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When selecting a new sheet set, customer should pay attention to how the fabric is woven; this can help determine how the fabric feels, how much it weighs, how cool/warm it sleeps, and other important buying factors. Percale is one of the most common fabric weaves for sheets and pillowcases. The weave has a tight, one-under-one-over structure that results softer, smoother, and more durable fabric. Percale is also lightweight and breathable, making it ideal for hot sleepers and those who live in warmer climates.
By definition, percale must have a thread count of at least 180; most percale sheets have thread counts that fall between 200 and 400. Percale sets are usually made from either 100% cotton or a blend of cotton and other materials, such as polyester or rayon. Price-points vary for percale sets. While some high-end collections may be priced at $300 or higher, shoppers can usually find high-quality sheet sets that cost between $70 and $150; cheaper options may also be available through online sellers and retailers.
Read on to learn more about percale sheets and how they differ from other types of bedding. Below you’ll find our picks for the top percale sheet sets sold today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner experiences, along with intensive product research and analysis.
Our Editor’s Pick for best percale sheets is the Classic Core Sheet Set from Brooklinen, which is a standout collection for several reasons. The flat sheet, fitted sheet, and two pillowcases in this set are made of 100% long staple cotton with a thread count of 270. The material has a crisp hand-feel and is exceptionally lightweight and breathable, making these materials ideal for warm weather (as well as sleepers who run hot). The percale is also OEKO-TEX certified, indicating that harmful chemicals are not used during production.
Customers can choose from six different sizes ranging from Twin to California King. The pillowcases included with each set have envelope closures, which help contain fill and maintain the pillow’s overall shape. Brooklinen also offers 12 different color and pattern options, each with a distinct matte finish. The company also backs the sheet set with a lifetime satisfaction guarantee.
Our Runner-Up Pick is the Snowe Percale Sheet Set. These materials are woven from premium blended Egyptian cotton with a 500 thread count, ensuring a very crisp feel and a longer-than-average expected lifespan. The fabric is also exceptionally breathable, even by percale standards, making it a great option for those who sleep excessively hot or live in places with extreme climates. It is also OEKO-TEX 100 certified.
Four sizes are available for the set: Full, Queen, King, and California King; each includes two pillowcases, along with flat and fitted sheets. The fitted sheet has a pocket depth of 17″, meaning it is suitable for the vast majority of mattresses sold today. All set components can be washed and dried in conventional machines, making them fairly low maintenance as well. Snowe offers five color options for the Percale Sheets, along with free shipping and hassle-free returns for all orders.
A high-quality set of percale sheets doesn’t need to break the bank. Our Best Value pick, the Organic Percale Sheets from California Design Den, are priced at less than $55 in each available size; however, they offer the same crisp hand and exceptional cooling as many higher-cost competitors. Each sheet and pillowcase in the set is made from GOTS certified organic cotton, making the collection a great option for eco-conscious shoppers; additionally, the sheets are manufactured at a facility that has earned the LEED v4 certification. The 300 thread count also ensures good durability and a reasonable product lifespan.
Each set of Organic Percale Sheets includes two pillowcases regardless of the selected size. The fitted sheet has an 18″ pocket depth, which is deeper than most fitted sheets in sets from other brands. Both sheets have indicator tags for the top, bottom, and sides for hassle-free bed making. Customers can choose from three solid-color options. California Design Den backs this set with a full satisfaction guarantee.
For shoppers seeking a high-end percale collection, we recommend the Boll & Branch Percale Simple Stripe Sheet Set. Made from GOTS certified organic cotton-percale with a 360 thread count, the sheets and pillowcase(s) in this set offer exceptional smoothness, breathability, and longevity. The cotton is also Fair Trade Certified, indicating it is ethically sourced and produced. Eight different sizes are available, including a King with Standard-size pillowcases for those with different bedding dimensions, as well as a Split King.
The fitted sheet has a 17″ pocket depth and should be compatible with most mattresses sold today. Customers may choose from four pinstripe patterns with different color schemes; Boll & Branch also offers high-quality percale sheets in solid colors. Free ground shipping is available to customers in the U.S. The company also backs the sheet set with a 100-night sleep trial and offers free shipping for all returns.
Our pick for Best Organic Percale Sheets is this collection from Alterra Pure. The sheets and pillowcase(s) in the collection are woven from GOTS certified organic long staple cotton and manufactured in a LEED-certified facility. The company also guarantees sustainable production and fair wages for all workers. Each component in the set has a 310 thread count and offers strong durability and an enduringly smooth feel. Because organic cotton is typically more breathable than standard cotton, these sheets are also suitable for anyone who sleeps excessively hot.
Customers can choose from four solid-color options, along with six sizes. The pocket depth ranges from 15″ to 17″ (smaller sizes have less depth), but all sizes should be compatible with the bulk of today’s mattresses. Alterra Pure offers free shipping to customers in all 50 states. The company also accepts unopened returns within 90 days of the original purchase.
The term ‘percale’ refers to a type of weave used to produce sheets, pillowcases, and other bedding products. The percale weave, known for its tight structure, has an exceptionally smooth feel. Many percale products are made from 100% cotton and considered highly durable; they are also very breathable, making them suitable for those who tend to sleep hot.
This guide discusses common features and characteristics of percale sheets. We’ll also compare percale to other weave types, discuss some pros and cons, and provide information about cleaning and caring for these products. Read on to learn more.
