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Daniel Noyed

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Do you enjoy crisp, lightweight bedding that sleeps cool and doesn’t drape or cling to the body too closely? If so, you’ll probably enjoy the feel of percale sheets. Percale is a type of weave that produces material with a crisp hand-feel and an airy structure. It is also known as “plain weave.” In addition to sheets, percale is used to construct men’s dress shirts. Percale sheets are normally produced from cotton, but this weave can also be used for other fabrics such as polyester and rayon from bamboo.

A four-piece set of percale sheets and pillowcases can cost anywhere from less than $50 to more than $1,000, but you should be able to find a high-quality collection in the range of $70 to $150. In addition to price, other important factors to consider when choosing a percale sheet set include the fabric’s thread count, the pocket depth of the fitted sheet, care instructions, and the seller’s return policy.

Our best percale sheets guide will cover everything you need to know about this type of bedding, including construction and weave technique, price expectations, pros and cons, and differences between percale and other weave types. First, check out our picks for the best percale sheets sold today. These selections are based on reviews and feedback from verified owners of these sheets, as well as results from our own hands-on testing.

Product Details

Brooklinen Classic Core Sheets

Brooklinen Classic Core Sheets
Material:
100% Long-Staple Cotton
Weave:
Percale
Brooklinen Classic Core Sheets
Highlights:

Available in a wide range of colors and patterns, the Classic Core Sheet Set epitomizes the light and breathable feel of percale bedding.

Who it's best for:
  • Shoppers looking for a set with a wide color and pattern selection
  • Any sleeper whose mattress measures up to 15 inches thick
  • Those who want to purchase durable sheets

The sheets and pillowcases in the Brooklinen Classic Core Sheet Set collection are constructed from long-staple cotton, a material that is more durable than standard cotton. The cotton also has a thread count of 270, which is reasonably high for percale bedding. As a result, this set offers great longevity and should hold up well over time – even after repeated wash cycles.

The Classic Core Sheet Set is available in a wide range of solid color and pattern options, so you should be able to find a design that matches your decor tastes. The fitted sheet has a pocket depth of 15 inches, meaning the set will be compatible with your mattress as long as it measures no more than 15 inches thick. If you don’t need the flat sheet, Brooklinen also sells the more affordable Classic Starter Set that includes a fitted sheet and two pillowcases. Alternatively, the more expensive Classic Hardcore Set includes the four core components plus a duvet cover and two additional pillowcases.

While you can wash each component of this set in your household machine, Brooklinen recommends line drying these items to preserve their structure. The Classic Core Sheet Set’s price-point is very reasonable compared to other percale collections, especially those made from long-staple cotton. Brooklinen offers free shipping within the contiguous U.S. and accepts used and laundered returns within 365 days of your original purchase.

Peru Pima Percale Sheet Set

Peru Pima Percale Sheet Set
Material:
100% Peruvian Pima cotton
Weave:
Percale
Peru Pima Percale Sheet Set
Highlights:

This affordable luxury set is constructed from premium Peruvian cotton for excellent cooling and longevity.

Who it's best for:
  • Exceptionally hot sleepers
  • Any sleeper whose mattress measures up to 14 inches thick
  • Sheet shoppers looking for high quality at an affordable price-point

The Percale Bed Sheet Set collection from Peru Pima is crafted from Peruvian Pima cotton. Pima is very breathable, even compared to other types of cotton, and the cotton has an extra-long staple to ensure above-average longevity. Many hotel chains use Pima bedding in their suites because the material is comfortable and durable. These sheets are normally expensive, but the Peru Pima collection is quite affordable and offers great long-term value for owners.

The cotton has a thread count of 415, which is a solid high-end count for the Pima variety. While crisp at first, the sheets and pillowcases in this collection will gradually soften as they age. Peru Pima currently offers at least 10 color options for this set, including neutral and bright shades. Each component boasts impeccable stitching and an attractive matte finish. Each set of Peru Pima Percale sheets can be washed and dried in household machines. The fitted sheet has a pocket depth of 14 inches, so be sure to measure your mattress before deciding whether this set is right for you.

Peru Pima issues full refunds or store credits on returns within 30 days of the original purchase. Ground delivery is free to the United States.

Quince Organic Percale Luxe Sheet Set

Quince Organic Percale Luxe Sheet Set
Material:
100% organic extra-long staple cotton
Weave:
Percale
Quince Organic Percale Luxe Sheet Set
Highlights:

The Quince Organic Percale sheets combine the softness of extra-long staple cotton with a breathable percale weave to provide a comfortable, cool night’s sleep.

