When it comes to getting a great night's sleep, you can't go past a silky set of bed sheets. They're the perfect complement to a cushy mattress and a supportive pillow, so if you're looking to inject a little more luxury into your life, look no further. The best bed sheets are breathable, soft, and durable, to take you from summer through to winter, year after year. And if you're lucky, they'll double as a last-minute Halloween costume.
How we picked
Sheets are solid proof that everyone's brains are wired differently. One person's bedding preference is another person's nightmare, so we had to do a little more head-scratching than usual. We started by checking ProductReview.com.au to see what real Aussies thought. This gave us a good idea about why some sheets are better than others, and we added all the 4+ star sheets with the most reviews to our list.
Because sheets aren't as well-reviewed as other homewares, we kept digging to be sure we had a wide selection. Which meant it was a great excuse for the Cosier team to do some virtual window-shopping, looking for Australian companies who sold sheets we could get excited about. After some time drooling over linen, we lopped the ones we felt more 'meh' about, selecting only the most wishlist-worthy of sheets to our picks. That's how we ended up with our list of Australia's best sheets.
Types of sheets
Although bed sheets fall into 1 of 2 types (flat or fitted), it gets a bit tricker when it comes to the best material types for bed sheets. Because the short answer is: it depends who you ask.
Cotton manufacturers will tell you it's cotton, bamboo sheet sellers will say it's bamboo, but your 4-year old cousin might tell you it's cellophane. Most sheets are made from plant-based materials, like cotton, eucalyptus, or flax. These fibres are usually breathable and thermoregulating. They draw moisture away from the skin and dry quickly so it evaporates, leaving you cool or cosy depending on the season.
Synthetic materials and thicker natural materials hold heat better, which is ideal for cooler climates. Natural materials 'breathe', so a medium-weight sheet from a natural material should take you from summer through to winter. If it's softness you're after, look for fabrics spun with a higher quality thread. Well-treated threads are like happy chooks - they lay better eggs (or in this case, sheets). This is why thread count makes less of a difference than you might think - it's quality, not quantity.
What we looked for
No matter what you're looking for in a sheet set, there's a fabric that will cater. Traditional fibres like cotton and linen wick moisture away while ensuring breathability, as do modern materials like eucalyptus and bamboo. Synthetic fibres aren't as breathable, but they trap the heat in nicely.
Beautifully coloured sheets bring a little more joy to your room, although matching them can be a nightmare. If you want your sheets to match your pillowcases, try to buy them in a set, rather than separately, in case your preferred hue runs out of stock or gets discontinued.
Most companies selling plant-based sheets like cotton, linen, or bamboo focused on how sustainable their products were, without giving much info about what that meant. While plant-based sheets are made from renewable resources, conventional farming techniques can still use a lot of water, produce waste, or subject workers to poor conditions. Organic certifications will give you a good idea of sustainability, but these products cost more. If eco-friendliness is important to you, it's worth hunting around to see whether a company gives you any specifics, or whether it's just spin.
Good sheets should last you at least a couple of years, so they're something worth investing in. Most sheet sets we looked at cost between $100-$300, but if you don't have that kind of cash to splash, it could be worth holding out for a sale. In the long run, it's cheaper to buy one set of high-quality sheets than it is to replace your sheets every year or so.
What does 'thread count' mean?
If you're stressing out over the best thread count for sheets, don't worry. It turns out it's not a reliable indicator of sheet quality. If a sheet has thread count of 400, that means it has 400 threads woven into each square inch of fabric. At the same time, there's no industry standard, so manufacturers can count threads however they like. One square inch of sheet usually only fits around 500 single-ply threads.
This means that 800 thread count sheets made with two-ply thread could be woven in the same way as 400 thread count single-ply sheets. You'd think the 800 count sheets would be better, but given that multi-ply threads are more brittle, your sheets could pill quicker, or won't last long. In this case, the 400 thread count sheets are probably a better pick.
Thread quality is a much better indicator for good sheets. Egyptian cotton, for example, is prized for its long fibre lengths. Its threads are longer than other cottons, making for a softer, more durable fabric with fewer splices in between. They won't pill like cheap sheets, because they're made with longer, continuous threads. That's why you'll hear sheet sellers talking more about the material they make their sheets with, rather than the thread count.
If you're buying linen, you might see 'GSM' being thrown around instead. GSM stands for 'grams per square meter'. GSM is similar to thread count, but it gives you more info about the weight of the thread, over the number of threads. If fabric has a GSM of 160, it means a square metre will weigh 160 grams. While GSM might give you a rough idea of how heavy a fabric is, different weaves and fibres have different densities, so higher GSM fabrics aren't always thicker than lower GSM fabrics.
Are sheets eco-friendly?
'Eco-friendly' is often just a PR term, like 'natural' or 'organic.' Higher-quality sheets often come with independent certifications, which help verify the label isn't just marketing spin. Some fabrics, like Ettitude's bamboo fabric, are certified to Oeko-Tex standard, which certifies they're free from harmful chemicals. This is a good one to look out for, but organic options are also ideal for skin sensitivities, allergies, or eczema. You might also see sheets certified to 'Global Organic Textile Standard', like the Blessed Earth sheets.
Independent certifications are usually difficult to get, and organic fabric certifications like GOTS require that fabrics are grown and produced according to strict guidelines. Even with this accreditation, sheets can still be produced in a way that's harmful to the environment. Viscose rayon sheets made from bamboo, for example, can be produced with a solvent that causes air and water pollution, as well as health issues for the people making the sheets.
Lyocell, or TENCEL, used by companies like Koala, is considered to be a more environmentally-friendly way to make fabric. This method dissolves plant pulp and spins it into a strong cellulose fibre, which is much easier on the environment than other fabric production methods. On the other hand, it can be pricey. Microfiber is much cheaper, but synthetic threads cause water pollution as you wash your sheets. If you're eco-conscious, it's worth making a bit of an investment when it comes to sheets.
What's the deal with different weaves?
Aside from thread count, GSM, and different kinds of fabrics, you might also hear sheet sellers talking about different weaves. Flannel is usually made from cotton, and is brushed to create a soft, teddy bear-like texture. Tightly-woven percale weaves produce a nice, crisp sheet, while sateen weaves use vertical threads that make for a silk-like texture. At the same time, sateen sheets are less durable. Twill weaves, as used by Koala, produce a luxurious, drapey fabric that's soft to the touch.
Microfiber fabrics are made from super-fine synthetic fibres, and get less wrinkly, but can also be a little sweaty. Higher-quality sheets are sometimes made from damask, jacquard, or dobby, too. These weaves are more decorative, and are finely woven. If your sheets start to pill, it's usually a sign of a lower-quality fabric made with shorter threads. Friction creates wear, so hot water, harsh chemicals, or tumble-drying may make pilling worse.
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