We Tested the 6 Best Percale Sheets and Found a Definitive Favorite
Its subtle sheen won us over.
Updated Jun 6, 2022 9:59 AM
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If you’re looking to upgrade your bedding to something effortlessly chic or want to sleep soundly through summer heat waves, why not try a favorite of interior designers? Both classic and cool (literally), percale sheets aren’t just for hot sleepers—they’re also key to nailing that perfectly casual, relaxed look. “They take on a very natural kind of luxury,” interior stylist Colin King tells us.
Percale bedding crinkles a little and is crisp to the touch, which is why it keeps you comfortable all night long. “Think about sliding into a fancy hotel bed,” adds interior stylist and author Emily Henderson. “Percale has that perfect amount of silkiness and an awesome cool feeling.”
The light weave of percale sheets encourages exceptional airflow, and after you sleep on a set, chances are you’ll be hard-pressed to go back to anything else. We tried out a slew of options to see for ourselves and found the best percale sheets on the market—read on for our picks.
- Best overall: Parachute Percale Sheet Set
- Best value: Linen Home 100 Percent Cotton Percale Sheet Set
- Best long-lasting: Riley Percale Sheet Set
- Best splurge: Matteo Tru Sheet Set
- Best organic: Coyuchi Organic Percale Sheet Set
- Best colors: The Company Store Cotton Percale Sheet Set
Best Overall: Parachute Percale Sheet Set
Trial period: N/A | Feel: Soft | Starting price: $129
What we like:
- Back envelope closures with each pillowcase
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified
- Option to bundle with or without a top sheet
- $10 returns (but carbon-neutral!)
Why we chose it: Feels like silk without the fuss for a relaxed but regal look.
We could tell Parachute’s percale sheets were something special right out of the box. While most percale is matte, this set had the subtlest sheen; once unpacked and laundered, the fabric was so soft it almost felt like velvet without the fuzz. And still it managed to be lightweight and supremely breathable—all of the characteristics that make percale magical. Placed on the bed, the sheets looked sumptuous and, like fine linen, had a slightly rumpled, well-worn (and well-loved) look. These sheets are made from genuine Egyptian cotton that’s grown along the Nile River Valley region; like all of Parachute’s textiles, they’re woven at a family-owned factory in northern Portugal that Ariel Kaye, the brand’s founder, handpicked for its commitment to blending traditional weaving techniques with modern technology.
With the choice between six different sizes (from twin to California king), eight neutral hues (plus two new rich shades in raisin and moss), we’re calling it: This is one of the best bundles on the market, period.
Best Value: Linen Home Cotton Percale Sheet Set
Trial period: N/A | Feel: Stiff | Starting price: $49
What we like:
Why we chose it: Drift off cool as a cucumber knowing that not only are you sleeping on quality sheets, you didn’t break the bank to get them.
If you’re looking to update your bed with percale sheets but don’t want to spend a ton, Linen Home’s set is a great option. Made with 100 percent long-staple cotton, this four-piece, 200-thread-count pick will give you all the luxuries of percale without breaking the bank. Fifteen-inch-deep pockets will stay put throughout the night, and both the flat sheet and pillowcases have a Z-hem (a lovely decorative touch not usually found at this price point). The sheets are also both Oeko-Tex Standard 100 and Sedex certified, the latter of which affirms that the product is made with fair labor standards and ethically sourced materials. So go ahead and choose one (or two) of the brand’s 16 color options (we have our eye on taupe and sage).
Best Long-Lasting: Riley Percale Sheet Set
Trial period: 60 nights | Feel: Crisp | Starting price: $120
What we like:
- Colorful and striped options
- Tone-on-tone baratta stitch
- Pillowcases include a side-envelope closure
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified
- Flat sheet sold separately
Why we chose it: This is long-lasting long-staple cotton: Even after a few washes, our set still looked brand-new.
Long-staple cotton is prized for many reasons: It’s softer, lasts longer, has better color retention, rarely pills, and attracts less lint than regular old cotton. That’s why you see it touted by top bedding brands and can depend on it for a sophisticated and polished look. This percale sheet set, which is woven from long-staple cotton, checked all of these boxes and then some. On the crispness scale, it fell squarely in the middle, not stiff but also not overly soft, with a feel that reminded us of the sheets at our grandparents’ house growing up: well made but never fussy. These linens are crafted in Portugal at a family-owned textile mill that has been producing quality materials for generations. The brand’s name is a play on the saying “the life of Riley,” meaning someone who leads a charmed life—and when you sleep in these sheets, you’ll know why.
