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Sateen vs Percale: What Are the Differences? Which Sheets Are Better?

percale vs sateen sheet

Typically, the quality of bed sheets is determined based on the type of fabric. But unbeknownst to many, the thread patterns and weaves of the fabric play a significant role in keeping the sheets feel luxurious, soft, comfortable and durable.

I’ve ventured into the world of weaves and found myself jotting down sateen and percale in my list of favorites. If you haven’t heard any of this, percale and sateen are not categorized as fabrics but rather they belong in a vast lineup of weaves that produce high-quality beddings. They make up a huge wedge of the fabric and hence, reinforces the structure and overall quality of the bedsheet.  

Sateen and percale are primarily sourced from cotton which both have signature weaves. While sateen showcases an opulent and lustrous sheen, percale is quite the contrary which feels crisp but cool and smooth on the skin. These beautiful weaves both have beneficial features that provide incredible durability, breathability, and superior comfort that you can definitely revel in any season of the year.

If you’re browsing for high-quality sheets that offer lifetime softness and excellent comfort, the sateen sheets from California Design Den are truly worth a try. As this 600-thread count bed sheet is also among the affordable options, you won’t have to spend way more than your budget. But if you’re willing to invest in premium quality percale sheets regardless of the cost, I recommend the Peru Pima sheet set that features a crisp and cool-to-touch texture which lends a soft and luxurious quality.

Sateen vs Percale Comparison Table

PercaleSateen
Material & DurabilityUsually sourced from cotton
Resistant to pilling
Features a matte finish
Has a very durable quality due to its signature tight weave
Usually derived from cotton
Features a tough and durable material
Has a lustrous sheen
Showcases a lavish quality
Comfort & BreathabilityGets softer and smoother after every wash
Breathable
Prevents moisture buildup
Very soft, smooth, and comfortable
Adapts to wavering temperatures
Breathable
Comfortable
Stays cool during the hot climate and stays warm when it’s cold
HealthHypoallergenic
Prevents bacterial growth
Good for hair and skin
Resistant to mold and mildew
Hypoallergenic
MaintenanceCan easily form wrinkles
Machine washable
Needs to be folded properly to prevent wrinkles
Can be ironed for a wrinkle-free appearance
Wrinkle-free
Easy to clean and store
Machine washable
Easy to fold and store
CostThere are affordable and expensive options depending on the type of cotton and thread countDepending on the type of cotton or thread count, the price may vary

What Are the Differences Between Sateen and Percale?

Differentiating sateen and percale sheets requires a detailed outline of their features and benefits. This helps identify which signature weave has the foremost attributes that can provide the utmost comfort, breathability and durability. Besides these essential factors, I’ve also jotted down the detailed notes for care, cost, and health.

Material & Durability

Sateen

sateen or percale

One of the finest products of cotton is sateen. This splendid weave is derived from tightly woven cotton fibers that feature a durable quality that can last for a lifetime. Some of the fabrics available on the market today that are produced as bed sheets showcase a sturdy quality. But since it is less durable than percale, it is likely to pill.

Sateen seems to be another version of satin but only stronger and sturdier. It showcases a lustrous sheen although not as shiny as satin sheets. It feels smooth and soft which make bed sheets quite comfortable and luxurious. However, the sheen may fade in time due to frequent use and washing.

There are times when the quality of sateen sheets vary depending on the thread count. The higher thread count, the better. The quality or the type of cotton used in production is also a contributing factor.

Percale

Percale is also a fabric weave that is mostly from the same source as sateen – cotton. The signature weave of percale is much tighter than sateen which lends a much stronger and sturdier quality. Compared to sateen, percale is unlikely to pill easily but rather retains its prime condition for many years.

Contrary to sateen, percale has a crisp or matte texture but it doesn’t compromise the softness and smoothness. It feels cool to touch but doesn’t lend a hot feeling when the temperatures are warm. When the weaves are tighter, the smoother it feels. With such structure, it is resistant to pilling and does not easily wear out over time.

Percale sheets usually have a minimum of 180 thread count. But the higher the count, the better. Just like sateen sheets, the quality of percale bed sheets may vary according to the thread count.

Winner: Percale

Comfort & Breathability

Sateen

Acquiring the characteristics of cotton, sateen carries out a smooth and soft texture. With its silky and sheen features, it glides on the skin smoothly making it a comfortable sheet to snuggle in.

As it absorbs the moisture reasonably, it does not trap the heat or leave spots for moisture build-up. It lends a cool and fresh feeling during the warmest temperatures. But when the night and days get cold, it becomes warm and cozy.

Percale

Percale is definitely adored with its comfort and breathability feature. Those bed sheets that are designed with this beautiful fabric weave carry out a smooth and soft quality every time you touch it or cuddle yourself in it.

Another impressive thing about percale is it gets softer after every wash.

As the climate wavers from time to time, percale has the ability to adapt and provide the ample warmth and coolness. Especially when it is hot, percale feels cool and crisp. But it shares its incredible warmth during the frigid temperatures.

Winner: Sateen and Percale

Health

Sateen

Because of its shiny and silky texture, sateen is gentle on the skin and hair. It is also a great bedding choice for those who are prone to allergies with its hypoallergenic properties. And because it is resistant to mildew, it prevents bacteria buildup that can cause certain health issues.

Percale

As it is derived from cotton, percale also has its hypoallergenic properties which can be beneficial for those who are suffering from allergies.

Its breathability feature also contributes to its health benefits. As it allows the air to circulate, it can avert moisture buildup that can cause bacterial growth.

Winner: Sateen and Percale

Maintenance

Sateen

Care and maintenance are truly vital in keeping the sheets in their best condition. And when it comes to sateen, it won’t cost you an arm and leg to retain its beautiful quality.

