When discussing a shopping option between microfiber and cotton, it is vital to know that these items have their origin established at different times in history. While microfiber got its birth around the 1950s, cotton has a long history, which scientifically proven, put around 7000 years ago. Yes, cotton relics found in a Mexican cave was dated to show the cotton material is that old.
Unless you are a convulsive shopper, not many people will change their bed cover often. Most people do a couple of years apart which makes it desirable to buy the right bed sheet anytime you do. The market has a hell of an abundance of bed sheets in different styles and qualities. While it is alright to buy anyone, discerning shoppers know it’s better to get a sheet with the best fabric material. Of course, you won’t sacrifice aesthetics for quality, as you can find the two classes in one product.
If you are worried that getting such a high-quality bed sheet will be challenging, I tell you what; it is not! Yes, because we have helped to narrow your search down to only two, worthy best fabric materials: cotton and microfiber. These bed sheets are found in homes and hotels; they are associated with luxury but don’t be alarmed, you too can get it.
The following discussions we will provide more information about the materials and then compare the two to help you make an informed decision. Trust us; you will love what you are about to read.
The Best Microfiber and Cotton Sheets
Best Egyptian Cotton Sheets
Thread Spread Luxury Egyptian Cotton Bed Sheets
URBANHUT Egyptian Cotton Sheets Set
Mayfair Linen Queen Sheets Set
Best Pima Cotton Sheets
Peru Pima Percale Bed Sheet Set
ISABELLA CROMWELL Pima Cotton Sheets Set
THOMAS LEE Bed Sheets & Pillowcases Set
Best Supima Cotton Sheets
GhosBed Supima Luxury Soft Sheet Set
Casper Soft and Durable Supima Cotton Sheet Set
AURAA Royale American Supima Cotton Sheet Set
Best Microfiber Sheets
Mezzati Luxury Bed Sheet Set
Mellanni Bed Sheet Set
Bare Home Premium Ultra-Soft Sheet Set
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Microfiber vs. Cotton Sheets
The quality of sleep you get each night more or less contributes to your overall wellbeing. While it is recommended to have 8 hours of sleep every night, the requirement to that is you have to make it a quality sleep. The only way to get a sound sleep is through the comfort of your beddings including the right pillow, mattress, and cover sheet. If you have the best mattress and pillow, but your bed sheet sucks, the result is always a messy night. Therefore, while microfiber and cotton bed sheet are adjudged to be among the besting the market, what differentiates them and which one you should buy?
Produced from finely-knitted fibers, a fiber of a microfiber sheet is less than one denier, the unit for measuring fiber thickness. Similarly, one silk thread is one denier equivalent. Therefore, for a before fiber is classified as microfiber, it must be less than one denier. As natural fibers do not occur in such size, microfibers are produced from synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester in industries.
Unlike microfiber, cotton occurs naturally and is widely used for the production of a variety of clothing and sheets. Its soft fabrics are recognized for providing comfort by allowing air flow. Cotton sheets with full thread, made from long cotton fibers, are smooth, soft and very comfortable during sleep. The most available cotton sheets are the regular Upland cotton. Cotton and microfiber sheets are valid choices for bedding. Nevertheless, it is important to note the fundamentals of these two different materials and evaluate the one that suits you perfectly.
What Is Cotton?
AS the commonest fabric on the market, cotton is generally used in various textile industries from clothing to household materials. However, it is noteworthy there are varying qualities of cotton. Consequently, if bed sheets are your necessities, you might be required to put in a lot to get superior quality.
Differentiating cotton from other plants is quite easy. Unlike others, cotton comes in the form of bolls and generally survives in warmer climate types. China, India and the United States are the largest manufactures of cotton. A cotton sheet’s quality depends on the kind of cotton used for its manufacturing. Egyptian cotton, Pima cotton, Supima cotton, and American upland cotton are recognized names in the market.
As we look at the best qualities, the first three are usually considered first, while the American upland is habitually tagged 100% cotton and is of inferior quality compared to the others. The length or staple of the fiber is the determinant of the sheets' quality, with improved quality as the fiber length increases.
Sheets from American upland cotton are typically produced from a short and medium fiber. Egyptian cotton usually comes in long staple (LS) or extra long staple (ELS) form. In addition to having the longest lengths, the extra long staples are of very high quality. Considering the quality of a sheet, the reason why the staple length plays such an important role is associated with the number of fibers that are required to spin a yarn successfully. You might not notice, but short and medium fibers tend to stick out and in the long run, cause roughness against your skin. Additionally, the sheets made from short and medium fibers tend to tear.
No matter how much the qualities of cotton vary; there are still similarities between the characters of all cotton sheets. It’s just worthy of note that if you have the opportunity to choose, it is advisable you either go for Supima cotton sheets with long or extra long fibers type. In the below segment, when comparing microfiber sheets to the cotton sheet, we will discuss the overall features of cotton.
