Guide to Cotton Sheets: What to Know About Egyptian, Pima and Supima

Last Updated on November 21, 2022

by Marc Werner, Founder - GhostBed

Thinking about upgrading your bedding? If you're looking for the best cotton sheets, there are a few types that you'll see come up time and time again: Egyptian, Pima and Supima.

These three types are well-known as the finest cotton sheets, but it's important to understand the differences between them. Although they are all cotton fiber materials, each of these fabrics will provide a different sleep experience. Keep reading as we review the pros and cons of each!

Overview: Supima vs. Pima vs. Egyptian Cotton

There's a lot of confusion about the differences between Pima, Egyptian and Supima cotton for bed sheets. Here's a quick breakdown to help you decide on your next set of cozy, comfy sheets:

  • Egyptian cotton must be grown along the Nile River, in, you guessed it–Egypt. This luxurious cotton usually carries a hefty price point, causing manufacturers to often blend the cotton with cheaper, lower-grade materials to make them more accessible price-wise.
  • Pima vs. Egyptian cotton. Pima cotton comes from Peru and has a silky soft texture. Pima cotton is considered a luxury material but slightly more affordable than Egyptian cotton. Because Pima tends to have a higher price point, it often contains a percentage of inferior materials to bring the price down (just like in Egyptian cotton sheets.)
  • Supima vs. Egyptian cotton. We consider Supima cotton "just right" when you think of the incredible quality and price point. This name-brand American-made cotton is known for its softness, strength, comfort, and strict regulation–so you know you're getting the quality you expect.
GhostBed's luxury Supima cotton sheets in grey, queen size

Why the Bed Sheets You Use Matter

You probably know the importance of selecting the right type of mattress… but if you're still sleeping on old, scratchy bed sheets, you're doing yourself (and your sleep) a disservice!

There's nothing better than crawling into bed and feeling cool, comfortable and luxurious sheets against your skin. The right sheets will help you stay comfortable all night long, so you get your best sleep yet.

Cotton bed sheets are by far the most popular option, and for many good reasons:

  • They're super breathable, making them the better choice for warm sleepers than other types of sheets like polyester.
  • They're easy to care for and tend to release stains easily when wet.
  • Most types of cotton sheets are very durable, especially those made with long-staple fibers.
  • As a natural-fiber option, cotton bed sheets are a great choice for those with allergies or sensitive skin.
  • Unlike synthetic fabrics, high-quality cotton tends to get softer with age.

Additionally, cotton bed sheets offer a variety of feels, depending on the weave, staple and other factors. Staple refers to the length of the cotton fibers; longer fibers are stronger, softer and more durable.

Comparing Egyptian, Pima and Supima Cotton

Egyptian, Pima and Supima are all extra-long staple cottons and share some similar characteristics, but there are also some key differences to know. The most prominent difference is where they originate from.

Egyptian cotton, for example, is grown in Egypt right along the Nile River, where it has the perfect climate to grow. It's a luxurious choice with a price point to match. To combat sticker shock, some companies blend Egyptian cotton with other inferior fabrics to make them more affordable, so be sure to check the label before purchasing. It can be very easy to be duped when shopping for Egyptian sheets.

Pima, on the other hand, is grown primarily in Peru. Prices for Pima cotton sheets are usually still on the higher end, but are a little more accessible than Egyptian cotton. Similar to Egyptian cotton sheets, Pima may be blended with other fabrics to keep the cost of the sheets down.

Finally, Supima cotton refers to American-grown cotton, from the Western and Southwestern regions. A trademarked brand, the name derives from “superior” + “Pima,” denoting its high quality standards. 35% longer than other cottons, Supima is known for its strength, softness and comfort. This fabric is strictly regulated by the Supima non-profit organization, so you know you're getting what you're paying for!

Here's a quick comparison of these three types of cotton sheets:

Supima
Cotton
Egyptian
Cotton
Pima
Cotton
GhostBed logoSupima Cotton
Egyptian Cotton
Pima Cotton
Typical Origin
United States
Egypt
Peru
Breathability
Excellent
Excellent
Excellent
Durability
Excellent
Excellent (if pure Egyptian cotton)
Great
Price Point
$$ - $$$
$$$
$$
Care Instructions
Machine washable in cold water; air dry when possible
Machine washable in cold water; air dry when possible
Machine washable in cold water; air dry when possible
Pros
  • - Extremely soft and durable
  • - Strictly regulated and verified for authenticity
  • - American grown
Soft and durable (if pure Egyptian cotton)
Soft and durable (if pure Pima cotton)
Cons
More expensive than other types of cotton sheets
May be blended with inferior fabrics
May be blended with inferior fabrics

Egyptian, Pima, and Supima: What are the Best Cotton Sheets?

Our pick for the best cotton sheets is Supima, for a couple of reasons. First, because of its strict regulations, you'll know you're getting the best quality sheets, with no cheaper fabrics blended in. While splurging on Egyptian cotton sheets might be tempting, the label simply refers to where the fabric was manufactured — it's much harder to tell the quality of the sheets at first glance.

Second, sheets made with Supima are a great choice if you have allergies or any skin sensitivities, because of its ability to resist mold and dust mites. Your Supima cotton bed sheets will last many years and help you get the sleep you deserve.

Marc's Tip

Our luxury GhostSheets are the perfect blend of premium Supima cotton and cooling TENCEL®. When blended with cotton, TENCEL® adds unbeatable wrinkle-resistance and a smooth, silky feel. My wife and I sleep on them every night, and we know you'll love them too.

Couple relaxing on their GhostBed mattress with luxury Supima cotton & TENCEL® GhostSheets.

Marc Werner - Founder, GhostBed

Marc Werner

Founder - GhostBed

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After undergoing three neck surgeries, Marc knew what it was like to live and sleep in constant pain. In 2001, after searching fruitlessly for a comfortable pillow and mattress that supported his neck and back ... Learn More

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