Best Inexpensive Bed Sheets

For some time I’ve been toying with whether or not to write this column. You can see I’ve made my decision. Here’s a little back story to explain my conflict.

When it comes to bedding, I am particular. It’s not a matter of decor or brand. It’s the way the sheets feel. They have to be smooth and wrinkle-free. The sheets have to breathe and not stick to me. But they can’t be slick, slippery, crunchy or noisy, either. The weave has to be tight and they can’t feel like sandpaper.

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

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 and then prone 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.

There was a time when decent sheets were common and affordable. I don’t know what’s happened there, but I  blame it on synthetic fibers—microfiber, polyester and their related 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 we remember from childhood.

For months now, I’ve been testing sheets, hoping to discover sheets that would guarantee a good night’s sleep every night—both for me and my less picky husband—at an inexpensive price, without much success.

In desperation, I decided that a luxury brand might be the way to go. I justified the idea because for me quality sleep is priceless.

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, 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 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 U.S.A., 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 sheet set from Red Land Cotton—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 quite 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.

JCPENNEY. I’ll cut to the chase to tell you that finally I have found the perfect sheets at a fair price—at JCPenney. And in two options—what I have identified as luxury and excellent.

Best Inexpensive™ Luxury Bed SheetsJCPenney’s Royal Velvet 400-tc, WrinkleGuard Sheet Set is my pick for the Best Inexpensive luxury, 100% cotton bed sheets. These sheets have a velvety, soft hand and are very well cut to fit (up to 18-inch depth without being baggy). These are the “cotton percale” sheets I  remember. Available in a variety of colors, although I must admit that for me, when it comes to bed and bath linens, the only color is white.

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 touch them up with the iron, but honestly I may stop doing that.

One set of of these sheets in Cal King is priced $200 at the JCPenney website. But wait. The site regularly offers discount coupons (I’ve been watching this like a hawk), plus these specific sheets are frequently on sale. With my first 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, I landed a 65% discount bringing the price down to $70 with free shipping.

I repeated this a month later to buy a second set and got the very same sheet set for $60. 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 lower-priced option is JCPenney Home 325-tc Cotton Sheet Set. These 100% cotton sheets are lovely, 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 Royal Velvet luxury option: Not as velvety to the touch, slightly lighter weight and the sheets come out of the dryer somewhat more wrinkled. Even so, these sheets are a great value and do not violate anything on my picky list.

As for the price, while the Queen size set has a regular price of $100, I paid $30 on sale(Christmas gift!) with free shipping, taking advantage of the coupon offered at check out.

As this post goes live, both of these Best Inexpensive™ options (above) are on sale. Add a coupon or two and prepare to get a fabulous deal.

It’s been a long journey, but finally I’m happy to say that I am one happy camper. I mean sleeper.

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  • Sara

    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).

  • Evelyn Crews

    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!

  • Sharon Pepple

    Have you tried the Kirkland brand a Costco.They are about $65 for queen size.

    • Mary Hunt

      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.

  • Carolyn Sorrels

    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

      Thanks for being there, Carolyn!

  • Joan Van Leuven

    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

      Joan Van Leuven: Your best bet is to get a very inexpensive set of “suspenders” for each bed, like these: http://amzn.to/2uV5BPB. 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!

  • Searched for Sheets

    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.

  • Jeannie

    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.

  • Susan4cats

    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.

  • Lotus530

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this!❤️

  • Anita Duncan

    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.

    • I do especially the flannel version. It comes down to price now that I have two favorites!

  • Tam

    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?

    • 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!

  • RDHmom

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

    • 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.

  • Chris Petrousky

    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!

  • Lori

    Your recommendation was timely, so I ordered a set and I LOVE THEM, too! Silky soft and hardly any wrinkles.

    • Thanks for feedback and for being there!

  • Debra Morrison

    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!

    • 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!

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  • chris moreno

    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

    • 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.