Who it's best for:
  • Any sleeper whose mattress measures up to 15 inches thick
  • Hot sleepers
  • Individuals looking for cool sheets made with organic materials

The Quince Organic Percale Luxe Sheet Set collection is an excellent choice for anyone who sleeps hot at night. They are crafted from breathable, extra-long staple cotton for high-quality softness that will deepen with each wash. The sheets are certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard and have been tested and certified by OEKO-TEX to be free of a wide range of harmful chemicals.

Each set of sheets is made with a 400 thread count percale weave, making them durable, crisp, and breathable. The sheets are currently available in three soft, neutral color options that all have a smooth matte finish. The Organic Percale Luxe sheets can be machine washed and dried for easy care. The fitted sheets have a pocket depth of 15 inches, allowing them to accommodate even high-profile beds.

Although the Organic Percale Luxe sheets are made from high-quality organic cotton, they are available at a competitive price-point. Quince offers free shipping on all orders and provides each set of sheets with a 100-night return period.

Thomas Lee Cotton Percale Sheet Set

Thomas Lee Cotton Percale Sheet Set
Material:
100% U.S. Supima cotton
Weave:
Percale
Thomas Lee Cotton Percale Sheet Set
Highlights:

These sheets made from premium, U.S.-grown Supima cotton that provides a strong degree of breathability and durability.

Who it's best for:
  • Exceptionally hot sleepers
  • Any sleeper whose mattress measures up to 18 inches thick
  • Shoppers with larger budgets

The Thomas Lee Cotton Percale Sheet Set is an excellent pick if you don’t mind spending a little extra on new bedding. While this collection is fairly expensive, it also delivers excellent durability and performance thanks to its 100 percent Supima cotton construction. Supima is a subcategory of Pima cotton that is grown in the United States. Like its Peruvian counterpart, Supima is an extra-long staple variety that holds up exceptionally well and provides consistent breathability. This collection is highly sustainable, too. Thomas Lee products are manufactured using wind power, recycled rainwater, and other renewable resources in order to maintain a low footprint.

These sheets are highly absorbent. In addition to keeping you cool, they’ll also wick moisture away from your body to keep your dry and comfortable, especially during hotter times of the year. As the fitted sheet has a pocket depth of 18 inches, the set will be compatible with the vast majority of mattresses sold today, including most high-profile and pillow-top models. The Cotton Percale Sheet Set can be washed and dried in any household machine, as well.

Thomas Lee provides free shipping to customers in all 50 states for orders that exceed $200. The company also accepts unused returns within 30 days of your original purchase.

Boll & Branch Percale Solid Sheets

Boll & Branch Percale Solid Sheets
Material:
100% organic cotton
Weave:
Percale
Boll & Branch Percale Solid Sheets
Highlights:

Produced from organic cotton, the Boll & Branch Percale Tailored Sheet Set is breathable, durable, and sustainably produced.

Who it's best for:
  • Any sleeper whose mattress measures up to 17 inches thick
  • Eco-conscious individuals
  • Shoppers with larger budgets

Organic cotton is a popular bedding material. It offers the same natural breathability and softness of standard cotton, and is sustainably produced using limited resources. The Boll & Branch Percale Tailored Sheet Set is a great option if you’re in the market for organic cotton bedding. The material has a crisp hand-feel that will gradually soften over time with subsequent washes. It also offers a fine, lightweight structure without sacrificing durability thanks to a tight percale weave and a generous thread count.

Boll & Branch offers two solid colors and a pinstripe pattern for this collection. Eight sizes are also available. These include the six standard mattress sizes, as well as a split king size for couples who use an adjustable bed base and a king size set with standard size pillowcases. The fitted sheet in the twin size set has a pocket depth of 15 inches, making it compatible with most mattresses sold today, while the larger size fitted sheets have a 17-inch pocket depth for even more reach. Each component of this set can be washed and dried in any household machine. Organic cotton tends to wrinkle a bit, so you may need to iron these items when they are finished drying.

While the Percale Tailored Sheet Set’s price-point may seem steep at first glance, it’s actually on par with other sheet sets made from high-quality organic cotton. Boll & Branch offers free shipping for U.S. orders and full refunds on returned sheets and pillowcases within 30 days of the original purchase.

Boston Linen Essential Percale Sheets

Boston Linen Essential Percale Sheets
Material:
100% long staple cotton
Weave:
Percale
Boston Linen Essential Percale Sheets
Highlights:

The Essential Percale Sheets from Boston Linen Co. are made from combed long-staple cotton with an exceptionally soft feel.

