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.
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.
In anticipation of updating this post, I decided to give a new line of bed sheets—Giza Dream Sheets from MyPillow.com—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.
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 400tc 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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