September 26, 2023


New Estate

Percale vs. Sateen Sheets: What is the Distinction and Which Is Higher?

6 min read

Looking for the best sheets is difficult sufficient, even when you like cotton over some other supplies. However when in search of the best cotton sheets on the market, you’ll probably come throughout technical language like “percale” and “sateen” which might make it harder to seek out what you’re in search of. Whereas these phrases could appear overseas to some, they’re pretty easy when you be taught what they imply. Percale and sateen describe the weave of the material, which is simply as necessary as figuring out what fibers (cotton, linen, silk, and so forth.) the sheets are manufactured from.

Fortunately, the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab is stuffed with knowledgeable analysts with backgrounds in textiles science who’re continuously testing sheets. Actually, we’ve evaluated greater than 250 sheet units lately for every thing from softness and wrinkle resistance to cloth power, shrinkage and extra. Along with placing sheets by way of standardized Lab checks utilizing specialised gear, we’ve labored with tons of of client testers who strive them out at dwelling earlier than offering thorough suggestions on their expertise. The outcomes converse for themselves, and we’ve discovered the most effective percale sheets and finest sateen sheets obtainable for each kind of sleeper. Right here’s methods to resolve which weave is best for you.

What’s the distinction between percale and sateen sheets?

Percale sheets are light-weight, ethereal and crisp, whereas sateen sheets really feel silky clean and substantial. The distinction is because of how the yarns are woven. Although they’re made with the identical supplies — cotton or cotton blends — the structural variations end in very totally different textures and bodily properties for every cloth.

the different between percale vs sateen sheets weave illustration

Percale sheets have a primary one-over, one-under plain weave that enables for extra interlacings — factors the place the threads overlap — making it one of many extra sturdy materials utilized in bedding. This construction additionally offers percale’s signature mild and crisp really feel whereas providing the required breathability to take care of a snug physique temperature. Alternatively, sateen sheets usually have a four-over, one-under satin-like weave that gives a clean really feel and good sheen. Plus, it doesn’t are likely to wrinkle as a lot as percale.

Each varieties of sheets can be found in a variety of thread counts. Opposite to in style perception, larger thread counts usually don’t translate to higher high quality sheets, however we’ve discovered that sheets within the 300 to 500 vary have a terrific stability of softness and sturdiness.

What’s percale?

Percale sheets are identified for his or her crisp really feel and light-weight high quality and are sometimes in comparison with button-down shirts, which generally have the identical 1:1 weave. This traditional sheet can also be ethereal and breathable, making it a terrific possibility for warm sleepers or those that reside in hotter climates. The draw back to percale sheets is that they will really feel tough or scratchy in comparison with sateen sheets and have a tendency to wrinkle extra due to their crisp, sturdy nature.


  • Feels light-weight and crisp
  • Breathable
  • Sturdy


  • Wrinkles extra simply
  • Can really feel tough when new

However whereas percale can usually really feel tough in comparison with sateen, L.L.Bean’s Pima Percale Sheet Set nonetheless earned excessive softness scores with client testers, because of the premium Pima cotton, and excelled in sturdiness testing in our Lab. Testers additionally beloved the breathability and raved concerning the cool-to-the-touch really feel. Alternatively, if you happen to’re in search of one thing that’s a fraction of the worth with out compromising on high quality, Sweave’s Egyptian Cotton Percale Sheets are one to have a look at. Simply observe that our specialists weren’t capable of confirm the Egyptian cotton claims.

Trying to find an excellent softer percale sheet? Go for The Crisp Sheet Set from Tuck. It earned the best marks in a blind softness check, because of the texture of the cotton-lyocell mix. Or if you happen to want organic bedding, Coyuchi’s Natural Percale Sheets have the identical relaxed look with GOTS-certified natural cotton that one tester referred to as “gentle [and] luxurious but crisp and funky.”

Greatest Total Percale Sheets

Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set

L.L.Bean Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set
Credit score: L.L.Bean

Greatest Worth Percale Sheets

Egyptian Cotton Percale Sheets

Sweave Egyptian Cotton Percale Sheets
Credit score: Sweave

Softest Percale Sheets

The Crisp Sheet Set

Tuck The Crisp Sheet Set
Credit score: Tuck

Greatest Natural Percale Sheets

Organic Crinkled Percale Sheets

Coyuchi Natural Crinkled Percale Sheets
Credit score: Coyuchi

READ MORE: The Best Percale Sheets, Tested by Experts

What’s sateen?