Best Splurge: Matteo Tru Sheet Set
Trial period: N/A | Feel: Soft | Starting price: $545
What we like:
- Sets are garment-washed and dyed together (no color variations here)
- 400 thread count with thin 100 singles cotton yarn
- Can only be returned unused and within 30 days
Why we chose it: Indulge in the softest percale that somehow still maintains its signature crispness.
Sometimes it’s hard to justify spending more than $100 on sheets when there are so many affordable options out there. But Los Angeles–based Matteo has garnered a reputation among top interior designers as one of the best bedding brands for a reason: The attention to detail is almost unparalleled—and it shows. Made from top-quality raw materials, the sheets are cut and sewn right in Matteo’s L.A. factory by longtime artisans who take their craft very seriously. The single-yarn weave is unique at such a high thread count: Anything over a thread count of 300 is rare for percale and generally means that a brand has “folded the thread over itself to create a two-ply weave,” explains Logan Foley, managing editor at the Sleep Foundation. “This doesn’t create a higher-quality fabric, as it’s still the same number of threads.”
As far as feel, this is the “truest” percale we tested—an excellent pick for any hot sleeper. It almost hovered over us as we slept and had a crispness and slight crunch that kept us comfortable all night long. At the same time, the sheets laid beautifully on the bed; even the wrinkles seemed intentional for that alluring laid-back look that we’ve all come to appreciate in our favorite linen bedding.
Best Organic: Coyuchi Percale Sheet Set
Trial period: 30 nights | Feel: Stiff, smooth | Starting price: $198
What we like:
- Deep pockets (15 inches)
- GOTS, Fair Trade, and Made Safe certified
- 100 percent plant-based finishing process
- Bonus: Twin set includes a duvet cover
- Can sometimes feel scratchy on sensitive skin
Why we chose it: No one beats Coyuchi when it comes to high sustainability standards.
If you’re looking for a percale option that’s warm but breathable, luxurious but truly sustainable, this is your set. Crafted from 100 percent organic cotton that’s grown and woven in India, Coyuchi’s staple percale set felt cool and looked even cooler on the bed in the brand’s signature “undyed” color, a soft, pretty beige. The pillowcases and flat sheet have a generous 7-inch hem to help retain shape, and the fabric only got softer after a few washes while still retaining percale’s characteristic starched texture—the mark of high-end sheets.
The California-based company is one of the only players in the bedding game that’s organic from start to finish and employs textile experts alongside designers. It’s also GOTS certified (a step above Oeko-Tex Standard 100), Fair Trade certified, and Made Safe. Every step of the supply chain is verified and traceable to meet strict ecological and social criteria; no harmful toxins are used, and the people who source and make the products are treated and paid fairly. And even if you don’t love your choice, Coyuchi will clean, repair, or recycle your unwanted linens. Bonus: Each set comes in a reusable organic bag, which also makes a great weekend or beach tote.
Best Colors: The Company Store Percale Sheet Set
Trial period: 90 nights | Feel: Smooth | Starting price: $74
What we like:
- Affordable price point
- 300 thread count
- Elastic, stretchy pockets
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified
- Expect shipping delays, as most options are on backorder
Why we chose it: Offers a large range of colors, from classic neutrals to saturated blues, greens, and reds.
With nearly 20 different colorways to choose from, the Company Store’s percale sheet set offers the unique opportunity to mix and match bold and neutral shades that will complement any decor or mood. Each set comes with the usual suspects—a flat sheet, fitted sheet, and pillowcases—as well as a duvet cover and shams. It ticks all of the boxes of a good percale, washes well (no color fading!), and feels soft and cozy with little to no heft or weight. Made from combed cotton (a technique that removes impurities and short fibers from the crop, creating a softer raw material), these sheets are an excellent choice for those who want to have fun with their interiors but also invest in quality bedding that’ll last a long time.
We Also Like
Snowe’s Percale Sheet Set is the perfect balance of crisp and smooth that our deputy commerce editor (and hot sleeper) Samantha Weiss-Hills stays cool in. It comes in a range of essential colors, too. And you can really lean into the well-loved look with MGBW’s Vintage Washed Cotton Percale Sheet Set—though only those with a queen, king, or California king will be able to enjoy.
