If your ideal sheets feel as crisp as a freshly ironed cotton shirt, a percale weave might be right for you. Percale sheets are tightly woven with an equal number of horizontal and vertical threads, making them soft, durable, and breathable.
Percale bed sheets are often made from high-quality, long-staple cotton, which gives them a luxurious feel. Percale is a low-maintenance option that becomes softer with every wash. Read on for recommendations on some of the best percale sheets and how to choose the ideal set for you.
- BEST OVERALL: Linen Home 100% Cotton Percale Sheets
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Feather & Stitch 300 Thread Count Cotton Sheet Set
- BEST LUXURY: Casper Sleep Soft and Durable Supima Cotton Sheet Set
- BEST EGYPTIAN COTTON: Purity Home 400-Thread-Count Percale Bed Sheet Set
- BEST PIMA COTTON: Peru Pima 415 Thread Count Percale Sheet Set
- BEST ORGANIC: Sleep Mantra 100% Organic Cotton Bed Sheets
- BEST COLOR/PATTERN OPTIONS: Nautica – Percale Collection – 100% Cotton Sheet Set
Types of Percale Sheets
Percale sheets all share the same style of weave, but they can be made from various fibers. The most common choice is cotton, but it’s important to consider which type of cotton sheet is best for you as well as whether you may benefit from a cotton blend instead. Read on to learn more about Egyptian cotton, Pima cotton, and blended cotton.
Upland cotton is the material most commonly used for weaving textiles. On the other hand, Egyptian cotton is a higher-quality alternative that is an extra-long-staple cotton, meaning each fiber is longer than standard cotton. The more extended fibers make Egyptian cotton—which is typically grown in the Nile River Valley—both softer and stronger than Upland cotton.
Many higher-end products feature Egyptian cotton, and it is often associated with a heftier price tag. Look for labels that specify “long-staple” to ensure the cotton is not simply grown in Egypt, allowing the manufacturer to label it as “Egyptian cotton.”
- Like Egyptian cotton, Pima cotton is a luxury upgrade from the more common Upland variety. The major factor distinguishing it from its Egyptian counterpart is where it’s grown. Pima cotton is largely produced in the southwestern United States and shares the long-staple characteristics of Egyptian cotton, making it strong and soft.
- Supima cotton is essentially the same fiber but is regulated by the Supima Association to make sure that it’s grown in the United States and meets their quality standards. Because the regulations for Egyptian cotton and Pima cotton aren’t as strict, buying products labeled “Supima cotton” guarantees a certain level of quality.
While most percale sheets are made from 100 percent cotton, some are blended with other materials. If combined with a synthetic fiber like polyester, sheets can be more durable and wrinkle-resistant. Cotton is also mixed with other natural materials such as silk or bamboo rayon. Since bamboo has natural moisture-wicking properties, this can be beneficial for hot sleepers. Though there are exceptions, blended cotton sheets are generally less expensive than those made from 100 percent cotton.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Percale Sheets
Before shopping for percale sheets, there are some key factors to consider. Though it may be easy to assume that all percale sheets perform similarly, several characteristics can affect the quality of your sleep. Keep reading to learn about some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when shopping for the best percale sheets for you.
There are a wide variety of weaves used for creating cotton sheets, but the two predominant ones are sateen and percale. The right one for you will depend on your needs and sleep preferences.
- Percale-weave (also known as plain weave) fabrics have an equal number of horizontal and vertical threads. They are lightweight and crisp, making them perfect for hot sleepers. They have a matte finish and slightly more texture than sateen-weave fabrics.
- Sateen-weave (also known as satin weave) fabrics, on the other hand, contain more vertical than horizontal threads. This makes them softer and smoother, though they are more prone to pilling and ripping. They have a slightly shiny appearance and tend to have a higher thread count than percale sheets.
Well-made percale sheets should feel soft and cool, though they are slightly more textured than sateen woven sheets. A percale weave is often an indication of quality, and the majority of percale sheets feature 100 percent cotton, making them smooth and luxurious-feeling. Many high-end hotels use percale sheets for that ultraclean and crisp handfeel.
Thread count is the measure of how many horizontal and vertical fibers per square inch a fabric has. It essentially describes the density of a material. For example, 400-thread-count sheets contain 200 vertical and 200 horizontal fibers per square inch.
