I think you'll agree with me when I say:
It's REALLY hard to buy quality bedding when there's a million choices at a million different price points.
But it doesn't have to be..
Why is it so hard?
Bamboo Sheets have become increasingly popular in recent years because of their unbelievable softness, silky smoothness, and cloud like breath-ability.
The only problem is, there's so many. Some good, some bad, and plenty of differences you might not have noticed.
And trust me there are quite a few.
You only need to go on Amazon, type in bamboo sheets, or 100% bamboo sheets and see exactly what I am talking about.
So which is it Amazon? If they are all highly rated, why bother spending over $100?
If this was actually the case, this article would be much shorter.
On Amazon now there are an absurd amount of incredibly cheap bamboo sheets, and sheets that are priced over $250.
So what gives?
How are you supposed to be able to pick out a pair of good quality sheets using just pictures (that are sometimes fake) and a small description?
I've spent years in the bedding industry and can tell you that by following this buying guide; you will have the best chance at getting luxurious bamboo bed sheets.
Starting with material, what is the difference between 100% bamboo, a blend, and viscose?
1. 100% bamboo sheets: The standard, if you are buying something that isn't a 100% bamboo viscose or 100% bamboo rayon, you really are setting yourself up for a bad pair of sheets.
Bamboo Rayon and viscose often have a lot of misinformation spread. I get emails from people all the time asking specifically for one or the other. They basically mean the same thing.
Rayon is a classification of semi synthetic textile, Viscose is regenerated cellulose, you can get from bamboo and other sources. Without going too much into the process since you can find it here in another post that explains why bamboo is soft. Bamboo is chopped up and pulped, dissolved, and then milled into a a soft fluffy material that is then spun into fabric.
Having your sheets be 100% bamboo sheets, is critical because you only get the benefits of crazy softness and smoothness using it.
2. Bamboo cotton blend, Bamboo polyester, bamboo microfiber: What you are getting is a more sturdy, cheaper fabric, at the expense of softness and comfort. Bamboo sheets are not the most durable on the market, anyone that claims that isn't being honest.
If you want sheets that will last a lifetime, I would look to linen. My grandmother still has a set of linen sheets from eons ago. They just don't feel like bamboo does.
Like a bright burning star, bamboo sheets are out of this world in terms of silky softness. And like that star, they eventually burn out. But not without years of unparalleled comfort.
3. Bamboo Linen: A fabric made with both bamboo and linen it has a linen look with a very bamboo breath-ability and softness. We were actually the first to start selling bamboo linen duvet covers, via our Kickstarter and it seems to have caught on.
No sheets from this material yet, but really the main reason we made it is because we love the look of linen. The only problem with linen is it is too scratchy and takes forever to really loosen up and get soft.
So we made a hybrid that combines both linen and bamboo. It's pretty awesome if you too like the look of linen for a duvet cover.
4. 100% Bamboo Lyocell: It uses a similar process to 100% bamboo but it is a little more eco-friendly. It was made in a time (rayon was invented in 1924) where rayon was quite hazardous to produce on the environment. Today the process has been dramatically cleaned up.
In most ways its very similar to 100% bamboo so buying this material will yield the same results.
How to choose the best weave for you.
There two main weaves on the market that you can purchase.
Twill and sateen.
Twill, in my opinion the best weave for bamboo sheets. It is a loose weave and identified by a diagonal rib. It should be pretty easy to spot, just look closely and if the fabric appears to have a bunch of single lines all going the same direction, its twill.
You can see it in a close up above of the bamboo sheet set.
Twill is sturdy, super soft, and does not pill nearly as easy as other weaves. Pilling is caused by tiny threads breaking and balling up.
When it starts it won't stop and before long you will be sleeping on an incredibly uncomfortable sheet filled with tiny thread balls.
Sateen, is a weave that is one yarn under, 3 over. It's not an ideal choice for bamboo sheets but not because it isn't comfortable. It's actually smoother and more silk like than twill.
