I’ve never received any instruction about how to purchase bed sheets. When I realized I had to buy my own, I went to the store and found the cheapest set I could find. This was probably sufficient.
My girlfriend in college got me used to the feel of jersey cotton. That’s not cotton farmed in New Jersey, but fabric that feels like a very soft tee-shirt. This is still my favorite linen for the bedroom, and it’s not very expensive.
Money Magazine in its Ultimate Shopper’s Guide says to ignore thread count. Also, what retailers call Egyptian cotton is no more special than American cotton. The special Egyptian cotton is known as extra-long stape (ELS).
Look for single-ply sheets made of 100% pima cotton (ELS cotton from around the world) or supima cotton (ELS cotton grown in the U.S.). For extra softness, opt for 100% cotton sateen, such as what’s found in Sears’ Everyday Luxe collection, which costs around $100 for a queen set.
Money’s final tip: There’s no need to buy anything beyond a 300 thread count.
Updated May 26, 2009 and originally published August 18, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @flexo on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.