We Spent 3 Months Testing Linen Sheets—Here Are the 10 Best Sets We Found

The set from The Citizenry is our top pick.

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Real Simple / Sabrina Jiang

Like mattresses, the type of bedding you own can affect the quality of your sleep. While often pricier than bedding made from other types of materials, a good set of linen sheets provides natural body temperature regulation and gives your bed a sophisticated yet organic look.

To help you find the best quality linen sheets, especially since most bedding companies only offer refunds or exchanges on unused sheets, we spent three months measuring, washing, drying, and sleeping on linen sheets from 30 different brands — including Brooklinen, Saatva, Parachute, and Magic Linen — to find the best ones. Based on our testing, the sheets from The Citizenry came out on top, thanks to their incredible softness.

Read on to see our other top picks for hot sleepers, cold sleepers, and everyone in between.

The Best Linen Sheets

  • Best Overall: The Citizenry
    Supreme softness combined with a lovely, medium heft make these sheets our top pick.
  • Best for Hot Sleepers: Bella Notte
    Bella Notte's artisan sheets excel in temperature regulation.
  • Best for Cold Sleepers: Coyuchi
    These heavier-than-normal linens provide more warmth for sleepers who run cold at night.
  • Best Year-Round: Magic Linen
    The right amount of heft makes these linen sheets perfect for all seasons.
  • Best Lightweight: Saphyr
    These sheets are lightweight and beautifully soft, creating a super comfortable sleeping experience.
  • Best Heft: Saatva
    Saatva's luxurious linens are refreshingly hefty while still retaining their softness.
  • Best Softness: Parachute
    European flax makes these sheets the softest in our set.
  • Best Splurge: Libeco
    These famous Belgian linen sheets are some of the highest quality linens available.
  • Best Value: Bokser Home
    The quality of Boker's affordable linen sheet set outranked some of our higher priced linen sheet sets we tested.
  • Best Colors: Piglet
    Piglet's linens are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns that you can mix and match.

How We Tested

We tested linen sheet sets from 30 popular bedding brands for three months. First, we consulted with textile experts, read through dozens of customer reviews, and surveyed editors to create a list of the top contenders.

Once we received the sheets, we measured them and made a bed to note the fit of each set out of the box. Then, following the care guidelines provided by each brand, we put every sheet set through an initial wash and dry cycle and noted any signs of pilling, wear, shrinkage, and any changes in softness and texture. Then, we slept on each set for two nights, recording our thoughts on look and feel, comfort, and effectiveness at regulating fluctuations in body temperature. We washed each set between nights of sleep, and then a third and final time, each time noting any changes in texture, appearance, and size. Finally, we looked at the range of colors and patterns available and compared each brand's warranty and return policies.

For the next several months, we'll continue to use the linen sheets that made our list of top picks to see how they perform over time.

Best Overall: The Citizenry

linen bed sheets

Softness rating: 5
What you'll love: They're incredibly soft right out of the box.
What you should know: The fitted and flat sheets were oversized.

Incredibly soft with an average heft—a term that refers to the weight of the fabric—these 100 percent French flax linen sheets will appeal to most sleepers. The sheet set's softness is a result of stone washing, a technique that helps cut through the coarseness of the fabric, which also creates a relaxed, lived-in look. Plus, they're lightweight, breathable, and durable—and will actually get better after each wash.

On the downside, our reviewer noted that there was some shrinkage after tumble drying them on a low heat setting. Though the brand's return policy specifies that bedding must be unused, you can order swatches to see if you like the look and feel before you invest in a set.

Rachel Center, Product Reviews Writer, Home

As soft as they were out of the package, these sheets got even softer after washing. There was some shrinkage after tumble drying them on the low heat setting, but the color didn't fade and there was no pilling.

— Rachel Center, Product Reviews Writer, Home

Best for Hot Sleepers: Bella Notte

linen bed sheets

Softness rating: 4
What you'll love: The lightweight fabric doesn't produce any excess heat.
What you should know: These linens aren't sold in a set, rather separately.

Bella Notte's lightweight linens are ideal sheets for hot sleepers. Unlike many other sheets we tested, these came out of the dryer practically wrinkle-free. Since the brand's sheets are made in small batches and dyed to order, it could be a couple of months before you receive your order but it's worth the wait. Available in 18 beautiful colors like pearl, cenote blue, and honeycomb, the bedding isn't sold in sets, so you'll have to buy the flat sheet, fitted sheet, and pillowcases separately.

