Cotton vs Bamboo Sheets: The Ultimate Guide

With the challenges of the modern lifestyle, our bedroom has become not only the place where we spend most of our time at home. It’s – let’s be honest here – also the place where you can de-stress and hide from the entire world when you need a breather.

Sleep [ˈslēp] noun, informal
A drug that everyone can’t resist taking.

All things considered, how comfortable you feel in your bedroom is an important factor in how prepared you will be to face the life’s difficulties come morning. So no sense in getting stingy about the sheets you sleep on: this bit of personal comfort is well worth the splurge.

Normally, when you think about the most comfortable, super soft sheets, Egyptian cotton comes to mind – and there is, of course, no doubt about its quality.

Recently, however, another contender for the title of the most luxurious bedding has entered the stage: bamboo sheets. How good are they really? And who wins the battle of bamboo vs Egyptian cotton sheets?

You can click on this link to get to our TOP recommendations NOW.

However, if you’re willing to invest more time to expand your knowledge about bedsheets, read on…

Table of Contents

Don’t want to read through our whole guide? You can use our table of content to jump to the part most relevant to you!

  1. Cotton Sheets
  2. Bamboo Sheets
  3. Bamboo vs Cotton: Thread Count
  4. Bamboo vs Cotton: Durability
  5. Bamboo vs Cotton: Look and Feel
  6. Bamboo vs Cotton: Health Benefits
  7. Top Rated Cotton Bed Sheets
  8. Top Rated Bamboo Bed Sheets

Cotton Sheets

cotton vs bamboo sheets

Cotton must be one of the most popular choices for bedding worldwide. The mix of “affordable” and “natural” really plays in its favor: you can purchase cotton sheets at pretty good prices both offline and online. (Find a couple links below).

Not all cotton, however, is created equal. There are many varieties of it, some of which are more valued than the others.

Here is the thing: good cotton has longer fibers, which make for stronger yarn and softer fabric. The sorts of cotton held in especially high regard all have long fibers.

Egyptian cotton

This type of cotton, grown in the Nile River Valley, has extra-long staple fibers and produces amazingly soft weave. In addition to being soft the fabric is very durable. There are only two downsides to Egyptian cotton: it wrinkles easily, and it’s very rare.

In fact, it’s rarer than you may think seeing all the “100% Egyptian cotton” sheets sold at every corner. More likely than not you are dealing with counterfeit products made of cotton grown in China or India. Finding genuine Egyptian cotton bed sheets is not the easiest task. Worry not, though:
we have some recommendations for you at the end of this article.

Pima Cotton

This is a strong-fine, long-staple cotton, softer than most varieties and a little more expensive. Although not as rare as Egyptian cotton, it’s not easy to get your hands on either. Manufacturers are often guilty of blending pima cotton with inferior sorts.

The pima cotton is grown in Peru, Australia and the U.S.

Supima Cotton

The most expensive and the rarest, this extra-long-staple cotton is only grown in the U.S. Only licenced suppliers can produce products under the Supima trademark.

The outstanding softness, strength and color retention properties come at a price: a set of Supima bed sheets may cost upwards from $200.

Bamboo Sheets

bamboo-sheets

In case you’ve never heard about such a thing before, a natural question will spring to your mind: how exactly does the bamboo plant become a fabric? Because, let’s be real, it does not seem obvious at all.

Well, first of all, it’s not just any bamboo plant. There are more than 1400 species of bamboo in the world, and only some of them can be used to make bamboo fiber. Here is the way it’s done:

  1. The bamboo plant is harvested and taken to a special facility.
  2. There, the plant is crushed and immersed in sodium hydroxide or other liquid solution to dissolve the cellulose.
  3. Another chemical, normally carbon disulfide, is added to the solution to separate fibers from the plant.
  4. The fibers are bleached, dried, and then used to make fabric.

Four different types of bamboo fabric are available on the market, manufactured in slightly different ways.

Bamboo Rayon/Viscose

This silky smooth fabric is created by dissolving the bamboo in viscose solution. Carbon disulfide is often used in the manufacturing process, which raises some concerns because of its toxicity. (To make it clear: the concerns are not that the fabric will retain the toxic chemicals, it’s more about the ways manufacturers dispose of toxic waste.)

Bamboo rayon is the most popular type of bamboo fabric, usually labelled as “rayon made from bamboo” or “bamboo viscose”.

Bamboo Lyocell

Also known as Tencel bamboo, this is a more environment-friendly variation of bamboo fabric. It is made using non-toxic solutions, as well as a closed-loop, minimal-waste system. The technique is popular with eco-friendly brands. Bamboo lyocell sheets, although not easy to find, are popular with environmental-minded customers.

Bamboo Linen

This fabric, as you can guess from the name, is made in much the same way as other linen fabrics. It tends to be less soft than the two other variations and is known for wrinkling easily. On the other hand, it is extremely durable and lasts for ages.

Bamboo/Cotton Blend

This option is also available on the market. It is usually made of 60 percent bamboo rayon and 40 percent cotton, or 70 percent / 30 percent. The blend is strong and durable, but less soft than pure bamboo fabric.

