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So, why all the hype about linen sheets? To put it plainly, when made well, linen sheets are extremely long lasting, luxuriously soft, and get better with age. They’re easy to care for (a softly wrinkled look is the goal), breathable, and have superior temperature regulation — keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Since they get softer with time, they also won’t pill, nor will they need to be replaced in just a couple of years. Oh, and they’re environmentally friendly. They’re basically the perfect piece of year-round bedding — but unfortunately, unlike other best things in life, they don’t come cheap.
One-hundred percent linen bedding is costly, but so very worth it if you’re able to make the investment. So you can make the best decision with your budget, we spent months testing linen sheets from a wide range of brands, price points, and manufacturing processes and narrowed down the field to bring you the best of the best. If you’re ready to take the plunge into linen (which we highly recommend that you do) or upgrade your current set, check out our favorites below.
Linen sheets have become somewhat of a status symbol in recent years, thanks to social media showcasing their effortlessly relaxed aesthetic, but also because of their higher price point. So, what exactly is the difference between linen and cotton, and how do you choose what’s best for you? If this is your first foray into purchasing linen sheets, here’s everything you need to know.
Linen is made from flax, a strong plant with long, sturdy fibers that make it easy to spin into thread. Two times stronger than cotton, linen textiles are known for their durability and can last for years, if not decades.
Because linen fibers are thicker than cotton, thread count is lower in linen sheets and the weave is often visible. This looser weave, along with linen’s natural moisture-absorbing and -wicking properties, make linen sheets supremely breathable (hence why it’s such a great fabric for summer clothing). Linen is ideal for hot sleepers and warmer climates, but it also regulates temperature well, keeping you warm and cozy in winter also. Essentially, linen makes a great year-round choice — another reason the investment can be well worth it. On top of that, linen is hypoallergenic and bacteria resistant, so it’s perfect for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin.
Linen is also wonderfully sustainable: flax requires very little irrigation (rainwater is enough for it to grow), doesn’t require pesticides to yield a healthy crop, and linen processing expends a low amount of energy. Plus, quality linen sheets are so durable, you won’t have to replace them very often, reducing waste. And once they do eventually need to be retired, they are fully biodegradable.
With so many benefits, are there any down sides? Of course, linen textiles have a casual, laidback look that is part of their appeal and charm, but if the visible wrinkles aren’t your style, this could be a drawback. That said, some heavier-weight linen sheets combat this expectation, and you can always wave a steamer over your sheets if you like an extremely neat bed.
It’s important to note that flax fibers are rougher than cotton, so if you’re dreaming of downy-soft bedding right out of the package, these may not be for you. Even high-quality linen is a bit grainy or textured at first, with a heavier weight that can take getting used to if all you’ve ever known is airy cotton bedding. But it’s important to keep in mind that linen will get softer with each wash and use — often the opposite of other materials, which can pill or weaken over time. Many modern retailers try to speed up the aging process by pre-washing their linen bedding to make it softer, and while it’s possible for this to impact the sheets’ long-term quality, being ready for immediate use is definitely nice in terms of enjoying the luxury of linen sheets right away. All this to say, don’t be afraid of roughness at first, especially with organic, unwashed, or raw linen and even the most expensive sets.
Flax is mostly grown in Western Europe — particularly Belgium and France, but can also come from Ireland, Lithuania, and Portugal, among other places. Belgian flax is known for being the highest quality because of the particular climate and soil properties found there. Although many retailers source their flax from Europe, they may actually produce their linens or assemble their bedding in other places, such as China or the U.S. This shouldn’t be assumed as an indication of worse quality, as the type of looms and mills the linen is produced with have a much greater bearing on the end result of quality rather than where it’s produced.
One of the benefits of linen is that it’s easy to care for, so take a “less is more” approach. Use a mild detergent (you don’t need a lot), and skip the fabric softener and bleach. Wash in cold or warm water as hot water will harm the fibers over time. Air drying is best, but if that’s not feasible (oh, you don’t live in a farmhouse?), tumble dry on low, and pull the sheets out just before they’re fully dry to avoid major wrinkling. Using wool dryer balls can help increase fluffiness. Most of all, embrace that effortlessly relaxed look: Wrinkling is to be expected, so you can skip the ironing. If you must iron, we recommend taking the sheets out of the dryer before they’re fully dry, and iron on low heat right away.
In short, flax is more laborious to harvest, linen is more time consuming to weave, and most of the world’s flax supply is centered in one specific area of Europe, so it’s less abundant. We have a great, more in-depth explainer on it here. To be honest, if you find a linen sheet set priced lower than $100, it’s probably too good to be true. It might last you for a short period of time, but the quality simply isn’t there, and you’ll likely deal with shredding sooner rather than later.
We tested a wide range of linen sheets, judging them on the following criteria:
Note: All prices are listed for Queen size.
