Percale vs Sateen Sheets: Differences and Comparison (With Table)

Nowadays, quality sheet fabric is getting popular as people increase awareness of a healthy lifestyle. Percale and sateen are the two types of popular fabric for bedding sheets. But when it comes to percale vs sateen sheets, their differences are confusing.

The main differences between percale and sateen are the feel and fabric’s weave method. The sateen fabric uses a looser 3 over 1 weave style, which makes it very soft. Percale fabric has a tighter weave than sateen, making it feel crisp like a dress shirt.

Percale vs Sateen Sheets

When buying bed sheets, you need to consider the fabric properties and your sleep habits if you want to enjoy a comfortable rest after a tiring workday. Here are the key differences between percale and sateen to help you choose the suitable sheets for yourself.

Percale vs Sateen Sheets: Comparison Chart

The following chart shows the basic features and properties of percale and sateen sheets.

Percale SheetsSateen Sheets
Fiber contentUsually made from carded and combed yarns, also various fibers such as cotton, polyester, or blends.Usually made with spun yarns, such as cotton, linen, and rayon.
Weave TypePlain weaveSatin weave
AppearanceMatte finishLusurious sheen
PropertiesSmooth and quite soft, more breathableBetter moisture absorption than sateen sheetsEasy to wrinkleSoft and smooth, less breathable;More resistant to wrinkles than percale sheets;Low moisture absorption;
MaintenanceMost percale sheets can be washed and dried with the household machine. Please note that frequently wash may break down the fabric and cause wear and tear.Most sateen sheets can be washed with a mild detergent with a machine’s gentle cycle. They also can be dried using a machine with no heat, air-dry cycle.
PriceModerately pricedA variety of prices available

What Is Percale

Percale is a type of plain weave fabric that uses close weave techniques. It has a tighter weave than common bedding sheets because percale fabric often adopts more than 200 thread count.

Percale fabric has a tight weave and usually uses the classic one-thread-over-one-under style. And this style makes the percale sheet fabric medium weight, strong and smooth. Percale sheets are soft, and they will become softer and smoother after washing.

What Is Sateen

Sateen is a type of specific weave pattern rather than a material. It adopts one yarn under, three, or four yarns over the pattern, similar to satin. Sateen fabric is a type of fabric made up of spun yarns with satin weave techniques. Sateen fabric has a sheen appearance and soft feel due to the use of satin weave.

Sateen fabric uses a thicker yarn and looser 3 over 1 weave technique, so it has a little heavier on the body, but it is also warm, ideal for those who live in colder weather and want to sleep cool. In a word, sateen sheets are a nice choice for breathable and luxurious.

Percale vs Sateen Sheets: 7 Key Differences

Different from common cotton sheets, percale and sateen sheets fabrics have similar functions with different qualities. And here are the seven key differences between percale and sateen sheets.

1. Feel

Both percale sheets and sateen sheets have quite a soft feel, the softness of sateen resembles a feel of buttery, which is ultra-comfortable anytime you lie down on your bed. While percale sheets have a crisp feel on the touch, which resembles the feel of your crisp white shirt. It may be a little hard the first time you touch percale sheets, but it will become softer after laundering. And sateen sheets are smoother with a luxurious sheen, while percale sheets have a matte finish appearance.

2. Warm

The yarn that percale fabric uses is slim, so the percale fabric is lightweight and still has good breathability even if it has a tighter weave. And in warm weather, percale sheets can keep you cool over the night and have a good rest.

Different from percale fabric, sateen fabric uses a slightly thicker yarn, which makes it more weight on the body than percale. If you prefer to stay warm at night, sateen beddings will be a good choice, especially in cold weather.

3. Hypoallergenic

Both percale and sateen sheets are good for allergies since most percale and sateen sheets are made of cotton on the market and have good hypoallergenic. If you are easy to get allergenic or have trouble with eczema, or other skin conditions, or simply have irritable and sensitive skin, percale and sateen sheets are the ideal choices to help you avoid such problems and reduce the chance to get scratchy. Please pay attention to the fiber content when buying percale or sateen sheets, not all the manufacturers will produce the quality sheets.

4. Durability

Both percale and sateen sheets are quite durable, but percale sheets can last for a longer time than sateen ones due to their tighter weave. If the percale sheets are made of quality natural cotton, they even can be used for about ten years or longer. Sateen sheets also can be used for a long time if they are maintained properly.

5. Thread Count

Percale and sateen sheets have different thread counts. Thread count refers to the number of horizontal wefts and vertical warp threads found in one square inch of fabric. It is used to evaluate the weight, breathability, and longevity of a sheet set.

Usually, a percale fabric has a minimum thread count of 180, and the best thread count of percale sheets is 200 to 300, which is a good indicator for percale sheets and pillowcases. Compared with percale sheets, sateen sheets need more threads to keep the yarn together due to their looser weave techniques. And the thread count range of sateen sheets is often 300 to 600.

6. Temperature Regulation

Percale and sateen sheets have different performances on the point of temperature regulation. Sateen sheets use thicker yarn and looser weave techniques, making it has a good ability to keep warm. And sateen sheets have a buttery feel and are silky due to their loose weave technique. In other words, you may sweat if the weather is hot. So if you need a cool sleep at night in hot weather, sateen sheets are not the first choice for you.

In such a case, percale sheets are better than sateen ones. The yarn of percale fabric is slimmer than that of sateen, so it’s relatively lightweight and has more room for air, making it more breathable in hot weather. In summary, sateen sheets are better in chilly weather to keep you warm, while percale sheets are ideal for hot and dry nights.

7. Cost

High-quality percale and sateen sheets have a similar price on the market. And you also can find cheap percale and sateen sheets, but their fiber content may not be 100% cotton but the fabric blends. Generally speaking, the average price of percale sheets set with a thread count of 200 to 300 is between $70 and $150. For sateen sheets set, the price may vary from $50 to $150 due to their quality and materials.

Percale vs Sateen Sheets for Hot Sleepers, Which Is Better?

There are no standards to telling one thing is absolutely good or bad. As mentioned above, percale fabric has good breathability, which has more room for air circulation. So they can keep you cool and dry in hot weather, making them suitable for hot sleepers. Sateen sheets, on the other hand, use a looser weave style, which can trap more heat, making them an ideal choice for cold sleepers or chilly seasons.


Seven differences between percale and sateen sheets are explained in this article. They vary from the basic structure to cost. And you can take it as a reference to decide how to buy the perfect bedding sheets.

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