Here’s a good question: what could be more stressful than choosing from two equally great fabrics for your bed sheet? The answer: three. Such is the conundrum I found myself facing up against one weekday morning as I went to the store to check out bed linen to replace the old, worn-out one that me and my wife shared.
It goes without saying that your bed sheets are among the most significant things to consider when it comes to making sure your bed is conducive for a good night’s worth of sleep. But therein lies the dilemma that average consumers like you and I deal with: with innovations in the bedding industry coming aplenty, it is becoming increasingly difficult to properly pick a suitable bed sheet.
Take my case for example: as I walked down one of the aisles of our favorite department store, I saw stacks of bed sheets that were made of bamboo. On the other side, I saw its close relative, microfiber. And then the very next aisle was a fabric that is often spoken of with reverence when it comes to bed linen: cotton.
While they might seem identical on the outside, they reveal serious differences in their performance capabilities and the overall sleeping sensation that you’d receive. With this said, let’s have a closer look at microfiber vs. cotton vs. bamboo.
Ready to get started? Let’s begin with finding out what makes bamboo and microfiber distant relatives!
Table of Contents
This guide takes awhile to get through. Feel free to skip to the bit you’re interested in:
- Are Bamboo Sheets Made Of Microfiber?
- What Are Cotton Sheets?
- Microfiber vs Cotton vs Bamboo Comparison – Which One is Best for You?
- Top Rated and Recommended Microfiber Sheets
- Top Rated and Recommended Cotton Sheets
- Top Rated and Recommended Bamboo Sheets
Are Bamboo Sheets Made of Microfiber?
Yes and no. Both are synthetic, which means these are man-made fibers, but they are unlike in numerous ways.
The process for Bamboo is considered greener than microfiber because cellulose is utilized and bamboo grows faster than other sources of cellulose. You reap and more just grows back. It’s a great plant that has many uses and does not need fertilizers or pesticides such as cotton.
Microfiber is a synthetic fiber as well, but its threads are much smaller than even silk. As a matter of fact, it’s 97% to 99% smaller in diameter than a human hair and less than 1/10th the size of silk. Because of such minute fibers or threads, it feels super-soft.
Neither is prone to allergies, body odor, and both keep you cool while you are getting some shut-eye.
What Is Microfiber Fabric Made of?
Microfiber is essentially the same as most synthetic fibers in build and process. What is special is the diameter of each thread. The fibers in microfiber are finer than one decitex/thread, and is less than ten micrometers. It’s really small fibers/thread.
Are Bamboo Sheets Better Than Microfiber?
Well, this is where things get a little more complicated. Since the fibers or thread is super fine and very small in diameter, I for one, try to avoid microfiber as sheets. Bamboo will definitely outlast microfiber sheets 10 to 1 in my opinion.
Because the fibers/thread is so small, the weight and friction of your body will soon wear the microfiber out and you will see what looks like shaved areas on microfiber sheets in just a short amount of time.
What are the Characteristics of Microfiber Sheets?
As mentioned above, you will see faster wear and tear on microfiber sheets when ranged against bamboo sheets. You will also likely see more pilling, extreme wear briefly, and you just might end up buying new sheets faster than you expected.
Microfiber also does not do well in dryers after laundering because it’s prone to static electricity. I made the mistake of washing a set of microfiber sheets once with a set of cotton sheets and drying them altogether. Let’s just say that it was an electrifying night and in the worst ways!
Microfiber sheets are lightweight, hypoallergenic and it breathes well, which keeps you cooler and wicks off moisture while you’re resting. A lot of people who have issues with night sweats and hot flashes certainly make use of these sheets for more comfortable sleeping in such sweat-inducing conditions.
Microfiber sheet sets often cost 1/5th to 1/10th the cost of premium bamboo sheets. If you’re looking for the feel of luxury without burning a hole in your savings, maybe a nice set of microfibers sheets will do you well.
What are the Characteristics of Bamboo Sheets?
Bamboo sheets feature much thicker fibers, and the extra softness you gain from microfiber pales in comparison to the advantages of a high-quality set of bamboo sheets.
Bamboo sheets can endure for 10 years or even more, only outdone by ELS cotton such as Egyptian cotton.
Bamboo is hypoallergenic, does not absorb odors and the subsequent bacteria, and they breathe well. They are much less prone to pilling and wear from friction and body weight, unlike microfiber.