Thread counts typically range between 50 and 1,000 in bedding materials. It’s normal for percale sheets to have slightly lower thread counts than their sateen counterparts because of how they’re constructed. The average percale woven fabric has a thread count of 180, while a thread count of between 200 and 500 is considered excellent. While some brands tout high thread counts, a higher number is not always desirable. If you are a hot sleeper, a more densely woven fabric might cause you to become overheated.
There are a number of factors that contribute to the softness of a fabric.
- The material used is perhaps the most significant consideration. The quality of the cotton thread dictates how soft the material will feel. Long-staple and extra-long-staple fibers will be both soft and durable.
- The style of weave also affects softness. While both percale and sateen weaves can result in very soft fabrics, sateen generally feels silkier, while percale feels crisper.
- Percale sheets with a thread count of between 200 and 500 will likely be the softest.
Percale sheets are somewhat prone to wrinkling because of their slightly rougher texture. Smoother sateen sheets have more wrinkle resistance. With percale sheets, a higher thread count may increase wrinkling because of the material’s dense weave. To keep wrinkles at bay, try to avoid leaving your sheets in the dryer once the cycle is finished. If you make your bed while they’re still warm and freshly laundered, they’ll be less prone to wrinkling. If you are interested in percale sheets but wrinkle resistance is your top priority, consider a cotton-polyester blend, which will be more likely to stay wrinkle-free.
Percale sheets are known for their breathability, making them an excellent choice for those who run hot when they sleep or for those who live in warmer climates. Since percale sheets are typically made with cotton, they are natural and breathable materials that allow air to circulate. Well-made percale sheets should be lightweight and crisp. Any sheets made with cotton blends may have decreased breathability, especially if low-quality synthetic materials are used.
One hundred percent cotton percale sheets are naturally cooling and make a great choice for hot sleepers. Higher-quality cotton, like Egyptian or Pima, has even better moisture absorption. For those looking for maximum moisture-wicking capabilities, cotton blended with linen, Tencel, or eucalyptus can be suitable because of their finer weaves. A cotton and bamboo-viscose blend can also be beneficial because of its ability to wick moisture and regulate temperatures.
No matter how high quality your sheets are, they can become a nuisance if they don’t fit properly. When shopping for sheets, the size of your mattress is important to keep in mind. It’s also essential to consider your mattress’s depth, and it can be beneficial to measure it before you start shopping. Beyond that, you also should think about whether you use a mattress pad or topper because those can add height to your sheets. Most product descriptions will specify what size and depth of mattress they can accommodate.
- Standard sheets fit mattresses with a depth of up to 12 inches.
- Deep-pocket sheets accommodate mattresses up to 15 inches deep.
- Extra-deep-pocket sheets will fit mattresses with a depth of up to 22 inches.
Our Top Picks
The following recommendations take into account all the considerations mentioned, including thread count, breathability, material, and more. This list features a variety of choices of top-notch percale sheets to help you find the right one for you according to your needs and budget.
While a thread count of 200 for this sheet set may seem low if you’re used to shopping for sateen-weave fabrics, it’s actually above average for percale. More importantly, these sheets contain 100 percent long-staple cotton, which is a more significant contributor to overall softness and increased breathability.
They’re made in a factory that meets the Oeko-Tex 100 Standard, and the materials are also Sedex Certified, meaning they are ecologically friendly. It’s a four-piece set, including a flat sheet, two pillowcases, and a fitted sheet that fits a mattress of up to 16 inches in depth. These deep-pocket sheets come in a selection of 15 solid colors, allowing you to easily match them to your existing bedding. To clean them, machine wash warm on the gentle cycle and tumble dry low.
Made from 100 percent extra-long-staple cotton with a thread count of 300, these affordable sheets feature many of the attributes of their more expensive competitors. They have a medium breathable weight and become increasingly soft with washing.
The set comes with four pieces, including a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and two pillowcases. The fitted sheet has a deep pocket, accommodating mattresses of up to 15 inches in depth. While many sheet sets only come in solid colors, these are also available in a variety of fun prints, including paisley, stripes, and diamond-print. These sheets are machine washable for easy cleaning, and you can tumble dry.
