Bamboo vs. Tencel Sheets: What’s the Difference?

Bamboo and Tencel sheets may not be a common choice for most households, but these materials might be the perfect addition to your bedroom. For many people, one of the…

Last Updated On September 23rd, 2022
Bamboo vs. Tencel Sheets: What’s the Difference?

Bamboo and Tencel sheets may not be a common choice for most households, but these materials might be the perfect addition to your bedroom. For many people, one of the big reasons to buy bamboo or Tencel sheets is for the environment since both are sourced from natural materials without using harsh pesticides.

Aside from the environmental benefits, bamboo and Tencel sheets are durable and long-lasting and are a better investment than cheap cotton options. Here we take a deeper look at the differences between the two and provide some tips to find the best sheets.

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What Are Bamboo Sheets?

Bamboo sheets are made with materials derived from bamboo fibers, like viscose rayon, lyocell, or modal. Eco-friendly shoppers will love these sheets because they are sustainably made. Bamboo plants grow very quickly, so farmers do not need to use pesticides, fertilizers, or irrigation to support their growth.

Some great benefit of purchasing bamboo sheets is that they are irresistibly soft but also have a natural crispness to their texture. Bamboo sheets also possess qualities that provide sleepers with outstanding breathability. They don’t trap heat like heavy fabrics, which is especially good for sleepers who wake up feeling hot often.

Bamboo also provides sleepers with amazing health benefits because they are antifungal and resistant to bacteria. This will keep the mold or mildew from developing if you sleep in a humid environment. Plus, they are hypoallergenic. So, allergy sufferers may experience some relief from nighttime allergies plaguing their sleep.

Pros

What sleepers love about bamboo sheets is their eco-friendliness. Compared to other fabrics, bamboo is more sustainable for the environment due to the lack of chemicals used during manufacturing. Another plus is the moisture-wicking abilities of the sheets, which keep the sleeper cooler than traditional cotton and polyester sheets.

Cons

One of the drawbacks of purchasing bamboo sheets is they are pretty expensive. Due to the price increase, most sleepers will turn to low-quality cotton over bamboo. However, some may prefer to shell out more money for quality sheets to avoid premature replacements.

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Types of Bamboo Sheets

There are plenty of options to choose from if you’re shopping for bamboo sheets. Now, let’s take a look at some of your choices.

Percale

Percale sheets are usually made of extra-long-staple (ELS) or long-staple cotton fibers and blended with bamboo.

Percale is a type of fabric that is woven and is often used for pillows or bed sheets. Some of the highlights of these sheets include their matte finish and overall crispness. Bamboo sheets in the percale style will feel luxuriously soft for sleepers without making them clammy.

Percale has lightweight breathability that makes them perfect for the summer or those with a humid space. The downside is that bamboo is prone to wrinkles when coupled with this style.

Sateen

Sateen sheets are a type of weave with one thread under the fabric and three forming threads over. Santeen weaves have a silky and luxurious feel, which can be a fun change for sleepers who don’t want matte sheets.

Unlike percale sheets, sateen is more resistant to wrinkles, but they are prone to retaining heat and pilling and snagging. Sateen will also be a little more expensive for you to purchase compared to percale sheets.

Twill

Twill is a weave with diagonal parallel ribs that add texture to the fabric. Sheets with ribbing may not be the smoothest option, but they are very durable. These sheets might not fit everyone since they are pretty rough at first touch. However, they can add to the overall aesthetic of your bedroom and make your bed set pop.

What Are Tencel Sheets?

Tencel is the brand name for lyocell fabric, a type of rayon material. Rayons are described as regenerated fibers that are derived from natural materials.

Tencel sheets are another unconventional material that’s becoming increasingly popular. Like bamboo sheets, they are one of the most sustainable sheets on the market. Tencel sheets are made from the wood cellulose of eucalyptus trees. The production process also avoids harsh practices and irrigation methods to protect the environment from chemical exposure.

Tencel sheets have a smooth and silky feel that’s naturally cooling. Their fibers are super absorbents and wick away night sweats to keep you feeling cool and comfortable even during the summer months.

Some perks of purchasing Tencel sheets include benefiting from their hypoallergenic qualities. The softness of this material might even be a great support for individuals with sensitive skin. Though the softness may not provide any health benefits for the sleeper, it can be a nice reprieve to sleep on sheets with a silky texture.

Pros

Tencel sheets are made with strong fibers and will last longer than sheets made with cheap materials. This is why many shoppers overlook the high price point and make a good long-term investment into their bedroom setup. Tencel is also naturally resistant to wrinkles and is excellent for people with allergies, sensitive skin, and who like cool sleep environments.

Cons

Like bamboo sheets, Tencel will come with a higher price tag. This is because their production process tends to be lengthy and expensive. Plus, sustainable items tend to be more expensive to purchase.

