How Do I Choose the Best Fitted Sheets?

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  • Written By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2019
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Choosing the best fitted sheets is usually a matter of two things: knowing your mattress size and depth, and understanding the differences in sheet fabric. Paying attention to sheet construction, particularly elastic quality, is also important. Most of the time, fitted sheets are sold in sets with flat sheets and pillowcases. If you are buying sheets separately, it is usually a good idea to choose a fitted sheet that matches, both in color and in fabric, what you already have.

The very first step in the fitted sheet search is figuring out the size of your mattress. Standard sizes are twin, full, king, and queen, but specialty or oversized mattresses are not uncommon. King sheets are usually optimized for a standard king, not a California King, for instance. In the same vein, twin sheets are usually designed for an ordinary twin bed, not the extra-long twins favored by many university dorms, or the so-called "hospital twin" common in clinics and medical facilities. Purchasing toddler sheets can also be challenging, as children’s mattresses come in all sorts of sizes.

Knowing the dimensions is usually as important as knowing the mattress’s official name. Fitted sheets are designed to stretch around your mattress and hold on securely. If the sheet is too small, it is likely to fall off, whereas an overly large sheet will not provide tight-fitting comfort, and may work itself loose.


Pocket depth is another consideration. Even mattresses that are standard in size are sometimes unusually thick. Thicker mattresses are often more comfortable, but can be more of a headache when it comes to fitted sheets. It is usually best to look for products that are specially labeled as being “deep pocket” in this instance.

Deep pocket fitted sheets are longer on the sides and in the corners so as to securely fit over even the tallest mattresses. Usually, these sorts of products are sold in terms of a precise depth: 12 inches (about 30 cm), for instance, or 16 inches (about 40 cm), with depth being measured from the top of the mattress or mattress pad down to the box spring. Mattress depth is a bit different from mattress size, but is equally important to securing a good fit.

Once you have your size nailed down, it is important to consider the fabric. Sheets can be made of many different materials, from cotton to synthetics. This information is usually printed on the outer label, as well as on individual sheets’ care tags. Facets like weave, thread count, and ingredient origin often influence not only the overall price, but also the quality and durability of the product.

Sheet style should be kept in mind, as well. Most fitted sheets come with elastic surrounding the corner pockets, but on some models, that is the limit of the “fitted” part of things. On other models, the elastic extends around the entire perimeter. Fully elasticized models are usually pricier, but often result in a better fit. Think about what you need in your sheets, and make your choice accordingly.


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