What is Percale? Is it better than Sateen?

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400 Thread Count Sateen Weave. Softer than 1000 TC Egyptian cotton.

Percale is a term frequently encountered in the world of bed linens, known for its crisp, cool feel and matte finish. But what exactly makes percale a distinct choice among various types of sheets? Let's explore the characteristics of percale fabric and understand how it stands out from other bedding materials.

Understanding Percale

Percale refers to a type of weave used to produce bed sheets, pillowcases, and other bedding items. This weave is characterized by a one-over, one-under pattern, which results in a tight, uniform weave with a smooth, crisp feel. The term 'percale' itself refers to the weave, not the material, although it is most commonly made from cotton.

Characteristics of Percale Sheets

  • Crisp and Cool Feel: Percale sheets are known for their crispness, providing a cool and refreshing feel against the skin. This makes them particularly popular in warm climates or for people who tend to sleep hot.
  • Matte Finish: Unlike sateen, percale has a matte finish, which gives it a clean, classic look.
  • Breathability: The percale weave allows for excellent air circulation, making these sheets highly breathable.
  • Durability: The tight weave of percale enhances its durability, often allowing these sheets to last for years with proper care.
  • Lightweight: Percale sheets are lightweight and comfortable, perfect for those who prefer not to feel weighed down by their bedding.

Comparison with Other Types of Sheets

  1. Percale vs. Sateen: While percale has a crisp, matte finish, sateen sheets are known for their silky smoothness and slight sheen. Sateen can be slightly warmer and less breathable compared to percale.
  2. Percale vs. Linen: Linen sheets are made from flax fibers and are highly breathable with a distinctive texture. Linen is more textured and can feel coarser initially compared to the smooth crispness of percale.
  3. Percale vs. Polyester: Polyester sheets, being synthetic, offer durability and wrinkle resistance but lack the natural breathability and feel of percale cotton.
  4. Percale vs. Jersey: Jersey sheets are knit rather than woven, giving them a stretchy, t-shirt-like feel. In contrast, percale is more structured and less stretchy, offering a cooler sleep experience.


Percale is an excellent choice for those who value a cool, crisp feel in their bedding. Ideal for warm sleepers or those living in hotter climates, percale sheets offer a refreshing sleep experience. The classic matte finish and durability make them a practical and stylish choice for any bedroom. When choosing bed linens, consider factors like climate, texture preferences, and how you sleep to decide whether percale is the right choice for you.

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