Parachute has quickly become a favorite retailer of bedding and bath products at AT. They make luxurious textiles that don’t cost a fortune, and we can’t help but rave to all our friends about them. “Parachute’s linen sheets are one of the most reliable sets I’ve tried right out of the packaging,” says our Best List writer Kendall. “They’re lightweight without being totally sheer, and the price point for these doesn’t exceed $200 — a rare find in the world of quality, even luxury linen bedding.” Made in a generations-old, family-owned mill in Portugal, these sheets are softer out of the box than many other brands because Parachute pre-washes them in small loads to relax the fibers so they’ll be comfortable on night one. We also love the array of earthy colors they come in, with Bone, Clay, and Dusk being standouts.
Who It’s Best For: Those who don’t want to deal with a longer wear-in period; those looking for the perfect intersection of price, quality, and color options.
Good to Know: The basic set does not include a top sheet, but can be added for $100 more. You can also buy these sheets separately by the piece. Fitted sheets tend to wear out faster than top sheets, so if you don’t need a whole new set, it’s nice to buy only what you need and save where you can.
A good organic sheet set can be hard to find. A good, organic, linen sheet set that’s also affordable is a unicorn. And that’s why our commerce executive director Mark, who doesn’t typically like to spend tons on bedding, called Quince’s Belgian linen sheets “a game changer.” Perfect for the price-conscious shopper, the Queen set (top sheet included) rings in at $160. But don’t mistake value for sacrificed quality. Made from 100 percent organic European flax and pre-washed for softness, these sheets thoroughly impressed Mark and greatly upgraded his sleep. “The linen sheets were only a bit more weighty than my usual bedding but a thousand times more luxurious. Not rough, not crinkly, just … nice,” he raved. “Quince’s sheets made me feel pampered as I settled into bed, and I swear I slept better than I had in weeks.” We also admire Quince’s commitment to ethical and sustainable production. Aside from paying workers fair wages and providing safe working environments, they also ship directly from the factory, reducing the carbon footprint of moving the product several times, and use as little packaging as possible.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want luxury at an affordable price; those who take an eco-friendly lifestyle seriously.
Good to Know: Quince has a very generous return window of up to a year, so there’s really no reason not to try them.
CULTIVER is Australia’s answer to Parachute and Brooklinen, but fortunately they offer free shipping to all 50 states. Their pre-washed linen sheets are luxuriously soft right out of the box, and reviewers were impressed with their durability — which makes them a great investment piece. Commerce contributor Amy and her boyfriend fell in love with these sheets the moment they arrived, and their whole outlook on bedding changed: “The minute we took these sheets out of the packaging, my boyfriend was obsessed with the fresh-linen smell and durable feel,” she said. “The CULTIVER sheet set has totally transformed his entire routine and the way he thinks about bedding.” The set comes in a whopping 20 dreamy colors, ranging from forest green to blush pink, so you’ll be sure to find something to match your aesthetic. We also love that the top sheets are sized generously with plenty of drape on all sides — no fighting for sheets here, and you can fully wrap yourself in sumptuous linen with room to spare.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want luxuriously soft sheets straight away; those who want a big range of colors to choose from.
Good to Know: There’s no pressure to buy the set. CULTIVER also sells their linen sheets separately if you prefer to sleep with just a fitted sheet or want some savings by using a cotton fitted sheet and just a linen top sheet.
*Honorable Mention: For those looking to spend their dollars in an eco-friendly way, Avocado’s Organic Linen Sheets are OEKO-TEX Standard 100, GOTS, Made Safe, and Climate Neutral certified (in fact, the company offsets more carbon emissions than it generates, making it carbon negative). “They undeniably achieve everything a dream sheet set should be, from the certifications to the quality, feel, overnight performance, and durability over time,” Kendall said of these soft and supremely breathable sheets.
While we recommend washing any new sheet set before using it, AT assistant shopping editor Britt says she “could have gotten away with skipping that first wash before trying Nuzzie’s French Linen Sheets.” She opted for the navy hue, and noted that the sheets come “in a matching linen tote bag and don’t have any strange odors from packaging or shipping.” Made from French flax and OEKO-TEX certified, “they definitely feel like good-quality linen and aren’t rough or unpleasant to the touch,” said Britt. “I don’t typically sleep under linen sheets, so I worried about the thickness of them at first. Since it’s the tail end of winter, I figured now was as good a time as ever to try them out because if they WERE too thick for me, then at least they’d keep me warm. However, I was surprised to find that these sheets didn’t make me feel overheated at all. They’re a good weight and effectively breathable, so I slept comfortably all night long!”
Who It’s Best For: Those looking for a perfect combination of soft and sturdy; those who sleep hot or want temperature regulation.
Good to Know: The fitted sheets are generously sized with deep pocket coverage, which might overwhelm thinner mattresses.
These highly coveted linen sheets sold out a day after they launched. And when Kendall finally got her hands on a set to test, they quickly became her “latest obsession.” Super soft and highly breathable, these lightweight sheets were the perfect year-round solution for Kendall, who tends to get chilly at night, and her partner, who sleeps hot. “The velvety Euroflax linen regulates body temperature, so you feel cozy as soon as you hit the bed and don’t have to worry about overheating in the middle of the night,” she said. “They are also ventilated just enough, thanks to the impressively fine weave that prevents excess heat retention.” Another thing we love about Riley sheets is that they all come with handy labels indicating top, side, and bottom to avoid the guessing game on laundry day. Plus, all Riley pillowcases have a side-envelope closure that helps keep pillows from sliding out, or perhaps more importantly, conceals any less-than-pristine pillows from sight.
