The Best Flannel Sheets Are the Bedding Equivalent of Your Favorite Sweater
As temps dip, ticking stripes and plaid will keep you cozy.
Published Aug 20, 2021 1:30 AM
Nothing says “cozy” quite like a set of flannel sheets. For Elizabeth and Lindsay Fair of Salem, Massachusetts–based interior design firm Dwell October, the style evokes a particular sense of feeling snug on cold nights. “Our mom put flannel sheets on our beds every winter growing up, so [they] have such a nostalgic, comforting association for us,” the sisters say. A great transitional fabric, flannel is heavier than virtually every other popular bedding material, so it is sure to keep you warm as fall and winter approach. For Boston interior designer Annsley McAleer, flannel sheets also do more than just function well in cold weather; they can play up a ski-house vibe. She pairs them with vintage quilts and hand-knit blankets.
If you’re on the hunt for a set of the best flannel sheets to turn your bedroom into a comfy retreat, look no further. Here are our favorites, in a variety of colors and price points. Trust us—even the chilliest nights are no match for these.
- Best overall: Garnet Hill Signature Flannel Bedding
- Best value: Mellani Flannel Sheet Set
- Best organic: Coyuchi Cloud Brushed Flannel Sheets
- Best Supima cotton: L.L. Bean Premium Supima Flannel Sheets
- Best heavyweight: Pinzon Heavyweight Velvet Flannel Sheet Set
- Best stripes: Garnet Hill Cozy Ticking Flannel Bedding
- Best check: L.L. Bean Ultrasoft Flannel Sheet Set
- Best plaid: Pinzon Plaid Flannel Bed Sheet Set
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Material: In 16th-century Wales, where it’s believed to have originated, flannel was made from wool. Now you can find flannel made from cotton, wool, or synthetic fibers. Most flannel today gets its texture from a process called brushing, in which a metal brush rubs the fabric to raise fibers from the surface.
Weave: Unlike cotton sheets, where quality is often associated with a high-thread count, flannel sheets are measured according to weight per ounces. Look for a set with a per-weight heft of about 5 ounces for maximum warmth and durability.
Care: Flannel sheets can often pill, which is why it’s important to follow the laundering instructions carefully—most manufacturers recommend washing in lukewarm water and then line drying. If you’re placing them in the dryer, set it on very low heat.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Garnet Hill Signature Flannel Bedding
Best Value: Mellani Flannel Sheet Set
More than 8,000 people have reviewed this well-priced set, with 65 percent of buyers rating it a 5-star purchase. They sheets are available in eight colors—ranging from pale pink to inky navy blue—and two patterns, including a classic plaid and a holiday-ready snowflake print. We also love that they come in the rarer Twin XL size, making them a great option for anyone outfitting a dorm room. Made from 100 percent cotton, more than one reviewer crowned these the best sheets ever.
Best Organic: Coyuchi Cloud Brushed Flannel Sheets
Best Supima Cotton: L.L. Bean Premium Supima Flannel Sheets
L.L. Bean is headquartered in Maine, a state that takes winter seriously. Is it any wonder, then, that the company would be a go-to option for high-quality flannel sheets? These are made from Supima cotton, which is both stronger and softer than regular cotton and less likely to pill. Shoppers can’t get enough of these sheets, with 94 percent of buyers saying they’d recommend them. The six hues take their inspiration from wintry beach scenes, with shades like Sandbar (a goes-with-everything neutral) and Bluegrass (the perfect muted aqua).
Best Heavyweight: Pinzon Heavyweight Velvet Flannel Sheet Set
Best Stripes: Garnet Hill Cozy Ticking Flannel Bedding
Best Check: L.L. Bean Ultrasoft Flannel Sheet Set
Best Plaid: Pinzon Plaid Flannel Bed Sheet Set
What’s the best way to prevent pilling?
The first time you wash flannel, add a little bit of white vinegar—a half cup to be precise. This will help the fibers from pilling and keep the color vibrant. If your flannel sheets are only in use a few months of the year, make sure to shake them out and refold during the spring and summer, which will also help loosen any clingy dust or fibers contributing to pilling.
How long should quality sheets last?
A perk of good flannel sheets is that they’ll get softer (and warmer!) the more they’re washed, though you might see more vibrant colors start to fade. Most experts suggest replacing them after around three years, though that depends on how often you’re using them—a quality set of flannel sheets cared for properly can last four or five years.
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