You may have heard that, when it comes to bedsheets, cotton sheets are often the best choice. But cotton can be stiff and not very snugly. Jersey sheets, on the other hand, are often called t-shirt sheets because they are so soft and comfortable.
So, given that both options are considered great bedding choices, which should you opt for if it’s time to buy new bedsheets? Here we are going to take a closer look at both options so you can make the right choice for you, as it really is a matter of taste.
You’ll love pure cotton bedsheets if:
- You are looking for a very smooth, cool and crisp sheet.
- You love the sheets on the beds at good hotels.
- You are okay with spending more to get bedsheets that will last much longer than most.
You’ll love Jersey bedsheets if:
- You want a bedsheet that is very soft and snugly.
- You want a sheet with a little extra ‘stretch’.
- You don’t want to have to iron your sheets after washing them.
- You want to spend a little less.
What are Jersey Sheets Made of?
Jersey sheets are actually primarily crafted using cotton. You can find 100% cotton options easily, or sheets with added polyester, which gives it even more of that additional stretch we just mentioned.
It’s the knit itself that makes Jersey sheets different. It is a weft knit, and not only offers more stretch, but also retains its shape well after washing. Lots of people call Jersey sheets t shirt sheets, as that really is what they look and feel like.
The Jersey knit, which was originated in the British Channel Island of the same name centuries ago to help keep fishermen dry and warm, is traditionally a wool based fabric, but more often these days cotton or synthetic fibers are used instead.
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Jersey Knit Sheets: Pros and Cons
Every bedding type has its own set of pros and cons that should be taken into consideration when shopping for new sheets, and Jersey knit is no exception.
- Very soft, often the softest option available.
- 100% cotton and organic cotton variants are both available.
- Jersey knit sheets made of 100 percent cotton are cool in the summer and yet still warm and comfortable in the winter.
- Most Jersey knit sheets made of cotton can be laundered at home.
- If the thread count is high, Jersey sheets made of 100 percent cotton can be just as sturdy and long-lasting as Egyptian cotton sheets.
- Typically, they are very reasonably priced compared to high end cotton sheets.
- Jersey sheets made of polyester, or another synthetic fabric can ‘sleep hot,’ making them uncomfortable to sleep under in the summer, or if you are a ‘hot sleeper’.
- When laundered for the first time, some Jersey knit sheets may shrink slightly. Paying careful attention to the label instructions can prevent this though.
- If the thread count is high. Jersey knit sheets are a more costly option than a lower thread count cotton sheet.
What Are the Different Types of Cotton Sheets?
The term cotton sheet is a very broad one (and even includes Jersey sheets), so it helps to understand the different types of cotton sheets available. To help you, here’s a look at some of the most popular and easy to find cotton sheet options you are likely to encounter.
Egyptian cotton is the highest quality cotton available, with a smooth finish, excellent durability, and resistance to pilling. It’s usually manufactured with an extra-long staple — the longest cotton fiber possible — and the real thing may be quite costly.
Pima (Supima) Cotton
A very close second in terms of quality to Egyptian cotton, Egyptian cotton, Supima®, the trademarked name for American Pima cotton, is another popular cotton bedsheet choice. This cotton, which is also made from long-staple cotton, is robust, high-quality, and wonderfully soft without the high price tag of Egyptian cotton.
This short-staple cotton is the most common kind, with a lesser quality than both Pima and Egyptian cotton. Upland cotton has usually been used to craft sheets that have a label that simply says “100% cotton,” and while it’s still sturdy and easy to wash, it’s not as soft as other varieties and usually won’t be as durable. On the upside, Upland cotton sheets are more affordable.
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Cotton Sheet Pros and Cons
- High-quality cotton is smooth, cool and very durable
- Cotton bedsheets can be washed and dried at home using a standard washer and dryer.
- High thread count cotton sheets, when cared for properly, can last for decades.
- High thread count cotton sheets are some of the most expensive on the market.
- If you want wrinkle free sheets, you will often need to iron cotton sheets right after they have been laundered.
- Cotton sheets can feel a bit stiffer than some other options.
Jersey Sheets vs. Cotton Sheets: The Comparison
So, now that you know more about both cotton sheets and Jersey knit sheets, which should you opt for? Here are some comparison points to keep in mind as you shop:
Jersey sheets are smooth on one side, and fuzzy on the other. Some people find that to be far more comfortable and cozy than cotton, which can feel a little stiff. On the other hand, if you like that crisp, hotel sheet sensation then high thread count cotton sheets are probably the right choice for you.
Cotton sheets are famously cool. 100% cotton Jersey sheets can be cool as well, although the addition of synthetics can add weight and heat. As a choice for summer sleeping in very hot climes though, cotton sheets are hard to beat.
Ease of Care
You could say that it’s almost a tie here. Both Jersey knit and pure cotton sheets can be washed and dried at home, but you may have to stick to cooler temperatures when laundering Jersey sheets to prevent any accidental shrinkage.
High thread count Egyptian cotton sheets are usually some of the most expensive on the market, and Supima isn’t far behind. If you are sheet shopping on a budget a higher thread count Jersey is still a good choice but is unlikely to be anywhere near as expensive.
When properly taken care of high thread count Egyptian and Supima cotton bedsheets can last for many years, justifying that larger initial investment in the minds of many. Jersey sheets are also long-lasting, but they are likely to wear out faster than a good quality set of long staple cotton sheets.
Cotton Sheets vs. Jersey Sheets: Our Takeaway
Both Jersey knit ad cotton sheets are great, durable choices, whether you are looking for new sheets for your king-sized bed or your baby’s crib. For some, there really is nothing like the cool, crisp feeling of real cotton, and given that Egyptian and Supima cotton is very durable they are often worth the additional initial expense. There’s a good reason that some people are still making use of their grandma’s best set of cotton sheets: they last that long.
On the other hand, if you are all about cozy soft comfort, especially in the colder months, Jersey may be the way to go. Sleeping under them is often just like sleeping under a giant t-shirt, and for some, that’s a bedtime dream come true! Opting for a higher thread count will add durability – as will washing them carefully – and if you opt for 100% cotton Jersey knit sheets your choice will be as environmentally friendly as it would be if you chose a different pure cotton option instead.