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Which flat sheet is best?

You spend a third of your life in bed, so your choice of sheets shouldn’t be an afterthought. A flat sheet is next to your skin as you sleep, so picking the best one can give you a more comfortable and relaxing night’s rest. 

The material should be one of the first factors you consider, but you might also mull over the thread count, color and how easy it is to clean. If you’re looking for a quality cotton sheet, the California Design Den King Flat Sheet is an excellent choice. 

What to know before you buy a flat sheet


Cotton, microfiber and polyester are perhaps the most common sheet materials, but it’s worth considering some less common options, such as flannel, linen and jersey. 

  • Cotton: A classic choice, cotton sheets are breathable and can feel either crisp or silky, depending on the weave. 
  • Cotton jersey: Jersey is a soft, stretchy type of cotton that’s similar to T-shirt or sweatshirt material. It’s soft and cozy but can feel too warm for summer use. 
  • Flannel: Flannel is a thick brushed material that can be made from cotton or synthetic fibers. Like jersey, it’s warm and soft but too hot for summer. 
  • Linen: Linen is a natural material made from flax fibers. It’s less heavily processed than cotton, which is important to some buyers. It feels soft right away and drapes beautifully, but it’s prone to wrinkling.
  • Polyester: Polyester sheets are inexpensive but they aren’t breathable, which is bad if you sleep hot. They generally feel crisp but soften over time.
  • Microfiber: Microfiber is a type of synthetic material that can be smooth or brushed. Either way, it’s extremely soft but not everyone likes the feeling of it. 

Thread count

When you’re buying cotton sheets, most manufacturers list the thread count. This is the number of fibers per square inch of fabric. It ranges from under 200 to over 1,000, but higher isn’t always better. 

A thread count of around 400-600 gives you sheets that are soft and strong but anything over 600 can feel stiff. Plus, some manufacturers twist in extra fibers to inflate the thread count without making the fabric any stronger.

What to look for in a quality flat sheet

Color or print

Most top sheets come in a range of colors, so you can pick one that matches your bedroom decor, bottom sheet or other bedding. Occasionally, you can find sheets with prints rather than solid colors. 


While you can buy flat and fitted bed sheets separately, many people choose to buy sheet sets. This way you can be certain your top and bottom sheets match for a cohesive look. 


All sheets are machine washable — otherwise, changing your bedding would be a huge ordeal. However, you should check the label to see at what temperature to wash them. It’s usually recommended to wash sheets on high to kill germs, but some materials require a lower temperature. Also, check if they’re suitable for tumble drying or if they must be air-dried. 

How much you can expect to spend on a flat sheet

A single bottom sheet can cost as little as $5-$10 when made from polyester or microfiber or as much as $50-$80 when made from high-quality natural materials, such as linen. 

Flat sheet FAQ

What is a flat sheet used for? 

A. Also known as a top sheet, this type of sheet is designed to use over the top of a fitted sheet. You can tuck it in around the bottom and sides of the mattress, but it’s folded down at the top end so you can sleep underneath it but on top of the fitted sheet. 

In the height of summer, you may sleep under just a sheet, but usually, it sits below a blanket or comforter. This keeps the thicker items of bedding clean so they don’t need frequent laundering. 

What’s the difference between sateen and percale? 

A. Sateen and percale are two types of weaves that sheet materials can have. Sateen sheets have a tight weave that makes them heavier and gives them a silky feeling and a slight sheet. Percale sheets have a crisp, matt finish that softens over time. This type of weave is more breathable than sateen, so it’s great for summer use or for hot sleepers. 

What’s the best flat sheet to buy?

Top flat sheet

California Design Den King Flat Sheet

California Design Den King Flat Sheet

What you need to know: Soft and silky, this sateen sheet is made from 100% cotton. 

What you’ll love: You can choose from 14 colors including bright white, ivory, sage green and blush pink with matching fitted sheets available. It comes in twin, full, queen, king and California king sizes. The thread count of 600 is ideal.

What you should consider: They can pill over time so be careful how you wash them. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top flat sheet for the money

Royale Linens Flat Sheet

Royale Linens Flat Sheet

What you need to know: Made from brushed microfiber, this sheet feels extremely soft to the touch.

What you’ll love: You can tumble dry this sheet for easy cleaning and it isn’t prone to wrinkling after washing, so there’s no need to iron it. There’s a choice of 10 colors, including burgundy, navy and white. 

What you should consider: It’s not a good choice if you like sheets that feel crisp.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Simple & Opulence Stone Washed Linen Flat Sheet

Simple & Opulence Stone Washed Linen Flat Sheet

What you need to know: This pure linen sheet looks great and is perfect for anyone looking for luxurious bedding. 

What you’ll love: This sheet is extremely soft from first use and feels great against the skin. It’s breathable but still cozy enough for winter. There’s a choice of nine colors, including rust, gray and dusty blue. 

What you should consider: It’s expensive and it’s prone to wrinkling. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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