Find Out What Sheet You Should Cozy Into: Fleece vs. Flannel?

Have you ever stared at your electric bills at the end of the month and wished you had the guts to sleep in a cold room? The truth is, if you are left to make a choice, you can either turn on the heater or pay the bills later. It seems tricky, but I wouldn’t want such a terrible fate for anyone.

Think about an easier way to save yourself some extra cash and still enjoy a great night’s rest with new bedding. Rather than those glazed ice sheets, why not try warm cozy ones. After mulling over that option, I guess it brings to mind another round of concern: which sheet is warmer and comfy, fleece or flannel?

Fleece vs Flannel

Flannel [/ˈfla-nᵊl/] verb
The single greatest article of clothing to ever be invented by mankind.

Globally, both fleece or flannel sheets are known to be the best option for teeth-shattering winter nights. While personal preference eventually comes into play, you should know the fundamental differences and find which one of them best suits your needs. But, whichever one you decide on, either fleece or flannel are perfect as choices for keeping warm through the night.

Are you ready for the toasty-warm, fuzzy embrace of both fleece and flannel sheets? Let’s dive right into it.

Click here to find out what our recommendations for best fleece sheets are!

What is Fleece?

What is Fleece

Just a minute there, you thought it was wool from sheep, but no, fleece is a human-made fiber from synthetic materials like polyester. The technique with which the fabric is made ensures that the threads are wrapped and spun around each other such that the resulting product is thicker, warmer, and is more flexible than the average polyester materials.

No matter how fuzzy and fluffy this material feels to touch, don’t for a minute think it is made from the fleece coat of a sheep. Aside from being used to make beddings, this material’s peculiar characteristics make it the best fit for jackets, coats, and other outwears.

Where is Fleece From?

Aaron Feuerstein, the owner of Malden Mills, was the first person to create the initial version of fleece fabric from polyester. The Mills was primarily into wool garments and faux furs but needed an alternative material that did not have some of the downside of wool and faux furs. This company formed a partnership with another outdoor clothing firm Patagonia to produce fleece.

Although this product isn’t patented, the company continues to make fleece under the company name PolarTec to date.

What Is Fleece Made From?

After debunking the idea that this material is made from the natural sheep’s fleece, it is important to state that it is made from polyester. Of course, polyester is made from plastic, which goes a long way to tell of the non-biodegradability of this material. In certain instances, natural fibers like cotton and wool are merged with polyester to produce a fleece fabric. Mainly, it depends on what the material is needed for and which brand is producing it. Environmentally conscious companies also use recycled plastic to create a fleece, making it a sustainable option.

What Is The Production Process Of Fleece?

Having stated that fleece is made from polyester, it is important to discuss polyester production itself. Polyesters are made in a synthesized chemical reaction between petroleum byproducts. The solution is warmed until it forms a syrup, cooled, and spun into thin fibers. The biochemical structures of fleece allow for increased airflow and impressive self-insulating properties.

What Are The Characteristics Of Fleece?

Fleece is remarkably useful for staying warm, especially during physical activities. Fleece has a pile surface on both sides of the fabric, that means each side features a layer of cut fibers. Air pockets can sit between the threads in this pile surface, meaning the material can retain more warmth than other fibers.

Fleece warm and durable as well as moisture resistant, making it suitable for extreme weather conditions or for sports apparel.

What Is Fleece Used For?

Since modifications can be made to the already versatile nature of fleece, it remains one of the most commonly used fabrics in the textile industry. You will find it being used in making warmers, baby calves, and even airspace underwear. We’ve earlier discussed using this material in sports apparel and why it is a top choice. These same moisture-wicking properties and improved airflow are why it is a choice for other wear.

The layered fabric, which allows trapping of air pockets, increases the body’s temperature, making it useful in keeping warm during the cold winter months.

Now that we have extensively covered fleece, now it is time to take a look at flannel. Read on!

Click here to see what our recommendations for the best flannel sheets are!

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What is Flannel?

What is Flannel

Generally, there is a misconception about flannels, making many people believe that it’s just a pattern like checkered material, sometimes square or plaid. But that is not so. Although you might find flannel made into clothing with these patterns, flannel in itself is a fabric.

Flannel is made from natural fibers, mostly cotton. One of the primary differences between flannel and other materials is that flannel is a brushed fabric. This means that a metal comb is used on the material during the weaving process, either before or after. In essence, this produces a soft feel on the brushed side. Of course, depending on specifications, both sides of the fabric can be brushed.

Another peculiar characteristic that makes a significant difference between flannel and other materials is how the yarn is woven. The weaving technique for flannel is diverse; so far, the weave is loose and layered. As it is with fleece, the flannel layers have space for air pockets, which makes it more insulating than any other material.