What Is Microfiber
Unlike cotton, microfibers are not naturally occurring; therefore, they are synthetically manufactured from materials such as polyester, wood pulp or polyamides. Classifying fibers into microfiber is based on their thickness, which is measured in denier. Denier, referring to the mass in grams per 9000 meters of the fiber, is a gauge consisting of the fiber’s linear mass thickness. Compared to human hair, silk or light summer stockings which are 20, 1.25 and 8 denier respectively, microfibers must be less than one denier.
From household materials such as mats to accessories and electronics, microfibers are used in various forms. In the textile industry, polyester is one of the most popular microfibers especially the production of bed sheets. ‘Polyester’ is made up of two distinct names; “poly,” a Greek name, meaning “many” and ester, an organic compound made from coal, petroleum, air, and moisture. Since polyester is the most popularly used microfiber in bedding, we shall be discussing more on it in the segments about microfiber sheets vs. cotton sheets.
Your preference might determine the amount of pleasure you get from a bed sheet. As known for their soft and slippery feel, microfibers are relatively slim and light-weight, making them most used during summer. In addition to being comfortable, microfibers are generally flexible. On the other hand, cotton is an impressive choice for sheets because of its soft, breathable nature.
Nonetheless, when it comes to having a mild, silky smooth texture, the Egyptian and Supima cotton is always on top of their games.
Microfiber sheets consist of smooth tightly woven fabrics. Because of their delicate texture, the fibers in this type of material might not be very strong when measured alone, but after being interwoven into a sheet, they biome quite resistant to wear an tear. Nevertheless, it is significant to note that the cheaper the microfiber sheet, the less resistance it has. So, to avoid tearing during laundry, it is advisable to go for a bit costlier microfiber to get more durable sheets.
As for cotton sheets, the number of threads that makes up the material will determine how long it would last. Therefore sheets with a higher number of threads will last longer than sheets with fewer threads. In the long run, low-quality sheets will wear out and would become less comfortable. Consequently, the grade and type of cotton used might determine how durable the bed sheets will be.
Egyptian cotton sheets or the Supima cotton sheets, you are sure to enjoy long-lasting sheets.
An essential factor to consider while purchasing sheets is how breathable the materials are. Evidently, there is a difference between the breathing abilities of microfiber sheets and cotton. Cotton, being a natural material, is excellent regarding air passage. Therefore, you can comfortably sleep throughout the night without having to worry about heat at night. The main determinant is thread count, which is the number of vertical and horizontal threads per square inch of the material. The more the thread count, the more tightly packed they are. This results to very tight pores that would hinder proper air flow.
For you to avoid such incidence, a fabric with low thread count ranging from 200-500 is recommended. On the other hand, microfiber sheets tend to hold heat. In case you need breathable microbial sheets, there are tons of such sheets available in the market. It is worthy of note that unlike cotton, microfiber sheets are not measured using thread count. Numbers such as 1500 or 1800 tagged on microfiber sheets are not actually thread count. They might just be serial numbers or a comparison of the thread count of a typical cotton sheet to the same type of microfiber sheet.
Unlike cotton sheets, the density of microfiber sheets is measured in GSM. GSM, which means gram per square meter, is not as popular as “thread count.” It might be due to the popularity of cotton or because “thread count” is a common word. Also take note that in GSM, the fiber quantity increases with the GSM number, which is usually around 55 and 120. High GSM numbers result in added sheet weight.
With being produced from extra-long staple natural length cotton, Supima cotton offers the most robust fiber that does not accommodate additional heat. As cotton is a natural fiber, it allows an exceptional temperature balance when compared to sheets made from microfiber. Microfiber sheets, although quite thin, helps in retaining your body heat because of the materials they are produced from. Imagine you have a microfiber jacket, which is weightless but can keep your body temperature constant.
Another big factor that determines the quality of a bed sheet is how it feels. Fortunately, both microfiber and cotton sheets have beautiful textures and feel on the skin. As for cotton sheets which are mainly soft and a bit crispy, the softness depends on the length of the fiber. As we discussed earlier, the longer the thread, the less rough the surface is. Therefore it's advisable you go with extra long staple (ELS) cotton sheets if you want an extraordinarily soft and smooth feel. Pima and Supima cotton are excellent choices. You can also get Egyptian cotton, which is often ELS cotton, or you can double check to ensure it is ELS.
Excitingly, cotton sheets get softer as you wash them. Therefore, the more you wash your new set of cotton sheets, the cleaner and softer they become! The only effort you are putting into this is making sure that you wash your cotton sheets regularly. On the other hand, microfiber sheets have an excellently unique smoothness that makes them very slippery, depending on the type and process of making the microfiber sheet. A few microfiber sheets are brushed on one side, making the sheet as soft and slippery as ever. Whether you like a slippery bed or not depends solely on your taste.