Percale weave and Sateen weave

Besides the type of fabric, another important thing to consider is its weave.

  • Bamboo satin is a very soft, luminous fabric that feels rather like silk (but costs much less). On the downside, it is quite delicate and needs careful maintenance.
  • Bamboo twill is a sturdy, durable fabric that’s not as soft as sateen but still softer than cotton, or bamboo/cotton blend. The downside is that it may shrink – that’s why you should always wash your bamboo sheets in cold water and tumble dry on low.

And now that you have a better idea of what this is all about, let’s see how the bamboo sheets vs cotton sheets debate plays out.

Bamboo vs Cotton: Thread Count

cotton vs bamboo sheets

An important thing to consider when choosing sheets is the thread count.

The thread count means simply the number of threads per one square inch of fabric. If, for example, 500 horizontal and 500 vertical threads are woven together, the thread count of such fabric will be 1000 (which is considered top quality for cotton).

Normally, soft cotton sheets start from 400 threads, but it may vary depending on the manufacturer and the quality of the cotton itself. For our rec list, we found some pretty great cotton sheets with a thread count of 400 – see links below.

A thread count of 750 or 800 is perfect if you want the real royal experience. As to 1000, there is a downside to a thread count that high (besides the price, that is.) The sheets will be soft as a feather, but also more likely to be thin and brittle.

As to bamboo sheets, if you try to apply the same standards to them, you’ll end up very confused. Bamboo fabric is naturally softer than cotton, so a 250 thread count will feel just as soft, if not softer, as cotton sheets with a count of 1000. Most bamboo sheets on the market have a thread count of 250 to 350.

Check the best bamboo vs cotton sheets deals here!

Bamboo vs Cotton: Durability

This is one of the most obvious differences between the two types of fabric.

Cotton sheets are not known to be especially sturdy. They tend to wear out gradually until they finally fall apart after several years of use. High quality cotton sheets, however, last longer. Supima cotton is the most durable, but, well – you remember the price.

Bamboo sheets, on the other hand, may last for well over a decade. Sounds improbable? Yet it is true. With proper maintenance (remember what we said about washing them in cool water?), one set could serve you for about 15 years, and not at a cost of $200+ either.

Bamboo vs Cotton: Look and Feel

We’ve already established that bamboo sheets are naturally softer than cotton sheets: you get the same feeling with a much lower thread count. Now to other important factors.

Cotton is a breathable fabric. It absorbs all the moisture and dries quickly, so you will never wake up on damp sheets even in peak summer heat. It also has the perk of keeping you cool in summer and warm in winter.

Bamboo sheets, on the other hand, are non-absorbent. They work on a different principle called moisture wicking. The moisture that makes contact with the sheet is not absorbed straight in, but rather drawn out to the other side where it dries rapidly. Sounds confusing? But this is also how the best sportswear functions.

The absorbent properties of cotton have a downside to them. Cotton sheets absorb sweat just a little too well, which may lead to them yellowing and/or graying with time even with regular washing. You won’t have this problem with bamboo sheets.

Bamboo vs Cotton: Health Benefits

Being a health nut is all the rage with the millennials (and, for the record, it’s great). More and more people are taking a step away from artificial additives in food, cosmetic products, and clothes. 100% organic natural fabrics are becoming more and more popular, in our wardrobes as well as at our homes.

For some, it might be a necessity: sensitive skin or allergies can seriously mess up the quality of your sleep if something in the fabric of your sheets turns out to be an irritant.

Both cotton and bamboo are, obviously, natural materials. Does this mean they are both equally good for your health? Not necessarily. The thing is, natural does not equal organic. A lot of cotton is grown using pesticides, which sort of negates the natural factor in terms of health properties. Not even talking about the harm to the environment here.

Only those cotton sheets that are marked as 100% organic will have the hypoallergenic properties that cotton is marketed for.

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Now, bamboo is a very different plant. Growing at a great speed (up to 4 feet a day!), it needs no fertilizers – and no pesticides either, as it has natural insect resistance. The more environmentally conscious customers will be glad to find out that the growing of bamboo requires three times less water than the growing of cotton. It’s an incredibly self-sustainable plant that could greatly improve the ecological situation on the planet if it was as widely used commercially as cotton is right now.

As a fabric, bamboo has antibacterial, antimicrobial and hypoallergenic properties. Sounds like a triple win, doesn’t it?

So, are bamboo sheets really good for your health? Yes, on condition that you don’t choose a blend. Just like in the case with cotton, you need 100% organic material labeled as such. Our suggestions are below!

Bamboo Bed Sheets vs Cotton Bed Sheets: The Verdict

This question is one of those that don’t have a single right answer. Various online sources will tell you that Egyptian cotton sheets are better than bamboo sheets, or vice versa, but that’s usually because they need to sell a product. Cheap, low quality bamboo sheets will be just as bad as cheap, low quality cotton sheets, and the reverse is also true: 100% organic high quality cotton and 100% organic high quality bamboo will both feel great.

