Softer and more durable than cotton, nothing feels as luxurious as a well-worn set of linen sheets. Plus, with their open weave and excellent sweat-wicking properties, linen sheets are great to keep you cool heading into the warmer months of the year, or for regulating warmth along with additional layers in the winter.
To find the best linen sheets we tried out fifteen popular sets, sleeping on them, washing them repeatedly, and checking carefully for fit and manufacturing quality. All of the sheet sets we brought in were well-made, but we found five sets that, regardless of your budget and tastes, stood out for their softness, fabric weight, and simplicity of ordering.
The best linen sheets overall
Among the most luxe feeling we tested, the Parachute linen sheets have pleasant weight in hand and a unique texture. The Parachute sheets come in a broad range of colors and sizes, and each different piece of the bedding set is available individually for replacements or to mix & match with other fabrics.
A runner-up set of great linen sheets
The light and gauzy, but durable Citizenry sheets are a master class in stylish rest. Woven in a mill in Portugal from French flax, these have deep pockets and an amply sized top sheet to fit on any depth of bed.
The softest linen sheets
The Brooklinen sheets are soft and light, wicking heat away effectively for people who sleep warm, but still regulating heat nicely in cooler climates. Simultaneously high-end and already perfectly worn in, these were delightful from the first touch.
The best affordable linen sheets
The Simple & Opulence sheets held their own in comfort and design, with a soft feel out of the box, and lovely satin-stitched piping along the edge of the top sheet. The Simple & Opulence set has the weight and hand of much more expensive sheets, but come at nearly half the cost.
The best luxury linen sheets
Offering the best of all worlds, the Cultiver linen sheets feel elegant straight out of the box. Their fit on the bed is impeccable, and they only got softer with repeated washings. Available in more colors than any other sheets we tested, these are sure to satisfy nearly any taste or style.
We loved the Parachute Linen Sheet Set for its luxurious hand, and weighty feel in hand that most others we tested didn’t possess. They feel great right out of the dryer, and making the bed with these sheets was effortless, and for those who don’t want to commit to a full set from the start, they are also available piecewise.
We’ve struggled with tight-fitting cotton sheets before, wondering why bed-making must be laborious. The Parachute linens were roomy but not baggy. They fit the bed comfortably, and felt lovingly worn-in from the start. The sheets were soft but also firm––cool and luxurious, it felt like we were sleeping on a cloud. Our only gripe with this set was the tight fit of the pillowcases, barely closing around our standard pillows.
After laundering, the Parachute sheets softened and wrinkled — a lot. Although all the linen sheets we tested wrinkled after washing (it’s part of linen’s texture), these wrinkled more extensively than most. This didn’t cause problems on our bed, and is pleasant texture if you don’t mind a more natural, mesier look, and you can always iron them on a low setting if it bothers you. That said, the texture is part of the sheets’ luxurious, upscale feel. They also have OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification, meaning they have been independently confirmed to contain no “harmful substances” and are “harmless for human health.”
We also appreciate Parachute’s a la carte shopping options. For those who use only a duvet, you can purchase just a fitted sheet and pillowcases; a top sheet is a separate add-on. Fitted sheets and pillowcases are available separately too. Parachute sheets come in ample size and color offerings for a diversity of bed sizes and styles. This level of variety, plus a very elegant and plush sleep offering, elevated the Parachute brand to our top spot.
The Citizenry Stonewashed Linen Sheet Set smelled great upon arrival and felt equally great right out of the attractive packaging, though their feel was not as luxurious as Parachute’s. With gauzy construction, they’re lovely to slip into, and they softened substantially on first wash. We like that they come in a range of color and size options, too.
The Citizentry’s sheets are gorgeous. We appreciated the delicately perforated hem on the top sheet and the pillow, making the bed presentation feel like more of an occasion. These are light and gauzy (noticeably more so than Parachute), ideal for summer weather. After the first washing, these sheets softened significantly. They were surprisingly cozy and snuggly. These sheets are roomy widthwise, and may seem a bit baggy on slimmer mattresses. They would be a good choice for deeper mattresses.
Citizenry’s linen sheets don’t offer the breadth of choices that others do. They come in 12 colors, including neturals and subtle stripes, but they are available in just four sizes.
The Brooklinen Linen Core sheets were the softest linen sheets we tested, with much less of a rough fiber feel than anything else we tested. The Brooklinen set arrived already feeling worn in. They were easy to wash, exhibited minimal shrinkage after the first washing, and come in a broad array of size and color choices.
First and foremost, these sheets are the softest we tested. Crafted from French and Belgian linen, they are comfortable and enveloping. They felt like they had been washed and re-washed dozens of times, already achieving the sought-after worn-in texture that typically takes years to achieve. Along with the Citizenry, these sheets were the softest to the touch, even among linen sheets, which can have a reputation for roughness. The fabric is light and gauzy, making them perfect for hot sleepers or warm summer nights. The Brooklinen sheets are also Oeko-Tex certified.
