What Exactly are Egyptian Cotton Sheets? We Explain, and Find the Best You Can Buy

We've all heard of Egyptian cotton sheets, but what does that actually mean? And are some better than others? We find out

white cotton sheets
(Image credit: Wayfair, Kathy Kuo Home and Pottery Barn)

Gossypium barbadense, it’s not quite as catchy as Egyptian cotton but this is the scientific name for the plant that produces the world’s best bedding. Cotton and Egypt itself share a long history. Ancient Egyptians were amongst the first to cultivate this natural fiber and it’s revered for its lengthy yarn fibers which give it an unparalleled softness.

The 18th century was a turning point for Egypt’s commercial production of cotton and brought this fiber to nations across the globe. Today, it’s a prized moniker of quality and a trusted source of the world’s finest fibers. Not all Egyptian cotton is the same though, it’s important to refer to many of the same standards we present for bedding in general such as thread count and composition.

To save you some time and stress, we’ve searched and scoured through the best bedding sets to find our favorites. If you’re still getting to grips with the world of bedding, discover our best bedding feature for expert advice alongside a curated list of the Livingetc team’s top picks.

1. Best budget-friendly Egyptian cotton sheets

2. Best luxury Egyptian cotton sheets

3. Best-patterned Egyptian cotton sheets

4. Best minimal Egyptian cotton sheets

What is the best Egyptian bedding?

Egyptian Cotton in general is considered a superior class of fibers when compared to alternatives like Upland, Pima, and even Supima but not all Egyptian Cotton is the same. When it was first cultivated commercially in Egypt, classes were assigned to the cotton based on the length of the fibers. Giza 45 is an example of this cotton classification, the 45 references the length of the fiber and is considered by many to be the softest cotton fibers in the world.

'When buying Egyptian cotton bedding keep in mind the higher the thread count, the better the quality, softness, and longevity of the sheets,' says interior designer, Caitlin Parker of Parker Studio. Another helpful sign is to look out for the Egyptian Cotton trademarked logo. A pyramid features a small cotton plant in this moniker of quality, delivering assurance that your bedding is up to standard.

Writer and design expert Faaizah Shah is the founder of The Interiors Consultancy. She has worked with designers such as Staffan Tollgard and design houses such as Sanderson to help them understand and communicate their narratives. She is known for crafting engaging stories and imaginative content, and understanding great decor from her years alongside some of the best creatives in the industry. She is also a contributor to Livingetc.