While cuffing season tends to turn the populous’ attention to who is going to be one’s chosen snuggle partner, the first snap of cool weather makes us think of a relationship that’s even more intimate: Do we have the perfect sheets? Are they pretty to look at? But most of all, are they as soft as possible? In the interests of everyone getting a better sleep (and us getting the best deal on the best sheets), here’s our rundown on the market’s very best choices.

RELATED: What’s the Deal with Organic Bedding, and Which Brands are Actually Worth Buying?

What thread count is the softest?

It’s complicated! By which we mean…it doesn’t matter. While thread count is defined as the number of threads woven in a single inch of fabric, and since traditionally more threads meant a tighter weave and thus a softer feel, that’s not the case in today’s varied bedding market. That’s because, often manufacturers inflate their thread counts, and the quality of the fiber is a better indicator of how soft a fabric feels as opposed to how dense it is. In short, according to bedding professionals (and our personal experience), there’s no magic number that is an indicator of a sheet’s comfort.

What are the softest, most luxurious sheets?

Here’s where a little bedding terminology comes in handy to explain the different styles of and materials making up sheets. Because, individual preference and sleeping habits matter a lot in choosing the most comfortable sheet for you—and the level of softness is according to your personal sweet spot.

  • Sateen: This tightly woven fabric has a silky feel and looks lustrous
  • Percale: Less tightly woven than sateen, this looks more crisp on the bed and is beloved by hot sleepers for its coolness.
  • Linen: This is a natural fiber derived from the flax plant that’s prized for its breathability and durability.
  • Bamboo: Fast-growing grass that has become a popular contemporary choice as sheeting material known for its softness, breathability and stain-repellent characteristics.
  • Flannel: A loosely knit weave made of materials from cotton to wool that’s known for its wintertime warmth.
  • Rayon: One of the most common fabrics made from bamboo using the viscose process, which uses powerful chemicals to break down bamboo’s super-strong plant fibers
  • Microfiber: Made of finely woven fibers from wood pulp, polyester or nylon, this durable fabric feels silky but can trap heat

The Softest Sheets for 2021

  1. Best Overall Puffy Sheets
  2. Best Value Mellani Sheet Set
  3. Best Eco-Friendly: Buffy Eucalyptus Sheets
  4. Most Comfortable: Sunday Citizen Premium Bamboo Sheets
  5. Best Organic: Bampure Organic Bamboo Sheets
  6. Best Percale: Riley Percale Sheet Set
  7. Best Bamboo Layla Bamboo Sheets
  8. Best Cooling True Temp Sheet Set
  9. Best All-Season The Citizenry Stonewashed Linen
  10. Best Egyptian Cotton Parachute Sateen
  11. Best Luxury Brooklinen Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle
  12. Best Colors: Nipote Ultra Soft Microfiber
  13. Best Flannel L.L. Bean Ultrasoft Comfort
  14. Best Jersey: Coyuchi Organic Jersey Sheets
  15. Best for Kids Company Cotton Percale Winter Animals Sheet Set
  16. Best Linen: Morrow Organic Matte Sateen
  17. Best Split King: Boll & Branch Signature Sheet Set

Puffy

1. Puffy Sheets

Best Overall

Pros:

• Hypoallergenic

• Breathable in all seasons

Con:

• Limited colors

These bamboo sheets are silky-soft right out of the package (which will be delivered free via Fed-Ex) and naturally breathable. They are Oeko-Tex certified, which means free of harmful chemicals that might irritate the skin. And if for some reason you don’t love them, Puffy offers postage-paid money-back returns after 101 nights of use.

Buy It ($129)

Amazon

2. Mellani Sheet Set

Best Value

Pros:

  • Affordable price point
  • 45 color options including prints

Con:

  • Microfiber won’t please all-natural bedding types

With more than 184,000 five-star reviews on Amazon and a rave PureWow 100 write-up, this set of microfiber sheets excels in not only right-out-of-the-package softness but also little design touches such as 360-degree elastic on fitted sheets and an extra-deep pocket version that fits mattresses up to 21 inches deep.

