Among the most luxurious sheets you can buy are those made from Egyptian cotton, which are known for their breathability, durability, and softness that only gets better with age. “High-quality, genuine Egyptian-cotton sheets feel extremely luxurious on the skin, and in my opinion, aid in better sleep,” says interior designer Elizabeth Strianese. “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. The confusion comes 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 play, to allude to an “Egyptian-cotton feel.”
To make sure you don’t get swept away in nice-sounding descriptions and are getting sheets that have the smooth, supersoft feel of real Egyptian cotton, we found sheets made from long- and extra-long-staple cotton, thanks to the help of interior designers and home experts. (All prices are for a queen size, unless otherwise stated.)
What we’re looking for
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, we’ve included a dollar-sign ranking for each product below: $ for sheet sets under $100, $$ for sheet sets under $250, and $$$ for anything higher.
Set versus single sheet: 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 we’ve noted what’s what to save you any confusion.
Sateen versus percale: 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.
Best overall Egyptian-cotton sheets
$$$ | Single sheet | Percale
As expected, the best Egyptian-cotton sheets, according to the interior designers we spoke to, are very expensive. “These people at Matouk understand bedding. John Matouk is Syrian and Italian so there’s some serious pedigree there,” says Strianese. She recommends a few different sets from Matouk (and they’re among our favorite bedsheets, as well). Clients of hers tend to go for the Gatsby 1000, but she personally has owned the Luca Satin Stitch — which “has a very small flange around the pillow sham, so there isn’t this big sloppy thing flapping all over your bed — and the Francis. The latter only comes in “these beautiful watery colors” for a “tailored summery feel.” Overall, though, the Luca has a more universal look to fit with all types of aesthetics. “I love how fresh and crisp they feel while still feeling very ultra luxurious,” says Nancy Davilman, owner of ND Interiors. The sheets, which are also used by many high-end hotels, have a 500 thread count and are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, meaning they’re free of harmful chemicals that are unsafe for you. While the fabric comes from Italy, the sheets are made in the U.S.
Best (less expensive) overall Egyptian-cotton sheets
$ | Set | Sateen
Believe it or not, Logan says Amazon “has plenty of great, affordable Egyptian-cotton sheets.” To be honest, I didn’t believe him, until he shared this link to a set under $75. We can’t say they will be as good as the pricier options, like, say, the Matouk sheets, but they get the job done if you’re set on Egyptian cotton. You can buy it in 35 different colors, from classic neutrals to spunky hues like bright blue, burgundy, and olive, as well as stripes. The fitted sheet has extra-deep pockets, too, to fit deep or pillow-top mattresses. And like the Matouk sheets, the Mayfair set is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified.
Best cooling Egyptian cotton sheets
$$ | Single sheet | Percale
Sferra also came recommended by nearly all the experts we spoke to. Davilman considers herself “a bit old school” when it comes to sheets and prefers Sferra because they nail the crisp white cotton look. Strianese’s clients with fairly large budgets are drawn to the Giza 45 Seta sheets, which are a blend of silk and Egyptian cotton. But for something a little less expensive, Logan turns to their Grande Hotel set. He calls the quality “impeccable,” adding, “It seems like every time I wash them, they get softer and softer.” He thinks they’re the way to go if you’re a hot sleeper, too, because their lighter weight can make them feel noticeably cooler. Even though this set only comes in ivory, you can choose the color of the satin stitching around the cuff of the sheet for added pizzazz.
Best hotel-quality Egyptian-cotton sheets
$$$ | Set | Percale
Anyone who has looked into Egyptian-cotton sheets just a little bit shouldn’t be surprised to see Frette on this list. Used in major high-end and boutique hotels — like Troutbeck in Amenia, New York; the Ritz in Paris; Shinola Hotel in Detroit; XV Beacon in Boston — Frette takes pride in sourcing the highest quality materials for their sheets, one of which is Egyptian cotton. Ron Gorodesky, managing director at the Reeds at Shelter Haven in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, describes them as “soft as a cloud” and says that guests love these sheets so much that they frequently ask for info on them so they can purchase a set of their own. Amy Finsilver, general manager of XV Beacon in Boston, notes the luxurious fabric “remains smooth after many, many washes.”
Best ecoconscious Egyptian-cotton sheets
$$$ | Set | Percale
Rivolta Carmignani is another popular brand for hotels to choose as bedding. Laura McKoy, creative director and vice-president of interior design for Omni Hotels & Resorts, appreciates that they are certified STeP by OEKO-TEX, which means they were made in an ecofriendly way. “They’re made of very high-quality Egyptian cotton, bleached, then mercerized, and hand-finished in a way that makes them feel really buttery,” McKoy says. The cotton percale set features subtle piping, giving the set just enough detail to look special without being overbearing.
Best patterned Egyptian-cotton sheets
$$ | Set, no pillowcases | Percale
Lots of our recommendations cost more than most might be willing to spend, so to round out this list with some more affordable picks, we found this set from L.L.Bean (another Strategist favorite brand) that fits the criteria provided by experts. Plus, because most Egyptian-cotton sets come in solid, neutral colors, this set stands out for its joyful patterns, like stripes or this diamond pattern. The beachy look will add an extra oomph to your bedding, but you’ll still reap the benefits of the luxurious materials. Like many other sets on this list, this 400-thread-count set is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, so it’s free of harmful substances. The one caveat: Pillowcases are sold separately.
Best Egyptian-cotton sheets with a trial period
$$ | Set | Sateen
Silk and Snow is another lower-cost option I found that meets all of our expert’s criteria. And unlike the old guard of linens, this DTC brand gives you a 100-night trial to determine if you like their sheets before committing, so if you decide you’re not getting the good night’s sleep you desire, then you can return the set within the time frame with no questions asked. The brand, which started with mattresses but moved into bedding shortly after, only sources ecofriendly textiles that are consciously manufactured with the environment and workers in mind (i.e., by using less water and fair labor practices). The low-priced Egyptian-cotton set comes in five neutral shades to match the rest of your bedding. It received OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification as well as an Egyptian Cotton Trade Mark Certification License.
• Nancy Davilman, owner of ND Interiors
• Amy Finsilver, general manager of XV Beacon in Boston
• Ron Gorodesky, managing director at the Reeds at Shelter Haven in Stone Harbor, New Jersey
• Malik Logan, principal decorator of the Tailored Interiors
• Laura McKoy, creative director and vice-president of interior design for Omni Hotels & Resorts
• Elizabeth Strianese, founder of Elizabeth Strianese Interiors
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