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Cheap Sheets Buying Guide
A new set of sheets may feel smooth and soft -- until you slide between them after a few washes. Cheap sheets are notorious for pilling, popping off the corners of the mattress, or puncturing beneath the claws of a rambunctious pet.
Inexpensive sheets are often sold in sets, rather than as separate fitted sheets, flat sheets, and pillowcases. Royal Velvet Pure Perfection sheet sets, sold at JC Penney, (starting at $50 for a queen) come in a multitude of colors and emerged as our top choice among the cheap sheets we researched. They also sit at the top of our price range, but sheet reviews posted online note the quality for the money. Elite Home makes cotton sheets (starting at $40) in several patterns, such as stripes, paisley, and even leopard, as well as solids. Consumers say these sheets wear well and feel soft. Target sells cheap organic cotton sheet sets under its Target Home brand name (starting at $44). Admirers call them soft and smooth, but the quality and durability consumers expect from cotton sheets appears lacking. Sheet sets from well-known designers such as Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein and lines such as Croscill and Charisma run well into the mid-range price-wise, even on sale, but you can sometimes find discontinued lines or colors on eBay for a song.
Cheap Sheets Fabric and Thread Count.Even if you stick to cotton, a common sheeting material, you can choose a percale or sateen weave, or opt for jersey or flannel. Percale sheets are crisp and cool, with a matte finish, while sateen sheets have a luster and a soft, almost slippery finish. Percale sheets have a reputation for durability and might be a little stiff at first, but they get softer after a few washes. The cheap sheets we picked are all cotton sateen, which should feel soft right out of the package. (Still, it's a good idea to wash any sheets before you use them.) Jersey sheets promise the feeling of sleeping in your favorite T-shirt, and flannel sheets keep you warm and cozy as you slip into bed on cold winter nights. Generally speaking, jersey and flannel sheets are cheaper than woven cotton, but all of these types of sheets can be found at all price points, depending on the quality of the cotton and the thread count.
Conventional wisdom holds that the higher the thread count, the denser, softer, and generally more expensive the sheets. However, experts say you can find high-quality sheets with low thread counts, and certainly vice versa. What matters more is quality of the cotton. Ideally you want to look for so-called long-staple cottons, such as Egyptian and Supima, although they can be difficult to find in this price range. One exception is Royal Velvet Pure Perfection sheets. Consumers posting sheet reviews at JC Penney praise the smooth, soft feel of the 325-thread-count Egyptian cotton against their skin.
A word of warning: Particularly at higher thread counts, cotton can wrinkle easily. Reviews of all the cheap sheets we researched include reports of wrinkling. Drying sheets on low heat and pull them out of the dryer immediately should help prevent wrinkles from setting in. Several brands of cotton sheets feature some sort of wrinkle treatment, but they are usually more expensive. To combat wrinkles, some manufacturers blend cotton with a synthetic such as polyester, which does not breathe as well as 100% cotton but doesn't need ironing.
Several consumers who have posted sheet reviews at Overstock say the Elite Home cotton sheets don't wrinkle very much after laundering. While some consumers complain in sheet reviews on Amazon that the Elite Home sheets are a bit on the stiff side initially, they seem to soften up after the first washing.
The Target Home sheets are made of organic cotton, which should be free from chemicals and feel soft right away. Most consumers who have posted sheet reviews at Target call these cheap sheets quite soft, at least at first (some mention that certain colors are softer than others). Complaints abound, however, that the sheets begin to pill after laundering, which gives them a scratchy feel. That leads us to the question of durability.
Cheap Sheets Durability.The most durable sheets give you the best value for the money. Cotton sheets that are made well, laundered correctly, and rotated often should last for 10 years or more. Of course, most sheet reviews come from consumers who haven't owned their sheets for nearly that long. However, many issues with the Target Home organic cotton sheets arose after the first laundering, according to reviews. Aside from pilling, which is mentioned quite frequently, consumers have reported that the stitching comes undone, seams open up, the fabric frays after abut a year, or holes wear through after only a few months. Even so, one reviewer has used the sheets for about three years with no signs of excessive wear.
In reviews of Royal Velvet Pure Perfection sheets, users say the fabric is substantial, the color doesn't fade, and they see no evidence of pilling or fraying after several washes. Reviewers of Elite Home sheets relay varying experiences. Consumers posting sheet reviews on Amazon consider the material good quality, noting its thickness. Elite Home sheets seem to present no problems with pilling or fraying, although one reviewer complains that the threads too easily get caught on cat claws. More worrying are several sheet reviews on Amazon saying the color fades after a few washes. To help avoid that, it's best not to wash or dry cheap sheets at high temperatures, which can weaken the fibers as well.
Cheap Sheets Depth.There isn't any standard sizing for the depth of a mattress. Oversize pillow-tops are popular and even regular mattresses seem to be getting deeper. Before you buy cheap sheets, measure your mattress to make sure the pockets of the fitted sheet will fit. Having elastic all the way around helps keep a sheet from popping off a corner. That's one of the features consumers rave about in reviews of the Royal Velvet Pure Perfection sheets. The manufacturer promises a 17-inch pocket, and consumers say that's accurate. They've found that the fitted sheet stays tucked underneath the mattress and the top sheet is plenty large enough. Elite Home sheets earn positive feedback on fit as well. For the most part, consumers who have posted reviews on Amazon say the pockets are deep enough to fit their mattresses, although others question the listed 17-inch depth, saying it's a struggle to get the fitted sheet on the bed. The Target Home organic cotton sheets purport to fit mattresses up to 18 inches deep. While one reviewer confirms that the fitted sheet covers a 15-inch mattress just fine, another complains that the flat sheet is so short it couldn't be tucked in.
Best Cheap Sheets
Royal Velvet Pure Perfection Sheets
These 325-thread-count sheets are made from Egyptian cotton, a long-staple variety that delivers a soft feel. Reviewers compare them favorably to sheets with higher thread counts and higher price tags. This set fits mattresses up to 17 inches deep, and elastic all the way around keeps the fitted sheet from popping off the bed.Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Good Cheap Sheets
Elite Home Cotton Print Sheets
Elite Home sheets come in solid colors as well, but the reviews we read praise the patterns for the way they brighten up the bedroom. These 300-thread-count sheets are made to fit mattresses up to 17 inches. Reviewers find the sheets soft and comfortable and say they wrinkle less than other cotton sheets.Read Full Review and Compare Prices »
Target Home Organic Cotton Sheets
While reviewers laud the 325-thread-count organic cotton for being soft at first, some say pilling after laundering makes the sheets scratchy or the seams come undone. These sheets are meant to fit mattresses up to 18 inches deep, but some consumers complain that they shrink in the wash.Read more »
Elite Home Cotton Print Sheets Review
Royal Velvet Pure Perfection Sheets Review
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