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

Searching for the best sheets is difficult sufficient, even when you understand you favor cotton over another supplies. However when searching for the best cotton sheets on the market, you’ll doubtless come throughout technical language like “percale” and “sateen” which might make it tougher to search out what you’re searching for. Whereas these phrases could seem overseas to some, they’re pretty easy when you study what they imply. Percale and sateen describe the weave of the material, which is simply as vital as figuring out what fibers (cotton, linen, silk, and many others.) the sheets are made from.

Fortunately, the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab is stuffed with professional analysts with backgrounds in textiles science who’re always testing sheets. In truth, we’ve evaluated greater than 250 sheet units lately for all the things from softness and wrinkle resistance to material energy, shrinkage and extra. Along with placing sheets by means of standardized Lab checks utilizing specialised tools, we’ve labored with a whole bunch of client testers who strive them out at dwelling earlier than offering thorough suggestions on their expertise. The outcomes communicate for themselves, and we’ve discovered one of the best percale sheets and greatest sateen sheets obtainable for each sort of sleeper. Right here’s find out how 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 easy and substantial. The distinction is because of how the yarns are woven. Despite the fact that they’re made with the identical supplies — cotton or cotton blends — the structural variations lead to very completely different textures and bodily properties for every material.

the different between percale vs sateen sheets weave illustration

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

Each kinds of sheets can be found in a variety of thread counts. Opposite to widespread perception, greater thread counts typically 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 recognized 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 decent sleepers or those that stay 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 typically really feel tough in comparison with sateen, L.L.Bean’s Pima Percale Sheet Set nonetheless earned excessive softness rankings with client testers, because of the premium Pima cotton, and excelled in sturdiness testing in our Lab. Testers additionally liked the breathability and raved in regards to the cool-to-the-touch really feel. Alternatively, in the event you’re searching for one thing that’s a fraction of the value with out compromising on high quality, Sweave’s Egyptian Cotton Percale Sheets are one to take a look at. Simply notice that our consultants 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 very best marks in a blind softness check, because of the texture of the cotton-lyocell mix. Or in the event you desire organic bedding, Coyuchi’s Natural Percale Sheets have the identical relaxed look with GOTS-certified natural cotton that one tester known as “tender [and] luxurious but crisp and funky.”

Finest Total Percale Sheets

Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set

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

Finest 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

Finest 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 easy really feel and slight sheen, with some materials having a slippery or silky texture. Sateen bedding is right for individuals who desire 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, in order that they’re greatest fitted to somebody searching for a comfortable, tender sheet. They don’t present the identical breathability as percale.


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


  • Could really feel too thick for some
  • Not nice for decent sleepers

The Brooklinen Luxe Core is likely one of the hottest sateen sheet units obtainable with high quality material that’s each easy and sturdy. To not point out, the fitted sheet consists of game-changing “brief” facet and “lengthy” facet labels for simple bed-making. California Design Den’s On a regular basis Gentle Sateen Sheets are additionally a superb possibility, outperforming different sateen choices greater than 4 instances its value, they usually are available in all kinds of colours at an inexpensive value.

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

Finest Total Sateen Sheets

Luxe Core Sateen Sheet Set

Brooklinen Luxe Core Sateen Sheet Set
Credit score: Brooklinen

Finest Worth Sateen Sheets

On Sale

Everyday Soft Sateen Sheets

California Design Den On a regular basis Gentle Sateen Sheets

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Credit score: California Design Den

Softest Sateen Sheets

Organic Cotton Sheet Set

Riley Natural Cotton Sheet Set
Credit score: Riley

Finest Natural Sateen Sheets

Organic Cotton Bed Sheets
Delilah Dwelling Natural Cotton Mattress Sheets

Now 20% Off

Credit score: Delilah Dwelling

READ MORE: The Best Sateen Sheets, Tested by Experts

The ultimate verdict: percale or sateen?

Our testers sometimes desire 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 material 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 along with percale.
  • In case you desire a tender, easy sheet with slightly extra wrinkle resistance and thickness, go along with sateen.

Why belief Good Housekeeping?

Grace Wu joined the Good Housekeeping Institute in 2022 as a textiles product critiques analyst with a give attention to hands-on testing and evaluating client information. With a powerful background in textile engineering, she has evaluated all types of bedding merchandise together with sheets, pillows, silk pillowcases and extra utilizing specialised laboratory tools and suggestions from a whole bunch 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 tools and client tester information. 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 Lease the Runway.