An Important Update on Best Inexpensive Bed Sheets

For some time I’d been toying with whether or not to write this post on bed sheets. For months I’d been researching, testing and assessing bed sheets with the goal to identify what I could offer to you as the Best Inexpensive Bed Sheets.

You may recall that about two years ago, I did achieve my goal—our Best Inexpensive bed sheets. And then some things changed. One of our Best Inexpensive options was discontinued! And new options appeared, prompting fer today’s update.


White bed sheets with flowers


Sheet snob

Here’s the reason I was conflicted. When it comes to bed sheets, I am particular. Call me a sheet snob and you’d have me pegged, which could make my personal standards too high to be considered affordable.

It’s not a matter of decor or brand. It’s the way the sheets feel. They should be smooth and wrinkle-free. The sheets need to breathe and not stick to me. But they can’t be slick, slippery, crunchy or noisy. The weave has to be tight and sheets can’t feel like sandpaper.

For me, sheets have to fit well, too. The fitted sheet cannot pop off the corners of the mattress; but it can’t be too big, so as to become baggy, which can lead to bunching up. Above all, my sheets must be 100% cotton. Not linen, not microfiber or polyester or any other type of fiber or blend thereof.

Seriously, if the sheets are not right, I don’t sleep well. And by well I mean sound asleep—not tossing, turning, and continuously waking up.

Where did the percale go?

There was a time when decent sheets were common and affordable. I don’t know for certain what’s happened there, but I  blame it on synthetic fibers—microfiber, polyester, lyocell and their manmade fiber-cousins that are cheap to manufacture.

We used to depend on the word “percale” to be the sign of a great sheet, but truth be told percale has nothing to do with fiber content. Percale refers to a type of tight weave. I’ve been fooled by percale sheets that turn out to be polyester percale or microfiber percale—not the fine cotton percale I  remember from childhood.

For my testing, both when this posted originally and again nearly two years later, and to offer you my honest reviews, I’ve purchased contenders from luxury brands to less pricey offerings. Companies do not send me samples of their sheets to test. If that should happen, I would fully disclose that to you.

Once again, I’ve confirmed my previous conclusion that the word luxury on the label together with a big number on the price tag doesn’t necessarily guarantee a joyful outcome.

You can scroll down right now to discover my updated Best Inexpensive choices, or go with me on a little tour of the brands of sheets I purchased and tested along with my reviews.

Boll and Branch

Having heard the radio commercials, I bit the bullet and ordered a basic set (fitted, flat and two pillowcases) in size Cal King from this luxury online bed linen company. Price: $260. Given that price, I assumed that surely, Boll and Branch would be the secret to a consistent good night’s sleep.

After several months of use here’s my review: The fabric weave and “hand” (the way it feels to the touch) are excellent. The sheets come out of the dryer semi-wrinkled—a characteristic of any 100% cotton sheet—and I have an iron. Yes, I do iron sheets.

What I do not like is that they are cut too generously. The fitted sheet is too large to create a nice, tight fit. It’s baggy. And the flat sheet is oversized, which means it hangs almost to the floor. It must be tucked in all the way around for the bed to look well-made during the day. And that price!

Red Land Cotton

Another company with high marks, Red Land Cotton, grows and manufactures its luxury cotton bed linens right here in the USA, a feature I like a lot! Red Land Cotton offers sheets in sets, but also individual fitted and flat sheets. The fitted sheets come in a choice of two depths: 14-inches and 16-inches. So many great features!

I was hopeful enough to order a Red Land Cotton Classic set—14-inch depth, Cal King, in white. Price: $260, again.

As usual, I laundered the sheets before the first use. They came out of the dryer very wrinkled, so out came the ironing board.

After several weeks of use and multiple washes and ironings, both my husband and I found the Red Land Classic sheets to have a stiff, heavy, and almost rough hand. They feel to us as if they’ve been starched. Unlike so many folks who have reviewed these sheets with glowing reports at the Red Land Cotton site, I’m not thrilled. These sheets keep me awake. So does the price.

Giza Dreams

In anticipation of updating this post, I decided to give a new line of bed sheets—Giza Dream Sheets from—a trial run. List price for Cal-King: $185.

The pitch is that they are made of 100% Egyptian cotton grown in a specific middle-eastern region known as Giza, and promised “the most comfortable sheets you will ever own.”

After four nights we concluded these sheets are lovely, but there is nothing about them that I find to be worth the extra price.

Ettitude Bamboo Lyocell

In an attempt to make sure I was covering all bases, I crept out of my must-be-100%-cotton mode to see what all the hype is over organic bamboo lyocell.

My research reveals that “lyocell” is a process that spins rayon thread from wood (in this case bamboo) that is then woven into fabric. I bit the bullet and placed my order for a Cal King set in white. List price: $198.

