Bed sheets. I'm new at this. What should I be looking for? Material? Thread count?

It’s been a long time since I purchased bed sheets. My ex took care of that.
So, what am I looking for in a moderate budget?
Can Walmart provide me with a reasonable product?


ISTR 400 is the lowest you want to go in terms of comfort or even durability. Go as big as your wallet will let you, at some point it becomes an investment.

Also, Jersey Knit are quite nice (and cheap), a bit like a flannely t-shirt. Pay attention to how you launder them or they can pill. Target sells these for sure, and they come in a cool bag made of the same stuff that you can use when collecting mushrooms in the forest…or something.

What’s an ISTR?

I think he meant “I Seem to Recall”.

Personally, I’m a big fan of microfiber sheets. They’re durable and cooling, and ridiculously soft.

This is the brand I’m currently using.

If you have a CostCo near you, they have nice sheet sets. I picked Alberta randomly for you (this is a 600 thread count set).

Things to look for:

-Type of material - do you prefer warm or cool (cotton, bamboo, flannel, silk, and so on). I would avoid anything that says polyester.
-Size of your mattress - obviously you know what size your bed is, but look how deep your mattress is as well. Mattresses can be a lot thicker than they used to be, so make sure you are getting sheets that will fit over your mattress.
-If you’re buying a set, look for things like the size of the pillow cases compared to your pillows (king pillows are a different size) and the number of pillow cases included (some will have 2 versus 4).

I like the cotton sheets from Costco for Spring, Summer and Fall, and I get the flannel for Winter. I’ve tried bamboo before, and it feels nice but wears out quickly.

Here’s some microfiber sheets.

:smack: I genuinely thought it stood for some technical sheet parameter.

Heh…that did look like a technical term or something. Sorry for the confusion, but I’ve never declared myself to be anything other than a moron.
And yeah, Flannel for winter is the business.

My favorite is Modal sheets. It’s a special type of rayon, and feels like a favorite t-shirt.

Material has two aspects that I can think of: what it is obviously, but also the feel of it. You can find sheets made of the same material that feel quite different from each other, and if you’re ever going to care about texture and feel of a fabric, in your bed is the place.

In general higher thread counts are supposed to be better, but I think “diminishing returns” kicks in at some point. As long as it’s not too low.

An important distinction for regular cotton sheets is the weave. You will see 2 words “sateen” and “percale.” They are woven differently. Sateen sheets are double woven or something and are much smoother (often called “silky”) for the same thread count. However, they can be rather limp and feel too warm during the night. Percale sheets are generally described as feeling more “crisp” even when you don’t iron them (who does, right?) and they do wrinkle more than sateen sheets. Because they aren’t double-woven they may not be as durable, depending on the wear and tear they get. You can find high thread count percale sheets that feel pretty much like sateen, but they are a little lighter weight and still a little crisper.

For myself I prefer percale in a 300-500 thread count range. Percale is not as popular now as sateen largely, I think, because of the silkiness factor. But I find sateen sheets a little too slippery for comfort.

I can’t speak to the other fabrics, especially bamboo. I have felt samples of microfiber in the store and didn’t much care for them. But this is especially a personal choice, so I recommend finding a brick and mortar store that sells them and feeling for yourself. And I wouldn’t worry too much about depth, if you have a deep mattress, almost all sheet sets, even cheap ones at Walmart, will fit a deep mattress.

Find a thread count the price of which makes your nose bleed.

Go up 2 levels from that.

I agree on this - there certainly was a problem in the past when thicker mattresses became popular and sheet manufacturers hadn’t caught up yet, but I think that’s over.

Highest thread count you can afford. It’s all in the count.

Well, it’s also somewhat in the material. I think of a sheet like I do a men’s dress shirt. There’s 100% cotton; some people are perfectly satisfied with a blend; some like microfiber.

Personally, I can tell the difference between all-cotton and a blend, and it’s worth it to me to go with cotton. YMMV.

I once bought some high thread count sheets at a home show. Maybe bamboo or something I don’t recall. Thread count was like 1200.

Felt great for a few days. When I went to pull the sheets up after getting in bed my thumb punched a hole right through by the hem.

Having bought at the home show there was no recourse that I could find.

Lesson learned, buy local.


You gotta start by telling us what you like. Bed sheets are highly personal and there are several different weights and finishes. High thread count is good, but it can be achieved in different ways with substantially different outcomes.

Where do you fit on these spectrums?

[slippery? smooth? flannel? rough linen?]
[super light? thin? medium? heavy? winter weight?]
[fluffy? soft? flexible? stiff?]
[rumpled? wrinkle resistant? ironed?]

In the summer I like a nice 100% cotton percale. Crisp and airy. In the winter I like 100% cotton sateen or flannel. Sometimes I use a flannel bottom sheet and a sateen top sheet - flannel against flannel feels like I’m Velcro’d in the bed. Thread count (IMHO matters more in sateen than percale. Open the sheet and feel it - if it’s not like sand paper, it’ll probably be okay. It’ll soften as it gets washed.

Don’t be fooled by products that say “cotton rich!” or “feels like cotton!” or “easy care”.


I don’t know. Smooth like a hotel room, I guess.

If its smooth you like then toss out flannel or microfibre. I don’t like t-shirt knit either.YMMV. I like smooth high thread count cotton. Maybe Egyptian cotton. Pricy, but worth it. Look for a sale

I buy my sheets from L. L. Bean. They’re expensive, but they last FOREVER.

Not sure about the thread count; they do sell several, in addition to flannel sheets.