How We Chose These Products
Let’s face it: The world of bedding is super-saturated and overwhelming. At Domino, we prioritize bedding brands that balance style, high-quality manufacturing, and eco-conscious attributes. That’s why all our picks for the best percale sheets are made from 100 percent cotton: It’s more breathable and softer, and will last longer if cared for properly compared to other materials, namely blends and synthetic fibers. Our editors and writers conduct hands-on testing when possible, and we tap industry experts for their input, dig into brand stats, and conduct independent research. The thing is there’s really no shortcut to finding your ideal sheets, especially if you’re looking to stay cool all night long. You just have to try them—which is why we pick brands that offer sleep trials when we can.
So what exactly is percale, anyway, if it can be made from so many different materials? The key is how the thread is woven, typically in a one-over-one weave. This results in a fresh matte sheet that’s cool to the touch (not unlike the texture of an oxford shirt) and moisture wicking. “Think of percale as a screen in a window: The air is able to transfer across with little resistance,” explains Erum Ilyas, M.D., of Schweiger Dermatology Group, who recommends percale sheets to patients who suffer from night sweats, skin irritation, and breakouts.
If you want something that has a light and airy look and feel, percale is probably the right option for you. “It’s a classic in the realm of clean, crisp summer beds,” says King. If you want a heavier drape at night, maybe choose a silky sateen or knit jersey weave instead.
The raw materials and processing techniques that are used to create percale sheets have a big impact on how they feel. You definitely don’t have to spend a fortune to get nice percale sheets, but there’s a noticeable difference when they’re constructed from cotton (a natural material) versus polyester (a synthetic material), as cotton is far more breathable, durable, and sustainable.
In fact, the quality of the materials (and how the sheets are made) is more important than the thread count when it comes to picking out the best percale sheets. Eileen Mockus, CEO of organic bedding brand Coyuchi, says that rather than look at thread count, buyers should consider the fiber content (natural versus synthetic materials) and how the sheets feel.
Maintenance and Care
Always read and follow the care instructions on any bedding or garments you invest in. That said, most people make the same three mistakes when it comes to washing cotton sheets: using hot water, adding fabric softener, and pouring too much detergent into the washing machine.
First, start with about a third or a fourth of the amount of detergent you’d normally use—and make sure it’s a gentle or plant-based option (such as the formula by Grove Collaborative). This is because, as Ilyas explains, bedsheets can easily become tangled inside the drum of the machine, making it hard for all of the suds to fully rinse off, which can cause skin irritation. Then make sure your water temperature is set to cold or warm. “Over time, hot water can aggravate and break down the fibers of the sheets. Laundering without heat helps them stay like new longer,” adds Mockus.
Q: What is thread count, and is there a good number for percale sheets?
Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch in a fabric. It’s one metric—but not the only metric—for judging a sheet’s value. For percale sheets, you want to look for a minimum thread count of 180. But don’t be fooled by marketing that touts a high thread count in order to charge you a high price. For percale, which should be airy above all else, packing an excessive amount of threads into a square inch will only weigh down the material and make it heavier; anything above 300 to 400 will likely impact breathability. Also keep in mind that packing in more threads doesn’t make a sheet more luxurious if the threads are synthetic or of poor quality.
Q: Can I toss my percale sheets in the dryer?
Line drying is almost universally recommended, but using the gentle cycle on your dryer with low heat will work, too. If you do hang your sheets to dry outside, the sun will naturally bleach them, which is handy since you shouldn’t actually bleach your sheets. Dryer sheets and fabric softeners will break down the integrity of your bedding, so it’s best to stay away from them, too. Percale can get wrinkly, so some suggest ironing directly on your bed with high heat and steam when they’re just out of the dryer and slightly damp. (Sheets in a hotel are typically ironed.)
All of that said, the weave of percale sheets is incredibly strong, making them an ideal pick if you’re like Henderson and don’t want to fuss with your bedding too much: “I look at the label to make sure there are no big no-no’s and then throw them into the washing machine and dryer,” she says. Just make sure to dial down the heat.
Q: I’ve seen the Standard 100 label on a lot of sheets, but what does it mean?
We mention Oeko-Tex quite a bit when it comes to bedding because its Standard 100 certification is an easy way to know whether or not a product has been treated with harmful chemicals or synthetic substances during the manufacturing process. According to Kaye, it’s one of the highest textile standards out there.
The Last Word
All percale bedding, due to its weave, will feel cool and maybe even make a subtle but audible “crunch” sound. But the very best percale sheets refuse to hug your body the way sateen (a silkier weave) or even linen (a material made from the flax plant) does. Instead, this cool, crisp cotton feels weightless, embracing you lightly while preserving pockets of air in the bed and keeping you cool and comfortable.
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