When I shop at Costco I usually choose Kirkland Signature (KS), (which is Costco’s in-house brand), over “name brand” products because I generally find the KS products to be superior to or just as good as their brand name equivalents AND the KS brand is almost always less expensive. Sadly, this was not the case with my purchase of KS 100% Supima cotton king size sateen sheet set (item #577765).
Initially the KS sheets felt like the same silky soft KS cotton sheets I had come to love, but after a mere two washes (one wash before I put them on the bed and one wash after a week on the bed) I noticed small tears in the fitted sheet even though I had followed the washing directions on the tag, which indicated to wash in warm water (not hot) and to tumble dry on low. Disappointed, I promptly returned them to Costco and purchased the Charisma brand 100% Egyptian cotton king size sheet set (item #440441) as a replacement (which I happily noticed were actually $20 less than the KS brand king size sheet set!)
Comparing the two sheet sets to one another I noticed both the KS and the Charisma are 6-piece sets that include one fitted sheet, one flat sheet, and four king size pillowcases and both sets are 100% cotton. However, the KS is labeled Supima cotton and the Charisma is labeled Egyptian cotton, but what’s the difference between Supima and Egyptian cotton? According to Martha Stewart, Supima is like a brand name for Pima cotton, which is a fine, long-staple of cotton that yields a very soft weave. (‘Staple’ meaning the length of the individual fibers.) And Egyptian cotton is the finest, longest-staple of all and produces an extremely soft & supple weave. Both sets are also labeled Sateen but what does that mean? Going back to Martha Stewart, Sateen refers to the way the fabric is woven. In Sateen sheets the fabric is woven in a satin weave where warp threads interlace with filling threads and the result is a lustrous, smooth, and durable fabric. My takeaway from Martha’s explanations is that Egyptian trumps Supima and Sateen trumps both Oxford and Percale.
Another difference between the sheet sets is that the KS set touts a 540-thread count versus Charisma’s 400-thread count, but what does thread count really mean? According to How Stuff Works it means the number of threads woven per square inch. For example a 100 warp (lengthwise) threads woven with 100 weft (widthwise) threads produces a thread count of 200. According to Consumer Reports (CR) a thread count of 200 is standard and a thread count of 400 can feel softer but doesn’t guarantee a better sheet. CR also cautions that claimed thread counts higher than 400 are likely to only provide a higher price tag, not a higher quality or noticeably softer sheet.
The last difference I noticed was the price. The KS king sheet set costs $69.99 while the Charisma king sheet set is only $49.99. Both sheets felt silky soft to me from the little samples on the display and having tried both at home they still felt silky soft to sleep on but the Charisma sheets, which have been through four washes now with no signs of tearing, are with out a doubt more durable. To me, paying $20 more for an additional 140-thread count is not worth it when the 540-thread count sheets don’t hold up after two washes.
I have purchased KS brand sheets in the past and I found them to be phenomenal, in fact I still have a queen size KS sheet set that has held up wonderfully over the past several years and are still in regular rotation. Yet, with my recent disappointing purchase of the KS king sheet set that fell well below my quality expectations I suspect that Costco must have switched to a different manufacturer for their sheets since I purchased the KS queen sheet set several years ago.
I guess that just goes to show you that brand loyalties can let you down, even when you’re loyal to the house brand ;)
In other sheet news, a few weeks ago I purchased a flannel king size sheet set (item #676101) at the Mount Vernon VA Costco for the rock bottom price of just $14.97! While I am dismayed that it's mid-April and we’re still using flannel sheets, I am happy to report that the new flannel sheets are warm, soft and holding up well.
It’s worth noting that all three sheet sets fit snuggly on our 14” deep mattress. (The KS and Charisma both claim to fit a mattress up to 17” deep while the flannel claims to fit only up to a 15” deep mattress.)
Note: None of these three items are available on Costco.com.
Until next time,
the Costco Connoisseur
P.S. - Selections and prices listed above will vary from different Costco locations.
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