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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
Boll & Branch Flannel Sheet Set
Who it’s best for:
- People who live in colder climates
- Eco-conscious sleepers
- People looking for multiple color options
- Premium, 100% organic cotton
- More breathable than many flannel sheets
- Sustainably produced
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.
Sheets & Giggles Flannel Sheet Set
Who it’s best for:
- People who enjoy sleeping with flannel sheets throughout the year
- Those who own high-profile mattresses in a full size or larger
- Sleepers prone to night sweats
- Tencel-cotton blend maximizes softness and breathability without sacrificing insulation
- Moisture-wicking fabric helps you stay dry on hot or humid nights
- Available in three colors and four sizes
Many flannel bedding sets provide adequate insulation on chilly nights, but you may find them too warm during hotter or more humid times of the year. Each component of the Sheets & Giggles Flannel Sheet Set is made from a fabric blend consisting of Tencel and cotton. The former is a eucalyptus-derived material known for exceptional breathability and moisture control, so these sheets should sleep noticeably cooler than bedding composed of 100% cotton flannel. Tencel is also luxuriously soft, and the flannel is brushed to further enhance this quality.
Full, queen, king, and California king sizes are available. All sets come with a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and two pillowcases. The fitted sheet’s 20-inch pocket depth makes the set compatible with virtually any mattress made today, including luxury pillow-tops and other high-profile models that are too tall for standard-pocket sheets. You can also choose from three muted colors to accent your bedroom decor. When you want to clean these items, machine wash them in cold water on a delicate cycle, then tumble dry on low heat.
The Flannel Sheet Set is competitively priced and Sheets & Giggles offers free standard delivery throughout the contiguous U.S. Your order includes a sleep trial that runs for 90 nights. If you aren’t satisfied with the sheets, your return shipping is also free of charge.
LL Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Sheet Set
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
- Resistant to pilling and wear
- Extra soft feel
- Gets even softer with every wash
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.
The Company Store Legends Hotel Velvet Flannel Sheets
Who it’s best for:
- Those who want a full bedding set that includes sheets, pillowcases, and a duvet cover
- People with mattresses up to 16 inches thick
- Shoppers with limited budgets
- Crafted from mid-weight cotton for a cozy, ultrasoft feel
- Collection contains seven individual items
- Sets available in 14 solid colors
Those who need a complete bedding set at a reasonable price should consider the Legends Hotel Velvet Flannel Sheets from The Company Store. The collection includes a flat sheet, fitted sheet, duvet cover, pillowcases, and pillow shams. Those who don’t need all of these items can customize their order by purchasing the items they need, as they are all sold individually. Additionally, the set is available in 14 different colors. These include classic neutrals, earth tones, and more vibrant options such as brick red, dark teal, and amber.
Each component is made of 100% cotton. As its name implies, the bedding has an exceptionally soft and cozy feel – even compared to other flannel sheets. The velvety finish also preserves the fabric over time and minimizes pilling.
The set is fully machine-washable for quick and easy care. Wash in a gentle cycle with like colors and non-chlorine bleach, then tumble dry on low heat and remove the items as soon as the cycle is finished. The fitted sheet’s pocket depth allows you to use the set with any mattress up to 16 inches thick, a range that covers most models sold today.
Whether you purchase Legends Hotel Velvet Flannel bedding separately or as a set, the price-point is very reasonable. The Company Store also offers free shipping for orders of $50 or more, including each available size for the complete collection. You may return the set within 90 days of the delivery date.
Best Temperature Regulating
Quince Luxury Organic Flannel Sheet Set
Who it’s best for:
- People with sensitive skin
- Anyone with a mattress up to 16 inches thick
- Shoppers looking for a sheet set with a lengthy sleep trial
- Thick organic cotton offers a comfortable balance of coziness and breathability
- Flannel is brushed on both sides to create a luxuriously soft hand-feel
- All orders include a generous 365-night trial and return period
If you’re in the market for high-quality flannel bedding but shopping with a limited budget, the Quince Organic Flannel Sheet Set is right up your alley. Each item in this collection is composed of organic cotton flannel, which is brushed on both sides to produce an exceptionally soft hand-feel. With a weight of 5.3 ounces per yard, the sheets are thick enough to provide excellent coziness and insulation, but the cotton is naturally breathable and shouldn’t overheat on hot or humid nights.
Five sizes are available. Twin size sets include a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and one pillowcase, while larger sets feature all of these components and an additional pillowcase. You can also choose between two colors, white or light grey. The fitted sheet has a pocket depth of 16 inches, making the set compatible with most mattresses sold today. All items in the set are fully machine-washable. Wash in cold water on a gentle cycle, then tumble dry on low heat. Alternatively, you can arrange to have the set dry cleaned.
