July 08, 2021 5 min read

Cotton might just be the most misunderstood textile out there. Choosing the right type of cotton bedding can be downright confusing, from thread counts versus staple lengths to jersey versus Egyptian cotton sheets. But not for long. We’re here to break down the differences between two unique weave types: sateen vs percale, so you can decide which option is right for your sleeping needs.

What Is Sateen?

Nope, we’re not talking about satin. We’re talking about sateen.

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Unlike many other textiles, cotton is separated into different categories — sateen being one of them. This distinction comes from sateen’s specific weave pattern, not a separate material. Sateen weave follows a strict one-yarn-under, three-yarn-over pattern. This technique exposes more surface area than other cotton textiles, making sateen fabrics smoother, softer, and silkier as well as highly wrinkle resistant.

What Is Percale?

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When it comes to sateen versus percale, percale fabric is a category of cotton that’s also distinguished by its unique weave type. So what is percale weave? percale follows a tight, grid-like weave that abides by a one-yarn-under, one-yarn-over technique. The result? A lightweight, breathable, ultra-durable textile.

You can think of percale as being the linen of cotton. However, in terms of percale vs linen, percale is a bit crisper and with a soft, matte finish. There are some differences between cotton percale vs cotton sateen, so keep reading to learn more.

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What Is the Difference Between Percale and Sateen Sheets?

When it comes to percale vs sateen sheets, both percale and cotton make great high-quality bed sheets, but each has its pros and cons. Does that mean that one is better than the other? Well, the difference between sateen and percale ultimately comes down to personal preference. Let’s look at what each material has to offer to find which is best for you in the battle between percale sheets vs sateen.

Advantages of Percale

  • Fresh to the touch. Organic percale duvet covers and bed sheets stand out for their crisp cool texture. Imagine sleeping on a freshly ironed shirt. You don’t need to iron your cotton percale sheets, but that’s what they feel like!
  • Lightweight and breathable. Above all else, percale weave stands out for its impeccable breathability. It’s a dream come true for hot sleepers and those who deal with night sweats. A sheet set made from this material will be your saving grace since Percale’s top-tier temperature regulating properties ensure you’ll have a good night’s sleep every night.
  • Durable. Sheets that get better with age? You’re not dreaming — it’s the real thing. Percale bedding does just that: it gets softer after every wash. Thanks to its tight weave, you’ll enjoy these ultra-durable sheets year after year.

Disadvantages of Percale

  • Easily wrinkled. Easily wrinkled. Although this material may feel crisp, does percale wrinkle? Unfortunately,it's a crinkle-prone fabric similar to natural linen bedding. While we choose to admire this quality for its relaxed, boho, lived-in feel, we know some may not be as keen on it. When you look at percale vs sateen in terms of wrinkling, sateen is the winner.
  • Not as smooth. There’s no doubt that percale bedding is soft, crisp, and comfortable, but it’s not the smoothest material out there. However, if you’re into percale’s breathability, it is a smoother alternative to linen, known for its highly textured feel.

Advantages of Sateen

  • Silky smooth feel. Buttery, indulgent, and irresistible are all words that describe sateen’s luxe feel. If you’re looking for bedding that will leave you begging to come home, nothing beats our amazingly smooth cotton sateen duvet cover sets.
  • Warm and toasty. Since sateen is relatively heavy compared to super-lightweight materials like percale, it makes for warm, cozy bedding. It’s the ideal material for cool sleepers and those who just love to bundle themselves up at night. Spoiler: sateen woven sheets may make it harder than usual to get out of bed in the morning for this very reason.
  • Luxurious look. Sateen is naturally low-maintenance yet effortlessly elegant. This wrinkle-resistant fabric practically glows, instantly making it the star of any bedroom. You can’t beat that glossy sheen.

Disadvantages of Sateen

  • Too warm for some. While some adore sateen’s toasty feel, it’s not always a good fit. If you don’t have air conditioning in the summer months — or if you just generally run warm — sateen may be too hot for you. This heavier fabric traps heat more than percale and may not keep you as cool as you’d like.
  • Prone to pilling. Unfortunately, sateen’s luxurious nature isn’t as long-lasting as many people would prefer. After a while, this cotton variety is known to pill. Those little fuzz balls may look less than glamorous, but it’s nothing that you can’t fix. You can prevent pilling by washing your sheets inside out or by hand.

Percale vs. Sateen Sheets: How Do They Stack Up?

Now that we know a bit more about sateen and percale’s benefits and downfalls let’s see how they compare to one another in some other categories.


Sateen is renowned for its smooth, buttery feel. This fabric’s silky texture is positively indulgent. However, it traps heat due to sateen’s relative heaviness, making it too warm for some but just right for others.

Percale, on the other hand, isn’t quite as smooth as sateen and has a crisp, cool texture. If sateen is luxurious, percale has a more laid-back, casual feel. This type of cotton breathes incredibly well, making it ideal for toasty summer nights or winter evenings with the heater on so you can stay warm and toasty without overheating.

Health and Allergies

Both sateen and percale are tightly woven fabrics, but the latter’s grid-like weave is more compact. Thanks to these taut threads, this material is excellent at reducing dust mites and other allergens.

To ensure you’re purchasing the safest option possible, always look for Oeko-Tex-certified organic cotton. This important verification guarantees your bedsheets are free from toxic levels of over 100 harmful chemicals. All Or & Zon organic cotton products hold this this certification.


It’s no secret that percale bed sheets are prone to crinkles and wrinkles. While some aren’t into this look, we choose to embrace the easygoing, carefree vibes of Percale’s wrinkles. To us, it radiates boho-chic. However, if you aren’t so into the crinkles, you may choose to iron your bedding.

If you’d rather go for a low-maintenance, effortlessly gorgeous look, give sateen a try. This fabric is wrinkle-resistant, keeping it crisp night after night.


Percale’s magical little secret is that it tends to get better with age. With every single wash, percale grows even softer. It’s like breaking in a brand-new pair of shoes — the more you wear them, the more comfortable they are.

While sateen is definitely still durable, this silky fabric is notorious for pilling. This doesn’t mean that your sheets are low quality or falling apart, but these little fuzz balls are broken threads. To avoid this, try handwashing your bedding, turning it inside out before tossing it in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, or using a razor to remove the pills.

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Final Thoughts on The Difference Between Sateen and Percale

So, which is better: sateen or percale? Each material has its own variety of unique benefits, and it all comes down to your personal preference. Sateen is luxuriously soft, naturally gorgeous, and incredibly cozy. On the other hand, percale radiates boho vibes, is ultra-lightweight, and improves with every wash. Ultimately, the choice is up to you, so be sure to browse our selection of amazingly high-quality bedding to find the right fit for you today.