The sheets arrived and my first impression was not to be thrilled. The care tag started off with an instruction that the sheets must be washed in cold water only. Bed linens? No way! The tag goes on to say the sheets are prone to pilling, followed by this instruction for how to remove the pilling: “Remove with a fabric shaver or carefully trim with scissors.” Oh, my.

On the first run through the washer and dry, these sheets produced almost more lint than my machine’s lint trap could hold. It was stuffed!

These sheets feel like polyester. They’re slick and thin. I returned them during my “30-night-free-trial” period for a full refund.

DON’T MISS: Best Inexpensive™ Flannel Bed Sheets Plus How to Prevent Pilling

Best Inexpensive

Once again, I have found the best sheets at a fair price—at JCPenney, in two options—which I’m calling luxury and excellent. Both are available online and in-store.

Best Inexpensive™ Luxury Bed Sheets

Liz Claiborne 600tc Sateen Sheet Set is my pick for the Best Inexpensive luxury, 100% cotton bed sheets (very comparable to our previous Royal Velvet option, which JCPenney has discontinued). These sheets have a velvety, soft hand, which helps to make them wrinkle-resistant provided you do not overdry.

These sheets are smooth, luxurious; not noisy, rough or any other negative thing on my list of cannot-tolerates. They launder beautifully in hot water and come out of the dryer nearly wrinkle-free. I usually touch them up with the iron, but honestly, I may stop doing that.

The fitted sheet in this set has deep pockets without being baggy. These are the kind of sheets I  remember from my childhood. Available in a variety of colors and sizes.

One set of these sheets in Cal King is list priced at $140. But wait. The JCPenny site regularly offers discount coupons (I’ve been watching this like a hawk and there’s always a coupon), plus these specific sheets are frequently on sale. With my first online order, I didn’t have to search or inquire. At checkout, I simply clicked on “Coupons” which was right next to the checkout button. Immediately, the priced dropped to $84.

I have checked many times since to see how that discount holds up and have yet to find a time that I would have had to pay full price. I can’t represent the exact discount you’ll get, but know that these sheets are frequently on sale and discount coupons and codes are readily available.

Best Inexpensive™ Excellent Bed Sheets

An excellent, slightly lower-priced option is JCPenney Home 300tc Cotton Sheet Set. These 100% cotton sheets are nice, fit up to 15-inch depth mattress and get softer every time they are laundered. They’re smooth and not noisy.

The differences that I noted between this option and the Liz Claiborne luxury option: Not as velvety to the touch, slightly lighter weight and the sheets come out of the dryer more wrinkled.

The way to reduce wrinkling is to make sure they dryer load is not crowded allowing the sheets and pillowcases to tumble effortlessly and to never overdry! In fact, taking them out right before they are fully dry will reduce wrinkles even further.

These sheets are a great value and do not violate anything on my picky list. List for Cal King: $130 (as I write with the online coupon applied, the price drops to $52.)

Finally, I’m one happy camper. I mean sleeper.


JCPenney is an Ebates partner! That means if you have an Ebates account, you’ll get 3% cash back when you make a purchase at JCPenney’s online store. Get your free Ebates account HERE. Prefer to shop in-store, in-person? Click HERE to set that up. Super easy!

First published: 7-25-17; Updated 4-3-19

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40 replies
  1. PatriotPeg
    PatriotPeg says:

    i have a bed w/controls to put the foot and head up or down. having a mattress that folds, i need much smaller pockets on the fitted than 14-16″. those sizes were so large, the bed always looked messy. i found fit-tite sheets. i have not found any great quality in any brand, but the bed now looks neat. as far as quality, if any one finds something, please share. the sheets i have found r seemingly the same, depending on the purchase site/store they vary between $49-99.

  2. Kathryn
    Kathryn says:

    I love Ralph Lauren and Target Threshold brand sheets. Excellent feel and wear, plus style and durability. The fitted Threshold sheets have little tags for the ends and sides of the sheets, so you don’t have to keep spinning them around as you try to make up your bed.

  3. Stephanie Williams Freeze
    Stephanie Williams Freeze says:

    Does anyone have experienced with the Liz Claiborne 600 thread count Wrinkle Free Luxury Sheet Set? I received a set as a gift and will exchange for the 400 thread count if needed.

  4. Andy S.
    Andy S. says:

    I just ordered the JCPenney Home 300tc Cotton Sheet Set, and when I took them out of the packaging, they were way more stiff than I expected based on your description. Do they soften when washed? I don’t want to wash them and then not be able to return them. I think the best word to describe them is crunchy (or extra crisp if you’re an optimist), which is one of your criteria you were looking to avoid. Are they supposed to be that stiff?

