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Daniel Noyed

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For many people, flannel is a quintessential part of winter. Most commonly made of wool, cotton, or polyester, flannel has a characteristically fuzzy feel that comes from brushing out the fibers after the fabric is woven. This adds an extra layer of coziness and makes flannel sheets a beloved choice by sleepers looking to stay warm through the night.

Whether you plan to use flannel sheets to save on your heating bills or whether you just like the feel, we’re here to help, with a comprehensive guide to flannel sheets and a list of our top picks. All of our choices are 100 percent cotton flannel, which provides the best balance of softness and durability.

The Best Flannel Sheets

Product Details

Boll & Branch Flannel Patterned Sheets

Boll & Branch Flannel Patterned Sheets
Material:
100% organic cotton
Weave:
Flannel
Boll & Branch Flannel Patterned Sheets
Highlights:

Mad of 100% organic cotton, the Boll & Branch Flannel Sheet Set is great for those looking for a high-quality take on a classic flannel feel.

Who it's best for:
  • People who live in colder climates
  • Eco-conscious sleepers
  • People looking for multiple color options

The Boll & Branch Flannel Sheets are a high quality take on the cotton flannel design. Woven in Portugal, these sheets are made of 100% organic cotton, which makes for a more breathable style of flannel that still retains its warmth. The brushed, velvety finish of these sheets not only makes them soft to the touch, but also helps reduce wear and pilling, which can be a problem for flannel sheets in general. The sheets have been certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOLS), which is the industry standard for organic certifications.

Boll & Branch Sheets are produced using fair wages and minimizing water usage, making these a good choice for those who value humanity and sustainability.

The Boll & Branch Flannel Sheets come in four distinct neutral colors and seven standard sizes. The set includes a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and 1-2 standard or king pillowcases depending on the size you get. Boll & Branch also offers free returns for up to 30 days.

L.L. Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Sheet

L.L. Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Sheet
Material:
100% Cotton
Weave:
Flannel
L.L. Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Sheet
Highlights:

The trusty LL Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Sheets are pill-resistant and breathable, treated with a special technique to make them extra-soft and backed by a year-long sleep trial.

Who it's best for:
  • Those who use flannel all year long
  • People with sensitive skin or those who prefer a silkier feel
  • Sleepers who want a full year’s trial period

Woven in Portugal, the LL Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Sheet Set is available in a generous range of bright earthy tones such as driftwood, mineral green, and silver sage. The breathable sheets are made of 100 percent cotton and have a medium weight that makes them suitable for use in summer as well as in winter.

Together with the team in Portugal, LL Bean has developed a way to remove excess fibers in order to give the sheets a smoother feel. The result is a set of hardy, pill-resistant sheets that keep their color and softness over time, even with repeated washing. The sheets are available in twin, full, queen, or king sizes and hold OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification.

During the first year, if you decide the sheets aren’t for you, you can send them in for a full refund. After this time, LL Bean will only accept returns of sheets that present defects in materials or workmanship.

eLuxury Flannel Sheet Set

eLuxury Flannel Sheet Set
Material:
100% Cotton
Weave:
Flannel
eLuxury Flannel Sheet Set
Highlights:

The affordably priced eLuxury 100% Cotton Flannel Sheet Set features a lightweight design that’s suitable for year-round use.

Who it's best for:
  • Those who prefer lightweight flannel
  • Shoppers looking for great value
  • People who appreciate easy-to-care-for linens

The eLuxury 100% Cotton Solid Color Flannel Sheet Set is a sturdy and practical addition to any home. Made of 100 percent cotton flannel, the sheets are available in a range of elegant colors including white, grey, ivory, light blue, and navy blue, as well as paisley patterns.

Due to their lightweight feel, the eLuxury flannel sheets are not limited to the winter months, but are also breathable enough to be comfortable in summer. This makes them a cost-effective choice for those who want to avoid investing in seasonal sheet sets.

The fully elasticized fitted sheets are 15 inches deep and should fit well on most mattresses, even those that are taller than average. Free of harmful substances, eLuxury flannel sheets are quick-drying and can be washed in cold water and tumble-dried on low heat. eLuxury sells these sheets in twin, full, queen, king, and California king sizes.

Malouf Portuguese Flannel Sheets

Malouf Portuguese Flannel Sheets
Material:
100% Cotton
Weave:
Flannel
Malouf Portuguese Flannel Sheets
Highlights:

Malouf Portuguese Flannel Sheets are double-napped for a thick and luxurious feel, and backed by a 5-year warranty.