Bamboo is usually much greener than microfiber and safer for the people who make it because of the closed system used to make Bamboo threads.
Although a super high-quality set of bamboo sheets could cost a couple of hundred dollars, you know what you’re getting: better long term value for the money, as well as the same health and cooling benefits of microfiber, while doing Mother Nature a favor. Really, it’s the best of both worlds!
Now, after discussing the distant cousins that is bamboo and microfiber, it’s time to take a closer look at the fabric they are ranged against: cotton.
What Are Cotton Sheets?
Simply put, cotton is the most widely used fabric for making sheets. Their thread count of them is rather low and scratchy, and it is more likely to pill. However, there are luxurious materials, which are produced with far finer threads and a higher thread count that results in a particularly expensive and softer appeal.
What are the Types of Cotton?
100% Egyptian cotton is considered to be the very best when it comes to this kind of sheets. They are exceptionally soft and very gentle. They need extra care, of course. At the same time, they sleep very cool and deliver enhanced the gentle appeal.
Pima sheets are the second best type of cotton material that can be bought on the market. They are also incredibly soft but are a bit rough compared to Egyptian ones. Of course, both of these kinds are considerably more expensive than regular fabric.
What are the Different Cotton Weaves?
Percale is a plain-weave fabric that is conveniently made of combed as well as carded cotton yards. The thing that you want to always remember is that the weave is closely woven and it makes for a crisp, rather smooth finish.
It’s crucial to make the difference between Sateen and satin as they have virtually nothing in common. Sateen is a kind of weave which takes advantage of more vertical threads compared to horizontal ones, and it makes for a very soft sleeping sensation.
These are especially suitable for the winter as they have rather fuzzy features that are intended to bring a cozy appeal and a warm sleeping temperature. Sheets made with this weave have napped finish on both sides and, very rarely, only on one of them.
Microfiber vs. Cotton vs. Bamboo Comparison: Which One is Best for You?
There are times when you need to do to determine the difference between two different fabrics is a mere touch. This, however, is not one of those cases it takes a bit more effort to establish the vast differences. And so, let’s take a deep dive into all three materials and define their differences according to their specific features.
Comfort is always a subjective topic and there are a lot of factors that need to be considered to come to a proper definition of what comfort really means. Cotton bed sheets could deliver a cheap and not so pleasant sleeping sensation if you choose to go for a low thread count solution but they could also be very soft and appealing if you get a more lavish set.
At the same time, bamboo can possibly deliver and sustained level of comfort. They are usually very soft, and for the most part, feel great. When it comes to the thread count, bamboo sheets can still provide you with outstanding comfort regardless if they have a high or low thread count.
Bed sheets and other types of fabrics are commonly measured by their thread count and this holds especially true when it comes to microfiber bed sheets. Truth be told, it isn’t always a surety that a microfiber bed sheet would give you superior comfort unless it boasts of a high thread count
2) Care and Durability
When it comes to the care, it is largely based on whether or not you follow the specific instructions that come with each set you buy. Make sure to do so, and you won’t have any issues.
Regarding durability, bamboo tends to be more durable. However, they do need a lot of attention as well. You have to be tender when you are running cleaning cycles and you should make sure to again follow the instructions regarding whether you should run warm or cold water. They can also be air dried, or you can tumble dry them on a low-heat setting.
Microfiber meanwhile, features the ability to resist water and spills. That’s why cleaning and washing off the spills and stains will not be much of a hassle. Washing isn’t also a problem with microfiber bed sheets. They do not create wrinkles and creases even when washed in a washing machine or folded for safekeeping. Microfiber bed sheets also do not shrink or deform easily.
3) Environmentally Friendly
The bamboo tree is one of the fastest growing trees in the entire world. There is no credible environmental threat to manufacturing the sheets, as their sources are easily renewable. They also have a smaller environmental impact, and they generate a far smaller carbon footprint. The solutions used in their production are more eco-friendly, compared to the ones used for cotton sheets.
The cotton plant, on the other hand, is not as environmentally friendly as bamboo. As a matter of fact, the crop of this plant is one of the dirtiest because they use a lot of pesticides in cultivating the plant. Not only that, but some of these substances have also been designated as hazardous to human’s health.
