Percale vs. Sateen Sheets

Shopping for the best sheet set is difficult enough, but when you mix in technical jargon like percale vs. sateen, it may feel much more challenging to choose which set…

Last Updated On January 25th, 2023
Percale vs. Sateen Sheets

Shopping for the best sheet set is difficult enough, but when you mix in technical jargon like percale vs. sateen, it may feel much more challenging to choose which set is perfect for you. While these concepts sound complex, they are relatively simple. These terms characterize the fabric’s weave. While the fibers — from cotton to linen to microfiber and beyond — reveal one part of the fabric, the structure must also be considered.

In this post, we’ll look closely at percale and sateen woven fabric, so you’ll be better prepared to pick the best bedding for you. Let’s compare sateen sheets and percale sheets.

Save $450 On Any Mattress

Plus free shipping

Get $450 OFF Mattresses

Difference between Percale and Sateen?

Percale and sateen bedding can both improve your nightly sleep routine. These are sophisticated bedroom decorations, not the pilling, low-quality sheets of yesteryear. These are the most noticeable distinctions between the two:

  • Percale sheets are mainly cotton and have a distinctive tight weave similar to your favorite pristine white button-up.
  • Sateen sheets have a glossy texture and are constructed of 100% cotton fabric. Consider how it feels to don a silk robe or how a luxurious set of hotel sheets might feel.

About Percale Bed Sheets

Percale sheets have a simpler weave, a matte texture, and a sharp hand feel. Percale sheets are lighter weight, lower in temperature, and breathable. They have a luxurious, soft feel about them.

Percale sheets are often better suited for the warmer months. These sheets feel just right when sleepers try to keep cool and fresh and avoid night sweats due to their cool-crispness and breathability. Sleepers who are constantly overheated (like me) should feel free to wear percale sheets all year.

Of course, the fabric’s fibers play a significant role in the feel and quality of bedding, but percale sheets are typically resilient, soft, softer over time, and easy to care for. However, percale sheets are more prone to wrinkling than sateen. Therefore it’s good that they’re typically machine dryable. Adding heat after washing the sheets may help get the creases out.

These sheets, in addition to becoming wrinkled, also get crinkly. Because percale sheets are very crisp, they might crinkle as you turn about in bed or lay against the fabric. For deep sleepers, the crinkling of cloth is unlikely to wake them. But if you’re a lighter sleeper or sensitive to nocturnal noises, remember this.

About Sateen Bed Sheets

In contrast to percale sheets, which have a matte texture, sateen sheets have a more smooth finish giving them their trademark sheen. They seem soft to the touch, with a shiny drape that is a little more heavy on your body. Sateen sheets have a fluid, silky smoothness rather than a cool crispness.

Because a sateen weave produces a thicker, and less breathable sheet than the percale weave pattern, sateen sheets are best suited for the crisp, cool months. Although not as warm and comfortable as flannel, sateen sheets are thicker and warmer than percale sheets. Obviously, every rule has an exception.

Sateen sheets frequently have a three-over-one-under highly breathable weave pattern, which results in more easily visible threads on the fabric’s surface. This is essentially what gives the completed product its silky and shiny appearance and exceptionally smooth feel. Furthermore, this weaving type makes the cloth less likely to wrinkle, unlike percale.

Sateen sheets do tend to wrinkle less often, the fabric might occasionally create a strange whooshing sound when rubbed against. Some sateen sheets will be louder than others, similar to the crinkling sound typical in percale. However, the silky texture of sateen sheets can result in a swish when you move around.

Sateen woven sheets are typically easy to care for. However, remember that the dazzling shine of sateen bedding will fade with each wash. They are also significantly more prone to pilling than percale woven sheets, making them slightly less durable. As a result, while the shine of sateen sheets provides a beautiful look, they frequently only last for a short time.

Caring for Percale and Sateen Sheets

You must follow any laundry care symbols and other directions provided by the company you purchased it from. We recommend washing your bedding cold with a moderate detergent every one to two weeks. Then tumble dry with low heat.