Who it's best for:
  • Those who prefer their percale sheets with added softness
  • Any sleeper whose mattress measures up to 16 inches thick
  • Value seekers

Lastly, the Essential Percale Sheets from Boston Linen Co. are an excellent choice for shoppers on a budget. While the set’s sticker price is quite affordable in all sizes, these sheets and pillowcases are produced from high-quality long-staple cotton that is combed for extra softness. As a result, these items offer the same breathability and longevity as many competing percale sets with higher price-points. The Boston Linen Co. factory has earned an OEKO-TEX certification, which indicates no harmful chemicals or substances are used during the manufacturing process.

The cotton has a thread count of 300, which is considered optimal for percale bedding. The fitted sheet has a pocket depth of 16 inches, making this set compatible with most mattresses made today. Boston Linen Co. offers seven different solid color schemes for the sheets and pillowcases. If you don’t need sheets, you can buy two pillowcases separately. You’ll be able to wash and dry this set in your household machines. Some mild wrinkling may occur, but ironing is not recommended – simply smooth the wrinkles by hand.

As long as the items are sent back in their original packaging, Boston Linen Co. accepts returns on sheets and pillowcases within 60 days of purchase. Standard ground shipping is also free for U.S. orders. For an added touch of sustainability, the set is shipped in a plastic-free cotton drawstring bag.

What Are Percale Sheets?

Some consumers mistake “cotton percale” for a specific variety of cotton. In fact, the term percale refers to a type of weave used to make bedding, garments, and other products. Percale is also known as plain weave. Most percale sheets are made from cotton, but this weave can also be used with polyester, rayon from bamboo, microfiber, and other synthetic fabrics.

Each woven fabric consists of vertical threads known as warps and horizontal threads known as wefts. For percale, the wefts pass – or “float” – over the warps in a one-by-one pattern, forming a grid shape that leaves the material with a crisp hand-feel that will gradually soften over time. Percale’s tight structure requires fewer threads than other weaves, so its thread counts are generally lower and the fabric is relatively lightweight. This sets percale apart from other weaving techniques such as sateen and twill.

The minimum thread count for percale is 180, but most percale sets fall in the 200 to 300 thread count range. The average set of percale cotton sheets will cost between $70 and $150, but some high-quality sets have lower sticker prices. In the guide below, we’ll discuss how percale is made, key differences between percale and sateen, and what to look for when shopping for a new percale sheet set.

Percale vs. Sateen

Like percale, sateen is a weave commonly used for sheets and pillowcases. In the table below, we’ll outline the key differences between these two weave types.

Percale Sateen
Weave The weft floats over and under one warp at a time to create a tight, grid-shaped pattern. The weft thread floats under three warp threads for each one it floats over, resulting in a looser weave.
Material The percale weave can be used for cotton, as well as synthetic fabrics like polyester and rayon from bamboo. Sateen is primarily used for cotton, as well, but may also be used with polyester and rayon from bamboo.
Feel The tight weave gives percale an initially crisp feel that many compare to men’s shirting material, but it will soften with use. Percale is also very lightweight and breathable since it requires fewer threads. Sateen is smooth and silky-soft when new. Over time, sateen will become softer and drapier. Since the thread count is higher, sateen is usually heavier than percale and also not as breathable.
Thread Count The minimum thread count for percale is 180, but the optimal range for this material is 200 to 300. The ideal thread count for sateen sheets is 300 to 600. The looser weave requires more threads to hold the fabric together.
Price Range The average percale sheet set costs between $70 and $150. Similarly, the average sateen sheet set costs between $50 and $150.
Who They’re Good For Percale sheets are best suited to people who prefer crisp, lightweight bedding. They also offer above-average breathability. Sateen sheets are ideal for sleepers who enjoy soft, drapey bedding. The loose weave gives sateen a smooth feel, but the material is not as breathable as percale.

How to Choose Percale Sheets

Buying new sheets might seem like a straightforward purchase, but there are a few factors to consider before deciding which set is right for you. These include feel, thread count, pocket depth of the fitted sheet, and ease of care. In the next section, we’ll explain what each factor entails and how to evaluate different sheet sets based on these criteria.

What to Consider When Buying Percale Sheets

From misleadingly high thread counts to claims of sheets that “never wear out,” dubious assertions and exaggerations can be common in the bedding industry. Rather than relying on brand marketers to guide your purchasing decision, we recommend evaluating each set using the following criteria. This will help you distinguish high-quality sheet sets from their lower-quality competitors.

