Percale vs Sateen Sheets

Percale vs. Sateen – Which One Is Better?

Posted By Vaibhavi K on Jun 28, 2021

Buying a sheet that perfectly matches your requirement is not easy, even if options are plenty. Cotton, silk, and satin are some common choices. But have you noticed how the weave or the fabric’s thread count changes how the sheet feels?

Two of the most popular types in sheets, Percale and Sateen, can be confusing to differentiate between. In this blog, we help you choose the option that is ideal for you. Let us understand Percale vs. Sateen in detail.

What Are Percale Sheets?

close up of percale sheets

Percale refers to a weave and not the material. Percale sheets practice a one-over-one-under weave that is firm, comfortable, and smooth to touch. Most percale sheets have a thread count of at least 180 and have a smooth matte finish. The weave of the percale sheet is tight, and a simple knit weave pattern makes the sheets last long. However, percale is highly breathable and is considered the best sheet for sleepers who like breathability in their bedding.

Percale sheets are soft and become even softer after repeated washing. However, they are prone to wrinkling in the wash; hence users prefer to iron them after washing them. Cotton is the fiber of choice for most percale bedding. Cotton percale sheets are crisp and cool to the touch, making them perfect for hot sleepers. Percale sheets have more benefits than drawbacks. Let us run through their pros and cons in the next section.

Pros and Cons of Percale Sheets

Pros

  • Durability
  • Breathability
  • Softens over time
  • Easy to care for and maintain
  • Crisp, smooth feel

Cons

  • Wrinkle Prone
  • Rough compared to sateen

What Are Sateen Sheets?

Sateen sheet on a bed

Sateen sheets practice one thread under three or four over weave that gives them their unique look and feel. Sateen sheets are soft sheets that are silky to touch and tend to have a bright drape. Unlike percale sheets that offer crispness, sateen sheets offer slick, silky smoothness.

Sateen sheets are more likely to trap heat that might be uncomfortable for some sleepers. The fabric feels very smooth at first, but snags could emerge with the age of the sheet. Just like sateen sheets, percale sheets are also available at various price points. Cotton sateen is used for beddings, while Sateen from other fabrics is used in linings for garments, curtains, etc.


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Pros and Cons of Sateen Sheets

Pros

  • Wrinkle-Resistant
  • Silky-smooth texture
  • Luxurious feel
  • Drapes well

Cons

  • Shine might fade
  • Might develop tears easily
  • Tendency to retain heat
  • It could be uncomfortable due to the slippery finish

Major Differences Between Percale Sheets and Sateen Sheets

Sleepers use both sateen and percale sheets, but for different reasons. While some sleepers like sateen sheets for their silky texture, excellent draping, wrinkle-resistant, and stylish shine, others like percale sheets for their crispness, breathability, and durability.

You must remember that sateen and percale are just weaves, and sheets could use different materials that affect their texture, performance, and durability. So while these weaves have some common characteristics that should be relatively consistent between sheets, the materials also play a significant role.

Sateen and percale each come in various materials and quality levels; hence they vary in price-point. However, affordable options are available for both types of sheets.

Are you still confused? Our table below compares the sateen sheets vs. percale in detail to make your life easier.

Category Sateen Percale
Comfort & Feel Sateen sheets have a silky texture that makes them popular with people who have skin sensitivity. Percale sheets usually have a light, crisp, smooth feel similar to an ironed shirt.
Durability Sateen sheets are moderately durable. However, pilling and snagging may limit their usability. Percale sheets soften after washing and get more comfortable with time. Hence they last longer.
Cost Prices of sateen sheets start from $50 and reach up to $500. Prices of percale sheets also start at less than $50 and reach over $500.
Temperature Regulation Sateen sheets are more likely to retain heat. Therefore, in winters, it may feel cozy to sleepers. Sleepers use sateen sheets year-round, but hot sleepers may find them too warm.  Percale sheets are suitable for temperature regulation, and sleepers use them for all seasons. They have good breathability, especially for hot sleepers. They can also help keep you warm on a cold night.
Cleaning & Maintenance Sateen sheets can be washed on a gentle cycle in the washing machine with a soft detergent. They can also be dried using the air-dry cycle. Percale sheets can be machine washed and dried. However, they are prone to wrinkling; hence users prefer to iron them.

Which Is Better – Percale or Sateen?

Both Sateen and percale sheets have benefits that may attract some sleepers and disadvantages that may turn off others. While it is difficult to choose the right one, experts suggest going with the comfortable one. Percale is thin and lasts longer; On the other hand, sateen is silky, heavier, and wrinkle-resistant. Percale is wrinkle-prone and makes noise with the sleeper movement, while sateen is warm and tends to snag. Here’s a quick way to test which is better for you-

You Should Consider Sateen if:

  • You want a luxurious feel
  • You get cold during the night
  • You want a wrinkle-resistant sheet
  • You dislike ironing

You Should Consider Percale if:

  • You want long-lasting sheets
  • You don’t want to get too hot at night
  • You intend to use the same sheet through all seasons

FAQs

How do percale sheets vs sateen feel?

Percale sheet feels cold and crisp while sateen sheet feels silky and smooth.

Do hotels use percale or sateen?

Hotels prefer sheets that have a higher thread count, are softer, breathable, and resistant to pilling. Hotels use a percale weave that gives the typical feelings of a luxury hotel suite. These sheets typically have a thread count between 250 and 600.

Are percale sheets hotter than sateen?

Between sateen vs percale sheets,  a cotton sateen fabric is thicker. They tend to be heavier and warmer than percale sheets.

Do percale sheets get softer over time?

Yes, with every wash, percale sheets get softer and better.

How often should you wash your sheets?

Washing your sheets at least once a week is preferable. For some sleepers with allergies, washing sheets more than once is also recommended.

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