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

Looking for the best sheets is difficult sufficient, even when you already know you like cotton over another supplies. However when on the lookout for the best cotton sheets on the market, you’ll seemingly come throughout technical language like “percale” and “sateen” which may make it tougher to seek out what you’re on the lookout 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 essential as realizing what fibers (cotton, linen, silk, and so forth.) the sheets are fabricated from.

Fortunately, the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab is filled with skilled analysts with backgrounds in textiles science who’re continually testing sheets. Actually, we’ve evaluated greater than 250 sheet units in recent times for the whole lot from softness and wrinkle resistance to cloth power, shrinkage and extra. Along with placing sheets by means of standardized Lab assessments utilizing specialised gear, we’ve labored with tons of of shopper testers who attempt them out at dwelling earlier than offering thorough suggestions on their expertise. The outcomes converse for themselves, and we’ve discovered the very best percale sheets and finest sateen sheets out there for each sort of sleeper. Right here’s find out how to determine 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 completely different textures and bodily properties for every cloth.

the different between percale vs sateen sheets weave illustration

Percale sheets have a fundamental 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 gentle 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, increased 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 basic sheet can be ethereal and breathable, making it a terrific possibility for decent sleepers or those that reside in hotter climates. The draw back to percale sheets is that they’ll 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 shopper 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, for those who’re on the lookout for one thing that’s a fraction of the worth with out compromising on high quality, Sweave’s Egyptian Cotton Percale Sheets are one to take a look at. Simply word that our specialists weren’t capable of confirm the Egyptian cotton claims.

Trying to find a good 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 for those who want organic bedding, Coyuchi’s Natural Percale Sheets have the identical relaxed look with GOTS-certified natural cotton that one tester known 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 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 needless to say sateen sheets can really feel heavier or thicker than percale sheets, in order that they’re finest fitted to somebody on the lookout for a comfy, 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


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

The Brooklinen Luxe Core is among the hottest sateen sheet units out there with high quality cloth that’s each clean and sturdy. To not point out, the fitted sheet contains game-changing “quick” aspect and “lengthy” aspect labels for simple bed-making. California Design Den’s On a regular basis Delicate Sateen Sheets are additionally a wonderful possibility, outperforming different sateen choices greater than 4 occasions its value, they usually are available in all kinds of colours at an inexpensive price.

For a good softer really feel, Riley’s Natural Cotton Sheet Set earned a few of the highest softness rankings throughout all different cotton sheets in our assessments, with testers calling them “gentle but ethereal.” Though, if the natural issue is essential 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, 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 Delicate 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

Greatest 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 usually want the texture of sateen in side-by-side comparability assessments, however in the end it’s a matter of private choice. Our evaluations present that whereas percale cloth is inherently stronger and sateen is inherently softer, each sheets carry out properly in our Lab and at dwelling with shopper testers.

  • When you love a lightweight, crisp sheet with good breathability and aren’t bothered by wrinkles, go along with percale.
  • When you want a gentle, clean sheet with a little bit 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 opinions analyst with a concentrate on hands-on testing and evaluating shopper information. 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 shopper 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 opinions analyst on the Good Housekeeping Institute‘s Textiles, Paper and Attire Lab, the place she evaluates fabric-based merchandise utilizing specialised gear and shopper 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 Fashion Lab and Hire the Runway.