$33 at Amazon

Buffy

3. Buffy Eucalyptus Sheets

Best Eco-Friendly

Pros:

  • Oeko-Tex certified, earth-friendly fiber
  • Nine shades including stripes

Con:

  • Too-narrow flange on pillowcases

In the ever-changing curve of emerging market trends, eucalyptus is the new bamboo—that is, the eco-fabric you might scoff at now, only to cuddle up happily on in a few months. Eucalyptus fabric takes 10 times less water than cotton to produce and the fine weave of this fabric ensures an equally or more sound sleep than on cotton. Upping the eco-ante are the dyes which are all-natural and made from plants like pomegranate and gardenia.

Buy It ($199)

Sunday Citizen

4. Sunday Citizen Premium Bamboo Sheets

Most Comfortable

Pros:

  • Set is top-sheet optional
  • Breathable bamboo fabric

Con:

  • Limited color palette

It makes sense that a company known for its supersoft comforters made of bamboo and microfiber would allow its first sheet set to be ordered with or without a top sheet in coordinating colors that are earthy pastel like coal grey and denim blue. Made of 100 percent anti-microbial and sustainably grown bamboo, these sweat-wicking sheets are well worth investing in a full set.

Buy It ($225)

Amazon

5. Bampure 100 Percent Organic Bamboo Sheets

Best Organic

Pros:

  • Fits mattresses up to 16 inches
  • 12 deep-toned colors

Con:

  • Sateen weave may be too slippery feeling

With Oeko-Tex Organic certification, these sheets feel like high thread-count luxury cotton sheets, but at a fraction of the price and environmental cost. Well thought-out details like double stitching for durability and all-the-way-round elastic on the fitted sheet make for a relaxing sleep.

$90 at Amazon

Riley

6. Riley Percale Sheet Set

Best Percale

Pros:

  • Wide color options
  • Optional top sheet

Cons:

  • Percale may need multiple washings for initial softness

Like that crisp hotel linens look, but don’t want the heavy feeling that comes with it? This percale sheet set, made from long staple combed cotton that’s been tested to be free of harmful chemicals, is your answer. Bonus: the side-envelope closure style of the pillowcases and clear directional labeling of the sheets means making the bed will be a breeze.

Buy It ($199)

Layla

7. Layla Bamboo Sheets

Best Bamboo

Pros:

  • Attractive piping on top sheet
  • Noticeably cooler than cotton

Con:

  • Limited color selection

Coming in at three degrees cooler than similar cotton sheets, these bamboo sheets have a natural antimicrobial power that is more odor repellent than poly blends. In a viscose blend, these sheets surprise high-thread-count snobs with how silky-smooth they feel, even before repeated washings.

Buy It ($205; $155)

Sleep Number

8. True Temp Sheet Set

Best Cooling

Pros:

  • Available in hard-to-find sizes
  • Smart Fit straps keep fitted sheets in place

Cons:

  • Dryer sheets might break down yarn
  • Spandex percentage might be too clingy for some sleepers

The ballad of the hot-and-cold co-sleepers has a happy ending when the backdrop is a set of temperature-regulating sheets such as these. The cotton-polyester-spandex blend is formulated to encourage air flow so that humidity is reduced and there’s no stuffy overheated feeling. And with Split King and Flex Top King options, your deep web searches for perfectly fitted sheets are done.

Buy It ($200; $140)

The Citizenry

9. The Citizenry Stonewashed Linen Sheet Set

Best Year-Round

Pros:

  • Pinterest-ready muted colors
  • Fair Trade manufacturing in Portugal

Con:

  • Pricey

Want to celebrate a milestone with a gift that will keep on giving? We suggest these elegant, already-soft sheets created from French flax. Choose from a dozen dusky tones and stripes that wrinkle elegantly on your bed and will inspire you to never properly make it again. And the natural warmth as well as heat-wicking properties of linen mean it will be your ultra comfortable year-round first choice for bedding—or you can return them free within the first 30 days after purchase.

Buy It ($250)

Parachute

10. Parachute Sateen

Best Egyptian Cotton

Pros:

  • 100 percent long-staple Egyptian cotton fabric
  • Top sheet is oversized

Con:

  • High heat drying not recommended

Want the feel of silk without your bed looking like the backdrop for boudoir photography? Certified Egyptian cotton is the high-quality material to choose, and a sateen weave is the silkiest of the silky. Parachute is known for its beautifully rendered colors like new fawn and blush shades which can be matched to coverlets, duvet covers and shams galore.