Meanwhile, microfiber is a synthetic material that is taken from common synthetic fibers like polyester and polypropylene although some may be produced from other types of fabrics and non-biodegradable chemicals and materials. To put it simply, microfiber is not an eco-friendly material.
For most people, the cost is a crucial factor that has be considered. Bamboo sheets, in general, tend to be a bit more expensive compared to low-quality cotton, but if you match the thread count, the price is more or less the same. Of course, there are different types from both categories, which would cost a lot more compared to the regular, entry-level options.
When it comes to microfiber bed sheets, you won’t have to spend too much if you want to give these a shot. They are the most affordable types of sheets you can find in the market today.
Top Rated and Recommended Microfiber Bed Sheets
1. Mellanni Brushed Microfiber Bed Sheet Set
- Has a lifetime guarantee
- 39 colors to choose from
- Has a deep pocket
One of the best things about the Mellanni Bed Sheet Set is that it’s unbelievably soft. It’s like sleeping on a cloud. Its softness is without peer. Aside from the softness, these sheets are also lightweight and thin. As long as it doesn’t get too hot where you stay, these sheets might even work well in the summer without making you sweat too much. But you do sweat, this set can wick the moisture from your body.
Caring for these sheets is a breeze as well. You’ll see that they don’t wrinkle at all, which is a big plus when you want your bed to look immaculate for as long as possible. The sheets should fit your bed well, as long as your mattress isn’t any thicker than 16 inches.
2. AmazonBasics Microfiber Sheet Set
- Boasts a deep pocket
- 20 colors to pick from
- Complete range of sizes
With the AmazonBasics Microfiber Sheet Set, you can now sleep on silky soft sheets without exchanging your soul to the devil. These polyester sheets are made with the thinnest fibers, which produces that soft feel on every inch of the sheets and pillowcases.
The great thing about polyester microfiber is that it hardly wrinkles, even if you leave your sheets in the dryer for a few minutes after it’s finished. Plus, the color should stay true to its color throughout the life of these sheets.
Top Rated and Recommended Cotton Bed Sheets
1) AmazonBasics 400 Thread Count Sheet Set
- Satin finish
- Elastic fitted sheet
- Gets softer with every wash
This set has a standard flat and fitted sheet and two pillowcases. The differences between these and its competitors lie in the finish, fit, and price. First of all, these are sateen cotton sheets, so they boast of a satin-like look and feel.
Secondly, the fitted sheet features elastic all around the edge to make sure that it has a snug fit on mattresses up to 20 inches thick. And finally, these are affordable sheets, especially when compared against other 400-thread count sheets.
2) California Design Den 400 Thread Count 100% Cotton Sheet Set
- Silky feel
- Fully elastic fitted sheet
These sheets from California Design Den, come in either a sateen or percale finish, but these are a mix of both. The fabric is nice and thick, which lends to its toughness, but it also has a silky, slippery feel.
For 100% cotton, they’re priced reasonably, but you might not like the feel from the beginning, which can be a bit rough. After a few washes, they do soften up.
Top Rated and Recommended Bamboo Bed Sheets
1) Royal Hotel Silky Bamboo Sheet Set
- 100% bamboo viscose
- 300 thread count
- 12 colors to choose from
The Royal Hotel’s Silky Bamboo sheets have the best value because they sell at a remarkably low price point of less than $60 without giving up either comfort or performance. These bamboo sheets are an ideal choice if you want to experience a soft feel and moisture-wicking comfort.
Royal Hotel makes these with ultra-soothing and plush bamboo viscose. It wicks away moisture 60% more effectively than cotton sheets that give you a cool and comforting sleep. Not only that, there’s a wide range of colors to fit any design or color combination you may have in mind and a warranty that covers any flaws in manufacturing.
2) Luxor Linens Bali Bamboo Sheet Set
- 40% bamboo, 60% microfiber
- 300 thread count
- Choice of 12 colors
The Luxor Linens Bali Bamboo sheets a fine luxury pick because the hybrid fabric mixes bamboo with microfiber for unparalleled softness that’s bolstered by an aloe vera infusion in the fabric. The microfiber and bamboo blend means the fabric is wrinkle-resistant and isn’t as high maintenance as other competing brands.
In addition, these are ultra-deep so they fit mattresses as thick as 21”. The full surround elastic keeps these comfy sheets in place! They are also moisture-wicking, cooling, and boast of attractive stitching and a full-envelope enclosure on the pillowcases.