Who it's best for:
  • Anyone who wants durable and versatile flannel sheets
  • Socially conscious consumers
  • Customers who appreciate a long warranty

The Malouf Portuguese Flannel Sheet Set is a luxury sheet set made from 100 percent cotton. Slightly napped on both sides for exceptional softness and durability, it’s representative of the high-quality flannel for which Portugal has become known. The sheets are thick and heavyweight, and resistant to pilling and lint.

The Malouf Portuguese Flannel Sheet Set is suitable for mattresses up to 18 inches tall, and color choices include coffee, oatmeal, pacific, or white. Customers can purchase either entire sheet sets or only pillowcases, and the bedding is sold in California king, king, split king, and queen sizes.

Caring for these sheets is easy. They can be machine-washed on the gentle cycle, preferably apart from polyester garments to avoid pilling, and tumble-dried on low heat. Malouf recommends taking out the sheets while they’re still damp and finishing up with line-drying.

Malouf is a Certified B corporation that commits to a positive social and environmental impact. The Portuguese Flannel Sheet Set comes with a 5-year warranty, which is rare for bed sheets and provides peace of mind in the event of manufacturing or workmanship defects.

Mellanni 100% Cotton Flannel Sheets

Mellanni 100% Cotton Flannel Sheets
Material:
100% Cotton
Weave:
Flannel
Mellanni 100% Cotton Flannel Sheets
Highlights:

This thick, double-napped Mellanni Flannel Cotton Sheet Set promises to keep you warm in the winter, and offers a forever sleep trial in the rare event you don’t love it.

Who it's best for:
  • People who sleep cold
  • Shoppers on a budget
  • Those who want extra time to test out the sheets at home

Mellanni is a well-known name in the bedsheets market, and the Mellanni Flannel Cotton Sheet Set promises to deliver the excellent value for money that customers have come to expect from the company. Double-napped, with a weight of 160 grams per square meter, the sheets are thick and heavy, perfect for the coldest months of the year or for those who live in cool climates. As an added bonus, they are breathable and hypoallergenic.

The Mellanni flannel sheets are sold in all the standard mattress sizes and come in a range of colors including white, burgundy, and other colors and patterns. The fitted sheet is fully elasticized for a better fit. As with most cotton flannel, the sheets can be machine-washed in warm water on the delicate cycle with a mild detergent. Drying should be done on the delicate cycle with warm or medium heat.

Mellanni ships the sheets for free to customers in the U.S. The company also offers a rare “forever” sleep trial so you can take your time to see if you really love the sheets. Unsurprisingly, the sheets are also covered by a lifetime warranty.

What is Flannel?

The origins of flannel are thought to date back to 16th-century Wales, where it was made using carded (untangled) sheep’s wool. This heavy, smoothed-out yarn was woven in a thick weave, usually twill or plain weave, and then almost always brushed, or napped. The method resulted in a durable fabric that was soft and warm, even getting softer over time.

Flannel spread to the U.S. in the 1800’s, where it played an important role in protecting chilly workers in trades such as railway construction and logging. Throughout the 20th century, flannel was used by a wealth of wide-ranging populations including the army, the working class, outdoor enthusiasts, and the Seattle grunge movement. The fabric eventually spread to the mainstream, and the plaid flannel shirt is now considered a staple in the American wardrobe.

No longer relegated to freezing outdoor jobs, cozy flannel is now a popular choice for winter bed sheets and pajamas. Today’s flannel sheets come in a diverse range of materials, including cotton and microfiber.

How to Choose Flannel Sheets

Flannel is a fairly general term, and flannel sheets vary widely in quality and feel depending on factors like their weight and what material they’re made from. We’ll dive into how flannel sheets are made and what to look for when buying to help you can narrow down your choices.

What to Consider When Buying Flannel Sheets

We’ve made a list of the most important things to keep in mind when buying bed sheets. Some of these are inherent to every type of bed sheet, while others more specifically apply to flannel. Luxury prices aren’t always a promise of higher-quality materials, but with a better understanding of these factors you’ll be able to see past the marketing jargon and hone in on the best bang for your buck.

