While bamboo sheets are a new invention in name only, Egyptian cotton sheets have been around for centuries and are considered the quality bed sheet that you can purchase. It's miles above bamboo in terms of quality, but why? Let's find out.
Egyptian cotton isn't quality simply because it's made in Egypt. Low end cotton is produced in Egypt also and in fact, it's the largest amount of cotton grow in the region. The cotton that gives "Egyptian cotton" its reputation for high standards is called "extra long staple" or "ELS" cotton. The fibers are longer than standard cotton, which means it takes fewer of them to make a thread and they aren't as easily worn and they don't pill as much. If a sheet isn't made from Egyptian ELS cotton, then it's not the high quality stuff you were looking for and you may as well buy standard cotton sheets instead.
Bamboo sheets are new, but only in name, because the only "new" part about it is the fact that it's rayon that's made from bamboo cellulose instead of wood pulp. This gives the sheets an environmentally sustainable attribute to a certain degree, but it's deceptive for these sheets to be marketed as if they were made of bamboo fibers somehow woven together to make fabric. That's not the case.
Which of the two is best? Egyptian cotton is superior to bamboo in terms of longevity and durability. Long term, they're definitely the better investment, as synthetic fabrics do not breathe as well and can never be as soft as their natural counterparts.