Bronwyn Barnes, Senior Product Reviews Editor

Bella Notte's linen bedding felt like the kind of sheets you'd sleep on at a luxury hotel. They were so buttery soft against my skin and even though they are lightweight, I stayed comfortable despite fluctuations in my body temperature throughout the night.

— Bronwyn Barnes, Senior Product Reviews Editor

Best for Cold Sleepers: Coyuchi

linen bed sheets

Softness rating: 2
What you'll love: A heft that will appeal to cold sleepers and anyone looking to use their linen sheets year-round.
What you should know: These sheets were one of the least soft sets we tested.

What Coyuchi's linens lack in softness they more than make up for in heft, making them the perfect cold weather sheets. In addition to being one of the thickest sets we tested, they were also among the most textured, and didn't soften much over additional washes, something to consider if you have sensitive skin. Coyuchi uses 100 percent organic French flax linen, and the brand offers a 30-day return and 1-year exchange policy, even if the sheets have been washed or used.

Rachel Center, Product Reviews Writer, Home

Though they had a rougher texture than most of the other sheets, I still found them to be quite comfortable, and actually liked the weighted feeling when I was tucked in. The fitted sheet and pillowcases did shrink over time, so I'd consider ordering a size larger than my mattress.

— Rachel Center, Product Reviews Writer, Home

Best Year-Round: Magic Linen

linen bed sheets

Softness rating: 4
What you'll love: The sheets are durable and well-made.
What you should know: The brand only accepts returns on unused, unwashed bedding in the original packaging with tags attached.

If, throughout the night, you tend to experience fluctuations in body temperature, these sheets will keep you comfortable and wick away sweat. Although they were a bit stiff and scratchy at first, the sheets softened considerably with each wash. We also noticed that over the course of a few months, the fitted sheet—which is available in two mattress depth options—and pillowcases shrunk considerably.

Bronwyn Barnes, Senior Product Reviews Editor

I was pleasantly surprised by the fabric's moisture-wicking properties, which kept me cool when I got hot in the middle of the night.

— Bronwyn Barnes, Senior Product Reviews Editor

Best Lightweight: Saphyr

linen bed sheets
Rachel Center

Softness rating: 5
What you'll love: They're light, crisp and get softer with each wash.
What you should know: The distressed edges are aesthetically pleasing but could wear over time.

Light as a feather without being flimsy, Saphyr's linens were sturdy and showed no signs of wear throughout our testing process. The brand's pre-wash process delivers optimal softness, but considering the fabric's lack of heft and natural breathability, they're more suited to use during warmer months. If after a few nights you decide they're not right for you, return the bedding for a full refund.

Rachel Center, Product Reviews Writer, Home

Though I loved the look of the distressed edges, they tended to bunch up in the dryer and would have to be ironed out. The sheets were lightweight and kept me cool even when I slept under a weighted comforter.

— Rachel Center, Product Reviews Writer, Home

Best Heft: Saatva

linen bed sheets

Softness rating: 4
What you'll love: The combination of heft and softness.
What you should know: The sheets are only available in three colors.

Available in most mattress sizes—including Twin XL and California King—we found that Saatva's linen sheets run large. Made of 100 percent Belgian flax, natural slubs give the fabric a textured feel. The brand offers a 45-day return policy and a 1-year warranty, giving you up to one full year to send back your set if it wears or tears.

Rachel Center Product Reviews Writer, Home

These sheets felt light and luxurious but had a nice heft. The oversized fit meant that there was excess fabric in the length of the pillows, the fitted sheet was too big, and the flat sheet touched the floor.

— Rachel Center Product Reviews Writer, Home

Best Softness: Parachute

linen bed sheets

Softness rating: 5
What you'll love: The brand accepts returns on used bedding within 60 days of receipt.
What you should know: The set includes a fitted sheet and pillowcases, so if you want a top sheet you'll have to pay more.

If softness is your biggest priority when it comes to bedding, the Parachute set is for you. Made from European flax, the sheets are free of harmful chemicals and synthetics, come in 10 neutral color options, and are great for year-round use. If they're not folded or ironed right out of the dryer, you'll notice significant wrinkles.

Bronwyn Barnes, Senior Product Reviews Editor

I loved the feel of the Parachute sheets but was frustrated by the amount of wrinkling, which caused the back of the envelope pillowcases to gape.