  • Material: Regardless of their weave, all sheets made of a certain material tend to have some common characteristics. Cotton is breathable, wool is warm and moisture-wicking, and polyester microfiber is wrinkle- and stain-resistant. Flannel sheets can be made of any of these fibers, but most people find that cotton flannel provides a happy medium between warmth, softness, and breathability.
  • Weave: Common sheet fabrics such as percale or sateen are defined by their weave, which plays an important role in determining the feel and properties of the sheets. In contrast, flannel can be made of any of a number of weaves, most often twill weave or plain weave. The principal factor that makes it flannel is that it be woven in a way that confers warmth without sacrificing breathability.
  • Feel: The feel of a sheet set is most affected by the material and the way it’s woven together. Flannel gets its “fuzzy” feel from being napped, a technique in which the fabric is brushed after it’s woven. Flannel sheets can be napped on both sides or just one side, and the napping can be heavy or light. Sheets with a long nap on both sides are usually the softest and warmest, as the nap traps more warm air.
  • Fit: While most bedsheet sets are tailored to fit the standard mattress sizes, it pays to double-check because not all manufacturers sell their sheets in all sizes. Additionally, mattresses with a higher-than-average profile may require deep-pocket fitted sheets. As with other types of cotton sheets, cotton flannel often shrinks the first time it is washed. Many manufacturers pre-shrink their sheets or make them a little bigger to compensate for this.
  • Price: Sheets come in every budget, starting at around $20 and reaching into the hundreds for luxury sheet sets. The price of your flannel sheets will depend on what material they’re made of, whether they are organic and ethically made, and how they’ve been treated – whether double-napped, sheared, brushed, etc. You can usually expect to pay between $100 and $200 for a good flannel sheet set.
  • Weight: Unlike other types of sheets, flannel sheets are measured by weight instead of thread count. Described in grams per square meter (GSM), the weight gives you an indication of the durability and warmth of the sheets. Heavier sheets (around 170 gsm) are usually more durable and retain more warmth, while lightweight sheets (around 135 gsm) will sleep cooler. Of course, this also depends on other factors such as what material the sheets are made of.
  • Design, Color and Pattern: We all want our sheets to match our bedroom, and the good news for flannel lovers is that flannel comes in limitless designs, from the traditional plaid to solid colors and other prints. That said, the colors on offer may be limited depending on the type of flannel.
  • Breathability: The breathability of your sheets mostly depends on how loosely they are woven and the quality of the fibers. Loose-woven fabrics or long-staple fibers tend to allow more room for air to pass through. The fabric itself also plays a role. Wool is hands-down the most breathable type of flannel due to its ability to wick moisture away from your body. Cotton is also quite breathable, while some synthetic materials may have you waking up in a pool of sweat.
  • Durability: Compared to other types of sheets, flannel sheets are fairly durable and don’t normally tear as easily. However, because of its brushed fibers, flannel can be vulnerable to pilling. Some manufacturers recommend adding vinegar to the first wash cycle to enhance their durability and keep the fabric soft.
  • Ease of Care: Ease of care is especially important for bed sheets, which need to be washed regularly. Care instructions for flannel sheets vary according to the material, but most can be machine washed in cold or warm water, and dried on low heat or line-dried.

What Types of Flannel Sheets are Available?

Originally made from wool, flannel has since branched out and can now be found in a variety of materials. While all flannel sheets share broad advantages, such as their insulating ability, each material brings its own additional benefits and drawbacks.

  • Cotton: Cotton flannel is soft and lightweight, making it a common choice for bed sheets. Cotton flannel bed sheets will perform differently depending on the cotton staple and the tightness of the weave, so it’s smart practice to check these details before purchasing. Low-quality cotton sheets are known to pill quite easily and have a shorter lifespan.
  • Wool: Wool is the original flannel material, and arguably still the best. Known for its unbeatable moisture-wicking properties, good-quality wool is warm, lightweight, strong, and practically dry to the touch even when it’s full of moisture. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the more expensive materials, and is hard to find in sheets, being more often used in blankets and mattress comfort layers.
  • Synthetic: Synthetic flannel, usually made from polyester microfiber, is stain- and wrinkle-resistant, durable, and easy on the wallet. However, it may not feel as soft and luxurious as flannel made from natural fibers, and it’s often treated with flame-retardant chemicals to reduce its natural flammability.
  • Blend: Some flannel manufacturers blend cotton and polyester in an effort to reap the benefits of both. Blended flannel can be softer and warmer than polyester flannel, and more resistant than cotton flannel. The addition of synthetic fabrics can also help reduce wrinkling and stretching.

What are the Pros and Cons of Flannel Sheets?

Soft and fuzzy flannel is a favorite with many people, especially in winter. However, hot sleepers may not be so enthusiastic about its warm and cozy feel. Here are some of the main pros and cons of flannel.

Pros Cons
Warm: Flannel sheets can be either lightweight or heavyweight, but both will keep you warmer than equivalent sheets in another weave, especially if napped on both sides. It may even keep you warm enough to avoid using a blanket in the shoulder season.