When choosing the best bed sheets, focus on your priorities. Do you want the softest most luxurious experience? Then Egyptian cotton sheets with a thread count of 1000 might be a good choice for you. Are you a passionate supporter of all things green and eco-friendly? Take a look at bamboo lyocell sheets.

One tip, though: if the price is the deciding factor for you, cheaper bamboo sheets tend to have higher quality than cotton sheets sold at the same cost.

To make the choice easier, here are some good options to select from.

Top Rated and Recommended Bamboo Bed Sheets

the first recommended bamboo sheet set

1. Softest Sheets By Linenwalas

  • Bamboo rayon
  • 300 thread count
  • Very soft

Price & Reviews

With these sheets, you really get great quality at a decent price. The 300 thread count is more than enough to make them the softest sheets you’ve ever touched, and the moisture wicking effect is great for the hotter nights. If washed in cold water and line dried, they will last you forever.

The 100% natural fabric is processed in an environmentally-friendly way, retaining all the antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of bamboo. All in all, it’s a great choice for someone who wants to try quality bamboo sheets at a price that doesn’t break the bank.

the second recommended bamboo sheet set

2. Hotel Sheets Direct 100% Bamboo

  • Excellent price
  • 1800 thread count
  • Full refund available

Price & Reviews

Woah, are these numbers even for real? If a thread count of 250 already feels silky soft, then 1800 must be like sleeping on clouds made of angel wings – and customer reviews prove it!

Even more mind breaking is the price at which this set is sold. Unlike Egyptian cotton, anyone can afford sleeping on these sheets. What’s more, the company offers a “Sleep Challenge” – all customers dissatisfied with the quality of the sheets can get a full refund within 90 days of purchase. It seems like there aren’t that many people making use of the program, though, if the numerous positive reviews are anything to go by.

the third recommended bamboo sheet set

3. Pure Bamboo Sheets – 100% Bamboo

  • Bamboo viscose
  • 300 thread count
  • Sateen weave

Price & Reviews

Soft and cool, these sheets really showcase all the best qualities of bamboo. Their best quality is the perfect thermoregulation: no more tossing and turning as you try to find the balance between “too hot” and “too cold”. They keep your body comfortable and well rested – and you mind will thank you for that!

The sateen weave adds to the feathery softness of these sheets, and doesn’t shrink in the wash like the twill weave tends to do. If you want a good set that will last, look no further – these will serve you well, even if they are a little more expensive than the previous two.

Top Rated and Recommended Cotton Bed Sheets

the first recommended cotton sheet set

1. True Luxury 100% Egyptian Cotton

  • 1000 thread count
  • 100% Egyptian cotton
  • Sateen weave

Price & Reviews

The name speaks for itself: this 1000 thread-count sheet set is made of 100% pure Egyptian cotton. No other materials mixed in: you really get the great natural properties of cotton that you paid for. And the cotton is 100% eco-friendly and chemicals free.

Soft and light, these sheets are truly top quality. As to the price, it might be a bit steep, but still a good deal for pure Egyptian cotton sheets. We recommend giving these a shot if you really want to feel like royalty.

the second recommended cotton sheet set

2. 400-Thread-Count 100% Cotton Sheets by California Design Den

  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100
  • LEED v4 GOLD CERTIFIED
  • Hand-stitched

Price & Reviews

At a thread count of 400, these cotton sheets are long-lasting and sturdy while still being soft to the touch. The OEKO-TEX Standard 100 means that the cotton is free of harmful chemicals, and colored only with certified dyes. It doesn’t end here, though: the fabric is also tested for performance, so you don’t have to worry about these sheets tearing or bleeding color after first wash.

The LEED v4 GOLD CERTIFIED means that the fabric was ethically produced at a socially awarded facility. A good argument in favor of choosing this manufacturer – that is, if the numerous positive reviews about the quality of the product are not convincing enough. The price is very affordable as well – a great choice all in all.

the third recommended cotton sheet set

3. Pinzon 400-Thread-Count Egyptian Cotton Sateen Pleated Hem Sheet Set

  • Pure Egyptian cotton
  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100
  • All-season comfort

Price & Reviews

Another brand that cares about the safety of the product, Pinzon adheres to OEKO-TEX Standard 100 – and that’s exactly what you hope to expect from Amazon’s own brand. Their 100% Egyptian cotton contains no harmful chemicals and was produced in environmentally friendly conditions.

With a thread count of 400, these sheets have a soft yet substantial feel to them. Despite the weight, they do not save heat in summer, but will keep you nice and warm in winter. This set is sold at a very good price, and is often on sale, so you have the chance to get a real bargain!

Whether you decide to go for the good old cotton or the fancy new bamboo, there are plenty of options available on the market. Try them and figure out what you like best! After all, your bed needs more than one set of sheets, doesn’t it?

1 thought on “Cotton vs Bamboo Sheets: The Ultimate Guide”

  1. It all boils down to personal standards. As for me, I prefer bamboo sheets. Ever since I tried them, I am not going back to normal sheets. It’s the softest and most comfortalbe sheet I have owned!

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