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With cold weather already at our doorstep, it’s time to start thinking about our plans for a successful winter hibernation. Aside from the usual suspects (blankets, candles, books, etc.), a surefire way to turn your bedroom into a cozy den is to invest in flannel sheets, which are typically heavier, definitely warmer, and much softer than your average cotton bedding. But which ones are worth buying? To answer this question, I’ve enlisted the help of our pro shopping editors and writers at Apartment Therapy to do the hard work of sleeping on all these flannel sheets and determining which are the best of the best. Read on to see our tried-and-true picks for flannel sheets, and get ready to bundle up and stay that way until March.
What to Consider Before Buying Flannel Sheets
First of all, let’s talk about what exactly flannel is. Flannel is a fabric that has a napped finish due to either a special brushing technique or from its loosely spun weave. While older versions of flannel were made with wool, nowadays pretty much all flannel is made from cotton, although there are less expensive options made from polyester (also known as micro flannel). Flannel is known for its plush softness and heavier weight, making it an ideal choice for colder weather. It also tends to come in patterns, particularly nostalgic plaid.
If you’re a hot sleeper, you might be inclined to avoid flannel altogether — but thanks to manufacturing technology and modern textile design, you don’t have to. While cotton flannel is more breathable than micro flannel, the fuzzy surface is designed to trap heat, so “cooling” and flannel don’t really exist in tandem. That said, some flannel sheets come thinner or even more loosely woven and are actually breathable.
If you tend to get chilly or really want to embrace that cozy life, make sure your flannel sheets are made of 100 percent cotton and have a lighter weight, or are between 120 to 170 GSM (grams per square meter). Unless you’re in a cabin or without sufficient heating, ditch your comforter and opt for a light quilt. You could, alternatively, invest in just a flannel duvet cover or blanket to achieve the flannel effect without going all in. Most of our flannel sheet winners also come in duvet covers.
Flannel is easy to take care of, but you do have to follow a few rules. Historically, pilling has been just a fact of life with flannel bedding, but there are now modern processes brands use to prevent it, and there are steps you can take at home to minimize the issue further. Make sure you wash your sheets in cold or warm water on a gentle setting, and dry on low heat (you’ll want to avoid high heat on all accounts). Also note that flannel is prone to some initial shrinking, so many brands will purposely add extra fabric to their sizes to account for it.
The main certification that’s important to this list is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, which means the bedding is free of harmful synthetics and dyes. Another you’ll see mentioned in our list is GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), which certifies the ecological and social responsibility with which textile products are made.
What We Look For in Flannel Sheets
We tested a wide range of cotton flannel sheets, judging them on the following criteria:
Warm and weighty, Coyuchi’s simply amazing Cloud Brushed flannel sheets are our best overall pick. They’re cozy without being stuffy, come in a range of beautiful colors and prints, and rival the most expensive flannel sheets we tried when it comes to softness, weight, and quality. They’re also organic and consciously made. The velvety finish is smooth and pill-resistant, and you have seven different colors to choose from, ranging from a fresh spring white to an autumnal ginger, so they’ll work all year round. Apartment Therapy shopping editor Blair says, “I’ve only owned one pair of flannel sheets in my life, which I did like a lot, but I admittedly had nothing else to compare them to — that is, until I got Coyuchi’s version, and I’ll never look at my prior set the same. I love Coyuchi’s because, yes, they add an extra layer of warmth to my bed, as all flannel sheets do, but their unparalleled softness really makes them superbly next-level. What’s fascinating, too, is that they’re fairly thick but still feel especially breathable — which, as a habitual hot sleeper, I SO appreciate.”
Who It’s Best For: Those looking for the softest sheets around; those who want something breathable; those who are picky about color; those who want something organic.
Good to Know: Even the packaging is eco-friendly — all sheets come in a reusable organic cloth bag.
*Honorable mention: Kassatex’s new flannel sheets sold out pretty immediately, but in anticipation of a restock, we have to share that our commerce director Mark touts them as “silky soft” and noted that they “didn’t cause me to overheat, unlike other sheets I tested. I usually stick to white sheets but the heather grey added a sophisticated touch to my bedding. Highly recommend.”
When the cold sneaks up on us and we need to grab a good set of cozy sheets ASAP without spending over $100 on a set, the G.H. Bass Cotton Flannel sheet set is our hero. Printed in festive plaid or our favorite wintry moose trail, these festive sheets are perfectly weighted, 100 percent cotton, and easily machine washable. AT strategist Pari says they’re “extremely breathable and heavyweight, which I absolutely love.” Having already been a fan of flannel sheets, Pari was surprised to discover the quality look, feel, and construction of the G.H. Bass sheets and quickly made them her go-to for winter. “I’m officially a convert. These are honestly the best sheets I’ve ever used!!”
Who It’s Best For: Those who don’t want to spend too much for a solid set of cozy sheets; those who want sheets as holiday season decor.
