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The Best Bed Sheets: Percale VS Sateen

Updated May 7, 2020

Are you in the market for some new bed sheets but are tired of buying the same old, same old? Maybe you want to try something new, or perhaps the temperatures are warmer, and you would prefer a light fabric with a slippery smoothness. If so, have you ever considered Percale or sateen sheets? These bed sheets are a lightweight fabric that will not add additional weight to your bed.

You want to purchase bed sheets that will feel relaxing against your skin, in a fabric that does not cause irritation. If the average adult spends an estimated one third of their life in bed, why not do it in peace? The feel of these sheets would be considered smooth but with a slick finish that soothes the skin.

Percale

Percale bed sheets are a spin-off from cotton sheets that can successfully boast about their quality and softness. True percale bed sheets will have at minimum, a 180-thread count. While admittedly pricier than your typical cotton sheets; percale bed sheets are made using top-notch long-staple cotton and a simple but effective weave pattern for added longevity. Interior designers and home experts will agree that purchasing percale or even sateen sheets would be considered an investment rather than an expense.

  • Weave pattern
  • Longevity
  • Smoothness

Weave Pattern

Typically, the weave pattern that is used when constructing a set of percale cotton bedsheets is a very simple but effective one called the “One-over; One-under”. Using this pattern means the percale bed sheets features a traditional one-yarn-over and one-yard-under system that has been used in stitching for various products for ages, which in turn gives additional strength to the fibers. This style of stitching creates a lightweight sheet that has both strength and softness in equal measure.

This pattern also allows for the cotton’s natural breathability to be amplified, so these sheets are used more so in warmer temperatures or by those who sleep hot.

Longevity

As with any type of cotton sheets, there is longevity to the material of percale sheets that cannot truly be matched. Percale and cotton sheets are known for maintaining their shape and color, even after multiple washings or daily wear and tear. Percale sheets have been known to grow softer and more durable after multiple washings.

Using a simple stitching pattern helps the natural breathability of cotton sheets increase, which is the case with the percale sheets. People who sleep warm or suffer from night sweats find that percale bed sheets left them dry in the mornings, allowing them to enjoy a more restful sleep rather than a fitful one.

Smoothness

The smoothness and crispy cool material is the percale bed sheet’s claim to fame! These sheets are not only extremely smooth and crisp, but the strong design allows for multiple washings over time without the fear of the material “pilling” or stretching. Pilling is the term used to refer to material that has been improperly or consistently washed and now has little pills or balls of material stuck to the surface of the cloth.

Percale sheets can feel stiff at the beginning, but this feeling will go away after a few washings in your washing machine. Because of the low maintenance material, you can easily clean these sheets right at home!

Sateen

Sateen, much like the percale sheets, are considered to be a high-quality branch of cotton sheets. Using the same long-staple cotton fibers as the percale sheet, the main difference comes from the pattern of which the fibers and other materials are weaved together to form a sheet.

With incomparable softness and a life-span not found in other sheets, sateen sheets are also considered to be an investment for those who choose to shell out the higher dollars for them.

  • Weave pattern
  • Longevity
  • Smoothness

Weave Pattern

The weave pattern of the sateen sheets is slightly more complex than that of the percale style. These sheets are constructed using a one over, three under stitching. This translates to one piece of fiber over with three pieces underneath, creating a smooth and slick surface that is the closest feeling to a satin piece of material without the fragility.

The added thread count can make these sheets slightly heavier and warmer than percale sheets, so they might not be best for those who sleep hot or live in a climate where humid temperatures are the norm.

Longevity

Although sateen sheets may feel like satin, they are made using the long-staple cotton, so the life-span of these sheets are closer to that of a generic cotton one. Without the delicate nature of the fabric and the high level of maintenance for satin sheets, sateen sheets will not show signs of wear and tear after a few months of use.

The type of cotton used in the manufacturing of these sheets are also naturally wrinkle-resistant, so you eliminate the need for heat drying or other agents that can weaken the stitching over time.

Smoothness

Sateen sheets are less of a matte finish than those of the percale style, so their smoothness cool but crisp. Sateen sheets have an almost shiny texture that not only looks phenomenal but also feels amazing.

The additional threads in this style of bedsheets will decrease the natural breathability, making them warm to the touch and consumers have noted they tend to hold body heat for longer periods of time.

Conclusion

Whether you find yourself leaning towards sateen sheets or the percale sheets, always make sure to choose a manufacturer and brand that you can trust. Check out returns and refund policies before trying a new type of bed sheets, because we work too hard for our money to just throw it away on a product that we wouldn’t really enjoy!

A person wants ease and comfort in their everyday routine, so why wouldn’t you desire those wants to cross over to your nighttime? Choose a bed sheet type that will not only suit your personal preferences but also your skin type, your yearly climate and especially your budget!

Thanks for learning about percale and sateen sheets with me and if you guys enjoyed this article, let us know in the comments below! Do you have a favorite when it comes to either percale or sateen sheets?