  5. ZA
    ZA says:

    I do not like “brushed” surface sheets. We bought smooth cotton sheets 25 years ago that we cannot find today. No fuzz, no nap, no texture. I looked at the the JCPenney Home 300tc Cotton Sheet Set online. The word “brushed” stops me short! Thanks anyway, Mary.

  6. Mrs. Potts
    Mrs. Potts says:

    I found the perfect sheets at Target. I bought one set for a blow up mattress and was so pleased that I bought a set for our king bed. I bought the first set because it was cheap and would only be used for grandkids visiting. The words “ultra soft” in the name was not appealing to me. But upon opening the sheets and later laundering them, I realized that the name “ultra soft” in no way applies to these sheets. These sheets are nice crisp sheets that don’t cling to you or bunch up around you. The bottom sheet fits perfectly. The sheets are actually sold individually instead of in a packaged set. The full name of these sheets is Ultra Soft Fitted Sheet 300 Thread Count – Threshold™ and Ultra Soft Flat Sheet 300 Thread Count – Threshold™” and Ultra Soft Solid Pillowcase Set 300 Thread Count – Threshold™.

  7. Gina Stevens
    Gina Stevens says:

    Thanks for your update. I just moved and am shopping for sheets. I wondered why the sheet selection that you recommended was so limited at JC Penny’s. I ended up with something else and am not impressed. But, I got my Land’s End towels and love them. Thank-you, Mary.

  8. yehudit
    yehudit says:

    I just had an annoying experience–JCPenney does not want my business. I live in Israel, but planned to use my American credit card and have the sheets shipped to a friend who would bring them with her when she visits later this year, to save the (usually astronomic) overseas shipping charges. But I never got that far. The link took me to a message that read “We Are Currently Unable to Provide a Shopping Experience for This Country.”

  9. Holly
    Holly says:

    JC Penney refuses to ship to military assigned to APO, FPO or DPO addresses. Had planned to order sheets and have them sent to my son to forward to me (he lives stateside) … not happening, Penney won’t allow me to even open their website

  10. Michele P.
    Michele P. says:

    An update on the update: JC Penney now sells Mary’s recommendation as Liz Claiborne Liquid Cotton sheets. I ordered a king set last week for $52.55. They are thin and soft with a “liquid” cotton feel. Like Mary I relish the weight and feel of percale. Since store chains change the merch so often I hope Mary will continue her search for the elusive inexpensive percale sheet. Also would love to hear recommends for flannel sheet sets.

  11. KCampbell
    KCampbell says:

    Thank you for doing the research. I bought the Liz Claireborne 400tc sheets. I could not believe how inexpensive they were! And nice and comfortable!
    I don’t think we’ll ever find the sheets of my childhood. As I recall, those were hung on the line to dry!

  12. Char
    Char says:

    I bought the JCPenny Liz Claiborne May 8 and already they have snags and will soon have holes.
    There is nothing on our sleep ware that could do this. I am very disappointed and will try to return them.

  13. Lorraine
    Lorraine says:

    I purchased the JC Penney Royal Velvet sheets after reading your review and am I so glad I did! They are soo nice, smooth and comfortable! I can’t wait to climb into bed at night and don’t want to get out of bed in the morning!

  14. chris moreno
    chris moreno says:

    I purchased the Best Inexpensive™ Luxury Bed Sheets from Penny’s and got a great deal, but find they wrinkle more than I think yours do. Do you do anything special to minimize wrinkles? Love to know. Thanks
    Chris Moreno

    • Mary Hunt
      Mary Hunt says:

      You may be over drying and also over stuffing the dryer? Try drying one sheet at a time so it can really tumble then remove before it is totally dry. Shake it out then fold it smoothing out wrinkles as you fold. Takes more time but you will be pleased with h the results.

  15. Debra Morrison
    Debra Morrison says:

    Thank you Mary! have been searching for years for “good” sheets. I was thinking the higher thread count, the more luxurious the sheet. I’ve been buying 1200 and 1600 count at crazy high prices. No more! I immediately ordered 2 sets after reading this post. I love these sheets! They feel so good and so far the fit is perfect. I never would have believed a 400 thread count sheet could be this nice!

    • Mary Hunt
      Mary Hunt says:

      Thread count has become meaningless. There is no standardization and it’s hard to prove or even verify. Like 1200 thread count? That’s nonsense! Impossible in my opinion. Manufacturers can label whatever they want with no way to verify or even define! Yes this is one of my pet peeves! Happy you are loving these fabulous sheets!

  16. Chris Petrousky
    Chris Petrousky says:

    Thank you so much Mary! I too am very picky about my sheets. I don’t iron them, though. I appreciate the information. JC Penny will have a customer coming to see them, soon!

  17. RDHmom
    RDHmom says:

    Do you still like the Mellani (? something like that) sheets on Amazon? I have been pleased with mine after your recommendation awhile back?

