a couple of tennis balls in instead if necessary. Once dry, remove the sheets promptly to store or place back on the mattress.