Maintaining both microfiber and cotton sheets is quite easy, as they both do not require special care. Therefore, what you need is your regular washing and drying. After your first wash, some microfiber sheets and cotton tend to shrink for some time before returning to their actual size. Nevertheless, it is advisable to keep out an eye for pre-washed sheets to avoid unnecessary stress. As cotton fibers are denser than microfiber, it takes longer time for cotton to dry while microfiber sheets do not require as much time as cotton does.
Microfiber sheets are less prone to stain because of their tightness and water-resistant nature. Therefore, you can quickly clean a spill or stain only if you act quickly. But if you allow the stain to sit for a while, it would become almost an impossible task to remove the stain. On the other hand, cotton being a natural fiber is more likely to hold stains and spills without being removable. As a result, it is advisable to minimize eating or to spill food on the bed sheets. As for how to remove the stain, the best option is to consult Google for solutions.
However, the amount of room you need to keep the sheet is another crucial factor to consider. As microfiber sheets are thinner than cotton sheets, they do not require much space and can be held tightly while cotton sheets need more space as they tend to fluff up. Considering wrinkles, it is worthy of note that both sheet-types wrinkle to a certain extent. Perhaps you tolerate wrinkled sheets. If not, then you might have to do a bit of ironing work regularly, especially on your cotton sheets, which wrinkle more than microfiber. Incredibly, some microfiber sheets have finishing touches that allow them to stay wrinkle-free for as long as you use them.
Obviously, the prices of these sheets depend majorly on their qualities. As for cotton sheets, the bulkier thread count is more expensive than, the fewer thread count. Microfiber, on the other hand, has its price rated according to its denier number as denier ratings determine how costly the sheets will be. Generally, microfiber sheets are less expensive than cotton fibers of similar quality, and the demand of microfiber sheets are higher than that of cotton. This may be due to the relatively cheap labor involved in the production of microfiber sheets. From cultivation to production, the complex process producing cotton has made the material rather costly.
The cheering news is that both materials have exceptional color retaining quality. While cotton has colors in the smaller range, they fade less compared to sheets made from microfiber. As a result, you can have more colors to select from microfiber while your options of colors are limited to a few with cotton. It is noteworthy that since colors from microfiber sheets can fade faster, it is essential to choose high-quality microfiber sheets to reduce fading.
Although this can happen to most materials, but it is something nobody wants to experience. Put simply; a pill refers to small balls of fibers on a clothing material. Alternatively known as bobble or fuzzball, it is caused when loose strands push out on the surface of a fabric. With continued wears of the material, the bobbles gather into bundles called pills. However, pills are stuck to the material because of the protruding fibers on the fabric that remain unbroken.
While pilling can be prevented by understating the cause and avoiding it, you should be aware that it can happen to any material, including cotton and microfiber with different degree of impact.
When selecting cotton material, it is advisable to go for one with longer fiber span. These types of sheets are advantageous for two reasons: 1). The fewer fiber ends that can begin to stick out; 2). Fibers with longer length never stick out of the material easily like the short span fibers. We suggest going with Supima, Pima or Egyptian cotton with a long or extra long staple to reduce or prevent pilling.
While cotton can pill and prevented, microfiber sheet is more susceptible to pilling than cotton material. This is due to the shortness of its fibers which makes it easier for the fibers to stick out faster, with more joining quickly. The good news about microfiber sheet pilling is that it can also be prevented by singeing. This process required the burning of the loose end of the fibers to halt pilling. If you are not using this approach, you can use the mercerizing process to improve the luster and robustness of the fabric.
The key element in deciding on any product including cotton and microfiber sheets is the direct cost. Generally, microfiber sheet is cheaper compared to cotton sheets. Here, it is essential to reiterate the warning about the need to be careful of low price in anything you buy including your bed sheet! As a rule of the thumb, it is essential to be wary of microfiber sheet cheaper than $15 because you may be throwing away your money on something that doesn’t worth it. The $15 may appear cheap, but it adds up when you have to replace the bedding the next month and so on. When recounting your expenses on cheap sheets, you will discover it’s better to buy a quality product twice the price of the cheap and never have to change it in a long while.
If you get quality cotton for a higher price and pay around $60 for a pack, you will have great benefits and comfortable beddings to enjoy a relaxed time in bed. Cotton sheets are breathable, supple and long-lasting. You can get affordable, high-quality cotton sheet if you cannot afford the natural sheets.
Having discussed relevant points to choose your sheet materials and know the reasons why cotton fabric is the best for comfort and value for your money, let’s consider different types of sheets to guide your selection.
Microfiber and Cotton Sheets Table
Best Egyptian Cotton Sheets
Best Pima Cotton Sheets
Best Supima Cotton Sheets
Best Microfiber Sheets