— Bronwyn Barnes, Senior Product Reviews Editor

Best Splurge: Libeco

linen bed sheets
Bronwyn Barnes

Softness rating: 3
What you'll love: They don't shrink much over time.
What you should know: The linen sheets aren't offered as a set.

In the linen world, Libeco is renowned for creating an exceptional product. The brand has been in operation since 1858 in the Flanders region of Belgium, which is largely considered to be the flax (what linen is made of) capital of the world. The linen sheets are soft, great at temperature-regulation, and, unlike many of the other sets we tested, didn't shrink over time. This quality comes with a higher price tag, and the flat sheet, fitted sheet and pillowcases are sold individually rather than as a set.

Bronwyn Barnes, Senior Product Reviews Editor

The Libeco sheets are pricier than the others I tested, but definitely worth the splurge. They're well-made with just the right amount of heft to make them a good option for year-round use.

— Bronwyn Barnes, Senior Product Reviews Editor

Best Value: Bokser Home

linen bed sheets

Softness rating: 5
What you'll love: The fitted sheet has deep pockets and top and bottom directional labels that make it easy to make the bed.
What you should know: Sheet sets are only available in queen, king, and California king.

With prices starting at $199, the brand's queen sheet set is a great value for your money. The texture of the fabric is creamy and delicate but showed no signs of wear or damage over multiple washes. We found the sheets to be surprisingly breathable and soft considering the affordable price, and our impressions were echoed in the many five-star reviews on the brand's website. The pillowcases have a back envelope closure, which create a clean look but need to be ironed after drying.

Bronwyn Barnes, Senior Product Reviews Editor

The Bokser sheets scored high marks in every category, including look, feel, fit, and durability.

— Bronwyn Barnes, Senior Product Reviews Editor

Best Set: Piglet

linen bed sheets

Softness rating: 3
What you'll love: You can mix and match colors to create a custom sheet set.
What you should know: The brand only accepts returns on unused bedding.

Piglet's rustic linen sheets are available in a variety of both vibrant and muted colors—including burnt orange, blueberry, deep teal and midnight stripe—that can be mixed and matched to create your own custom set. The fitted sheet was a bit snug on the mattress after the first wash, but relaxed after subsequent washes. The brand offers free swatches, so that you can test the look and feel before you buy.

Bronwyn Barnes, Senior Product Reviews Editor

The texture is both light and cozy, and I loved the look of the contrasting colors of the flat and fitted sheet on my bed.

— Bronwyn Barnes, Senior Product Reviews Editor

What To Know About Linen Sheets

Linen is a natural fabric that helps regulate your body temperature while you sleep.

One unique standout aspect of linen is that it is naturally temperature regulating. Preeti Gopinath, Associate Professor of Textiles at Parsons School of Design and self-proclaimed "textile nerd," explains: "It does not cause us to heat up, unlike polyester or rayon, because it is a breathable fabric. Let's say you do heat up….what linen will do is actually absorb that heat up and away from your body." Hot sleepers who often struggle to find bedding that keeps them sweat-free while sleeping will enjoy the natural cooling properties of linen.

Linen should get stronger over time.

According to Edward Reisert, National Sales Director of Libeco, who also teaches an Interior Design Continuing Education Council-certified module on linens, the fabric gets stronger over time. "Most fabrics have the highest tensilestrength (or tear strength) when they are woven, and as you use them, the tensilestrength begins to lessen, and eventually fabrics will tear. The tensile strength of linen increases with use, which is unique."

Linen bedding tends to shrink.

Most of the linen sheets we tested shrunk over time, either by a little or a lot. When pouring over customer reviews for the brands we tested, we saw complaints about sheet sizing, with many customers noting that the sheet set they bought was too big for their bed. According to Gopinath, linen sheet sets are often larger than sheets made of other materials because brands account for shrinkage.

If you get a sheet set that fits perfectly or is a little snug and worry about shrinkage, consider ordering the next size up to compare how much excess fabric there will be. If the return policy allows, you can also wash your linens to see how much they shrink over a few washes. We found that shrinkage was most noticeable with pillowcases, especially those with envelope and housewife folds.

The best linen comes from Belgium and France.

We found that the softest, most durable linen sheets are made using flax plants from France or Belgium. Reisert compares the process of growing flax for linen to winemaking. "The French and the Italians, why do they make such good wine? They've perfected the art of winemaking, and that same idea holds true when you create a fabric. Belgians became experts in weaving because that fiber was growing literally in their backyard."