The Origins of Flannel

Honestly, experts could not decisively trace the origins of flannel to either Wales or Scotland. But we know with certainty that flannel originated from either of the two regions. Originally, flannel was made from carded wool. The process of carding flannel, which technically means brushing, made the material finer, smoother, and heavier, and it quickly gained popularity over time. With the advent of technology and the ready availability of sheep wool, flannel has grown to become a top choice globally.

Interestingly, flannel came into the limelight during the industrial revolution in the United States and was able to ride on the waves of culture and class to become a symbol of unity and togetherness. In fact, an American senator, Lamar Alexander won both his senatorial seat and the hearts of the people by wearing a red and black flannel shirt during his campaigns – he retained the seat for ten years!

Cultural Significance of Flannel

The tides have shifted from flannels only by the working class to represent several other categories. Now, flannel is used by all genders irrespective of color, background, nationality, and sexual orientation. All in all, we believe flannel still represents what it originally stood for – unity and togetherness.

Click here to learn what the best fleece sheets are in the market today!

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Pointers to Consider When Choosing Between Fleece vs. Flannel

Now that you have a reasonably good grasp on what both fleece and flannel are, how well can you make a decision on which is best for you? Here are some pointers to consider.

Are You a Cold Sleeper? Or a Hot One?

If you are the kind of person who prefers getting several layers of sheets before you can get a good night’s rest, then fleece might be best suited for your needs. The tick nature of fleece, combined with its unique self-insulating properties, will keep you warm and toasty throughout the night.

On the flip hand, if you prefer to be just warm enough rather than sweaty, then flannel might be a better choice. While both fleece and flannel sheets are warm, fleece material tends to retain heat more, although it will not regulate your body temperature. In summary, fleece is warmer than flannel, but you risk getting too hot and uncomfortable – especially if that isn’t your thing.

Are You Particular About Your Sheets’ Maintenance?

Would you mind if your sheets wrinkle and pill? Although both fleece and flannel will pill over time, the rate is majorly dependent on the material’s quality. Human-made fibers in fleece may prevent shrinking and wrinkling, but in case you throw this material wrong washing cycle, the stretchy material might lose its flexibility. You should also keep in mind that synthetic materials generally retain odors more than natural fibers.

Perhaps you prefer a smooth finish on your sheets at all times; you should steer clear of flannel. This is because flannel-like, other materials made from cotton, are bound to wrinkle after washing. Although that is easily fixable, you can always iron your sheets.

Does The Environment Factor Into Your Decision?

In case you are particular about the environment, which you should, you might be wary of synthetic materials. Asides from holding odors over time, fleece also releases fibers which contaminate oceans and waterways. Compared to flannel, which is a natural fiber and will not deteriorate, it is obvious which is the superior option based on environmental sustainability.

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Flannel vs. Fleece Go Toe-to-Toe

Fleece vs Flannel Bedsheets

Okay, at this point, it might be a tough battle in deciding between fleece vs. flannel. To help you further, we have compared the significant points that you need to get a clearer picture of what you need and which of the materials you need to spend money on.


In deciding between fleece and flannel based on material, we believe flannel has the upper hand. This is because flannel is made from natural fibers like wool and cotton. With the advent of technology, it might be combined with other synthetic materials like carded wool to improve the quality and softness. But, in essence, flannel will still be considered to be made from natural fibers.

Fleece, on the other hand, is made from synthetic polyester fibers. Interestingly, it might be woven with natural threads to make cozy clothing, but it is primarily regarded as a synthetic material.


One of the significant highlights of flannel is its superior comfort. Due to the basic fact that the material is made from natural fibers, it feels soft and cool on the skin.

Also, since it is lightweight and has excellent airflow features, it can keep you comfortable even when the temperature drops. Fleece is also very cozy to sleep in, but the fabric is not as breathable as a flannel. Especially on warm nights, you run the risk of becoming hot and sweaty while using fleece sheets.


The qualities of flannel with regards to insulation is quite adapting to the human body. Irrespective of the temperature, the material can keep you warm without becoming too hot. This is mostly because it is made from natural fibers and is thus highly absorbent. Fleece, on the other hand, has layers that will keep you warm and toasty but is not as adaptable to the body, resulting in moisture build-up and sweating.


Over time, natural fibers like flannel generally deteriorate and lose their initial shape after consistent washing. Fleece, like other synthetic materials, has a better reliance and durability when compared to flannel. This is because human-made fabrics will not deteriorate quickly so long as the maintenance instructions are followed.