Percale is a simple one-over-one-under weave that structurally resembles a simple basketweave. The result is a matte finish and a smooth, crisp hand-feel on both sides that many compare to men’s dress shirts. Other common attributes for percale sheets and pillowcases include the following:
Bedding product shoppers often choose between percale and sateen, other common weave type. The table below breaks down key similarities and differences between the percale and sateen weaves.
|Attribute||Percale Weave||Sateen Weave|
|Weave Structure||One-under-one-over||Two-, three-, or four-under-one-over|
|Material Construction||Extra-long staple or long staple fibers 100% cotton or a blend of cotton and wrinkle-resistant fabric (i.e., polyester or rayon)||Long staple fibers 100% cotton or a blend of cotton and rayon|
|Typical Thread Count||200 to 400||300 to 500|
|Feel||More susceptible to wrinkling, especially in sheets with higher thread counts||Less susceptible to wrinkling regardless of thread count|
|Breathability||More breathable; better suited for hotter/warmer weather||Less breathable; better suited for colder/cooler weather|
|Breathability||More breathable; better suited for hotter/warmer weather||Less breathable; better suited for colder/cooler weather|
|Durability||Less likely to pill||More likely to pill|
|Average Price Range||$70 to $150||$50 to $150|
For more information about similarities and differences between these two weaves, please check out our Percale vs. Sateen guide.
Advantages of using percale sheets include the following:
There are two notable disadvantages of using percale sheets:
Most percale sheets are made from 100% long staple cotton. Long staple cotton is very soft and smooth compared to short staple cotton, and is less susceptible to pilling after repeated washes. It is also fairly durable. In addition to 100% long staple cotton, customers may also choose from the following percale options.
Apart from material construction, another important consideration is thread count – though this is not as crucial as some brands suggest. Generally speaking, higher thread counts translate to better quality and a longer product lifespan. However, the benefits are somewhat questionable once certain thread count benchmarks are reached. In other words, the differences between 300 thread count and 500 thread count percale sheets are, in all likelihood, fairly negotiable.
Percale sheets, by definition, must have a thread count of at least 180. High-quality percale sheet sets with thread counts of 200 to 400 are widely available.
Although availability varies by brand, most sheet sets are available in sizes that correspond to the six standard mattress dimensions.
Additionally, some brands offer specialty sizes for sheet sets, such as Full XL (54W” x 80L”) or Short Queen (60W” x 75L”). In most cases, a Twin or Twin XL sheet set will include a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and one pillowcase; larger sizes will include two pillowcases, along with the flat and fitted sheets.
It’s important to note that the flat sheet’s dimensions will be wider and longer than the mattress; for example, a flat sheet in a Queen-size sheet set often measures about 95W” x 110L”. This allows the sheet to fit over the mattress surface and drape over all four edges. The fitted sheet’s dimensions should match the mattress more closely, since this component has elasticated edges that fit over the bed’s corners. Cotton-percale sheets will most likely shrink to a degree after the first wash.
Speaking of fitted sheets, customers should also check the pocket depth for the set they’d like to buy. Pocket depth refers to the maximum thickness of any mattress or bed that can be used with the fitted sheet. Mattresses sold today usually measure 15″ or less, while the average fitted sheet has a pocket depth of about 13″ to 15″, so most sheet sets are suitable for most beds. However, some fitted sheets have much lower pocket depths and may not be compatible with high-profile mattresses.
Lastly, customers should check the sheet set’s pillowcase measurements. Generally speaking, larger-size sheet sets have larger pillows. This may be problematic for sleepers who have a larger mattress and smaller pillows. In these instances, purchasing individual sheet set components may be the best option (see the ‘How to Choose a Percale Sheet Set’ section below for more information).
|Color and Pattern||Most percale sheet sets are available in multiple color schemes, including white and off-white, subtle tones, and more vibrant shades. Some brands offer multicolored patterns, as well. Color and pattern selection is entirely subjective; it has no bearing on overall sheet quality, and customers should make their choice based on personal preference and existing bedroom decor. However, keep in mind that brighter colors and patterns are more likely to fade and lose their luster with repeated washes. This is not as much of an issue with whites and paler shades.|
|Full Set or Individual Components?||The price of a sheet set is typically lower than the overall cost of purchasing the flat sheet, fitted sheet, and pillowcase(s) individually. Brands use this price structure to incentivize customers into spending more money on the entire set. However, customers may prefer to purchase individual sheet and/or pillowcase components if:
|Online Seller or Brick-and-Mortar Store?||Although online shopping is widespread, many consumers still prefer to make major purchases at brick-and-mortar stores. Online and brick-and-mortar shopping each carry distinct advantages and disadvantages, such as the following:
|Sleep Trial and Warranty||Many brands selling percale sheets offer a sleep trial built into the company's return policy. As part of the sleep trial, customers may sleep on the sheets for a certain length of time (typically 60 to 90 nights for sheets). If the customer is dissatisfied with the sheets before the trial expires, then they may return the sheets for a full refund or exchange them for another set at no extra charge, minus upgrade costs. For customers who have never tried percale sheets, sleep trials can be a very strong perk. However, some brands do not offer a sleep trial. Instead, they will only accept returns if the sheets have not been removed from their packaging, used, or laundered. This is disadvantageous for customers who wish to test out the sheets, but it can be helpful if they decide they don't want the sheets after all. Most return periods of this nature span 30 days or less. Warranty coverage varies by brand. Some companies offer warranties for percale sheets lasting anywhere from one to five years; warranties exceeding five years in length are very rare. If the sheets prove to be defective due to material construction flaws, then owners covered under warranty may return or replace the sheets at no extra cost. However, a large number of bedding brands do not offer any sort of warranty coverage for sheets.|
When cleaning and caring for percale sheets, here are a few guidelines to follow:
Keep in mind that washing/drying percale sheets may make them ineligible for return or exchange. Additionally, most sheet warranties do not cover damages that occur during laundering or normal color fading that occurs over time.