Soft: The raised fibers have a fuzzy feel that many people associate with snuggling up in bed during the long winter months. For maximum softness, look for sheets that are napped on both sides.

Breathable: Wool flannel is the most breathable type given the natural moisture-wicking properties of wool. However, cotton flannel and lightweight micro flannel can also be relatively breathable.

Durable: Flannel requires a bit of special attention, but if properly cared for, it can be one of the more durable fabrics.

Prone to pilling: Flannel pills more easily than other types of sheets due to its exposed fiber ends. Using care when washing and drying can help reduce pilling and prolong the longevity of your flannel sheets.

Don’t sleep cool: Most people buy flannel to keep warm, and although lightweight flannel is fairly breathable, it still traps some heat. If you’re a hot sleeper, a better choice would be a breathable weave such as percale.

Who is Best Suited to Flannel Sheets?

Flannel sheets are primarily chosen for their cozy feel and ability to keep sleepers warm. They’re often used as a supplement to a heavier comforter or duvet, and can even suffice on their own in moderately cool weather. Because flannel made from wool or cotton is also relatively breathable, some sleepers may opt to use lightweight flannel sheets year-round.

Despite their advantages, flannel sheets aren’t for everyone. Sleepers who tend to run hot or those who live in warm climates will likely find that flannel traps heat and makes for an uncomfortably warm night. Hot sleepers usually prefer breathable percale or linen sheets.

Flannel requires careful washing and drying to prevent pilling and wrinkling, which may be frustrating if you’re short on time. If this is a concern, synthetic flannel made from polyester or microfiber is the way to go.

What is the Ideal Weight for Flannel Sheets?

Instead of using thread count like other types of sheets, flannel sheets are measured in grams per square meter (GSM). This describes the weight of the sheets, with implications for the material’s breathability and warmth. Of course, the materials used to make the flannel also have an impact on its durability and feel. Synthetic micro flannel sheets are usually more lightweight.

The most expensive flannel is heavyweight flannel, which weighs at least 170 gsm, or 5 ounces per square yard. Due to its tighter weave, heavyweight flannel is more durable and less likely to pill. It also traps more heat, which for many people is the aim of buying flannel sheets. That said, beware of sheets that are exceedingly heavy with coarse fibers, as this usually indicates poor-quality sheets.

By contrast, lightweight flannel refers to flannel that’s lighter than 135 gsm. This flannel is more breathable and retains less heat, but it’s likely to pill more easily and usually has a shorter lifespan. Flannel that lies between these two extremes may be the most suitable for those who plan to sleep with their flannel sheets all year long.

More Frequently Asked Questions About Flannel Sheets

  • What is the typical price range for flannel sheets? Synthetic flannel sheets start in the $20 to $30 price range, with cotton flannel coming in between $50 and $150, and wool costing significantly more. The price can vary depending on quality, country of  origin, and other factors.
  • How long do flannel sheets last? Like other good-quality sheets, flannel sheets can last for years if properly cared for. Of all vices, flannel sheets are most vulnerable to pilling, especially if washed in too-high temperatures or mixed with zippers or synthetic fabrics in the machine. This doesn’t mean you should refrain from washing your flannel sheets regularly – quite the opposite. Just be careful to follow the care instructions to the letter to avoid premature pilling.
  • How do I wash and care for flannel sheets? Synthetic and cotton flannel can usually be machine-washed and dried on low temperatures, while wool flannel may require dry-cleaning. Most manufacturers recommend avoiding fabric softeners and bleach, and using less than the recommended amount of detergent to prevent product residue. To avoid pilling of the exposed fiber ends, some also recommend adding vinegar the first time you wash your napped flannel sheets. Taking the sheets out of the dryer before they’re completely dry may help reduce wrinkles. Always follow manufacturer instructions to get the best results, and don’t be scared if you see lint in the dryer the first few times you dry the sheets. This is a natural by-product of the napping process.
  • What is napping, and why do I want it on both sides of my flannel sheets? Napping refers to the practice of brushing the fiber ends with a metal tool, raising them to create small air pockets which insulate against the cold. Most flannel is napped on at least one side, and many sheets are “double-napped,” or napped on both sides, to increase their warmth and softness. The length of the nap will also affect the feel, and higher-end sheets may be sheared after the napping process to make them even smoother.
  • Where do the best flannel sheets come from? Portugal is most reputed for the quality of its flannel, due to a combination of expert craftsmanship and high-quality long-staple cotton. Germany is a close second, and England is not far behind.