Hot water in the laundry can cause the colors to shrink your sheets, bleed, and damage the fibers in your sheets. Drying on high can also weaken the sheet fiber or cause pilling, particularly in sateen sheets, that are already more prone to abrasion.

Which is Better, Percale vs. Sateen?

Both sateen and percale sheets are used by sleepers, although for various reasons. Each offers advantages that may appeal to certain sleepers while discouraging others. While it is tough to pick the best one, experts recommend going with the most comfortable one.

Some people like sateen sheets because of their smooth texture, superb draping, wrinkle resistance, and elegant gloss, while others prefer percale sheets because of their breathability, crispness, and durability.

Remember that both sateen and percale fabric are mere weaves, and the sheets may be made from various materials that impact their performance, texture, and durability. While these weaves have features that should be reasonably similar among sheets, the material they are made of such as sable cotton also plays a significant influence.

Percale is thinner and lasts longer than sateen, which is silkier, heavier, and wrinkle-resistant. Percale wrinkles quickly and generates noise when the sleeper moves, but the sateen is warm and prone to snags. Here’s a brief test to see which one is better for you:

You should choose sateen if you:

  • Want a nicer feel
  • Get colder at night
  • Want a more wrinkle-resisting sheet
  • Don’t like ironing

You should choose percale if you:

  • Want longer-lasting sheets
  • Want to stay cool at night
  • Want to use the same sheets year-round

Is Percale or Sateen More Expensive?

Sateen and percale come in various materials and grade levels. Hence their prices vary. However, both types of bedding have cheap possibilities.

The ultimate cost is affected by the type of cotton used and the thread count. All else being equal, percale and sateen sheets should be around a similar price.

However, because sateen has a greater thread count, it is typically more costly than percale. The increased price contributes to the perception that sateen is considered more “luxurious” than percale.

See also our guides that compare and contrast cotton sheets with other types of bed sheets:

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Egyptian cotton sateen or percale sheets?

Egyptian cotton sheets woven in the percale style are one of the most durable textiles. Because of the weaving method and the cotton’s durability, this fabric will endure a long time. Plus, it tends to soften with washing, feeling more comfy with time.

Does percale last longer than sateen sheets?

Sateen sheets often have a shorter life than percale. They are more prone to snagging and ripping, in addition to pilling. They can also lose their brilliance if washed repeatedly. High-quality percale sheets are simply longer-lasting.

Which wrinkles, less percale or sateen sheets?

Sateen woven fabric is typically wrinkle-resistant, but percale woven fabric is more prone to creases. However, wrinkling isn’t the end-all-be-all when it comes to sheets comfort and maintenance. When it comes to durability, percale sheets tend to outlast sateen sheets.

How can you tell if a sheet is a percale?

Percale sheets have a matte, or a flat, finish with a crisp feel, and a lower thread count that’s often in the 200 to 300  range. Its drape is lightweight and breathable, compared to sateen’s heavier feel with a silky gloss. Percale sheets also tend to soften in the wash.

What is the best thread count for percale sheets?

Percale has a minimum thread count of 180, although the best range for this material is 200 to 300. The thread count for sateen sheets should be between 300 and 600. The looser weave requires additional threads to hold the cloth together.


Percale and sateen bedding have distinct features. Each weave has its own advantages and disadvantages. Instead of deciding which one to go with, try both for a well-balanced bedding set. They do, after all, complement each other in style. In the summer, enjoy the coolness of percale. Meanwhile in the winter, enjoy the creamy-soft comfort of sateen.

About the author

Eric Ridenour is a health and wellness writer with a focus on sleep and nutrition. He has studied health science and psychology at a university level and has consulted several businesses and individuals on the connection between sleep and overall well-being including the effect lack of sleep has on other aspects of health such as exercise, nutrition, and concentration. He is a published author working on his second book.

View all posts

Discover the ultimate sleep system

Choose your mattress

Shop top-rated mattresses with proven sleep-boosting materials.

Get a pillow

We have the perfect pillow to pair with your mattress.

Browse Pillows

Pick out bedding

Bring out the best in your mattress with our soft and breathable bedding.

Browse Bedding