    • Mary Hunt
      Mary Hunt says:

      I have tested so many I need to go back and revisit that! I have to say that JCP Royal Velvet s by far the best I have ever tested.

  18. Tam
    Tam says:

    I have 2 twin beds next to each other for which I use a king size sheet but my husband and I each use our own comforters so we have no use for the flat sheet. Can you get the fitted anywhere without the whole set?

    • Mary Hunt
      Mary Hunt says:

      It’s really hard to find single sheets that meet my criterial! Red Land Cotton does however they’re not cheap. I have a suggestion for you. Why not use top sheets to make duvet covers for your comforters? Just an idea!

  19. Anita Duncan
    Anita Duncan says:

    Mary, do you still love the Pinzon sheets from Amazon? I bought these after your last recommendation and they are still one of the best sets of sheets I have ever owned.

  20. Susan4cats
    Susan4cats says:

    I have a extra long adjustable bed. Very hard to find sheets to fit. Even lines that carry twins don’t carry extra long. Looks like J C Penny doesn’t either. Best I have found was at Costco. High count Egyptian cotton. Would like to find alternative, however.

  21. Jeannie
    Jeannie says:

    I have an Olympic Queen size bed (6″ wider than a queen) and the only place I’ve been able to find sheets is on line at Bed Bath & Beyond. I don’t buy them often and it’s difficult to tell from the web if they will be sheets I will like. I absolutely love my bed, but the sheet buying process isn’t easy.

  22. Searched for Sheets
    Searched for Sheets says:

    DO NOT buy the Better Homes & Gardens cotton percale sheets from Wal-Mart!! It’s like sleeping on notebook paper. Talk about noisy! Not to mention they are very heavy. And they don’t soften up with washing (maybe they would after about 100 times, I don’t know). AND they wrinkle badly. My husband liked the heaviness of them so I may try them for winter use, but I get hot and I wanted something smooth and cool like my 30-year-old 50/50 cotton/polyester percale Wamsutta sheets were. They finally shredded. 🙁

    I settled with some 50/50 percale sheets from Kohl’s called “The Big One” or something like that. They do wrinkle but not enough to bother me (I do NOT iron, especially sheets, ugh) and they are lighter, pretty smooth, and cool. Still don’t touch my old Wamsuttas.

    I checked into modern Wamsutta sheets but they were out of my budget. Lots of reviews online that rave about them.

  23. Joan Van Leuven
    Joan Van Leuven says:

    Sheets that are 18″ deep are way too baggy for my double bed (10″ deep mattress) and the double bed in my guest room (8″ deep mattress). I bought sheets at Walmart several years ago for my bed, but cannot find any more in that size. Do you know of any inexpensive but decent sheets that would fit my beds? Surely not everyone has a mattress 18″ deep.

    • Mary Hunt
      Mary Hunt says:

      Joan Van Leuven: Your best bet is to get a very inexpensive set of “suspenders” for each bed, like these: They work really well. I don’t think you’ll have much luck finding sheets made for your 8- and 10-inch mattresses, as they would be considered specialty these days. But those suspenders (less than $10 for a set) will make it easy to use any depth of fitted sheets on those mattresses. Help that helps!

  24. Carolyn Sorrels
    Carolyn Sorrels says:

    I’ve been looking for good sheets for a long time. Like you, I remember percale sheets from when I was a little girl and loved them. So I was excited to see this recommendation from you. I just went to the JC Penney website to order the Excellent Bed Sheets in a full size. They are originally $80.00 and on sale for $29.99. I have the “Honey” coupon finder and found a coupon which gave me $7.50 off and free shipping. So all totay I paid $24.34 for an $80.00 bed sheet set. Thank you, Mary! Your posts are absolutely the best!

    • Mary Hunt
      Mary Hunt says:

      Costco warehouses are relatively few and far between, and not everyone has a membership. That that is limiting. Also my local Costco does not carry anything in Cal King.

      As a rule, I want to make sure everything I mention in this blog is available to all my readers even those in South Africa, where we have a large contingent of ECers, for example.

  25. Evelyn Crews
    Evelyn Crews says:

    Have you tried Costco’s Charisma? I used to buy thrm when they were Fieldcrest and lots more expensive. Not sure they have Cal King though but I love these sheets!

  26. Sara
    Sara says:

    I just have three words for you: Thomas Lee Ltd., and I’ve tried every sheet in the world. They’re all cotton and they wrinkle, so I iron them too. The more you wash them, the silkier they feel. They are absolutely the most wonderful sheets that it’s hard for me to stay out of bed all day. 😉 Once in a while they have a 25 percent off sale, and they’re about $90 each for king sheets (they’re too large too, so I alter them).


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