We like the handful of thoughtful features added to this set that makes them easy to get on and off when making a bed. The fitted sheets are labeled “Short” or “Long” on each side, so you don’t waste time figuring out which end goes where, and the pillowcases have envelope closures that tidily punctuate your pillow so it’s not exposed beyond the case.
These sheets don’t offer as much purchasing flexibility as many of the other brands we tried as Brooklinen only offers the flat sheet and pillowcases for individual purchase. But conveniently, they are available in 6 sizes and 12 colors.
On the downside, the gauzy feel comes at the expense of material weight — the Brooklinen sheets feel thin, and we were able to see our pillows and mattress through the white set that Brooklinen sent for testing. Though they didn’t exhibit any troubling signs of wear and tear, the thin material raised some questions about long term durability, so we’ll keep an eye on them over time. Also, the Brooklinen sheets may be better suited to deeper mattresses, as they were relatively oversized on our slim mattress, and exhibited a lot of bunching after repeated nights of sleep.
The Simple & Opulence 100% Washed Linen sheets cost half as much as many of the sheet sets we tested, without compromising on feel or quality. For less than $150, this is a satisfying set of linens. The flat sheet is adorned with a satin-stitched hem along the top, for a refined touch. These sheets are a bit thicker than others we tried, but felt equally elegant, and were able to hold their own against higher-end options.
Out of the box, the Simple & Opulence sheets were cool and soft. They felt pleasant against the skin and every time we got out of bed, they left us wanting to get back in. They also fit the bed more snugly than most of the other sets, which was helpful during bed-making, and yielded a tidier-looking final product than others we tested. The Simple & Opulence sheets were slightly less luxurious than other sets we tested and a bit heavier, the high quality at a low cost makes them more than worth the weight.
Our only gripe about this sheet set was that they were a bit less soft than competitors, though even after a single wash, they softened up substantially, and we think they should break in nicely over time. The fitted sheet was snug on our mattress, and the top sheet was amply sized for tucking in crisp hospital corners.
The Simple & Opulence sheets come in four size options (twin, full, queen and king) and fifteen colors. They are available in individual fitted and flat sheets, though pillowcase sets are not available separately.
The Cultiver linen sheets were hands-down the best linen sheets we tested, with the most luxurious, substantial feel and a light weight in hand.. These sheets felt soft straight out of the box, and only softened with wear. They come in the widest variety of colors of any set we tested, and all of Cultiver’s bedding is sold piecewise or in sets.
The linen fabric Cultiver uses doesn’t have any of the scratchiness we felt with heavier linen sheet sets, and was forgiving on our skin. These sheets are also breathable, insulating when it’s especially cold, but also wicking heat effectively on warmer nights.
Each item in Cultiver’s set was perfectly constructed and sized. The fitted sheet is snug on our bed, without any excess fabric bunching in the middle of the mattress, or around the sides. And the pillowcases have an envelope enclosure on the back with ample overlap to fully cover pillows.
The Cultiver sheets are also the most versatile we tested. They come in seventeen color choices––more than any other set we considered. Cultiver makes it easy to mix and match bedding pieces to suit any preferences, too. They offer duvet sets, sheet sets, and a mixed fitted sheet and duvet set at a slight discount from the total cost of buying each piece individually.
It’s no surprise that linen sheets make up a lot of our list of the best luxury sheets. Cool to sleep in, and with a substantial, luxurious feel, linen also has a rougher surface texture with more visible and tactile variation than cotton, plus it wears well, getting softer with repeated washing and drying.
Made from flax, linen is a versatile material that makes some of the best sheets available. Since flax has coarser and longer fiber filaments than cotton, linen fabric can be woven more loosely and with a lower thread count than cotton while maintaining similar strength, which contributes to better breathability. Like cotton, linen is highly absorbent, but linen fabrics wick better than their cotton counterparts, making them good choices for warmer weather, or for layering with other fabrics for effective temperature control. Linen is also considered more durable than cotton, due to its stronger fibers, so a good linen sheet set is a worthwhile investment.
Unlike cotton sheets, which are typically soft to the touch from the beginning, linen can take several washings to break in (because its fibers are stiffer and less elastic than cotton’s), though linen still softens considerably over time. It also tends to wrinkle with washing and drying, so if you prefer an absolutely smooth look it might not be the best choice. Since linen’s fibers are stronger than cotton, it tends to last longer, so you’ll want to make sure you like the look and feel since you’ll likely have your bedding for a long time.
Over two years, we considered 25 sets of linen sheets using two primary criteria: quality and variety. We observantly unboxed each set and made notes, laundered them, made our bed multiple times with each set, and sleep tested our top contenders. We noted how they felt to touch, as well as when tossing, sleeping and waking up, and how they felt after laundering and reusing.