In any case, the durability of the material, whether fleece or flannel, depends on the quality you buy. So, lookout.

Seasonal Use

Honestly, this depends solely on your preferences. Some people believe flannel is excellent to sleep on until the weather becomes warm and humid. Others prefer fleece majorly for early spring and late fall. In any case, both of the materials are best suited for cold months and might become a bit uncomfortable when the heat waves roll in.


Deciding between fleece and flannel based on cost might be a little tricky because both materials are relatively affordable and can be purchased in any store. Although, when compared with certain matrices, fleece is mostly inexpensive compared to flannel.

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Top Rated and Recommended Fleece Bed Sheets

7.7/10 Read review
77 %
Last Amazon price update was: 19 October 2021 13:40
× Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on (,,, etc) at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Aside from the varying styles and color patterns of Sunbeam super soft heavyweight fleece sheets, it is also very affordable. This fact alone has made it a top choice among customers who prefer fleece sheets.

Just in case you are looking for a perfect choice of gift for any occasion, this could be it. Try it out, and you will be delivering a pot of gold to the receiver.

7.9/10 Read review
79 %
Last Amazon price update was: 25 September 2021 16:06
× Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on (,,, etc) at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

One of the highlights of this sheet is that it is easy to wash. In essence, that is what Berkshire stores are known for. With a Berkshire Blanket Microfleece sheet, you are treating yourself to a perfect night’s sleep. With impressive airy breathability, this product is enough to keep you dry on hot summer nights.

Just in case you intend to use this sheet all year, layer it with your favorite blanket during the cold winter months, and you are good to go.

7.8/10 Read review
78 %
Last Amazon price update was: 15 October 2021 01:09
× Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on (,,, etc) at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Just as the name implies, Micro Fleece Extra Soft Cozy Velvet Plush sheet has a soft velvety plush that you will enjoy sinking into. Just the right sheet to get you settled in after a long day of daily activities. Interestingly, since the sheet is affordable, you are getting a lot for the price of little.
Also, this sheet has an easy care and maintenance routine. Since it has a booklet with the manufacturer’s instructions attached, you don’t have to worry about getting the routine wrong. By the way, there’s a 3-year warranty on this product – think about that!

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Top Rated and Recommended Flannel Bed Sheets

7.8/10 Read review
78 %
Last Amazon price update was: 20 September 2021 19:40
× Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on (,,, etc) at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Hey, irrespective of your final decisions, your first 30 nights with Bare Home Flannel Sheet Set is covered. You can always return it if you are displeased with the product. But, we doubt that is happening. There has to be a reason why this sheet is a top choice among lovers of flannel sheets.

Your bedtime should be relaxing and comforting. Everyone needs that safe space where we can let it out, literally and figuratively. With this product, you can create the ambiance you need for optimum functionality.

7.7/10 Read review
77 %
Last Amazon price update was: 21 July 2021 04:51
× Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on (,,, etc) at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Mellanni store is founded based on customer loyalty and top-quality products. If you are in search of sheets that leave you feeling refreshed and re-energized every morning, then the Mellanni Cotton Flannel Sheet set might just be the perfect fit for you.

This product has been pre-washed to prevent shrinking after purchase and is probably the softest flannel sheet on sale. At an affordable price, you could have this beautiful work of art draped over your bed in no time. Fun fact, you can always return the sheet anytime. Isn’t that incredible?

8.2/10 Read review
82 %
Last Amazon price update was: 26 September 2021 09:10
× Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on (,,, etc) at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Pinzon Signature Cotton Velvet Flannel Sheet provides luxury in a beautiful weave. This product sports an impressive double-napped finish, which ensures that the sheet has a comfortable feel, irrespective of which side you sleep on.

With a weight higher than most flannel sheets, this product is thick enough to keep you warm and toasty through the cold winter months. Perfect as a gift on any occasion, you just might win over your mother-in-law with this product.

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[FAQ’s] Consumer Questions & Answers

Are Fleece Sheets Too Hot?
Fleece is very warm because it traps heat well, but it might become too hot since it is not adaptable to temperature.

Which Is More Durable, Fleece, Or Flannel?
Durability is mostly dependent on the quality of the material, but since fleece is a synthetic material, it is considered more durable.

Do Flannel Sheets Cause Static?
The raised fibers that make flannel materials soft and comfy are like static magnets. Flannel made from 100% natural fibers might not have static at all, but the material will deteriorate faster.

Does Flannel Have Pilling Problems?
Whether flannel has pilling problems or not is majorly dependent on its quality. The rubbing of flannel against itself during washing might cause pilling, but it is reduced in quality materials.

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