Which twin bed sheet is best?
Whether it’s your child’s first grownup bed or your college student’s home away from home, outfitting a twin bed with great sheets is crucial. The right sheets can make or break a bed, as they’re able to make it feel cozy and homey or lonely and cold.
A twin bed sheet set consistently mentioned as a top performing option is the Mellanni Brushed Microfiber Bedding.
What to know before you buy a twin bed sheet
One of the most important things to understand when buying a twin bed sheet set is how the material will affect the feel of the sheets. There are several materials to choose from, all of which have pros and cons.
The most commonly used material is cotton. It’s durable and breathable, providing a soft base for your twin bed sheets. Because it’s easy to launder and affordable, cotton bed sheets are an accessible material for anyone. Within this category, there are a few cotton subtypes you’ll see advertised.
- Egyptian cotton has long been the favorite type of cotton for bed sheets. It’s ultra-soft and is usually an indicator of high-quality sheets. Egyptian cotton is mostly grown in dry, warm climates like North Africa. Once it’s been processed, it presents with extra-long fibers that create soft, smooth, luxurious fabric.
- Pima cotton has started to carve out a place in the market. It has a reputation for being soft, but with a slight sheen. Mostly grown in the southwest United States, this cotton provides medium to extra-long fibers, creating an expectation of a soft, comfortable fabric. If you see a sheet set labelled as Supima, you are getting Pima cotton sheets. This is the trademarked name used for materials created with 100% Pima cotton.
- Upland cotton is by far the most commonly grown cotton in the world. Although the fibers it creates aren’t as long as those made by Egyptian cotton, you will see Upland cotton used in a majority of sheets. If a sheet set doesn’t specifically advertise a certain type of cotton, it is likely made using Upland cotton.
- Another trademarked material is MicroCotton. This is an especially fine-cotton thread material originally developed in India. MicroCotton is known for being durable and notably soft because it’s made of long-staple cotton. Along with being super soft, this is an absorbent material, which is great for those who sleep warm.
- If you see a sheet set labelled as cotton jersey, you are getting a fabric made from knit cotton vs. the woven structure of other cotton materials. This material will feel familiar — it’s the same as the material used in many T-shirts.
- Percale cotton is becoming more common thanks to its inherently cool properties. Using a closely-woven cotton fabric with a plain weave, percale cotton has a characteristic cool-to-the-touch texture. If you tend to overheat at night, this would be a good material to consider.
- If you’ve ever purchased low-cost sheets and felt like they were scratchy, it’s likely due to the length of fibers in the material. The shorter the fibers, the more likely they are to stick out and cause irritation. Combed cotton is treated to remove these short fibers, creating a super-smooth fabric. If you have sensitive skin that gets irritated easily, look for combed cotton.
A staple cotton fabric is flannel and you will see plenty of flannel twin bed sheet options as you shop around. Flannel is the number one choice if you live in a cold climate or tend to get chilly while you sleep. The material is combed, which fluffs the fibers. This creates a unique texture and sheets that are guaranteed to be soft. It will definitely trap more heat than other fabrics. The quality of flannel is expressed in ounces per yard squared. The higher the ounces per yard squared, the higher-quality the flannel.
Stepping away from cotton twin bed sheets, we find another common material: linen. Linen twin bed sheets use fibers harvested from the stems of flax plants. Aside from being breathable and durable, linen sheets are naturally hypoallergenic making them a great option for allergy sufferers. The moisture-wicking properties will also help those who tend to sweat during the night stay comfortable. The best part about linen: It tends to get softer and stronger as you use it. However, it will wrinkle more easily, which is an important consideration if you like a perfectly-made bed.
If you see that sheets are made of Tencel, you are seeing the brand name for fabric crafted from the wood pulp of Eucalyptus. Tencel sheets will be soft and durable, but most importantly they are naturally antimicrobial. They are also a more eco-friendly option, as the manufacturing process uses less water, energy and chemicals. However, it isn’t as breathable as other materials, especially when compared to cotton.