Casper is known for their mattresses, but their percale sheets offer an ideal blend of softness, strength, and breathability. The 100 percent Supima cotton used to make this set is grown in California and has an extra-long staple that is 35 percent longer and 45 percent stronger than standard cotton. It’s also woven with two-ply construction, which is meant to become softer washing while resisting pilling.
The set comes in six neutral colors and includes a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and two pillowcases. The fitted sheet suits mattresses of up to 14 inches in depth. To clean the sheets, use the gentle cycle and warm-water settings on your washing machine and tumble dry on low.
This four-piece set by Purity Home is woven with 100 percent long-staple Egyptian cotton, making it crisp, cool, and breathable. The sheets have a thread count of 400, meaning they will be smooth and will last for years. They come in a variety of colors and sizes.
The set includes a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and two pillowcases. The fitted sheet has an extra-deep-pocket design, featuring a True Grip patent to ensure a snug fit, and accommodates mattresses with a depth of between 7 and 18 inches. It also features a 1-inch elastic to keep it in place. The materials used meet Oeko-Tex standards for product safety. To clean the sheets, machine wash and tumble dry.
Made from 100 percent Peruvian Pima cotton, this set includes a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and two pillowcases. The cotton is grown in the coastal valleys of Peru and features long-staple fibers for optimal softness and durability. The deep-fitted sheet features a patented True Grip technology to ensure it stays in place for various mattress depths. It also has a full elastic to keep it in place. These sheets are smooth, breathable, and have a thread count of 415, which is within the ideal range for percale sheets.
This set comes in a collection of colors to suit your décor. They are Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified, ensuring that they were tested and found to be free of harmful chemicals. To clean, use the gentle cycle and warm-water settings on your washing machine and tumble dry on low
Made from 100 percent organic cotton, these 300-thread-count sheets are hypoallergenic and have a 14-inch pocket. The set includes a top sheet, a fitted sheet, and two pillowcases. The fitted sheet features an extra-strong wide elastic to ensure a snug fit. They offer maximum breathability and have a soft and crisp feel.
The sheets are Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified, meaning they meet ecological and social standards. They are produced in an ethically certified factory in India, made with natural dyes, and come in a range of tasteful colors. They are free of GMOs, pesticides, and other toxic chemicals and even come in fully recyclable packaging. These sheets are machine washable—tumble dry on low heat and remove quickly after the cycle to avoid wrinkles.
This set by Nautica features a percale weave made from 100 percent single-ply long-staple cotton, making it soft, breathable, and cool to the touch. It has a thread count of 200, which is within the ideal range for percale sheets.
The set includes a flat sheet, two pillowcases, and a fitted sheet designed to accommodate a mattress of up to 18 inches in depth. It has a full elastic to ensure an ideal fit. While many sheet sets come in a variety of plain colors, this one also comes in a selection of Nautica’s signature preppy nautical prints. To clean, machine wash cold on the delicate cycle and tumble dry low.
The Advantages of Owning Percale Sheets
Percale sheets, especially when made with 100 percent cotton, are lightweight and breathable. Their weave ensures that they last for years, becoming softer with every wash. They are:
- Crisp and cool, becoming softer with every wash.
- Ideal for hot sleepers and those who live in warm climates.
- Durable and resistant to pulls and pilling.
- Machine washable.
FAQs About Your New Percale Sheets
With all the choices available, finding the best percale sheets can be a bit overwhelming, so you might still have some questions. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about percale sheets.
Q. What is the difference between cotton and percale sheets?
Percale refers to the weave style, while cotton is the actual material used. Percale sheets are most commonly woven from cotton.
Q. What is the best thread count for percale sheets?
The ideal thread count for percale sheets is between 200 and 500.
Q. How do you wash percale sheets?
Most percale sheets, if 100 percent cotton, can be washed in your washing machine. For longevity, it’s best to use the gentle cycle and warm water to kill bacteria. Percale sheets can be tumble dried on low, and you should ideally remove them shortly after the drying cycle is complete to avoid wrinkling.
Q. How long do percale sheets last?
High-quality percale sheets can last for up to 10 years. Percale is known to last longer than other cotton weaves.