Luxury sheets do the most without cutting any corners for the sake of price point. If you’re in the market (or even just the mood) for the ultimate investment in long-term self care, these Garnet Hill Hemstitched Supima flannel sheets are your best choice. Available in a range of colors that work seasonally and year-round, these sheets are a welcoming and beautiful addition to your bedroom decor. The unique American-grown Supima cotton flannel material makes it the softest and warmest we tried while also being organic, sustainable, and traceable as it’s crafted by a family-run mill in Portugal. “THESE SHEETS ARE RIDICULOUS. They are SO amazing!” AT partnerships director Camey, a hot sleeper who previously had yet to find flannel sheets that worked for her, raves about this set. “First, the fabric is SO soft. I actually tested them while staying with my parents, who own a lot of flannel bedding from a variety of brands. We compared them against the Garnet Hill sheets and the Garnet Hill ones were by far the nicest and softest. In addition to being incredibly soft, they are also very lightweight. The part about these sheets that I liked the most was that they were so breathable. I am a very hot sleeper (sometimes waking from night sweats), and I didn’t experience any overheating at all, so that is a HUGE win. Also, the flannel pillow cases are a game changer — so soft on my face.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who want plenty of color options; those who sleep hot but love the softness of flannel; those who prefer to purchase sheets individually vs. as a set.
Good to Know: Supima is “superior pima” condensed, and it’s known as the cashmere of cotton. Garnet Hill treats their Supima with a velvet finishing process, turning the cashmere of cotton into the cashmere of flannel. Could there even be anything softer?
Out of the packaging, Casper’s flannel sheets don’t seem like your typical flannel. They’re thicker than classic cotton sheets, of course, but almost thin compared to traditional flannel sheets. At first look and touch, they almost seem like a luxe set of seriously soft cotton sheets. But don’t be fooled — these are flannel sheets designed to insulate heat and keep you warm all night long, they just don’t add the extra bulk under your duvet to do so. So, for those who sleep cold and love to be swaddled in insulation without the risk of overheating, this set is the best bet. As a cold sleeper myself, I found these sheets to be extremely cozy. With the addition of the Casper weighted blanket, I sleep still and soundly through the night…so well, in fact, that I almost don’t want to get up in the morning. Commerce director Mark, who was new to flannel sheets before testing the Casper set, notes that while flannel sheets are heavier than the cotton and linen ones he’s used to, it “gives them an extra cozy factor. They’re also soft and feel good against the skin, and the extra weight of the sheets somehow makes my bed feel a little more comfortable and inviting.” He does sleep hot, though, and prefers another one of our winners. So, if you’re like Mark, take a peek at our next winner below. If you’re like me and tend to get cold at night or use lots of covers, it’s Casper all the way.
Who It’s Best For: Those who want insulation; those who want something organic.
Good to Know: You can use non-chlorine bleach on Casper’s flannel sheets, but only if necessary.
If you’re not totally sure about flannel or haven’t considered it simply because you already sleep hot, Riley Home’s flannel sheets are a great place to start your flannel journey. Apartment Therapy news and culture director Tara describes them as “almost crisp,” with a lighter weight that feels closer to regular cotton sheets than others on this list. They’re still soft and cozy, of course, and they’re also reversible for a more versatile style. Another bonus? The fitted sheet has deep pockets and those helpful tags on the side that say “side” so you know which is the long way. Brand planning manager Billy also tested these as someone who tends to heat up during the night. He says, “I tend to get hot when sleeping, but these flannel sheets are great for a cold fall night. Excited for the winter months ahead! The material seems to be very high quality — I have a feeling they will stand the test of time.”
Who It’s Best For: Those who want something versatile and lightweight; those who sleep hot; those who are new to flannel sheets.
Good to Know: While it lasts, you can get an extra 20% off Riley Home’s already reduced Last Chance prices with code LAST20 at checkout.
Boll & Branch’s sheets are truly luxurious, with an impressively soft, weighted feel. They’re also totally breathable and resistant to pilling, two features you should expect when the price is this steep. Boll & Branch uses traditional weaving and processing methods to perfect their flannel, making it velvety soft without being stuffy. Made with Fair Trade cotton, these have earned certifications from some of the top judges of organic and non-toxic textiles. Luxurious and consciously crafted, they’re the perfect flannel sheets for those whose definition of “the best”includes environmental consideration. AT partnerships director Laina calls these “the perfect fall sheets. I love the feel of flannel sheets but not too thick and hot,” she continues. “These are perfect combination of lightweight and breathable with that favorite flannel feel. Just the first touch of them make you get so excited about getting inside. They stayed the same perfect soft touch after washing them.”
Who It’s Best For: The eco-conscious; those looking for something luxurious; those looking for unusual sizes.
Good to Know: These sheets are available in unique sizes like Split King and Twin XL.
*Honorable Mention: The organic flannel sheets from West Elm are an extremely close runner up, being supremely warm as well as eco-friendly. Apartment Therapy special projects manager Diane calls them “incredibly soft to the touch and even softer after the first wash! They are pretty heavyweight and extremely insulating.”