Who It’s Best For: Those who don’t want to have to switch sheets for different seasons; those who share a bed and are concerned about temperature regulation.
Good to Know: The basic set doesn’t come with a flat sheet (how very European), but you can add one for $110.
Even if you consider yourself a linen sheet purist, you’ll absolutely love the coolness of of Kassatex’s linen-bamboo sheets. Bamboo sheets (which means they’re made from rayon from bamboo trees) are known for their cooling properties, plus bamboo is an eco-friendly material in the same vein as linen. Could the combination of the two fabrics result in a glorious, as-close-to-perfect-as-you-can-get sheet? The answer is yes. “They are soft, airy, and lightweight,” said commerce contributor Olivia. “Unlike other linen sheets that can take a few washes to achieve a soft texture, these were soft from the moment I pulled them out of the package. I started using them as spring weather started to heat up, and I found they were the perfect weight to keep me cozy but cool at night.” While they aren’t as airy as 100 percent linen sheets, they’re still lightweight enough to be comfortable for hot sleepers, and they’re durable enough that shredding isn’t an issue. Even better? Bamboo is hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, so these sheets are a fantastic option for those with sensitive skin.
Who It’s Best For: Those who aren’t fully committed to the linen sheet life; those who want something ultra-soft right away.
Good to Know: Kassatex only makes King and Queen sizes.
We’ve been testing linen sheets for a while, so we thought we knew what “soft” sheets felt like — and then we discovered The Citizenry’s stonewashed set. Commerce contributor Sholeen tried them and found that they were buttery soft right from the get-go. “These sheets feel like I’m sleeping on a soft, breathable linen shirt that only gets better with every wash,” she said. “Linen sheets are notorious for feeling rough and scratchy, but I’m happy to report that The Citizenry’s set delivers the true luxe linen feel. I have washed them three times so far and there’s absolutely no wear, tear, or fading.” Another thing that’s great? The Citizenry brand. The company works directly with artisans around the globe to source handmade, high-quality goods (these linens are sustainably made in the oldest, family-run mill in Portugal) and ensures fair treatment and wages (they pay an average of two times the fair wage requirement).
Who It’s Best For: Those who want sheets that feel like they’ve been washed dozens of times the very first time you use them; those who hate the sometimes “scratchy” feel of linen; those who want to shop ethically.
Good to Know: You can also purchase Bed Bundles in “palettes” that comprise more than one color so you can mix and match from their 12 gorgeous hues. Not sure what color you like best? You can order swatches for $3 a piece with free shipping.
Because of the superior durability of linen, high-end linen sheets are often thought of as wonderful wedding gifts and can be passed down from generation to generation. Linoto’s beautiful Organic Linen Sheets will last a lifetime — and then some. Made by master weavers who select only the finest-quality long-staple flax fibers, the linen goes through the extremely gentle and sustainable process of dew-retting, which means that it’s softened naturally with rainwater and morning dew rather than harsh chemicals and wasteful quantities of water. These sheets arrive in rather sturdy condition (read: they may be a bit rougher than you’re typically used to), but that’s because they’re made to last. After using and washing them for two full years, Kendall was extremely impressed: “Today they are the best, softest, most reliable sheets I own. They only get better with use and washing, which can be expected from linen sheets, but I am frankly astounded by just how quickly they softened up…and how much!” she raved. “I’m proud to own these, use them, and will be proud to pass them down!”
Who It’s Best For: Those who want an investment piece that will last decades and get better with time.
Good to Know: Although only available in two minimally dyed natural colors, Linoto’s sheets come in a range of sizes (more than any other retailer we’ve seen): There are 11 sizes from Twin to European Queen to Split Cal King, and fitted sheets in varying depths to accommodate shallow, standard, and deep mattresses, so you can ensure your sheets fit properly and don’t slide and bunch due to excess fabric.
Linen takes dye really well, and West Elm’s palette of 20 beautiful hues, ranging from subdued (Frost Gray and Silver Mist) to bold (Amber and Midnight) to striped, takes the cake for color options. The pre-washed sheets are soft yet crisp out of the box, and although linen can sometimes have a nubby, very texturized look, these have a smoother hand feel than a lot of other brands. They’re also on the lighter side (which may affect the long-term durability), but make a great starter set at a decent price point for anyone looking to dip their toes into linen bedding. “I adore the heathered look and texture of the West Elm linen sheets,” said Kendall. “They’re ideal for those who want linen sheets worth looking at and using immediately after unboxing since they come in a gorgeous array of (organically dyed!) hues.”
Who It’s Best For: Those just starting out with linen bedding; those who want a big array of color options.
Good to Know: West Elm regularly has sales that include bedding, and some of the colorways are currently on sale right now if you act fast.