It is machine washable. As they are not likely to form wrinkles, you can just fold them up and stack them in the storage cabinet.

Depending on the brand or the quality and type of cotton, the procedure for washing and care might differ.

To prevent any damages, always make sure to check the label of the sheets for detailed instructions regarding washing or cleaning.

Percale

It only takes warm water and mild soap to wash percale sheets. And as a rule of thumb, strong or harsh detergents should be avoided.

But to make sure you’re washing it the right way, it is much better to check the manufacturer’s manual or instructions regarding the care and maintenance of the percale sheets you’re buying.

Percale sheets are not wrinkle-free. They are likely to form creases or wrinkles when folded or not properly stored.

To prevent these, they should be dried up completely after washing and folded properly for storage. If you wish to eliminate the wrinkles thoroughly, you can iron them.

Winner: Sateen

Cost

Sateen

The price range of sateen sheets depends on the type of cotton and thread count. There are affordable options but expect a higher price range for the sheets that are labeled with a higher thread count.

Percale

There is no specific range of prices when it comes to percale sheets. Just like sateen, there are budget-friendly sheets for penny-pinchers.

The type of cotton fiber and thread are also contributing factors that might affect the price.

The signature fabric weave of percale is sometimes incorporated with Egyptian cotton and Pima cotton which are both high-quality sheets with incredible softness and smoothness.

However, these types are typically expensive.

Winner: Sateen and Percale

Sateen vs Percale: Final Recount

After a thorough review and research of the features and benefits of sateen and percale, I’ve found out the evident differences and similarities of these two fabric weaves.

Considering the durability, source of material, breathability, comfort, health properties, maintenance, and cost, here is a final recount I’ve come up with:

Sateen: 4/5

Percale: 4/5

What Are the Best Sateen Sheets in 2018?

Silky Sateen Weave Cotton Sheet Set by California Design Den

California Design Den sateen sheets are probably one of the softest and most comfortable sateen beddings you can find. With its 400 thread count, it ensures premium quality that can last for a long time.

The density of thread count also defines its comfort that you can always revel in for a cozy sleep. No wonder it has garnered so many positive reviews from satisfied consumers.

The long staple cotton fiber and fine yarns are all woven to produce these sateen sheets which guarantee a durable quality.

Although it seems like a delicate material, it doesn’t wear out easily. It gets better over time and even gets much smoother after washing. And it comes with a price tag that won’t hurt your budget.

Read real reviews on Amazon

Click here to see the current price

What Are the Best Percale Sheets in 2018?

Percale Peru Pima Cotton Bed Sheet Set


If you’re planning to invest in high-quality cotton sheets with the signature fabric weaves of percale, the Peru Pima has a lot in store for you.

As it is 100% Peruvian Pima Cotton with 415 thread cotton, it offers a superb quality with lifetime softness, superior comfort, and incredible durability that can last for years.

Made from percale weave, it exhibits a crisp and matte finish that is cool to touch and feels smooth on the skin.

Whatever the season is, these sheets can provide ample warmth and coolness that you can always luxuriate in. it is very comfortable, tailored to perfection, and easy to wash and maintain.

What’s more impressive is it gets softer and smoother over time.

Read real reviews on Amazon

Click here to see the current price

Pros and Cons of Sateen and Percale

Sateen Sheets

Pros

  • Very durable due to its signature tight weave
  • Smooth, soft, breathable, and comfortable
  • Provides a cool feeling, especially during hot climate
  • Provides ample warmth when it is cold
  • Has a crisp or matte appearance
  • Resistant to pilling
  • Gets softer every after wash
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Machine washable
  • Easy to maintain
  • Has affordable options


Cons

  • Not wrinkle-free
  • Price range may differ and some options for percale sheets tend to be more expensive depending on the thread count and type of material

See more sateen sheets available on Amazon

Percale Sheets

Pros

  • Sturdy quality
  • Has a lustrous sheen, smooth, and soft
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Wrinkle-free
  • Stays cool when the climate is hot and stays warm when it is cold
  • Has affordable options
  • Offers benefits to the skin and hair


Cons

  • Not resistant to pilling
  • Some options for sateen sheets may come with a higher price range due to higher thread count and type of cotton. Lower thread count may also compromise the comfort.

See more percale sheets available on Amazon

Conclusion: Sateen vs Percale – Which Sheets Are Better?

As sateen and percale are both usually derived from cotton, there are striking similarities. But even the slightest gaps can make a lot of difference.

Both weaves are durable but a getting a closer look at their structure reveals that percale has a tighter weave. Hence, a stronger and sturdier weave.

Percale is resistant to pilling and doesn’t easily wear out over time. It even gets softer and smoother after every wash!

However, you’ve got to watch out for those wrinkles, especially when you fold them and put away for storage. You may need to iron these sheets to get those wrinkles and creases off.

Sateen is also a durable fabric weave and probably one of the smooth and soft beddings you can find.

It is also gentle to the skin and hair. However, they can pill over time and the sheen may fade due to frequent washing and use.

But you won’t have to worry when you fold them and keep them in storage. They are wrinkle-free and easy to maintain.

Therefore, bed sheets made from percale and sateen are truly worth a try. Although there are differences in some aspects, they are both durable, comfortable, easy to maintain and beneficial to the health.

If you’re going through the bedding choices for either of these weaves, you’ll surely find a quality sheet at your preferred price range.

Hi, I’m Liz. I have suffered from insomnia for many years, I created this blog to help you fall asleep faster and to improve your overall quality of sleep. My blog covers everything from the best bedding materials to supplements and everything in between including: snoring, teeth grinding and lucid dreaming.

I hope you find this information useful. If you have any questions or if I can help you out in any way please feel free to contact me at [email protected]

Sleep tight!

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