Quality and feel
- How they feel out of the box: Are they soft or rough? Thick or thin? Luxurious or flimsy? We evaluated the unboxing of each set of sheets on very tactile terms, asking the following questions: How do they feel in your hands? Is this a product you’d want to put on your bed, and against your skin?
- Comfort level: How do they feel to sleep on? We made notes on each set of sheets as to whether they were soft, stiff, cool, light, heavy or durable. And ultimately, how they affected a night of sleep.
- How they feel after washing: We evaluated if the sheets softened a great deal after washing and drying, and the wrinkle factor. We also measured each flat sheet before and after laundering, noting how much they shrank out of the box.
- Pill factor after sleeping or washing: We assessed if each set felt durable after multiple washing and drying cycles, and if the sheets began to pill or degrade. We also noted whether any sets were especially linty after a dryer cycle, or on our bed. (Note: None of these high-quality brands deteriorated at all during our testing process.)
- Fit on bed: We made at least one bed with each set of sheets, assessing how well they fit a bed, noting if they were tight or loose, gapping or sagging.
- Number of sizes: We evaluated how many different size options there were for each sheet brand (they all included at least full, queen and king, and those that offered twin, California king or other specialized sizes were awarded higher scores).
- Colors: We noted how many colors each sheet set was available in; some were available in only three or four, while others were available in upwards of twenty.
- Availability of individual replacements: We assessed whether you can buy individual sheets and pillowcases for each set for those who need replacements, want to mix and match colors or styles, or simply do not want or need a top sheet, for example.
The Saphyr Soft Washed Pure Linen sheets are subtle and sophisticated. They have a decorative frayed hem on the top sheet and the pillowcase that differentiates these from any other set we tested. With sheets available in four sizes (full, queen, king and California king) and five colors (Fresh White, Calming Cream, Blissful Blue, Simply Natural and Peaceful Pink), and sold individually. Saphyr came in a very close second to our runner-up, save for its slightly higher price point.
Starting at $107.98 at Land’s End
We didn’t find Lands’ End’s Garment Washed linen sheets as luxurious as some of the more boutique bedding brands. Out of the box, these linens felt soft, thick and already worn in a bit, like they’d been washed a few times already. They were very comfortable to sleep in, though less melty-feeling than the ones we ended up ranking higher, and they did get even softer after a few washings.
The Rough Linen sheets were stiff out of the box, but they were actually comfortable to sleep on. After one washing, though, the Rough Linen sheets softened significantly. These definitely felt like sheets you could sleep in, wash, dry and sleep in again for many years to come, like a favorite shirt. The brand’s relatively smaller variety of color options and its higher starting price were the primary reasons we didn’t rank these sheets among our absolute faves.
West Elm’s European Flax linen sheets were also rough and stiff, not unlike Rough Linen, which in this case also makes them feel more high-end. They fit the bed smoothly and tidily, unlike many of the other sets, which gapped around the sides. However, the texture sometimes felt rigid; during our first sleep on these, and a subsequent one after one laundering cycle, West Elm’s pillowcases felt almost scratchy against our faces. West Elm also doesn’t sell these sheets individually, but you can buy extra pillowcases.
The Snowe linen set was both soft and cool, helping to deliver a good night’s sleep. During our first night of sleep on the Snowe, we noticed that the material felt a little scratchy on our legs, and after one washing and drying cycle, somehow the sheets felt a little stiffer. The Snowe sheets also come in far fewer colors than competitors, and they do not offer separate replacement sheets (they do separately sell a pillowcase set).
Quince’s European Linen sheets seem well-made, and are among the most affordable linen sheets we tested, but they were scratchier than competitors, and certainly less soft than our recommended budget linen sheets from Simple & Opulence. They’re also somewhat less flexible than other options, with fewer colors to choose from, and exclusively sold in sets.
The Company Store Legends Hotel sheet set almost didn’t resemble linen at all. These sheets felt like cardboard, even after laundering, and didn’t wrinkle or soften at all in the dryer. We also noticed that after washing these sheets they had a bit of a lingering industrial smell when we put them on our bed.
We liked the Garnet Hill Solid Relaxed Linen sheets a lot. They are well-constructed, come in a broad array of colors, and are sold individually. That said, they were a bit rough after laundering, and compared to other sets we tested, they weren’t quite as luxurious to sleep with. These should soften quite nicely with time and wear, but we recommend softer options if that’s your main preference.
Magic Linen’s sheets were among the thickest and heaviest we tested. They released a ton of lint in the dryer (we had to clean the lint trap twice), and required multiple cycles to dry fully. These sheets are hefty––but not in a good way––and weren’t particularly soft. They offer a lot of flexibility in colors and sizing (including options for mattresses with deeper pockets), but we didn’t feel that was enough to push them over the edge.
Read more from CNN Underscored’s hands-on testing: