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The 5 Very Best Egyptian-Cotton Sheets

“Genuine Egyptian-cotton sheets feel extremely luxurious on the skin, and in my opinion, aid in better sleep.”

Photo: Marcus McDonald
Photo: Marcus McDonald

In this article

The term Egyptian cotton gets thrown around a lot as shorthand for very fancy sheets, but not all Egyptian cotton is created equal. Some sheets made from Egyptian cotton will be certified by the Cotton Egypt Association as such, and others will simply state that they are — and you’ll just have to take their word for it. But generally speaking, premium Egyptian cotton will be spun from long-staple and extra-long-staple varieties that are known for their quality, smoothness, and durability. For me, personally testing them — handling them, sleeping on them — was the only way I was going to know if they were as nice and soft as they’re purported to be. And because I’ve slept on all kinds of sheets over the years as the Strategist’s resident bedding expert, I tapped into my experience (and my overflowing linen closet) to make side-by-side comparisons of, say, percale and sateen styles of varying thread counts. (Read my in-depth explainer between the difference of percale and sateen here.) So to make sure you don’t get swept away in nice-sounding descriptions and instead are getting real Egyptian-cotton sheets that have that signature smooth and supersoft feel, I tested a few sets myself and called on a couple of interior designers and home experts to bring you the best Egyptian-cotton sheets for just about every sleep preference and budget. (All prices are for a queen size unless otherwise stated.)

What we’re looking for

Cotton

Egyptian cotton traditionally refers to long-staple or extra-long-staple cotton, whose longer fibers make a stronger and smoother yarn and fabric than regular cotton. As Havenly’s lead designer, Heather Goerzen, explains, because the yarn is crafted from cotton grown in Egypt’s distinctive climate, the result is a durable, supersoft, finely woven material that’s smoother, more breathable, and lightweight. But just because something is called “Egyptian cotton” doesn’t guarantee that it meets those criteria, because the term also applies to any cotton grown in Egypt — even if it’s not the rarer, more desirable long- or extra-long-staple kind — and is often used as a marketing ploy to allude to an “Egyptian-cotton feel.” One way to tell is by touch. “High-quality, genuine Egyptian-cotton sheets feel extremely luxurious on the skin,” says interior designer Elizabeth Strianese, “and, in my opinion, aid in better sleep.”

Weave

Cotton sheets generally come in two types of weave, sateen and percale. Sateen has a smooth, lustrous appearance and drapey, buttery feel and is usually woven into a denser, heavier fabric. Percale is lighter weight and more breathable, with a crisper, cooler feel and matte finish. Weave type is a personal preference, but if you sleep hot or live in a warmer climate, you may find percale more appealing. No matter the weave, Goerzen says that because of the quality of Egyptian cotton, sheets made from the fiber are great for just about every type of sleeper, but also ideal for “hot sleepers who are looking for more breathable bedding — as well as those who are hoping to create a luxurious sleep sanctuary.”

Set

A lot of high-end brands sell everything in single sheets — fitted and top sheets, shams, duvet covers — whereas others come in sets. Some people may prefer buying individual sheets to mix and match fabrics, but I’ve noted what’s what to save you any confusion.

Price

Strianese has seen clients spend anywhere from $900 to $1,500 for just a flat sheet because they want the most luxurious option around. Because extra-long-staple cotton is rare — it requires “a special mix of ecological growing conditions along the Nile River,” according to Strianese — and significant understanding of how to use it properly, most sets are expensive. However, there are some less-expensive options out there, and Malik Logan, principal decorator of the Tailored Interiors, thinks you could find an excellent set of Egyptian-cotton sheets for a mere $75. To help you get a quick sense of the cost of each item, I’ve included a dollar-sign ranking for each product below: $ for sheet sets under $100, $$ for sheet sets under $250, and $$$ for anything higher.

Best Egyptian-cotton sheets overall

Photo: RobertoFaucegliaPhotographer/RobertoFauceglia

Cotton: 500-thread-count Egyptian cotton | Weave: Percale | Set: Sold by piece | Price: $$$

They’re expensive, but Matouk’s Luca Satin Stitch sheets are among the nicest I’ve ever come across. Made of 500-thread-count Egyptian cotton in a tight and crisp percale weave, the fabric feels incredibly smooth, lightweight, airy, and cool to the touch. For comparison, the Matouk Sierra, which is what I deemed the best customizable percale sheet in my general roundup, has a lower thread count of 350 and has a thicker, more casual feel. The Luca sheets are like the Platonic ideal of luxury-hotel-style sheets, and it’s not surprising that the interior designers I spoke to also love them. Strianese actually recommends a few different sets from Matouk. Her high-end clients tend to go for the Gatsby, a (very expensive) 1000-thread-count Egyptian-cotton sheet, but she personally has owned Luca Satin Stitch sheets and likes them for their more universal look. Nancy Davilman, owner of ND Interiors, also loves them for “how fresh and crisp they feel while still feeling very ultraluxurious.” While the fabric comes from Italy, the sheets are made in the U.S. Matouk sells its sheets by the piece, and shown here is the queen fitted sheet.

