Percale vs. Sateen Sheets

February 18, 2021 | Casper Editorial Team

Choosing your bed sheets is almost as important as choosing your mattress. 

If you’ve been sleeping on sheets that are too worn down, paper-thin, or irritating to your skin, it may be time to upgrade—not just for the sake of your beauty sleep but your sleep health. According to the American Sleep Association, daily practices—like sleeping in a comfortable environment—can help you avoid sleep disorders.1

Sheets are a primary factor to consider when creating a comfortable sleep environment. When shopping for sheets, you’ll find options made with a variety of materials: Egyptian cotton, wool, polyester, linen, rayon, or a blend. In your search for better sheets, you may come across two different sheet varieties—percale and sateen. It’s important to understand the differences between percale and sateen sheets in order to pick the ones that suit and comfort your body the most. Read on as we compare the two.

What is the Difference Between Percale and Sateen?

Both percale and sateen sheets will elevate your nighttime routine. These are grownup bedroom accessories, not the sheets of yesteryear made of more pilling than cotton. With that said, here are the most prevalent differences between the two:

  • Percale sheets are primarily composed of cotton, featuring a signature tight weave that resembles your favorite crisp white button-up.
  • Sateen sheets are 100% cotton with a high thread count and lustrous feel—think of slipping into your favorite silk robe. 

Read on to determine which set of sheets is right for your bed, and your head. 

Percale Sheets 101

Because of the tight weave, percale sheets feel impossibly smooth to the touch. 

Percale fabric sheets have a minimum thread count of 180 and are usually made with extra-long-staple or long-staple cotton, which feels softer than short-staple cotton. Percale’s simple tight-knit weave pattern makes the sheets durable, so you can enjoy breakfast in bed without worrying about straining your bedding.

Percale fabric devotees typically live in warmer climates and swear by these sheets during the sticky summer months. 

If you’re looking to up your sheet game, consider the pros of percale:

  • Smooth
  • Breathable
  • Durable
  • Get softer with every wash 
  • Low maintenance (no need to run to the dry cleaner for these)

Percale sheets definitely have more benefits than drawbacks, but they may not be right for you. 

If the idea of wrinkles in your bed makes you want to scream, percale sheets may not be ideal, unless you plan to iron them out every night. 

While many folks find they run hot in the night, other sleepers are completely averse to any kind of “cool” element invading their sleep space. Instead, they want to feel like they’re tucked safely away in the warmest cocoon. 

If you live in a climate where temps dip below freezing, you may want to skip the freshly pressed matte finish of percale sheets, opting for sateen fabric sheets instead. 

Sateen Sheets 101

Made with 100% cotton, sateen sheets look and feel luxurious, with a heavier finish that produces more sheen than matte. Sateen sheets are made with a thicker yarn size and looser weave than percale, creating that cocoon-like state cold weather sleepers love. 

If sateen sheets sound like the kind of bedding you didn’t know you needed, you’re not alone. Some pros of sateen bedding include:

  • Silky to the touch
  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • Ideal for people with sensitive skin
  • Warm and cozy 
  • Machine-wash safe

Sateen sheets, like percale sheets, are available at a variety of price points, which means you can feel like royalty without breaking the bank.

However, one of the most sought-after benefits of sateen sheets—warmth—is also its biggest drawback for sleepers who tend to run hot in the night. These sheets also may pill or snag more easily than percale because of their slippery, silky texture. 

Snuggle up with Casper  

From silky sheets to decorative pillows, choosing the best bedding for your lifestyle and sleep habits is one way to ensure you get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night.2 If you’re tugging at your sheets or find that washing them once a week has made them unbearably rough, don’t wait to upgrade. Both percale and sateen sheets are excellent, high-quality options that are available at a variety of price points. And since they’re both made of cotton, they are some of the best sheets for allergies.

At Casper, we offer both sets of sheets. Check out our airy and breathable percale sheets if you prefer a crisp, matte finish, or scroll through the sateen fabric options if you’re looking for a bit of luxury in your life. 

Our sheets are made with 100% organic cotton, so you know exactly what you’re sleeping on. No matter how many times you run them through the washer, you can rest easy knowing your Casper sheets are only getting softer with each cycle. And if you aren’t sure how often to wash your percale or sateen sheets, check out our blog on how often to wash sheets.

If you’re looking for a cozier, more restful night’s sleep, browse our collection of bed sheets, pillows, mattresses, and more today.

Sources:

  1. Hayneedle. Bed Sheet Material Guide. hayneedle.com/tips-and-ideas/bed-sheet-material-guide/ 
  2. Martha Stewart. How to Choose Cotton Sheets. marthastewart.com/270671/choosing-cotton-sheets
  3. American Sleep Association. Lifestyle Changes. sleepassociation.org/sleep-treatments/sleep-lifestyle-changes/ 
  4. Sleep Foundation. Eygptian Cotton vs Sateen Sheets.  sleepfoundation.org/bedding-information/egyptian-cotton-vs-sateen-sheets