The main problem with sateen is pilling. It just isn't a very sturdy weave and won't last.
You can spot a sateen weave by its very flat looking appearance that is tight, thin, and silk like.
The risk is much higher for pilling since there are more exposed threads which makes it smoother but that exposure means that each thread has a higher chance of breaking.
If that smoothness is too enticing, and it is unreasonably smooth like silk. You must take extra measures to care for them properly.
Thread count! The tried and true method.
Using a listed thread count is an amazing way to get good sheets.
But not in the way you would think.
The only time you use thread count, is to weed out poor quality sheets.
You can disqualify sheets over an unreasonably high thread count, but you can't use thread count to decide between sheets with reasonable numbers. Actual fiber quality counts more than a stated number.
Just as an aside, you can also throw "Egyptian cotton" out the window as well. It means basically nothing today, since everyone started using it arbitrarily.
Thread count is the amount of threads in a square inch of fabric.
It quit being a relevant indicator of quality sheets years ago. With the introduction of dishonest manufacturers double and triple counting individual plies that make a thread, its no longer a good indicator.
See above for diagram made by nourluxury to see how they count individual plies.
Lucky for you, if you see anything over 800 you can basically discount it as being poor quality. Amazon is littered with 1000 thread count and even 1800 thread count bamboo sheets as well as cotton sheets.
Even if it was possible to have bamboo sheets at 1800 thread count. They wouldn't feel like your sleeping on a cloud.
If great quality sheets can be had with a thread count of 300. Does is it logically make sense by thinking stuffing 6 times that amount will make the fabric softer in some way?
A crazy high thread count (if genuine) suffers the same set backs as sateen. More tiny delicate threads mean a much higher risk of pilling.
Bed bath and beyond was sued and they had to settle over the use of artificial thread counts.
This isn't a conspiracy, a woman sued after buying 800 thread count sheets, but they felt scratchy so she got them tested and it was only a 408 thread count.
Bed Bath and Beyond, can't get away with it but small fish can and do.
Amazons choice for bamboo sheets is a product that is 1800 thread count.
I won't say if this is true or not, but I would say use your best judgment.
So what is your check list for buying Bamboo bed sheets?
- Buy 100% bamboo Viscose, or Rayon. Its incredibly comfortable, and honestly the softest bedding on the market. If you love sleeping and want to appreciate the unreasonable softness every time you slip into bed, 100% bamboo sheets are your best bet.
- Get a Twill weave if you value softness over smoothness. Note that twill is smoother than cotton, just not as smooth as sateen.
- Get a Sateen weave if you want something like silk but without so much of the slippery stifling feeling. You just have to make sure you are very delicate with the sheets.
- Use thread count as a way of disqualifying sheets. 300 vs 400 thread count, you need more information to tell which is better, but 300 vs 1500 you can reasonably assume the 300 is better based on the above information.
- Price, bamboo sheets are expensive. There isn't a way around it, I know what manufacturers are charging for top quality sheets and I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it isn't corporate greed that forces businesses to sell at around $150. If you want to roll the dice on a set under $100, you may get lucky. This guide is written as a best practice so you can buy a great set, without returning it.
- Guarantee: If you make a quality product, you should have no problem offering a decent return policy. Buy only with a return window of greater than 30 days. We offer a 90 day sleep trial, by then you should know if you are loving it or not, and if you don't we take it back no questions asked.
So what is my recommendation for bamboo bedding?
Bamboo Tranquility was started after I slept in bamboo sheets and had an awakening, a bed sheet awakening! How could I have lived for so long without this unbelievable comfort. So soft, I was running my legs like window wipers all night.
Unfortunately I got burned multiple times ordering over Amazon so I started my own bedding company that offers what I wanted originally at a fair price.
Use the code guide2019 for $25 off entire purchase.
Are these the only bedding products worth anything?
No, just a great option.
In all cases stick to the guide, and you will be the happy new owner of incredible bed sheets.
They are seriously worth it!
Whats been your nightmare experience buying bed sheets online?