Best (less expensive) Egyptian-cotton sheets overall

Cotton: Long-staple Egyptian cotton, Oeko-Tex certified | Weave: Percale | Set: Fitted sheet, two pillowcases, with option to add top sheet | Price: $$

If you’re looking to buy a bundle of percale sheets for the price of a single fitted sheet from Matouk, Parachute makes a much more affordable set that’s woven from premium, certified long-staple Egyptian cotton. In fact, I deemed this set the best Egyptian-cotton percale sheets in our general bedding roundup. Strategist senior editor Simone Kitchens told me that they’re “ultrasmooth with a washed quality that manages to feel crisp and clean even up until laundry day.” Parachute’s percale sheets are also what Goerzen personally sleeps in. “I have these sheets in my home and swear by the comfort and construction. They’re soft to the touch, really lightweight, and have held up well over the years,” she says. (Kitchens, who runs a little hot at night, agrees that they have a cooling quality to them as well.) Goerzen also loves the sheets’ “soft colors and general aesthetic,” which she calls “chic but understated.” (There are eight hues to choose from, including Haze and Bone.) Parachute sells sheets by the set, which includes a fitted sheet and two pillowcases, with the option to add a top sheet, as seen and priced here.

Best sateen Egyptian-cotton sheets

Cotton: 100 percent certified extra long-staple Giza Egyptian, Oeko-Tex certified | Weave: Sateen | Set: Flat and fitted sheets, two pillowcases | Price: $$

All the sheets on this list so far have been percale, which, as I noted above, has a crisper hand and is more lightweight. But if you prefer the silkiness of sateen, consider this set I tried from Pure Parima; it’s made from extra-long-staple Giza Egyptian cotton that has been certified by the Cotton Egypt Association. With a double-stitch hemstitch detail, they’re smooth, drapey, and substantial and feel much heftier than the other Egyptian-cotton bedding I tested for this story. They definitely have that luxe sateen sheen to them, and getting into bed always felt more like slipping into it more than anything. I always slept comfortably in them.

Best (less expensive) sateen Egyptian-cotton sheets

Cotton: Long-staple Egyptian cotton | Weave: Sateen | Set: Flat and fitted sheets, two pillowcases | Price: $

Here’s another sateen Egyptian-cotton set that I tested but for about a hundred dollars less. I also included them in our roundup of the best cooling sheets as they are a little more lightweight than Egyptian-cotton sateen sheets tend to be and therefore a bit more breathable. They’re also very soft, smooth, and silky but have a higher, more noticeable sheen than Pure Parima’s. If you’re looking for Egyptian-cotton sateen sheets with a more laid-back, everyday feel, I would recommend these. Like Pure Parima’s, Silk & Snow’s Egyptian cotton is also certified by the Cotton Egypt Association.

Best (budget) sateen Egyptian-cotton sheets

Cotton: 800 thread count Egyptian cotton | Weave: Sateen, 800 thread count | Set: Flat and fitted sheets, two pillowcases | Price: $

Even more affordable is this set that Hudson Wilder founder Conway Liao swears by. “I’ve been purchasing these since my university days,” says Liao. “I like how structured but soft and smooth the sheets are. They last a very long time (I wash them weekly). They stay cool during the summer and are warm enough for winter.” They’re available in a wide range of colors that “suit whatever duvet cover I use throughout the seasons,” with his favorites being taupe and silver.

More Egyptian cotton sheets we like

Our experts

• Nancy Davilman, ND Interiors
• Amy Finsilver, general manager of XV Beacon
• Heather Goerzen, director of content and design at Havenly
• Ron Gorodesky, CEO of Refined Hospitality
• Conway Liao, founder of Hudson Wilder
• Malik Logan, principal decorator of the Tailored Interiors
• Tom Ryan, head of product testing at Sleep Foundation
• Elizabeth Strianese, founder of Elizabeth Strianese Interiors

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The 5 Very Best Egyptian-Cotton Sheets