Percale and Sateen are two different weaves you can get bed sheets in. They contribute to how a set of sheets sleeps and feels.
Most people love that cool, crisp feeling of a fresh set of sheets, and aspire to that when they shop for a new set. But you know what we’ve noticed?
The packaging on a sheet set NEVER says “Cool, Crisp, AWESOME”.
Instead, what you’ll find is a lot of jargon you may not be familiar with. Breathe though, because once you get it, you’ll be able to find the perfect set of sheets every time.
What Are Percale Sheets?
Percale sheets are made with a more open weave that’s breathable, with a nice crisp feeling. If you want crisp, cool cotton sheets, you want Percale sheets. These are the sheets used in luxury five-star hotels because they are both durable AND breathable.
The only hangup with Percale sheets? They tend to wrinkle a bit more than sateen.
Myth Bust: High Thread Count ≠ Better Quality
What Are Sateen Sheets?
Sateen sheets have a smooth, almost shiny look to them. They’re typically heavier and make for a hotter sleep. The weave is denser on sateen sheets, which means they’re less breathable, too.
We’re not a fan of sateen sheets because they sleep so much warmer, the fabric almost always pills, and these sheets are just not that durable.
The Percale weave is the better choice for 95% of people. Crisp percale sheets are the cream of the crop, and what 5-star hotels use for their guests — and that’s why it’s all we make.
Shop Our Percale Sheet Sets
Have a new mattress and not sure what sheets to get? Check out this guide.
My Irish Mother always told me to buy Egyptian Cotton sheets, towels etc., this was in the 40’s 50’s and I always but I could never afford them.. today I have washed my new Wamsutta Egytian Sateen cotton 350 before putting them on my bed. I have had a knee replacement 5 yrs ago and created havoc with the Sciatica nerve going down my leg. So buy anything that touches my leg does sometimes start the nerve going. I did find a few years ago some Organic cotton sheets. I wish I had read this page beforehand. So will let you know Mon if these work out. They are really nice and soft, I have my fingers crossed but next time I shall know what to buy..Jo P..
Dottie, Supima is the name of the non-profit that controls American grown Pima cotton. Pima is an extra-long fiber (staple, in the jargon), and is generally very high quality – unless they weave it into sateen sheets, imho.
Thread count has changed – boo! Back in the days of American manufacture, they only counted the warp, or the threads strung lengthwise on the loom, the ones that don’t move. (Weft is the thread on the shuttle that weaves back and forth.) They counted how many warp threads to the inch.
Now they count both the warp AND the weft in an inch. So it basically means nothing anymore. Imagine a loom strung with 200 threads per inch, then imagine a weft that weaves, oh, say, 100 threads per inch. You now have something you can label 300 thread count, but do you really want to sleep on it? It would be very coarse and open no matter how good the cotton is. Especially if the thread is a fine denier (thickness)!
I, too, am searching for a reasonably priced set of cotton percale sheets.
Sateen must be cheaper to make. I think they must save, maybe, an inch of thread per sheet by skipping over 4 warp threads. Multiply that by thousands of sheets – make enough, and one of them is free!
I HATE sateen.
Hi Akari, That’s an excellent question. Plain Weave is the same as Percale. Often times Percale is used for higher yarn densities (thread-count), however, you can use both names interchangeably.
Hi! Could you please comment on how percale is different from plain weave? On the diagram in the article the right side shows regular plain weave, so I am wondering what is the difference that deserves a separate name. Thank you!
Thanks for the info. My Mother always preferred
Percale sheets but I didn’ Understand why until now.