In addition to its accessible price-point, the set qualifies for free standard shipping with all U.S. orders. Quince’s sleep trial is one of the longest in the online bedding industry, allowing you to test the sheets for up to 365 nights before deciding whether to return them or keep them. If you opt for the latter, you’ll also receive a 1-year warranty against material defects.
Best Deep Pocket
Linens & Hutch Flannel Sheet Set
Who it’s best for:
- People with sensitive skin
- Those who own mattresses up to 16 inches thick
- Shoppers with limited budgets
- Brushed cotton flannel has a luxuriously soft hand-feel
- Fitted sheet has deep pockets to accommodate relatively tall mattresses
- Available in six neutral colors
Many people rely on flannel sheets to provide warmth and insulation during chillier times of the year. The Linens & Hutch Flannel Sheet Set nicely toes the line between breathability and coziness, making this collection ideal for year-round use. Each sheet and pillowcase is composed of cotton flannel that has been brushed to relax the fibers and give the fabric an exceptionally soft feel. The cotton is also naturally wrinkle-resistant to give your bedding a tidy, elegant look.
Five sizes are available. Twin sets include a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and single pillowcase, while larger sets feature all of these elements as well as an additional pillowcase. The fitted sheet has a pocket depth of 16 inches, making it compatible with most mattresses made today. You can also choose from six neutral colors to complement your bedroom decor, as well as a wide selection of patterned designs. Each item is fully machine-washable for quick and easy care.
The Flannel Sheet Set is affordably priced and shipping is free for customers in the contiguous U.S. Linens & Hutch offers a generous 101-night trial period with all bedding purchases. You may return the sheets during that time frame if you are not satisfied, even if you’ve used and laundered them.
Standard Textile Flannel Sheet Set
Who it’s best for:
- Hot sleepers
- People with sensitive skin
- Those who own mattresses measuring up to 16 inches thick
- Brushed flannel is ultra-soft
- Above-average temperature control
- Budget-friendly pricing
Cotton flannel is a popular bedding material because it sleeps cool during hotter times of the year but also insulates against the cold when temperatures dip. The Standard Textile Flannel Sheet Set takes comfort a step further by using brushed cotton, an exceptionally smooth material with a soft hand-feel that is optimal for people with sensitive skin. This set has also earned the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certification, meaning the sheets and pillowcases do not contain any harmful chemicals.
Customers can choose from four solid colors, as well as two attractive check designs. Six sizes ranging from twin to king and California king are also available. The fitted sheet is compatible with mattresses measuring up to 16 inches thick, which comprises the majority of models sold today. Each item can be laundered in your household washer and dryer, making the set easy and cheap to clean.
The price-point for the Flannel Sheet Set is very approachable and Standard Textile will ship for free anywhere in the contiguous U.S. Returns are accepted within 90 days of your original purchase, even if you’ve slept on or cleaned any of the items.
Peacock Alley Egyptian Cotton Flannel Sheet Set
Who it’s best for:
- People who enjoy the soft feel of flannel
- Shoppers who prioritize durability and quality
- Those seeking cozy sheets that won't trap excessive heat
- 100% Egyptian cotton is brushed for softness
- Accommodates beds up to 17 inches thick
- Sheets may be washed and dried by machine
Softness goes hand in hand with all flannel sheets, but the Egyptian Cotton Flannel Sheet Set from Peacock Alley is a particularly cozy set. The fabric and construction give these sheets a luxuriously soft feel.
The sheets are made with 100% Egyptian cotton, a long-staple variety of cotton that is known for its high quality and durability. The fabric is naturally breathable, which is not always the case with flannel sheets, and the brushed design produces an exceptionally soft feel that keeps you cozy without overheating.
All sets include a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and pillowcases. The fitted sheet is meant to accommodate beds up to 17 inches thick, so this is compatible with most mattresses on the market. The flat sheet and pillowcases feature a simple yet elegant 4-inch cuff. You can choose between four different color options – white, light grey, chambray, and stripe. The sheets are machine-washable on a cold, gentle cycle, and you may tumble dry on a low setting. Some shrinking may occur upon washing, but you can reduce shrinkage by using cold water and low heat.
Peacock Alley backs these sheets with a 30-night sleep trial, during which customers can return unused sheets for a full refund. Shipping is free to the contiguous U.S. Shipping rates are applied on orders to Alaska and Hawaii.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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