Sateen sheets stand out for his or her clean really feel and slight sheen, with some materials having a slippery or silky texture. Sateen bedding is right for many who want softness over crispness. The material can also be inherently extra wrinkle-resistant in comparison with percale, and a few sateen sheets are even handled with a wrinkle-resistant end for a no-iron, picture-perfect look. However remember that sateen sheets can really feel heavier or thicker than percale sheets, so that they’re finest fitted to somebody in search of a comfortable, gentle sheet. They don’t present the identical breathability as percale.


  • Silky and clean really feel
  • Slight sheen
  • Sturdy
  • Tends to wrinkle lower than percale


  • Might really feel too thick for some
  • Not nice for warm sleepers

The Brooklinen Luxe Core is without doubt one of the hottest sateen sheet units obtainable with high quality cloth that’s each clean and sturdy. To not point out, the fitted sheet contains game-changing “quick” facet and “lengthy” facet labels for straightforward bed-making. California Design Den’s On a regular basis Comfortable Sateen Sheets are additionally a wonderful possibility, outperforming different sateen choices greater than 4 instances its value, and so they are available all kinds of colours at an reasonably priced value.

For an excellent softer really feel, Riley’s Natural Cotton Sheet Set earned among the highest softness scores throughout all different cotton sheets in our checks, with testers calling them “gentle but ethereal.” Though, if the natural issue is necessary to you, we weren’t capable of confirm if the set is totally natural. For a completely licensed natural possibility, take into account Delilah House’s Natural Cotton Mattress Sheets. Not solely are they GOTS-certified natural, gentle and light-weight however they’re additionally underneath $200.

Greatest Total Sateen Sheets

Luxe Core Sateen Sheet Set

Brooklinen Luxe Core Sateen Sheet Set
Credit score: Brooklinen

Greatest Worth Sateen Sheets

On Sale

Everyday Soft Sateen Sheets

California Design Den On a regular basis Comfortable Sateen Sheets

Now 32% Off

Credit score: California Design Den

Softest Sateen Sheets

Organic Cotton Sheet Set

Riley Natural Cotton Sheet Set
Credit score: Riley

Greatest Natural Sateen Sheets

Organic Cotton Bed Sheets
Delilah House Natural Cotton Mattress Sheets

Now 20% Off

Credit score: Delilah House

READ MORE: The Best Sateen Sheets, Tested by Experts

The ultimate verdict: percale or sateen?

Our testers usually want the texture of sateen in side-by-side comparability checks, however finally it’s a matter of non-public choice. Our evaluations present that whereas percale cloth is inherently stronger and sateen is inherently softer, each sheets carry out effectively in our Lab and at dwelling with client testers.

  • In case you love a lightweight, crisp sheet with good breathability and aren’t bothered by wrinkles, go together with percale.
  • In case you want a gentle, clean sheet with a little bit extra wrinkle resistance and thickness, go together with sateen.

Why belief Good Housekeeping?

Grace Wu joined the Good Housekeeping Institute in 2022 as a textiles product critiques analyst with a deal with hands-on testing and evaluating client knowledge. With a powerful background in textile engineering, she has evaluated all kinds of bedding merchandise together with sheets, pillows, silk pillowcases and extra utilizing specialised laboratory gear and suggestions from tons of of client testers. Previous to working at Good Housekeeping, Grace earned a Grasp of Engineering in Supplies Science & Engineering and a Bachelor of Science in Fiber Science from Cornell College.

Headshot of Grace Wu

Textiles, Paper & Attire Lab Product Analyst

Grace Wu (she/her) is a product critiques analyst on the Good Housekeeping Institute‘s Textiles, Paper and Attire Lab, the place she evaluates fabric-based merchandise utilizing specialised gear and client tester knowledge. Previous to beginning at Good Housekeeping in 2022, she earned a grasp of engineering in supplies science and engineering and a bachelor of science in fiber science from Cornell College. Whereas incomes her levels, Grace labored in analysis laboratories for sensible textiles and nanotechnology and held internships at Open Model Lab and Hire the Runway.

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