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

Searching for the best sheets is hard sufficient, even when you recognize you like cotton over another supplies. However when in search of the best cotton sheets on the market, you’ll seemingly come throughout technical language like “percale” and “sateen” which may make it tougher to search out what you’re in search of. Whereas these phrases could appear 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 so on.) the sheets are made from.

Fortunately, the Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab is filled with skilled analysts with backgrounds in textiles science who’re continuously testing sheets. Actually, we’ve evaluated greater than 250 sheet units in recent times for every little thing from softness and wrinkle resistance to cloth energy, shrinkage and extra. Along with placing sheets by standardized Lab assessments utilizing specialised tools, we’ve labored with a whole bunch of shopper testers who attempt them out at residence earlier than offering thorough suggestions on their expertise. The outcomes communicate for themselves, and we’ve discovered the perfect percale sheets and greatest sateen sheets obtainable for each sort of sleeper. Right here’s learn 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 easy and substantial. The distinction is because of how the yarns are woven. Though 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 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 gives percale’s signature gentle and crisp really feel whereas providing the mandatory 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 easy really feel and good sheen. Plus, it doesn’t are likely to wrinkle as a lot as percale.

Each kinds of sheets can be found in a variety of thread counts. Opposite to in style perception, increased thread counts typically don’t translate to raised 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 usually have the identical 1:1 weave. This basic sheet can be ethereal and breathable, making it a terrific choice for warm 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 scores with shopper testers, due to the premium Pima cotton, and excelled in sturdiness testing in our Lab. Testers additionally cherished the breathability and raved in regards to the cool-to-the-touch really feel. Alternatively, in case you’re in search of 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 word that our consultants weren’t in a position to confirm the Egyptian cotton claims.

Looking for a fair softer percale sheet? Go for The Crisp Sheet Set from Tuck. It earned the very best marks in a blind softness take a look at, due to the texture of the cotton-lyocell mix. Or in case you desire organic bedding, Coyuchi’s Natural Percale Sheets have the identical relaxed look with GOTS-certified natural cotton that one tester known as “delicate [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 good for many who desire 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 greatest suited to somebody in search of a comfy, delicate 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 warm sleepers

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

For a fair softer really feel, Riley’s Natural Cotton Sheet Set earned among the highest softness scores throughout all different cotton sheets in our assessments, with testers calling them “delicate but ethereal.” Though, if the natural issue is vital to you, we weren’t in a position to confirm if the set is totally natural. For a totally licensed natural choice, contemplate Delilah Residence’s Natural Cotton Mattress Sheets. Not solely are they GOTS-certified natural, delicate and light-weight however they’re additionally underneath $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

Now 32% Off

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 Residence Natural Cotton Mattress Sheets

Now 20% Off

Credit score: Delilah Residence

READ MORE: The Best Sateen Sheets, Tested by Experts

The ultimate verdict: percale or sateen?

Our testers usually desire the texture of sateen in side-by-side comparability assessments, however in the end 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 residence 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 desire a delicate, easy sheet with just a little 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 deal with hands-on testing and evaluating shopper knowledge. With a robust background in textile engineering, she has evaluated all kinds of bedding merchandise together with sheets, pillows, silk pillowcases and extra utilizing specialised laboratory tools and suggestions from a whole bunch 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 tools and shopper 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 good textiles and nanotechnology and held internships at Open Model Lab and Lease the Runway.