Another issue you may run into is finding ways to care for your sheets properly. Upkeep for Tencel sheets might be more time-consuming for you. These sheets are usually not washer machine friendly. You should also not place these sheets in hot water. It’s best to check the washing instructions before you get your sheets. This way, you’ll be able to keep your sheets in the best shape.

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Which is Better: Bamboo vs. Tencel

Bamboo and Tencel sheets are both luxurious sheet upgrades, but how do they favor when up against each other? Next, we’ll look and see which one is the best choice for you.

Durability

Compared to cheaper options, bamboo and Tencel sheets are typically more durable. However, you need to take great care of Tencel sheets since they are incompatible with hot temperatures.

Plus, they may shrink during the first wash. Bamboo sheets are pretty strong and have a unique crispness but are prone to wrinkling due to their softness. Overall, both options hold up very well, and you won’t see signs of wear and tear all the time.

Comfort

What most people love about Tencel and bamboo sheets ist they are luxuriously soft. The plushness of this material is pleasant to most sleepers and enhances sleeping company. Tencel sheets tend to have more of a sheen and feel silky, while bamboo sheets will have a gentle smooth, soft feel. Again, choosing between the two will ultimately depend on your personal preferences.

Temperature Neutrality

These materials are made from natural materials, which are great for keeping sleepers cool. They both possess breathable qualities, so hot sleepers will not have to worry about getting too hot.

However, most sleepers will choose Tencel over bamboo. Bamboo sheets usually are better at wicking away moisture than cotton, but they are not as efficient as Tencel.

Care

Caring for Tencel sheets will be much more difficult than bamboo and sheets made from other materials. Many times, you cannot place them into a washing machine, and you might hand wash them.

Always remember to check your washing instructions before caring for your sheets. See our laundry care symbols for help deciphering how to wash your sheets.

Failing to follow the proper instructions when washing sheets could result in damage to your item. Bamboo sheets may be a better choice for sleepers who want low-maintenance products. For the most part, bamboo sheets do not require you to hand wash them, and you can place them in a washer or dryer without issue.

Cost

While bamboo cotton might be more expensive than other materials, it is much more affordable than Tencel. You can expect to spend around $50 to over $200 for a set of sheets, and Tencel sheets do not have a broad price range and will cost more since the production process is expensive. Plus, the maintenance process for Tencel might be equally as expensive.

More Types of Sheets to Consider

There are more types of sheets than bamboo or Tencel, such as cotton, linen, and microfiber. We have written a number of buyer’s guides comparing these materials:

FAQs

What is a good thread count for sheets?

Quality sheets will typically have a thread count between 200 and 400. You won’t need to worry about looking at sheets with excessive thread counts since it won’t change the feel of your sheets too much. Any number over 400 is likely an inflated figure, and you’ll ultimately be paying a premium price for a sheet that doesn’t feel softer.

Are our bamboo sheets prone to wrinkling?

Bamboo sheets are not prone to wrinkling since they have such soft qualities. It’s common for sheets to get twisted up in the dryer, so you’ll likely see some wrinkles once you take them out.

You can place one set of sheets in the dryer at a time to prevent wrinkles, so they tumble freely. Then, load them into the dryer and set them to a medium temperature. Following this process may help minimize wrinkles.

What are the best types of sheets for the summertime?

Tencel sheets will be your best bet for the summers since they are usually better at wicking away moisture. Bamboo sheets will be a good choice since they also have breathable qualities. It’s best to avoid heavy fabrics like flannel and synthetic material since they can create an uncomfortably hot environment.

Do Tencel sheets feel stiff?

Tencel sheets might feel stiff, especially after you air dry them. They can become softer over time, but this usually happens after a couple of washes. You shouldn’t worry about their stiffness too much since they naturally feel soft and silky.

Are Tencel sheets suitable for hot sleepers?

Tencel sheets are perfect for hot sleepers, as they are made from natural materials. They typically do a better job wicking away moisture than traditional cotton sheets and bamboo. Though they keep sleepers feeling nice and cool, they maintain their softness to keep you cozy throughout the night.

Conclusion

Buying a good quality bamboo or Tencel pillow is an investment, especially when you take proper care of these products. Before you swap out your cotton sheets for bamboo or Tencel, remember that you may have to handle them carefully.

Some Tencel sheets may need to be hand-washed to prevent damage. If this is unsustainable for you, try looking for sheets that are machine washed on a gentle cycle.


About the author

April Mayer has a degree in exercise physiology and is a firm believer in the power of a good night’s sleep. She spends her days reading, researching, and writing about sleep, and her nights, well, sleeping. April’s passion lies in helping others lead more productive lives by helping them get sound, restful sleep every night. April primarily writes about foods and vitamins for better sleep and has written several “better sleep guides” covering a wide variety of topics in her time with Early Bird. She's been a member of the team since March 2020. Additionally, as a sleep expert, April has been featured in various publications including Forbes, Greatist, Real Homes, Thrillist, Tom's Guide, and Eat This, Not That.

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