Flannel Sheets vs. Cotton Sheets

Flannel Sheets vs. Cotton Sheets

Of course you want your bed to be a warm, comfortable place where sleep comes easily. That's why choosing the right bed sheets is so important. When deciding between cotton sheets and flannel sheets, you'll want to consider warmth, feel, care, and other benefits. This guide will highlight the differences between both types of sheets, so you can pick the one that's right for you.


Flannel is a loosely knit fabric that is typically made from wool, cotton, or synthetic fibers. It is known for its softness, warmth, and affordability. Flannel bedding is especially popular for making beds cozy in winter months. Flannel sheets use a weight indicator rather than thread count to measure quality. Flannel bedding weight is measured in grams per square meter, or GSM. A higher GSM means more warmth and better quality.


Cotton is one of the most commonly used fibers today and can be found in a variety of materials, including flannel. Compared to luxurious satin sheets and silk, cotton sheets are extremely affordable, although you will pay more for higher thread counts. Arguably, the best cotton sheets are made from special cottons. Egyptian cotton sheet sets are luxurious, but expect to pay more for the high level of quality.


Caring for both flannel and cotton sheets is pretty straightforward and simple. Flannel sheets can be washed in hot, warm, or cold water and dried with little to no shrinkage. Flannel doesn’t wrinkle easily, so your sheets will always look nicely pressed.

Light-colored cotton sheets can be washed at any temperature, but hot and warm cycles are best for a thorough cleaning. Darkly or brightly colored cotton sheets need to be washed in cold water to prevent color fading and bleeding. Cotton sheets are known to shrink in the wash, though not an extreme amount. To prevent wrinkling, remove the sheets from the dryer immediately after it has stopped.


When it comes to extra warmth, flannel is the clear winner. If you consistently find yourself too cold in bed, flannel sheets could be the upgrade your bed needs. Flannel sheets may also save you some money on your heating bill in the winter if you adjust your thermostat a few degrees.

Cotton sheets, on the other hand, make for great year-round bedding and can be eco-friendly, since cotton is easily recyclable. Cotton sheets also come in multiple weaves and structures, which provides more of a variety to choose from than flannel sheets.