You may see some twin bed sheet sets are made of acetate. This is a material created from the cellulose in wood fibers. Although many love the soft, satin finish of these sheets, the fibers are notoriously weak. If you want high-maintenance sheets, acetate is the material to look for. Anytime you want to clean your acetate sheets, you’ll have to make a trip to the dry cleaner.
Commonly thought of as the epitome of luxury when it comes to sheets, true silk sheets, produced by silkworms, are soft and cool to the touch. Naturally, these are more expensive and also more delicate. These aren’t a great choice for those who don’t have the time to properly launder and care for them.
Next to cotton, polyester twin bed sheets are the most common choices on the market. Polyester is a man-made fiber derived from the same material that goes into plastic bottles. It’s incredibly inexpensive, but tends to be stiff and often scratchy. Rather than a full 100% polyester fiber, most polyester twin bed sheets are actually a polyester-mix, like polyester-cotton.
Like cotton, polyester has several subtypes to be aware of. Microfiber is one of the most common polyester twin bed sheets you’ll see. This is polyester that’s been finely woven, creating a plush-feeling sheet set. While it isn’t as breathable as cotton, it’s resistant to stains, making it a great option for kids’ rooms.
Nylon gives you the smooth, satin finish of silk or acetate, but at a much more accessible price point. Along with being more durable than acetate or silk, nylon also resists wrinkles better so your bed looks better. Laundering nylon isn’t as complicated as with acetate or silk, but you do have to be careful with it. It won’t do well in the heat of the dryer, so air dry if possible. After a few washes, you may notice pilling.
Although it isn’t as comfortable as natural fibers, acrylic is another affordable option you will definitely see. It’s a popular choice because it resists wrinkles and has an incredible array of color and design options. To avoid your sheets pilling, follow the laundering instructions exactly.
As a material, bamboo is blazing its way to the top of the list as one of the favorite fabrics for bed sheets. Although labelled bamboo, most bamboo sheets are actually rayon, unless they state specifically the bamboo content. Rayon is created when the bamboo pulp is chemically treated to dissolve and resolidify. At that point, it’s spun into thread. Something to note: This chemical process is harder on the environment, so take that into consideration when buying.
There is no doubt you will see blended fabrics. Most of these will be cotton blends. The most popular blend, without question, is cotton-polyester. You may also see cotton-bamboo, cotton-rayon and nylon-polyester blends. These combination fabrics are often less expensive but highly durable and wrinkle-resistant. If you’re picking twin bed sheets for a kid’s room, a blend is a great choice.
With an understanding of the material, you are ready to make your decision. As you explore your options, keep these things in mind.
Twin vs. twin XL
A crucial measurement to have is that of your twin bed. There are two types of twin beds: the standard twin bed and the twin XL. Make sure you know which type of twin bed you have or you could end up with sheets that don’t fit.
Every sheet set will mention the thread count. This refers to the number of threads both horizontally and vertically per square inch. A general rule of thumb: The higher the thread count, the softer the sheets. A higher thread count also means your sheets will wear well and soften. A good thread count range is 200 to 800 per square inch.
You will see some sheet sets boasting a thread count of over 1,000 per square inch. There is a tipping point at which a higher thread count isn’t always better. For one thing, there are many ways for companies to exaggerate their thread counts. And past a certain point, the benefits will be marginal.
Depending on the material you choose for your twin bed sheets, you could be signing up for quite the chore. Some sheet materials are more difficult to clean. Acetate, for example, requires dry cleaning or hand washing. With a recommendation that you wash your sheets on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, a tricky laundering process can quickly get old.
Take a moment to assess your sleep temperature. Do you tend to get hot and kick off the covers or do you get the chills and can’t warm up? Are you in an especially warm or cold climate? Do you plan on only using these sheets during a season? All the answers to these questions contribute to the sleep temperature factor that should inform your decision.
For warm sleepers, choose a sheet set with cool, breathable fabric. Some great options are percale cotton, linen, silk and bamboo. If you tend to sleep cold, choose a less breathable, warm fabric. Flannel, tencel and microfiber are ideal.
What to look for in a quality twin bed sheet
With some fabrics, laundering and use will lead to pilling, or small balls of fibers collecting on the surface. These can negatively impact the aesthetic of your bedroom and irritate your skin. When selecting a twin bed sheet, look for low-pilling fabric to avoid the issue entirely. These also tend to be better quality.
