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Egyptian, Pima or Supima Cotton. What is the best cotton for a good night's sleep?

We hear this question all the time:
Which is better, Egyptian Cotton, Pima or Supima® Cotton?

First here's a quick overview of the Pros & Cons. You can find the in-depth story below. 

Supima Cotton
Pros:
Verified by the Supima® Association
Extra-Long Staple for strong & soft fibers
Grown ONLY in America
Consistent quality
One of the longest staple cottons available
Cons:
Expensive!! Pricier than Egyptian cotton. 
Nearly 3x the Price of USA-grown upland cotton
Egyptian Cotton
Pros:
Long-staple cotton if it is real Egyptian cotton
Above average consistency
Good quality if you're getting the real thing
Cons:
90% of Egyptian Cotton is Fake
Grown in China or India more than Egypt 
Expensive for cotton of questionable origin 
The 'mystique' of Egyptian cotton is greater than the reality
Pima Cotton
Pros:
Long-staple cotton that is above average quality
Above average consistency
Generally good quality and often grown in USA
Cons:
May be grown abroad
Not monitored by 3rd party organizations
Not as consistent as Supima cotton
May be blended with cheaper cotton

 

Egyptian vs supima vs pima cotton

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The History

Egyptian, Pima and Supima® cotton share common ancestry, as the extra-long staple variety they both possess originated in Egypt. In the early 1900’s, a premium version of that cotton was grown in Arizona, and became known as Pima (to honor the Pima Indians who tended the cotton fields there.) This type of American cotton later became known as Supima®, or “Superior Pima.” In 1951, the American Supima® Association was formed, to oversee the use of Supima® cotton in American products. To this day, the ASA ensures that only manufacturers who incorporate Extra-Long Staple Supima® cotton in their products can use the Supima® name and trademark.

"90% of products labeled “Egyptian cotton” are fakes..." The Cotton Egypt Association

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal "The Cotton Egypt Association, which licenses the trademark and certifies suppliers, estimates that 90% of products labeled “Egyptian cotton” are fakes but such public rebukes for mislabeling are rare."

Extra-Long staple Egyptian cotton, is a very high quality cotton, and comparable to Supima®. However, the issue is that Egypt keeps most of its Extra-Long staple cotton within its borders and primarily exports lower quality, long-staple cotton. There is no verification system to prove that you are getting true, Extra-Long staple Egyptian cotton as there is with Supima®. Unless you buy your product in Egypt, it’s likely you are purchasing a product that contains their lower quality Long staple cotton. 

The great thing about using Supima® cotton is that you are getting the highest quality, Extra-Long staple cotton available! The provenance of Supima® cotton is verified at every level of the manufacturing process; all manufacturers and retailers (including Authenticity 50) who use Supima® in their products, must get licensed with the American Supima® association.

A huge focus of Authenticity 50 is transparency and verification. We love that the Supima® Association does this for us so we can focus on getting you the highest quality product at the best possible price

Here are some interesting facts and figures:

  • Less than 1% of the cotton grown globally and less than 3% of the cotton grown in the USA can be called Supima®.
  • Supima® cotton’s 35% longer staple length contributes to 45% stronger fibers (in comparison to lower-quality, long-staple cotton.)
  • Supima® costs more than 2x the price of regular cotton. (It is a premium product, and thus more expensive to produce.)
  • Under tension, Supima® cotton bed sheets were able to withstand up to 10 pounds per inch more than its close competitor, Egyptian cotton, and up to 50 pounds per inch more than bed sheets made from regular or blended cottons.

Learn the TRUTH about Thread-Count HERE! 

Percale vs Sateen? Which Sheets are right for you?!

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Jimmy MacDonald
Jimmy MacDonald

Author



2 Responses

Authenticity 50
Authenticity 50

December 05, 2016

Hi Rebecca, Thanks for the question! The town, region and cotton are all named after the Pima Indians who were the first to grow and cultivate the cotton. You can learn more here: http://www.supima.com/whats-supima/history/

Rebecca Peck
Rebecca Peck

December 02, 2016

I thought Pima Cotton was named for the town of Pima (in Eastern Arizona) where this cotton variety was first grown and tested? Not for the Pima Indians.

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