Buy It ($249)

Brooklinen

11. Brooklinen Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle

Best Luxury

Pros:

  • Price includes top and bottom sheets as well as pillowcases and duvet cover
  • Long and short-side labels make fitted sheets easier to correctly fit

Cons:

  • Some printed patterns might be too bright for subtle bedroom decor

The buttery soft feel of sateen is the draw with this all-in-one-set. Woven from 100 percent cotton, they are durable and appear to have a subtle sheen that’s dialed-down from the shiny texture of old-fashioned sateen bedding. And the Oeko-Tex certification means it’s been tested to be free of production chemicals—so you’re free to smush your face right into these for a good night’s sleep.

Buy It ($285; $242)

Nipote

12: Nipote Ultra Soft Microfiber Percale

Best Colors

Pros:

  • More than 30 colors
  • Non-pilling microfiber

Con:

  • 14-inch fitted sheet depth won’t fit ultra-thick mattresses

One of the appeals of microfiber polyester fabric is that it stays colorfast wash after wash. That’s a good thing here, because you’re getting the chance to get exactly the shade of light blue or bright yellow that matches your bedroom, without fading. This brand has an extra bonus of making its sheets in sizes that fit RV mattresses, which tend to be a little shorter.

Buy It ($47)

L. L. Bean

13. L.L. Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Sheet Set

Best Flannel

Pros:

  • All-cotton fabric
  • Comes in matched set

Con:

  • 15-inch fitted sheet pocket depth may be too shallow for some deep mattresses

Editor Liv Kappler says these sheets will “forever be my number one for winter.” And while the brushed cotton feel may be too warm for mid-summer, the 5 ounce weight works well for fall and early spring as well as deep winter. And along with the traditional plaid patterns, L.L. Bean offers these in eight attractive solid hues.

Buy It ($119)

Coyuchi

14. Coyuchi Organic Jersey Sheets

Best Jersey

Pros:

  • Is super-soft right out of the package
  • Organic cotton fabric means chemical free manufacturing

Cons:

  • Might not suit hot sleepers

Like sheets to feel like a vintage t-shirt that stretches with your body, but doesn’t restrict movement? That’s the appeal of jersey sheets; these come in five attractive and understated colors and have a super-soft “hand” (that’s fabric talk for the feel of a cloth against your skin). While jersey sheets tend to be polarizing—hot sleepers or those tending toward claustrophobia often don’t like the clingy feeling of jersey, for example—these are great jersey versions.

Buy It ($178)

15. Company Cotton Percale Winter Animals Sheet Set

Best for Kids

Pros:

  • Kitten or dog pattern is suitable for all ages
  • 100 percent cotton

Con:

  • White background might show stains

This all-cotton fabric is great for children, who tend to sleep hot. We like the idea of getting a set of coordinating dog and cat patterns for bunk beds or matching twin beds, as well as a set of extra pillowcases, which are sold separately.

Buy It ($89)

Morrow

16. Morrow Organic Matte Sateen

Best Linen

Pros:

  • Less shiny than most sateen weaves
  • Smoother texture than traditional linen

Con:

  • Fitted sheet only fits up to 15-inch mattresses

Like the weight and all-natural composition of linen sheets, but not excited to sleep under less than buttery softness? This innovative linen which is woven to be as smooth as possible while preserving the natural attributes of linen.

Buy It ($195)

Boll & Branch

17. Boll & Branch Signature Sheet Set

Best Split King

Pros:

  • Deep hem on pillowcases looks luxurious
  • Rich colors

Con:

• Expensive

Made of all-organic, long staple cotton, these sheets come in eight hipster chic colors like spruce (a subdued green) and dune (a sandy beige). It’s nice to have such sophisticated tones to choose from when you’re selecting sheets that will fit your split king bed, an increasingly popular size as co-sleepers insist on curating their own sleeping situations.

Buy It ($298)

RELATED: The 13 Best Cooling Sheets for Hot Sleepers

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