Non-shrinking or pre-shrunk
Choosing a non-shrinking or pre-shrunk sheet set is a good idea, especially when it comes to the fitted sheet. If the material shrinks after the first wash, you could end up with a sheet that constantly slips off the corners and doesn’t fit properly.
If you love the look of a crisp, freshly-made bed, you’ll want to find a bed sheet set that is wrinkle-resistant. Certain fabrics are naturally more inclined to wrinkle, while others resist it. Blends like cotton-polymer, acrylic-polymer, nylon-polymer and many of the cotton fabrics are great, wrinkle-resistant options.
Choosing a long-staple fiber material is a good way to ensure you have a soft bed sheet that doesn’t get rough or feel scratchy after some use. Long-staple fiber material means there are no short fibers that can start to come apart. A long-staple combed cotton is your best bet.
Deep-pocket fitted sheet
When it comes to fitted sheets, a deep pocket on the corners is your best bet for making sure it stays put. Having your fitted sheet slip up in the middle of the night, then having to remake your bed when you just want to sleep can be a pain. With a deep-pocket fitted sheet, you’ll be able to avoid that.
If you’re a warm sleeper, moisture-wicking material is definitely a feature to look for. It will keep you less sweaty, your sheets less damp and overall keep you more comfortable. Some fabrics are a better bet for moisture-wicking: linen, acrylic polyester, bamboo and certain cotton blends are a good place to start.
How much you can expect to spend on twin bed sheets
For a decent set of twin bed sheets, the starting range is about $20-$75. In that price range, you’ll find synthetic fibers that typically have a lower thread count. Between $75-$200 you’ll access twin bed sheets made of natural fibers with a higher thread count. Beyond $200, you’ll find the luxury fibers, some organic, and the most quality craftsmanship.
Twin bed sheet FAQ
What thread count is best for twin bed sheets?
A. A good range to keep in mind for a decent set of twin bed sheets is 200 to 600. If you want a softer bed sheet that will last longer, aim for a thread count of 600 to 800. While you can choose bed sheets with thread counts higher than 800, you likely won’t notice much of a difference.
What bed sheet material is best?
A. Choosing a bed sheet based on material largely comes down to personal preference. Each type of material has its pros and cons. If you want the best durability, easiest care and the best feel for the money, look for a cotton bed sheet or a cotton blend.
What are the best twin bed sheets to buy?
Top twin bed sheets
Mellanni Brushed Microfiber Bedding
What you need to know: This set of microfiber bedding appears on almost all of the best-of lists and for good reason.
What you’ll love: The elastic in the fitted sheet runs all the way around, so it’s designed to stay in place. This set wears well and washes easily. Best of all, it has a lifetime money-back guarantee, because the manufacturer is so confident in the quality.
What you should consider: These sheets do feel a little thin, making them more likely to be torn or ripped.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair
Top twin bed sheets for the money
AmazonBasics Lightweight Microfiber Sheet Set
What you need to know: Made of 100% microfiber polymer fabric, this sheet set is an affordable way to enjoy the benefits of microfiber.
What you’ll love: This sheet set will surprise you with its quality. It’s wrinkle-resistant and has a strong elastic on the fitted sheet that runs around the entire edge to keep it in place. Laundering them is easy. Simply throw them in the washer and tumble dry on low.
What you should consider: Some users have complained the sheets aren’t as durable as other brands.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Sweet Home Collection 1500 Supreme Collection Extra-Soft Twin Sheets Set
What you need to know: This three-piece set might be affordably priced, but that doesn’t mean you sacrifice on quality and features.
What you’ll love: This twin bed sheet set is made using high-quality microfiber and comes in over 40 colors so you can find exactly what you need. They are wrinkle- and fade-resistant, so they’ll look great for a long time. Laundering is as simple as throwing them in the washing machine, then tumbling dry on low.
What you should consider: Because they are microfiber, there’s no true thread count so it’s hard to gauge how soft they are until they’re on your bed.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Kohl’s
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Kasey Van Dyke writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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