Conventional wisdom about summer fabrics is simple – if you don’t want to sweat through your pants, linen is the go-to choice. The best linen sheets follow the same logic. Nothing says breezy in sweaty, hot weather than the temperature-regulating flax fibers that make up linen fabrics, which is why every bustling bed sheet maker — the kind you see in subway ads and hear on podcast mids — is soon starting to make them push when the temperature starts to rise in the sky.
Finding the best of the bunch to avoid full-body night sweats for months to come, we swapped out our crispest percale-cotton sheets for some linen (or hybrid fabric in one case) and waited to turn up the A/C to see what happened. Most were acceptable but some were really great. Here are a few things you should know if you want to invest in some.
What you should know before buying linen bedding
The main disadvantage of linen sheets: they are not cheap. Nearly $300 is a lot for a pair of sheets for a season, sure. But if you’re a hot sleeper – or sleep next to one every night – it’s hard to put a price on airy, breathable comfort, and they’re really worth the investment if you tend to burn at night.
Another less than ideal aspect is the texture. Although linen is among the most airy fabrics on the market, some can feel a bit like burlap depending on the weave and quality of the fabric. For this reason, many retailers pre-wash sheets before they even get to your door, as the fabrics can become softer and more worn with each wash. If you’ve ever rolled into an event in a perfectly washed linen suit, only to find yourself looking like crumpled tin foil within an hour or two, you know that the fabric is also very prone to wrinkling, which could put you off if you’re someone who’s in this matter is demanding. But there’s also something utterly imperfect about waking up on a gloriously rumpled bed and enjoying a lazy morning.
And while you may have heard somewhere that a higher thread count has a direct impact on the quality of your bedding, that’s really just marketing lingo. Linen sheets are best valued with a lower thread count because they’re less tightly woven and more breathable, according to certified sleep coach Daniel Neyod. Below are some of the best linen sheets we’ve tested that are perfect for getting through the summer. After putting these on your bed, you may just need to expose them one Leg in the air means this bedding does the job.
The best linen bedding overall
If the Brillo-like texture of coarsely hewn linen has completely turned you away from linen, we invite you to check out Parachute’s fine flax sheets, made in Portugal. Just outside the gate, they feel like a master class in high-quality, “guest-free” linens. They feel very smooth right out of the box and only get softer after you’ve thrown them in the wash a few times (but without being torn to shreds through a spin cycle or shrinking in the dryer). They’re close to $300 and may not be as breathable as the Cultiver set below, but we think they’re the best investment set for most people. That’s because they have a wide range (think a dozen colorways and sizes from twins to California kings) and will likely last you in the linen closet for years.
The best linen hybrid bedding
The feeling of a fresh top sheet falling onto your skin is truly an exhilarating feeling. Sleeping in the Kassatex Linen Bamboo Sheet Set feels a bit like this. The sheets are weightless and airy, seeming to float perfectly above you, even after a dozen flips and exposed leg changes (kudos to our fellow single-leg sleepers). The best way to describe them is to say they are springy and incredibly smooth. Due to their lack of scratchy stiffness, these sheets tend to wrinkle like crazy. But the creases don’t look dirty messy, more like beautiful-living messy.
The finest luxury linen bedding
Culliver isn’t just any all-around bedding brand offering all types of sheets, from tencel to flannel. They specialize in linen fabrics in particular, and their beautifully soft sheets feel truly superior in terms of feel and quality. Although slightly more expensive than the other picks on this list, Culliver’s threads are some of the best qualities we’ve had the opportunity to test: pre-washed for soft smoothness and available in 18 appealing colors and prints like the saffron color seen here. They feel like an heirloom worn over the years without sacrificing quality.
The best bedding for large beds
We’ve slept on quite a few linens, and Snowe’s linen sheets are some of the airiest we’ve encountered. They’re perfect for June temperatures (warm enough for open windows, but not quite time for the air conditioning), which are best managed by kicking both legs out from under the covers. And while they’re a bit too thin to sleep on all year round, their delicate fabric makes them perfect for the summer months.
The 9 best linen sheets for hot summer nights in 2022
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