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Posted by Bridget Reed

Percale vs Sateen: What's the Difference?

Are you ready to upgrade your sleep experience with the perfect set of bed sheets? If so, you’ve probably come across percale and sateen sheets during your search. But what’s the difference, and which is the best choice for you? 

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about these two popular types of sheets so you can make an informed decision about the right bedding material for you and sleep better every night.

What Is Percale?

Percale sheets are known for their crisp feel and cool comfort, making them a popular choice for many sleepers. But what exactly is percale? 

Percale refers to the type of weave pattern used to make the sheets. Specifically, percale is a plain weave with a one-over, one-under pattern, giving the fabric its signature matte finish and crisp texture. 

This type of weave makes percale bed sheets lightweight and highly breathable, allowing air to circulate freely, which helps keep you cool throughout the night. The weave structure also contributes to the fabric's durability, ensuring that percale sheets can withstand frequent washing and use without losing their integrity.

Percale sheets are typically made from cotton fibers, and the best percale sheets often use long-staple cotton, like Egyptian cotton or Pima cotton. These high-quality cotton sheets are highly breathable, making them perfect for hot sleepers who need to stay cool throughout the night. 

Long-staple cotton, in particular, is prized for its strength and softness, which only improves with time and washing. This type of cotton has fewer exposed fiber ends, which means less pilling and a smoother, more comfortable sleeping surface that gets softer after each wash.

The thread count for percale sheets usually ranges from 200 to 400. While this might seem lower compared to other types of sheets, the tight weave and quality of the cotton ensure durability and a luxurious feel. Higher thread count percale sheets offer a denser fabric that still maintains its breathability and crispness. 

It's important to note that with percale, it's the quality of the weave and the cotton that truly matters, not just the thread count. This combination results in a set of sheets that are comfortable and stand the test of time, making it a favored choice for those who appreciate a cool, crisp sleep experience.

What Is Sateen?

On the other hand, sateen sheets offer a completely different sleep experience. Sateen is a type of weave pattern that uses a three-over, one-under pattern, resulting in a silky, smooth feel and a lustrous sheen. This weave gives sateen sheets their distinctive drape and elegant look. 

The sateen weave is designed to create a fabric that feels incredibly soft to the touch, almost like satin, which is why many people find sateen sheets to be luxuriously comfortable. The weave also helps create a denser fabric that can provide a bit more warmth, making sateen sheets an excellent choice for cooler climates or those who tend to feel cold at night.

Sateen sheets are also made from cotton fibers, but the higher thread count and sateen weave create a fabric that feels softer and warmer. This makes sateen sheets an excellent choice for those who prefer a cozy, smooth feel and a bit more warmth at night. 

The higher thread count typically found in sateen sheets, often ranging from 300 to 600, contributes to their weight and warmth, making them feel more substantial on the bed. The sheen and softness of sateen sheets also add a touch of elegance to any bedroom, making them a popular choice for those who want their bed to look as good as it feels.

Another advantage of sateen sheets is their wrinkle-resistant quality. The weave's structure makes these sheets less prone to wrinkling than percale, which can be a major plus for those who prefer a more polished look without the hassle of constant ironing. However, it's important to handle sateen sheets in line with their care instructions to maintain their smooth texture and sheen. 

Washing them on a gentle cycle and avoiding high heat drying can help preserve their luxurious feel over time. Whether you're seeking the softest sheets for a comfortable night's sleep or aiming to add a touch of sophistication to your bedding, sateen sheets offer a delightful combination of comfort and style.

Key Differences Between Percale and Sateen

  • Weave Patterns: The primary difference between percale and sateen sheets lies in the weave pattern. Percale's plain weave results in a crisp feel and matte finish, while sateen's satin weave offers a smooth feel and glossy look.
  • Feel and Comfort: Percale sheets provide a cool, crisp sleep surface that many people love, especially in warmer climates. They are also less likely to cause pilling or snags, maintaining their smooth texture over time. In contrast, sateen sheets are softer to the touch and have a luxurious drape, ideal for those who prefer a warmer and silkier sleeping experience.
  • Temperature Regulation: Percale sheets are highly breathable, making them suitable for year-round use, especially in hotter climates. Sateen sheets, with their tighter weave, tend to retain more heat, making them perfect for cooler climates or for those who often feel cold at night.
  • Durability and Maintenance: Percale sheets are known for their durability and get softer with each wash, making them an excellent long-term investment. They are also less prone to wrinkling compared to sateen sheets. However, sateen sheets, while incredibly soft and luxurious, may require more delicate care to avoid wrinkles and snags.

What If You Want the Best of the Best?

You can spend all day making pro and con lists about what type of sheets to choose, but let’s skip the endless reading about linen sheets and organic cotton sheets and the frustrating internal debate about your personal preference. 

If you want luxe new sheets that tick all your boxes at a price point that won’t make your eyes water, our bedding will revolutionize your sleep. Whether you just want to update your pillowcases, you’re looking to replace your top sheet or fitted sheet, or you want it all, our bundles have you covered…literally.

Infused with silver, these sheets help maintain the perfect temperature and prevent up to 99.7% of bacteria growth, ensuring you stay comfortable and healthy. Say goodbye to night sweats and skin irritations; our sheets are designed to promote clearer skin by eliminating harmful bacteria. 

Enjoy the benefits of fewer odors and up to three times less laundry, thanks to their self-cleaning properties. The Miracle Clean & Cool™ fabrics keep your sheets fresh and hygienic longer, providing luxuriously soft nights of sleep every single night. With minimal bacteria growth even after 24 hours, these sheets are not only practical but also a lavish addition to your bedding. 

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right bed sheets can significantly impact your sleep quality and overall comfort. Whether you opt for the crisp, cool feel of percale or the silky, smooth feel of sateen, understanding the differences between these two types of sheets can help you make the best decision for your needs.

You spend so much of your life sleeping! So, high-quality sheets are an investment in your sleep and well-being. With proper care and maintenance, both percale and sateen sheets can provide you with years of comfort and luxury.

If you're ready to transform your sleep experience, consider trying out different types of sheets to find the perfect match — or just opt for our Miracle Made® Sheet Set to combine the best of both worlds with its innovative silver-infused technology.

Sources:

Guide To Fabric Care Symbols | American Cleaning Institute

What Is Cotton | Learn Genetics

What Is Egyptian Cotton? | Bed Guides

Best Materials for Bed Sheets | Sleep Foundation

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