In Belgium, specifically the Flanders region, topography, and climate create the ideal environment for growing flax. According to Reisert, flax fibers can grow upwards of five feet tall compared to about 12 inches elsewhere in the world. "Longer fibers in any natural fabric make for better fabric."

Taking care of linen is easy.

"Linen is a pretty hardy material," says Gopinath. "It's less likely to tear in the washing machine and can handle quite a lot." However, linen isn't safe from harsh chemicals. Reisert advises not to use bleach or other products that contain chlorine or enzymes. Always use a gentle detergent when washing linens.

If you want to go the extra mile in caring for your linen, consider washing your sheets separately. "Linen is much more absorbent than other fabrics," says Reisert. "If you have too much absorbency with linen, you can end up with just wet and dirty fabrics in your washing machine without it getting clean." As for drying, Reisert recommends putting your sheets in for 20 minutes to start and seeing how dry they are, then continuing the cycle if need be. "Linen loses its moisture a lot faster, and part of the wearing and tearing of fabrics is all the tumbling and drying."

Linens should get softer over time,

"Usually, you have to wash linen several times before it gets that buttery softness that people talk about," says Gopinath. So if you purchase a set of linen sheets and don't feel the softness you're looking for right out of the package, know that that's normal. If softness is of supreme importance, look for brands—like Saphyr, Parachute, and The Citizenry—that pre-wash or garment wash their sheets to achieve a lived-in feeling.

Other Linen Sheets We Tested

Baloo: The deep pockets on the fitted sheet fit snugly on the mattress, but the stonewashed linen felt a little thin. These are best suited to hot sleepers rather than cold sleepers or those whose body temperature fluctuates throughout the night.

To buy: From $279; balooliving.com

Buffy: Buffy's linen sheets are made using hemp, not pure linen. While the sheets softened with washing, our tester noted a clear difference between the look and feel when comparing them with traditional linen sheets.

To buy: From $279; buffy.co

Sijo: We were delighted with the color and heft of Sijo's linens. Unfortunately, there was an inconsistent fit with all of the pieces of the sheet set on a queen-size mattress.

To buy: From $188; sijohome.com

Brooklinen: With all the hype surrounding Brooklinen, we had high hopes, but we found the brand's linen sheets to be thin and scratchy.

To buy: From $170 (was $199); brooklinen.com

Rough Linen: The stitching and construction impressed us, but the scratchy texture of the fabric was, as the brand's name implies, a little too rough for our liking.

To buy: From $297 (was $330); roughlinen.com

Bed Threads: The Bed Threads sheets excelled at temperature regulation, but the fabric's texture left a lot to be desired. Throughout our testing, they remained stiff, and rather than soft, they felt slippery.

To buy: From $220; bedthreads.com

Pottery Barn: Pottery barn fit our tester's queen bed quite well, but in the end, the sheets did not do a great job of wicking away the moisture when our tester became hot during the night.

To buy: From $249; potterybarn.com

Cultiver: A pleasant not-too-rough, not-too-soft texture felt like cozy chambray against our tester's skin, but the blousy fit meant the fitted sheet bunched up during the night.

To buy: From $385; cultiver.com

Tuft & Needle: We liked the affordable price, but the fabric was coarse even after the first wash.

To buy: From $175; tuftandneedle.com

Quince: The weave is suitable for year-round use, but the traditional-style open pillowcase barely covers a standard pillow.

To buy: From $130 (was $239); onequince.com

Amazon Simple & Opulence: A good starter sheet set, this Amazon option required several washes before they started to relax.

To buy: From $114; amazon.com

Garnet Hill: The fabric felt thin, and we noticed that the color started to fade after just a few washes.

To buy: From $217; garnethill.com

West Elm: West Elm offers a great variety of colors and patterns, but their linen sheets were too scratchy for our liking.

To buy: From $180; westelm.com

The Company Store: Right out of the package, we found imperfections in the linens, including loose threads and piling, and later on after the first wash, a small hole.

To buy: From $204; thecompanystore.com

Linen Tales: Though the fabric was high quality, this set felt more like table linens than bed sheets.

To buy: From $199; linentales.us

Linoto: The brand offers custom linen sheets for sleepers who want the perfect fit or color, but the set we tested felt heavy and coarse.

To buy: From $299; linoto.com

Morrow Soft Goods: After a few washes, we enjoyed sleeping on these sheets but noted that they were thinner and not as soft as our favorite sets.

To buy: From $229; morrowsoftgoods.com

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