Weave
All percale sheets are woven with the weft threads floating over the warp threads in a tight, one-by-one pattern. Unless this technique is used, then the sheets should not be considered percale. Keep in mind that some brands prefer the more traditional “plain weave” label, which is synonymous with percale.

Feel
You’ll notice a crisp texture with new percale sheets. This can be attributed to how tightly the threads are woven together. Don’t worry if they feel too rough at first – the sheets and pillowcases will soften with subsequent washes. Percale is also relatively lightweight since fewer threads are required during the weaving process.

Fit
Before you begin sheet shopping, take a moment to measure how thick your mattress is. Every fitted sheet is designed for mattresses up to a certain height, as indicated by its “pocket depth” measurement. Most fitted sheets have a pocket depth of at least 14 inches, making them compatible with most mattresses sold today, but we recommend checking anyway. The deepest pocket percale sheets will be compatible with mattresses measuring at least 18 inches thick.

Price
The average percale sheet set costs between $70 and $150. You may be able to find a high-quality set for less, but many of these items are made from fabric blends, not pure cotton. On the other hand, a luxury sheet set can easily run you $500 or more. These include items produced from pure Egyptian cotton, Pima cotton, and other high-end fabrics.

Thread Count
Technically, the fabric must have a thread count of 180 to be considered percale. When judging a fabric by quality a thread count of 200 to 300 is a good benchmark for percale sheets and pillowcases. Thread count is not necessarily an indicator of quality, especially if the number seems unusually high.

Design, Color, and Pattern
This factor is purely aesthetic, but still important to many consumers. Percale sheets are available in a wide range of designs, including neutral and earth tones, bright shades, and multi-colored patterns. Depending on the brand, you may need to pay more for certain colors and patterns, such as “limited edition” styles.

Breathability
Percale is typically quite breathable. This can be attributed to its weaving technique, which requires fewer threads and creates a fabric that allows air to pass through more easily. Many sleepers prefer percale bedding for summer months and hotter climates. Cotton percale is especially well suited to warm weather thanks to its moisture-wicking properties.

Durability
Cotton percale tends to be more durable than percale produced from other fibers. However, the material will still break down over time. Pilling, or the appearance of small bumps of cotton on the fabric’s surface, is a common sign of wear. As your sheet set nears the end of its lifespan, you may also notice rips and tears developing, and the fitted sheet’s elasticated corners may lose some of their stretch.

Ease of Care
Most percale sheets and pillowcases can be washed and dried in any household machine. However, you should not wash them too frequently because laundering breaks down the fabric and causes wear and tear. To preserve the material and extend your set’s lifespan, consider line-drying your percale sheets and pillowcases instead of drying them in a machine.

What Types of Percale Sheets Are Available?

While percale sheet sets made from synthetic fibers like polyester and rayon are widely available and – in most cases – relatively affordable, cotton percale sets generally offer higher quality, better durability, and more consistent temperature control.

As you browse different sheet sets, you’ll notice terms like “long-staple,” “Pima cotton,” and “blended percale.” While similar in structure, each type of percale offers distinct pros and cons for sleepers. Below, we’ve highlighted four of the most common percale categories.

  • Standard: “Staple” refers to the length of cotton fibers used to produce the fabric, and is a good indicator of overall quality and longevity. Standard cotton has a staple length of 1.125 inches or shorter. This material is more susceptible to early pilling and wear, but sets made of standard cotton are often easy on the wallet.
  • Long-Staple Cotton: By definition, long-staple cotton measures about 1.25 inches in length. While this may seem like a slight advantage, long-staple cotton is considerably softer and more durable than standard cotton.
  • Extra-long Staple Cotton: ELS for short, extra-long staple cotton can measure up to 2 inches in length. Two of the most sought after cotton types, Egyptian and Pima, are ELS varieties.
  • Blended Percale: In most cases, blended percale refers to a blend of cotton and polyester. This material is not as strong or durable as pure cotton percale, but it is affordable and feels quite soft.
  • Organic Cotton: In order to earn the “organic” certification, cotton must be grown without GMO seeds, chemical fertilizers, or pesticides. Prominent certifying organizations for organic cotton include the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Global Organic Textile Standard.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Percale Sheets?

While many sleepers love percale sheets for their crisp hand-feel and consistent breathability, the material is also susceptible to heavy wrinkling and may be too lightweight for cold weather. The table below summarizes some of percale’s most notable pros and cons.

