Polyester vs. Cotton Sheets: Which are Better?
May 1st, 2020 •
Are you looking to upgrade your current sheet set? There is little doubt that the right set of bed linens can improve your quality of sleep substantially. Sheets that aren’t breathable and trap body heat or those that feel scratchy or too heavy can lead to poor sleep or no sleep at all.
This article outlines the major differences between polyester sheets and cotton sheets, including which type of sheet is best for those with sensitive skin, which works best for people on a budget, which sleeps cooler and more. Discover which set of sheets is the best option for you.
Quick Summary: Polyester vs. Cotton Sheets
Polyester sheets are more affordable than cotton sheets, but they are made with synthetic materials and are not naturally breathable so you may sleep hot in these sheets. Cotton sheets are more breathable and get softer with each wash, but they can be more expensive and less durable.
Polyester sheets can make a great addition to your bed. These sheets tend to be durable, smooth, and lightweight, as well as affordable. Read on for all you need to know about polyester sheets.
Types of Polyester Bed Sheets
Polyester sheets are made of man-made, synthetic fibers. This bedding can be made of 100% polyester or consist of a polyester blend, such cotton/polyester. Polyester sheets may also be labeled microfiber, which can be purely polyester or a blend of materials.
Polyester sheets are a great option for those on a budget, as they are typically quite affordable. Polyester fabric is also less prone to wrinkling, shrinking, or fading than cotton, making them relatively low maintenance and durable.
Read More: Best Budget Sheets
This material is not naturally breathable, so it is a risky option for people who sleep hot. Polyester sheets also have the tendency to pill and cause static electricity.
When considering thread count, remember that a higher number isn’t always better. In general, a higher thread count means softer sheets. Yet when thread counts go as high as 1,000, it does not necessarily mean the sheets are softer or more comfortable. Look for thread counts between 200 to 800 to find a high-quality sheet set.
- Less likely to fade or shrink
- Made of synthetic material
- Not breathable, may sleep hot
- Prone to pilling
Cotton sheets can be a cool, luxurious addition to your mattress. The price and feel of the sheets depends a lot on the type of cotton you choose.
Types of Cotton Bed Sheets
Cotton is a natural fabric derived from the cotton plant. Naturally hypoallergenic and breathable, cotton sheets are moisture-wicking and get softer with each washing.
Related: Bamboo vs Cotton Sheets
Cotton can be made with an extra-long, long, or short staple. The longer the staple, the more high quality the cotton. Egyptian cotton is made with an extra-long staple and has a soft, luxurious feel. Supima cotton, the trademark name for Pima cotton, is made with a long staple. It is soft and slightly more affordable than Egyptian cotton.
When it comes to thread count, great sheets can be found in the 200 to 800 range depending on finishing. As mentioned above, a particularly high thread count isn’t always better. Aim to find sheets in the 300 to 400 thread count range for a superb night of sleep.
- Breathable, sleeps cool
- Moisture wicking
- Gets softer with each wash
- Generally more expensive
- More likely to wrinkle
- Less durable
Polyester vs Cotton Sheets—Which Is Better?
Before purchasing new sheets, consider your particular needs. Polyester sheets are a durable, affordable option, and ideal for people on a budget. Cotton sheets are made from natural fibers, making them a good choice for people with allergies. They are also well-suited to hot sleepers thanks to their breathability.
If you sleep hot or want a more natural product, go with cotton sheets. If you want the most affordable, low-maintenance option, choose polyester sheets as your new bedding.
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Best Egyptian Cotton Sheets
Check out our top picks for the best Egyptian cotton sheet set online, plus learn how to properly care for these luxurious sheets.
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Best Microfiber Bed Sheets
Microfiber sheets utilize highly durable and tightly woven fibers to create a soft and luxurious sleeping environment. But with the number of microfiber sheet sets on the market today, trying to pick the best set can be pretty time consuming. Check out our picks of the four best microfiber bed sheets you can buy.