Pros Cons
  • Due to its tighter weave and lower thread count, percale sheets tend to be very lightweight and breathable. Cotton percale is also absorbent and will wick moisture away from the skin.
  • Percale sheets and pillowcases feel crisp at first but soften over time, striking a fine balance between smooth and scratchy.
  • Percale’s tight weave structure makes the material quite durable, especially compared to sateen. The fabric shouldn’t pill too much or attract lint during cleanings.
  • Percale is a low-maintenance material. For most sets, you’ll be able to wash and dry each component at home without spot cleaning or dry cleaning. However, you may wish to line dry the items to minimize wear and tear.
  • The composition of percale makes the material wrinkle easily. Some brands discourage ironing percale sheets, which means you may need to smooth them by hand.
  • Some sleepers find percale too coarse and scratchy. This is particularly common with sheet sets made from low-grade cotton, cotton blends, and synthetic fabrics like polyester.
  • While percale is quite breathable and well suited to warm weather, the fabric is a bit too thin and lightweight to insulate you from the cold. You may want to consider a heavier sheet set for the winter months.

Who Is Best Suited to Percale Sheets?

Percale sheets are optimal for people who want a crisp hand-feel from their bedding that will become softer over time. The fabric will never drape closely to the skin like sateen due to its tighter weave, nor will it feel as smooth, but many sleepers prefer the gentle texture of used percale to the body-hugging clinginess of sateen.

Hot sleepers should also consider a percale sheet set, especially if they find sateen excessively warm. As the percale technique incorporates a lower amount of threads, air will pass through the material more easily. If you are an exceptionally hot sleeper, you should definitely pick cotton percale over blended or synthetic percale. Cotton offers natural breathability and absorbency, so you can stay cool and dry during the night.

Lastly, percale sheets are a solid investment because the material offers better longevity than sateen. Percale won’t pill as easily, either. If you’re in the market for a cotton sheet set that will deliver high value over time, percale is your best bet – especially long-staple and extra-long staple cotton varieties.

What Is the Ideal Thread Count for Percale Sheets?

At minimum, percale sheets and pillowcases must have a thread count of 180, but the ideal thread range for this material is 200 to 300. If the yarns are exceptionally dense or the cotton staples are longer, then the thread count may be higher. Comparatively, sateen’s looser weave requires more threads to hold together, so this material’s ideal thread count range is 300 to 600.

The term thread count refers to the number of horizontal weft and vertical warp threads found in one square inch of fabric. Thread count can help you evaluate the weight, breathability, and longevity of a sheet set. However, many bedding manufacturers exaggerate both the thread counts of their products and the importance of thread count as an indicator of overall quality.

For example, some percale sheets are made by twisting – or “plying” – two or more yarns together for each warp and weft thread. Some brands that produce two-ply sheets will double their advertised thread count. If you see a set of percale sheets with a thread count of 400 or higher, then chances are the items are made of two-ply material. Thread counts of 600 or higher may indicate three or more plies. While higher thread counts often drive up the sticker price of sheets, percale with two or more plies is not necessarily of better quality or more comfortable than single-ply material. Even the best Egyptian cotton percale sheets carry a relatively modest thread count unless the manufacturer has inflated the number.

More Frequently Asked Questions About Percale Sheets

What is the typical price range for percale sheets?
For a high-quality cotton percale sheet set with a thread count of 200 to 300, expect to pay between $70 and $150. You may find more affordable cotton percale sets, but lower prices often indicate blended or synthetic percale. Sheet sets that cost more than $150 are often made from premium materials such as organic cotton, long-staple cotton, or extra-long staple varieties such as Egyptian or Pima cotton. However, higher thread counts can also make sheet sets more expensive – and as we’ve already discussed, thread count may not indicate better quality.

How long do percale sheets last?
A high-quality percale sheet set should last at least five years. That said, many factors will affect the durability of your percale bedding, such as the type of fibers used, the staple length if the sheets are pure cotton, and how frequently you launder these items. Percale resists pilling better than sateen, so your sheets and pillowcases shouldn’t become too bumpy over time.

How do I wash and care for percale sheets?
Unless the care tag says differently, your percale sheets and pillowcases can be washed and dried in any household machine. You should wash them with like colors, especially if you choose a white set. Percale is prone to heavy wrinkling, so you may need to smooth the sheets by hand after removing them from the dryer; many brands discourage ironing the wrinkles. Additionally, you should wash your percale bedding items sparingly in order to preserve their structure and extend their lifespan.